Lo Mejor de Mi Vida

The adventure is over; now the hard work begins. I got back to the US only a week ago, and since then I’ve been rushing to meet up with family and friends, get my stuff ready for move-in at the Hispanic House, get trained for another year as a Tribe Ambassador, and finalize the data from my research. At this point all of my data collection is done, as is the vast majority of the quantitative analysis. From here it’s all about putting my findings into words.

As I may have mentioned in a previous blog post, the outcome of my research will be a 7-15 page briefing on my findings, which I’m poised to start working on this weekend. If there’s a theme thus far for my research, it’s this: Do not assume things will go as planned. I expected to complete the written portion of my project over the duration of my last month in Peru, but I did not get my final piece of information for my paper until my last Wednesday in Ollantaytambo. In the time since then I’ve been able to do the analysis, but with moving in and all the rest there hasn’t been any time to start on the actual paper.

Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of returning home is a bit of reverse culture shock. After more than 80 days in Peru I had grown rather used to certain aspects of Peruvian life. For example, I find myself hoarding napkins “just in case” and wondering why my blankets are so thin. Other times I find myself darting across a crosswalk, forgetting that the cars will stop for me, or looking for the trash can in bathroom stalls. That said, I’m glad to be back. My time in Peru was an adventure of a lifetime for sure, but there really is no place like home. Hark upon the gale!

On a personal note, there is some good news regarding finishing up my research assignments. My only Friday class has been cancelled for tomorrow, so I will be able to get a head start on my paper, as well as my final blog posts which entirely slipped my mind. I guess that goes to show that the unexpected can sometimes be good. Speaking of blog posts, I’ve decided that since I’m already back at W&M I will spend one of my last two blog posts talking about the process as a whole from start to finish, and the other breaking down pieces of advice I would offer to next year’s grant recipients. Be on the look out for that!