The last week of training was full of tests, paperwork, and goodbyes. We threw a party for our host families complete with face painting, a photo booth, and a talent show! We packed up our luggage (which somehow doubled with all our training materials) and spent every last second with all of our friends, since it was the last time we’ll all be together in one place for that long.
We said goodbye to our families Friday morning and then packed a bus full of luggage and headed off the Ambassador’s mansion for our Swear-In ceremony. Our host moms were also able to attend and it was so nice to have a smiling face in the audience for this special occasion. We took the same oath that soldiers, politicians, and any other government employees take, then one by one we received a certificate and shook the Ambassador’s hand.
The ceremony was followed by a small reception with press, embassy workers, and our host moms. After about an hour they started ushering us out and that’s when the water works started. My host mom broke down and then I proceeded to do the same. I never thought that after just three months I would feel like a true member of their family, and as my host mom said “it feels like you’ve been with us for years.” I can’t even imagine what it will be like to leave my new family after 2 years.
We went our separate ways and then all the new volunteers (us!!!) were dropped off at a hostal in Miraflores for the night. We celebrated at another one of Gaston’s restaurants, a delicious burger place and then spent the night hanging out for the last time.
Leaving for Cajamarca felt surreal and honestly it felt like June 4th all over again… moving to a new place and not quite knowing what is in store. Going from having an 8-5 schedule everyday to a make your own schedule environment is going to be interesting, but poco a poco I’m sure I’ll figure it out. What a strange/exciting/emotional/life changing adventure this is proving to be!