If one were asked how they would feel when they first stepped off the plane in a new country, you would think one would respond with some of the following emotions: nervous, excited, anxious, or ecstatic. But, when I first got off the plane there was only one emotion I felt: exhausted. The one and only thing I wanted to do was curl up into an actual bed and sleep. I was beyond tired from the 11+ hours of travelling and was ready to sleep. So no, I did not have some amazing awe-inspiring, I-can’t-believe-I’m-here- feeling right off the plane.
I slept for a grand total of… 24 hours (yes you read that correctly). Now granted I was in and out of sleep and everyone else had also slept of most of the day, so I didn’t feel too bad about spending my first day in Cusco not being conscious. The next day once I was energized I was ready to explore!
As a group, the 13 of us first went to one of the many archeological sites in Cusco called Qorikancha (pronounced cori-kan-cha). I think it was then that I had my first awe- this-place-is-amazing moment. Qorikancha was a temple in the Incan Empire that was dedicated to Inti, the Sun God. What was so fascinating about it however was that Spanish colonists built the Church of Santo Domingo on this site, thus making it a temple and a church integrated together. What I love most about Qorikancha was the incredible view of the city one could see from standing outside. And just from that view, I knew I was ready for the month in Peru that was ahead of me.
The next day our real work began – learning how to weave and learning the indigenous Incan language Quechua. And with both never have I been more frustrated in my life! With Quechua our teacher fellow who was leading us on the trip, Tati, had warned us that this language was not easy, and my goodness she was right! Imagine learning a new language that is taught in a separate language that you’re still trying to grasp while translating it all into your native language. Yes, it was as hard and confusing as it sounds. I am not fully fluent in Spanish and our Quechua teacher, Jennet, does not speak any English which just made Quechua class that much harder.
With already being frustrated with Quechua class, I was already not in the best of moods to learn the new task of weaving. The first design that the weavers taught us was pretty simple, nice striped lines. It was actually pretty relaxing once I got a nice rhythm going and I thought, “wow what a nice break from the challenge of Quechua class from earlier today”. I must have jinxed myself because once the weavers started teaching us actual designs with the weavings, that when the frustration hit me all over again. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so the fact that the designs were not coming out perfectly on my first try annoyed me to no end. It was silly of me to think my first day ever weaving it would just bam, hit me and be perfect. That was far from the case. By time our weaving session was done I could 1.) not be any more happy that it was over and 2.) more worried than ever because this was what we would be doing for the majority of our time in Peru. I was just hoping that something would spark and I’d change my mind about both weaving and Quechua class.