By Jeffry Reni
Today, we were given the opportunity to take a day to ourselves to enjoy and do anything we desired. So, the first thing I decided was to catch up on all of the lost sleep by staying in bed as late as possible. I woke up at 11, but that was only because my host mother had to drag me out of bed to enjoy some freshly made breakfast. After eating a wonderful breakfast, my roommate and I decided that we would go to the park with our host family, and afterwards we would go to meet up the rest of the cohort at the beach. Upon arriving to the park with our host mother and her grandchildren, I immediately went straight to the monkey bars. There, we challenged the children to a monkey bar competition where we were completely outmatched by the combined skills of a 4, 8 and 13 year old. We also played with a soccer ball and I even taught the kids how to play “Hot Potatoes” and “Tips.” It felt great spending these moments with the family and having a chance to build a genuine relationship with their family. We soon realized that it was getting late so we made our way to the beach to meet up with the rest of our classmates. At the beach, we had a great time relaxing and spending quality time with each other. We also ended up going to a bar where we got to enjoy some local food and some of the local people. After all of this, I went back home to my host family to watch some football.
Finally, I’m going to take a relatively early dinner and bed so that I will have the energy needed to tackle Catholic mass in the morning. Overall, it was a fantastic day off because I had an opportunity to connect deeper with my host family, my cohort, and the culture. I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to have a great time and I hope that by the end of the trip, I will have an even deeper understanding of the people and culture.