Unforgettable trips have the power to change any individual. It has the power to create stronger bonds between family members. In my case, it occurred the summer of 2007, it was an experience that I will always remember.
As soon as the flight attendant welcomed us to the Jorge Chavez Lima Airport in Peru, I could suddenly feel the cold weather rushing through my body up to my fingertips. It must have been about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. From the drastic change in weather from the summer boiling Tucson, Arizona weather I wasn’t accustomed to what seemed to be frigid winter weather.
South of Peru lays a small sea side port named Ilo, located right on the beach coast where my grandparents live. Hands down, this is my favorite place to be at when I’m in Peru, from the breathtaking beaches to the cultural festivities, it is sure to captivate anyone’s attention. There, my sweet grandparents have this two-story house right across the beach and it’s such a spectacular sight. It’s even better when I go up on the roof just to watch the soothing sunset gradually go down until the waves turn into calming strides. When we arrived at the house my grandma openly greeted us. I then saw my delicate grandpa with his slender arms wide open awaiting to give me a warm hug with a tender kiss on the forehead.
That night while reminiscing with my grandpa on old memories, I was immediately brought back to the time when my parents left me with my grandparents for a week. At the time I was eight and my Spanish wasn’t fluent enough to the point to communicate with them. It was especially difficult that week, because I got sick with the flu. Moments after I threw up, my grandpa told me he had something special to give me. It turned out to be a miniature toy clown. I can clearly remember that it worked like magic because within moments began to feel better. To this day he has the power to make all my problems disappear.
Days before we were about to leave, my grandpa was having problems breathing and was immediately taken to the hospital. That night, while entering his room I saw his ill and fragile body hooked up to multiple machines. He had an oxygen tube in his nose, a tiny tube connected to his wrist vain, and he couldn’t get up without help. He was breathing so heavily that it sounded like he wasn’t going to make it. I remember seeing him on that hospital bed just barely gasping for air.
On my last day in Ilo, my grandpa told me that if he isn’t here next time I come back to visit that I should never forget where my family came from. He then whispered in my ear that he will do everything within his power to keep living; in hopes that God gives him many more years to come. I innocently looked at him and said that I know he will live 20 more years. Except in the back of my mind, I knew that what I just told him was uncertain. As I gave my grandpa one last big hug, I unexpectedly felt a tear stream down my face. All I could think was what’s going to happen if he isn’t here the next time I’m back. I’ve learned a great deal from him, and I’m grateful to have him as my grandfather. From then on I’ve learned to value my family more and to hold them closer to my heart.
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