We stayed the night at the gorgeous Casa de Avila, which throughout or stay will serve as the volunteer meeting point.
We were introduced to a few of the volunteers and were told who we'd be rooming with for the night. After all our long journeys we did the only logical thing: napped! In the evening we went out for dinner and had a look around town. Arequipa's Plaza de Armas is gorgeous and we tried to get a photo, but that didn't work out so well.
The next day we had orientation and then a tour of town.
We hung around base for the rest of the afternoon and in the evening, we got our things together and all waited together for our host families. A couple of us got really nervous because we felt like puppies at the pound! What if one came and said "oh no, we don't want that one, why can't we have her instead?"
I had nothing to worry about, because my host dad, grandmother, and sister came and they were all smiles, I feel good. We headed out, but all of us plus my bags = clown car! I was so embarrassed my bags took up the whole back, I had to practically sit on my host sister's lap. Great way to get to know someone, right? ;-)
My host family seems great! I have a mother, a father, a grandmother, an aunt, a cousin, a brother, and two sisters. The house is large, so there's enough space for everyone. I didn't get to meet my little sister because she's at the very end of a spell with the chicken pox, poor kid! I’ve had them so I was fine, but I think someone should have let me know, what if I hadn't had them before?
I think the family had already eaten, so I sat at the table with my grandmother and brother, but I was the only one eating! First meetings are always a bit uncomfortable, so I did what I do when I'm nervous: I looked for things to say. Well, I tried to, my Spanish is HORRIBLE! Thank God brother Carlos speaks a bit of English, so he was very helpful.
I'm happy to say I have my own bedroom downstairs in a section that's almost like my own little apartment! There’s also wifi, so this should be just fine!