Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Bus

My experience with bussing with groups of people I know (discounting the odd school field trip) is divided into two categories: school sports and my trip to Yosemite. My experiences on the bus here in Peru were quite different. In soccer and baseball (my two sports in middle and high school), the bus rides to and particularly from games were critical bonding time for the team. Some of the funniest moments from all my years playing for my school occurred on the bus. On the way to games it would sometimes be quiet because of the gravity of the upcoming match, but people would almost always be chewing the fat and messing around on the way back, and more than once coaches would yell at the team to shut up and be more serious when the bus got too boisterous on the way to games that, realistically, we should have been taking more seriously.

By contrast, bussing around with Peru Cru was obviously a little different. People frequently would be taking naps, plugged into their phones, or otherwise uninterested in the rest of the bus (which isn’t always a bad thing; it’s definitely nice to plug in and just watch the landscape go by). Initially there was greater interest in socializing, but as the group got to know each other a little better (or at least to the point where it didn’t feel as awkward to plug in and ignore the person next to you) conversation died down some. I think another contributing factor to this, however, was that our bus in Lima was considerably smaller than a number of the buses that we used in Cuzco, meaning that a) a fair number to a large number of people didn’t have to share their two-seat rows and that b) people were more spread out along the length of the bus, leaving the prospect of a more unified bus conversation less appealing.

Now, it’s a little unfair to compare the bus experiences between a group of teammates who have practiced with each other for years and that of a bunch of people thrown together for a Maymester. But in Yosemite, the group dynamic was a little closer to a Maymester. Yosemite at my high school is a yearly trip consisting of a small group of students and lasts for a week. After a brief length of time of awkwardness, one of my fellow students broke the ice on the bus with, “Sooo… anybody got some good offensive jokes?” And from that point on, with the exception of a few students, the group was pretty continuously active with one another for the duration of bus rides. We played countless games of “Contact” and generally just used each other to entertain ourselves.

Obviously, the dynamic of Maymester groups is subject to change every year and I’m willing to bet that there have been years where groups are more like what I’ve described above and years where they’re even more self-secluded than we were on the buses, but that’s my take on the bus rides in Peru.

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