So, I kept saying that I was going to blog more often so that all of my blogs didn’t get to be so stinking long. Well….that’s clearly not really happening! Haha. I only blog about once every 2 weeks, so I feel like it justifies itself.
After talking to my mom on skype, she’s helped me to realize that there are so many things here that seem ordinary to me now that I kind of just forget about, and that some of these things may be of interest to you. I’ll touch on a few things that I don’t think I’ve really covered yet:
1. The food is cheaper in general, I think. You can buy a pack of snacky foods like cookies for a buck or so. Imported items…now that’s a different story! My box of Honey Bunches of Oats costs me about $6 here! And, actually, all of their cereal is pretty expensive. Also, I saw a tiny bag of bite-sized Snickers for about $9. How ridiculous! Perú really has not mastered chocolate like the US has, either. I’ve had a brownie and chocolate cake once, and they were both quite the disappointment. As for milk, I’m scared of it!! They don’t keep it refrigerated in the supermarket– it’s just sitting there right on a shelf! Haha. I’ve definitely been keeping my distance from it and only drink it when I have to. My biggest disappointment of all, though, is the fact that they don’t have Chex or any similar cereal so I can make puppy chow. What kind of place is this?! Luckily, my wonderful mother sent me an entire package in the mail with things so I can bake, including a box of Chex cereal!
2. We have a full-time maid in our house, and it’s very common for families to have maids. Our maid, Alisia, does all the cleaning around the house, but my host mom, Milly, still does the cooking. I hate to admit it, too, but Milly’s really starting to make me like eggs a lot more. I always gave my real mom crap because she goes crazy over eggs and says, “you can have eggs any meal of the day!” I used to be 100% completely against this statement, but not so much anymore…
3. It’s summer here yes, but I’ve yet to see a lawnmower. I guess they just have some rare magical species of grass that’s always green and doesn’t grow! Haha no, I’m guessing they have lawnmowers for all of the parks, I just haven’t seen them. There’s not a lot of room for people to have big lawns here, but many houses do have a little patch of grass outside their homes, and I’ve seen 2 people use weedeaters to “mow” their grass haha. I guess it makes sense for how little their lawns are!
4. There’s jobs here for everything. Many neighborhoods, including my own, have a gate you have to go through in order to enter. They have security guards at this gate to open it for the cars. Also, there are always people that walk along the beach with coolers of ice cream or whatever else. There are little venders in the streets as well that push carts or ride bicycles with a tray of goodies. Talk about service! At the gas pumps, there are men that do it all for you. Since all around us there are mountains (or hills as they say) with no vegetation on them (only dirt), it’s always kind of dirty. They surely do their best to keep everything clean, though, by having people sweep the sidewalks all the time!
5. Air conditioning is not something common. We don’t have air conditioning in our house. It is always comfortable, though, and is not really a necessity.
6. The poverty is really evident in some areas. A lot of the poorer people have to build their houses up on the mountains. Also, sometimes when we are stopped at stoplights, there are people or children that dance or do tricks and then go around to the cars asking for money. Just the other day, a lady was leading around a blind man to cars asking for money. This is always really sad to see.
all the poor houses are up in the mountains, like so
7. “Finger foods” are a foreign concept. You always use your fork and knife! I now eat chicken off the bone with my fork and knife. French fries, yep, I got that fork. I did go eat at TGI Fridays the other day, though, with my host sister Juli and some of her friends (which by the way was the first time I ever ate there. Haha I have to go out of the country before I eat at places like this! I’ve never had Chile’s until I came here either!). Anyways, I ordered a nice big Bacon Cheeseburger since I have yet to have a cheeseburger here. I surely gave it a good try to eat that thing with my silverware, but after one bite, all the toppings spilled out everywhere so from then on I didn’t care and just used my hands haha. I mean, come on, I had a huge delicious burger in front of me…there was no way I was going to fiddle around with my fork and knife the whole rest of the meal! I looked over at a girl who ordered a steak and corn on the cob (which was the first time I saw REAL “Nebraska-looking” corn on the cob! Their corn is messed up here; the kernels are huge). I unfortunately had to witness the poor girl cut the kernels off the cob with her knife and eat it that way. What a shame. These people just aren’t livin!
Now just for some other side notes:
I’ve finally gotten out and went for a run! I went on my first run two weekends ago after having pizza for the second time since I’ve been to Perú. The pizza was seriously the most amazing thing ever which resulted in me eating 5 slices. I felt kinda bad afterwards haha so I decided it was time I go for a run. You cross country runners would love it here because there definitely are some hills to conquer if you’re up for it. I tried running up one of the mountains near me and ended up almost getting lost with all the crazy winding roads, so no more of that for me! Haha
I’ve gotten my first packages from the parents, and oh, I could not have been more excited!! Valentine’s Day candy and ingredients for baking! Mmmm…..
I always feel kind of dirty here because of the dust that blows off from the mountains. A positive from this is that I actually have fingernails now!! My hands many times just feel kinda gross, so I’m too grossed out to put them in my mouth. Therefore a few days ago, I experimented with the foreign concept of clipping one’s fingernails and successfully clipped my nails for literally the first time for as far back as my brain can remember! Gross, yes I know. But it’s the truth and I was pumped! Hehe.
I have nails!! anyone who "knows" me, knows I'm the biggest nail-biter ever!
I experienced earthquake number 2! It felt a lot stronger than the first one but it didn’t last as long, and I must say I didn’t freak out this time like last time haha. This one was magnitude 4.8 about 25 miles from Lima. Earthquakes are exhilarating and get my adrenaline pumping– I like it! I get paranoid sometimes now thinking that I feel an earthquake coming on, but it never does. Also, there are times throughout the day when I think, “Wow. This would be a rather inconvenient place to be if an earthquake happened!” For example, an elevator or the shower… haha
Speaking of showering… It’s rather difficult to shower when there’s no water!! We’ve ran out of water twice now! Each time was for about a whole day. This last time, I managed to wash my face, brush my teeth, and attempt to bath myself with a half a bottle of water. Talk about the things we take for granted!
I realize I should not be saying this next part because I could potentially get kicked out of my family for saying it, but… I’ve been missing country music dangit! Lately, I’ll listen to my iPod but only to listen to country music. If a pop, rock, or rap song comes on, it gets switched within a matter of seconds!
I received the awesomest letter from Grandpa Zach in the mail the other day! It was a Valentine’s Day card, but he wrote me a letter on some notebook paper inside as well. He told me a little bit about how he was abroad in Germany when he was my age for the army. He was able to travel to some other countries in his spare time, too. Grandpa, thank you so much for the letter! You really made my day!!
I’ll try to start wrapping this up now! I just want to say that, yes, my Spanish is improving, but clearly not enough! I was at one of the bigger parks with Mary, Nicki, and Derek the other day, and we wanted to try some “picarones” which is Peru’s version of doughnuts. We went to a little vender in the park, and there was a sign that clearly confused us. The sign said “Chicha- 1.50 soles” along with other things (thinking “chicha” was a size), and we weren’t very hungry so we tried asking how many doughnuts came in it. We asked, “Cuántos picarones hay en una chicha?” Well, “chicha” actually was short for “chicha morada” which is a purple-y corn drink haha so the literal translation of our question was, “How many doughnuts are there in a glass of juice?” Hahahaa yes, we are dumb at times! Nevertheless, the picarones were delicious and taste a lot like funnelcakes! Mmm :)
Derek, Nicki, and myself with our picarones and chicha morada haha
Lastly, I’ve been getting super excited these past couple weeks because tomorrow morning we fly out to Cusco to go see Machu Picchu! This definitely has the potential to be the highlight of our trip and I could not be any more excited! I’m just a little worried about getting sick, though, because we’ve received countless warnings from Peruvians to take it easy when we’re there and drink lots of fluids because its really high in the mountains and is very easy to get altitude sickness. I’m really hoping that we all stay healthy because that would be the biggest bummer ever if we were too sick to go see Machu Picchu!!
our field trip for our grammar class to La Fortaleza de Real Felipe. our teacher for this class is Roberto, the one in the black with khaki shorts
spending more time on the beach!