I am so much happier to be back in the jungle than I expected to be. The weather in the Andes was wonderfully cool, and because of that I didn’t sweat the whole time I was there, even when we were hiking. I had finally adjusted to the altitude and was able to walk up a flight of stairs without panting. I love the food, the people, and the atmosphere in Cusco, and I was not ready to leave. When I stepped off the plane in Iquitos and immediately started sweating, it just reaffirmed my hesitations about being back. However, all of those feelings changed when I stepped through the gate.
Immediately, the dog who lives at CAS, Negrita, ran up to everyone to greet us. She was so excited to see us and missed us all so much that it warmed my heart. All of the staff was happy to see us as well, and it made me feel good as well because I hadn’t realized how much of an impact we had made on their lives. My roommate and I were so excited to go in the pool when we got back. We were just happy to lay around in the sun sweating, even though this was something I was dreading before. Even classes were exciting, even though before we left for Cusco it was hard to stay awake because the heat and the humidity were putting everyone to sleep.
While I was spending all my time in the jungle, I hadn’t realized how much I had come to love it here until I wasn’t here for some time. I love all the sounds at night, and I love how every morning I hear a different kind of bird. I love playing volleyball with everyone after class, and I love lying in the hammocks Sunday morning reading a book. Right before we left for Cusco, all I could think about were the things that were annoying me, but once I spent time away from the center, I realized how much this place feels like home to me and how I have come to cherish my time at CAS greatly.
The picture is of the Center for Amazon Studies (CAS), my home for three months. This picture was taken by Anna Chah.