Ryan proposed to me in Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes. It is the little tourist town at the bottom of the Machu Picchu archaeological site. There is a beautiful little church there that I had entered the time before when I visited the town. It was quiet and had beautiful religious art. I loved it for the life-sized crucifix of the "black Christ" in the style of Spanish Realism. The statue had real hair and a painful expression that evoked deep emotion in those kneeling in prayer.
I wanted to show Ryan this church, which had no name posted. We walked up the aisle and knelt down to pray. As we were praying (and Ryan needed a considerable amount of prayer to mull over what he was going to say), he leaned over to me and whispered to me to ask if he could interrupt me. Then, he asked if he could be my life companion in marriage. It was a beautiful moment that I will cherish my entire life.
Now we're both back in the US. It feels strange to be home and about to start classes again. All of my adventures abroad have ceased, and I feel as if I've awaken from a dream, and instead of feeling like being home, I feel a sense of nowhereness.
I suppose this "nowhereness" could also be categorized as "inbetweenness." I am in between states of being. I carry the experiences of Peru in my heart, and nobody around me will fully understand. I am now an engaged woman, which is not quite single but not quite married either. I am young—young enough to be looked at as a "young person" but old enough to deal with adult responsibilities. And yet, I still feel ill-prepared. I come back to my home feeling like I don't belong. However, when I look down at the ring on my finger, I start to think fondly of what the future could bring—a true home and a companion in the struggles of inbetweenness that will likely not stop, but metamorphose, perhaps into something quite beautiful.