Makayla Carpinteyro

Reconnecting with culture

Cultural identity is the root of a person's story. Culture influences a person's values, language, and traditions. During the summer of 2019, I traveled to Lima, Peru, the birthplace of my grandmother, Maria Angelica Lostaunau- Mueller. The vacation allowed me to learn more about my cultural heritage and connect with my Peruvian family. My great aunt Carmen lived in Miraflores, a district in the capital of Peru. Tia Carman was Grandmother's youngest sister and the last of the Lostunau siblings. Unfortunately, Tia Carman suffered from severe asthma and had a tracheotomy. Luckily, we were able to meet her before she passed away a few days after we arrived. In Peru, it is customary that when the dead person's body stays in the family home for a few days while friends and loved ones have a chance to give their blessings. The celebration of life was an unforgettable experience for me. Family members gathered in my aunt's living room, telling stories of her life and laughing at all the wonderful memories they shared together. She stayed in the house for three nights, and on the fourth day, we took her to the cemetery to be cremated. Before my trip to Peru, I didn't know much about my Peruvian heritage. However, I learned about Peru and its many beautiful qualities, including its food, customs, and stunning sceneries. Although Tia Carmen passed away, I am grateful that I could meet her. Her passing also exposed me to a Peruvian tradition and gave me a taste of culture. Photo taken: August 19, 2017
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