Today was our first free day where we were free to go anywhere within walking distance of the hostel (with one adult GGL). I feel like the goal of the day was to learn how to compromise and be responsible. Compromise, because we could only travel in 2 large groups since we had to be with a leader at all times; each group had multiple people who each wanted to do various things, so we all had to be patient as we took turns choosing where to go. Responsibility because we had to be responsible with choosing how to divide up our time. Today was also the first day that we were able to wake up late; instead of 6:45 we woke up at 8:00. I was the leader of the day today so I was responsible for waking everyone up. I’m glad that today was my day to be leader because the leader has to wake up 30 minutes before everyone else, so today I was still able to wake up later than the usual time. Around 8:30 we headed over for breakfast at the Cafe Del Tren and had fruit cups, juice and bread. Afterwards we all went to a nearby internet cafe where we were finally able to call home and use the internet. We spent most of the morning there and then had lunch. After lunch we had more free time and the entire group went to the Red Square: a market where locals sell cultural items and souvenirs. We also got crepes and coffee then visited the Mercado la Merced (a local marketplace); this is where we split into two groups; most of the group went with Jen to get manicures and about 8 of us went with Adam to a nearby park where we took lots of pictures and played cards. We reunited at Roma Santa for dinner around 6:00.
Overall being leader of the day was not as stressful for me as it was for my predecessors because the day was more relaxed and the group was mostly split up. However, I still learned the value of looking out for others before myself and realized how difficult it is to be a leader, a teacher or a parent. Taking care of others’ safety and needs first isn’t something that comes naturally for most people but doing that for just a day made me appreciate those who do it everyday of their lives. Also watching everyone bond and just have fun was a great experience; I found it amazing how we were all strangers just last week. Being free to go around the neighborhood and explore a new place was interesting and also made me hope that I could continue doing things like this throughout my life. I feel like the rest of the group and I really benefitted from this free day because it helped us form deeper bonds and connections with each other in a new way. Everyone got home safely and another day is successfully completed. -Maham