There are a few people I met in Peru that I have to tell you about, because it feels so strange that I know these people from way far away, and no one else here can relate.
Renato - One of my adopted little brothers. He accidentally deleted all my pictures halfway through the trip, but that only seemed to break down a wall and we were better friends after that. We had some fun trying to juggle together. I taught him how to say "Come here, you nut" and got him hooked on cards. He didn't smile much for pictures, though. I had to poke him on this one to get him to grin. He gave me a bracelet as we were saying goodbye in the airport. I can't imagine how the trip would have been without him.
Jean Pierre - The elder brother of Renato, and another of my adopted brothers. He learned rather quickly that I'm big on hugs, and would always give a little laugh when I went in for one, but would give them to me anyways. We were a bit like student and teacher, helping each other learn how to speak and read each other's languages. It must have taken him upwards of twenty tries before he could remember the letter "y" in English (I was teaching him the English alphabet in this picture). I think I'll always miss him.
Marcos - My youngest adopted brother. He has fuzzy hair. Although only eight years of age, a capable translator for all of us monolinguals. The day we were going to leave he asked me "Where will you be now, tomorrow?" I said probably still in airports. Then he asked "What about tomorrow tomorrow?" I said probably in Calgary, or thereabouts (VTI Lodge). Then he asked where I would be after that. Still Calgary, said I. And he asked again, and another time for good measure, before I stopped and asked a question of my own. "Marcos, are you just trying to get me to say when I'll be back in Peru?" He looked rather sheepish and nodded with a "yeahh..." My heart melted.
Gianella - My adopted little sister. She cheats at cards, so you have to watch her, but she's so awesome. Almost every night when I got back from Delwin and Techy's, she would ask me if I wanted to play cards. And after we were through playing cards, or on the nights when we didn't play, we would get involved in some bizarre "conversations" (mostly about pterodactyls, octopuses, and whether there was running water or not) that would have everyone laughing. I was crying by the time I hugged her goodbye at the airport. She broke down and started crying, too. Man, I love her.
Dante - A good friend. We enjoyed many thumb wrestles together (almost all of which I won), and some games of hot hands (I didn't fare so well with that). With him being an almost English speaker, we were able to have some real conversations, too. He took me on a few motorcycle rides through the city, which were lots of fun, despite me burning my leg on the second one. Here's a picture of him after Diane and I painted him up with achiote. He brought sunglasses to the airport, anticipating that he would want them to cover up his tears when he was saying goodbye to everyone. I was crying pretty hard, too.
For fear of boring you, I shan't list any more today, but there are many more people that I must tribute before I can put Peru posts to rest.
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value: rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." C. S. Lewis