As you may have all guessed by the explosion of photos and giddy posts on Facebook, we have returned from our excursion to Cusco and we have been wonderstruck.
Here’s the thing about excursions, not only are we learning intriguing history and visiting stunning places, but excursions also provide social healing. As much as we all adore our Peruvian families, a part of us misses the daily social interactions with our peers that were so easily accessible at Calvin. After an excursion we come back feeling awed and refreshed.
Due to our trip lasting four days rather than two, we were rewarded with more free time to explore. As soon as we were let loose, we gallivanted around the city marveling at the toasty brown rooftops and beautiful colonial architecture endemic to Cusco. When I asked the other Calvin students what their favorite part of Cusco had been, many of them responded with memories of laughter echoing throughout our hotel, nights spent drinking hot chocolate in a discovered café, reenacting traditional dances from Sunday dinner, or devotions together in Saqsawaman. Each memory involved fellowship and was enhanced by simply being together.
On the day we were meant to journey to Machu Picchu we awoke to the smells and sounds of rainfall. Typical tourists we were not. Jamie commented, “I’ve never seen so many people excited to wake up to rain on a day they are going to spend touring outdoors. Michiganders will complain about the rain and the changing weather until you put them in sunshine for three months…then they rejoice.” So like the pluviophiles we all are, we donned our raincoats and happily skipped outside. As we took the bus up to Machu Picchu, the mummer of thrilled whispers gathered in the air. We gazed out the window at exotic mountains and foliage enveloped in wisps of clouds. Upon arriving, clouds hung thickly over the ruins shrouding them from view, but we trekked on. Together, we climbed the steep steps of Huayna Picchu, but stood disappointed at the top as a blanket of white blocked our view from one of the wonders of the world. Thankfully, just as we were about to head down, the clouds parted to reveal Machu Picchu. The company of my Calvin group made exploring and learning more about Machu Picchu even more incredible. Wonder is even more beautiful when shared.
When our group gathers together in one place laughter is a given, conversation swells, and we fill with giddy joy. This was exemplified when we were trapped on the train back to Cusco due to an unexpected rockslide. Most of the other passengers were annoyed and frustrated when the two-hour trip became a six-hour wait, but as Lori described it, our Calvin group was in “very rare form.” Very rare form meaning boisterous laughter, loud conversation, and four hours of card tournaments. I was slightly worried about the animosity of the other passengers as we filed off the train before everyone else, but one lady said to me, “I am glad someone could enjoy the trip.”
And we did. Not only did we enjoy the train ride, but also we enjoyed the excursion as a whole and we enjoyed one another. I am so thankful to grow and share wonder with each person in our Calvin group.
Community. Social Healing. Worship. It all runs hand in hand.
our community (and our wonderful guide!)
preparing for worship