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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.


The concept of home is something that I’ve always had a loose understanding of. What is it, a place, a people, a feeling? I’ll argue that it is a sense of comfort and safety brought about by Familiarity. Familiarity with a place, a people, a situation.

Tiquipaya certainly can’t meet all the criteria as a home for me, but, in many ways, it feels familiar. Turtledove calls and cricket chirps echo childhood memories of hot desert days and cool desert nights. Adobe walls, glass bottle windows, dust and datura on the wind, fresh peach in my mouth. These things are familiar because they remind me of home.

However, other things, once strange and foreign, have become familiar. Granada and tumbo in the market, pollerías, burning fields, purple flower perfume drifting from the trees above, cheep haircut adds, agua florida, the sounds of Spanish in the street, an odd thought in Castilliano rising in my mind, dogs walking around in restaurants, Cholas in their skirts, whispers of Quechua.

I have a few weeks until I return to my mountains, my desert, my friends, my family, my music, my bed, winter wind on my face, the sound of snow hitting the canvas of my yurt. I do long for these things, but for now, I will remember that I just need to look up and see the stars to feel at home. Here we are, our earth, our home. We all sleep beneath the blanket of the same sky.