Meeting Our Families
After the pilgrims mass in Santiago , we all went out to our last lunch together before meeting our familes. Everyone was a little nervous during lunch. Only a couple members of our group had done a homestay before, and we did not know very much about our host families. After lunch, we waited together in front of the cathedral for our families to come pick us up. One by one, people started to arrive. As each new person walked up, I wondered if it was the person I would be living with for the next two weeks. I had decided to live alone, and I knew that my family had three kids, all over the age of 14. When my family finally arrived, I picked up my pack and walked with them to their car. Immediately, I knew that I had nothing to worry about. They were very welcoming and made sure that I had everything I needed. As they showed me my room, the bathroom, and the rest of their apartment, I realized that I had been nervous for nothing and was going to love staying with my Spanish familly for the next two weeks.
I couldn’t possibly think of a better way to celebrate the completion of the Camino de Santiago than with a permanent reminder of everything I experienced over those 800 km. I got this tattoo in Santiago the Tuesday after we arrived as a ‘trophy’ for what I had just accomplished. This was also important to me because just a week earlier, I had decided to return to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, which is where the Camino Frances formally begins, to walk the first ~500 kilometers (to León) by myself. That made this tattoo not only representative of what I had already done, but what I was going to do. With each passing day this tattoo grew to mean more and more to me. It wasn’t until the day that I arrived in León that one of my friends shared with me what the owner of the albergue we stayed in the previous night had told him: “Your Camino starts when you reach your destination.” It’s what you do after you finish. It’s what stays in your heart when you go b ack to the real world. Every time I look down at my wrist I will be reminded that the Camino has changed me forever and I will remain a Peregrina for the rest of my life.
Hokie Peregrina: Kassidy