Our Final Evening as a GHS Family

Our grand adventure has come to an end. We have been travelling, learning, exploring and growing together for many weeks or in some cases months and have formed very strong bonds with one another. Parents – I hope you recognize the amazing and mature young people who you will pick up at the airport on Saturday morning. They are extraordinary individuals and you should be very proud of them. I know that I am.

Thursday began with exams and then some final shopping for our white elephant gift exchange. A little final exploring ended with a walk to the plaza in front of San Cristobal church at sunset. The skyline was beautiful as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. The lights in the main square came on quickly followed by lights in the surrounding hillsides. The views were perfect for those final Instagram shots.

Back into town, students were making their final preparations for the banquet. It was held at a traditional Peruvian venue where we were treated to a buffet dinner with musical accompaniment. The musicians played the pan flute (both small and very large) as well as guitars and drums for a mix of traditional and modern sounds.

After dinner, we returned to the hotel for our final celebration. The slide show started down the path of emotion with lots of tears. Kathy said a few words which didn’t help and then Luke took the floor to speak on behalf of all the students. He was eloquent, his comments were perfect and captured the feelings of everyone in the room. There were no dry eyes when he finished.

The “white elephant” gift exchange was a perfect next step. We all cheered up a considerable amount as we opened gifts and then stole them from each other. It was all in good fun though. Everyone is able to bring something from another group member home with them. Finally, singing and dancing were the order of the evening with “I Want It That Way”, “Burn the House Down” and “Riding Shotgun” garnering the loudest karaoke ensemble.

It was a fitting end to a wonderful experience. I will miss these students and cherish the time I have spent with them. I have asked them all to keep in touch. I want to watch as they go on to the next stage of their life, be that university, more travel or some other wonderful program. These students are destined for success.

Kathy