Monday, April 23, 2012

Maybe I'll Stay Another Year Or Two...

Sadly, emphasize the sadly, my time her in Peru is almost over. As much as I want to stay here for another year, I can´t. I have really enjoyed my time here in Peru and feel extremely lucky that I have been fortunate enough to have experienced this. All that being said there are some things I am going to miss when I have to leave Peru:

1. The Comida:
The food here is amazing, hands down! There´s almost no dish that I haven't liked while here in Peru. The only one that I can think of is this mashed up pumpkin my host family serves every once and a while. Let's keep that one under wraps, I think they think I like it. One of my favorite dishes is ceviche, or basically raw fish. I even fell in love with rice here in Lima. We eat rice with everything! Even the ceviche! The whole time I've been here I have eaten rice every day except maybe three or four times. It's going to be hard having to give up all this awesome food. Looks like I'll be hitting up the Peruvian restaurant in Omaha a lot!


2. Street Performers:
This one may sound a little weird but I think I'll miss seeing the street performers while waiting at stop lights. People go out onto the street and turn tricks in hopes of getting money. Some people do boring things like juggle three balls at once, but some get as elaborate as twirling fire on a unicycle! It's always fun to see what people can come up with in order to impress people. I've seen dancers, twirlers, fire jugglers, whatever you name it. I know I'll never see this in Nebraska. They'd be hauled off to jail by the police without them even batting an eyelash in the US.

3. The Clubs:
I've never been to any clubs in America so I can't really compare, but the clubs here are always a blast. If you're bored on a Friday or Saturday night you can just go to the clubs! You can even take a group of twenty with no problems. The best part is they are free! They let you in expecting you'll blow a bunch of money on drinks, but jokes on them, I never drink while I'm there! So that's one free night full of fun. Not to mention all the music they play is a blast. This is where I have learned a good majority of the Spanish music that is popular down here, which is my fourth point...
At the club with some of our Peruvian friends

4.The Music:
I just love the music here! I even dedicated a whole blog to it, and I could've put about twenty more songs on it too! The music here is just sooo different. While there is a lot of American music here they place twice as much Spanish music. The songs don't consist of five words being repeated over and over again like in American music, don't get me wrong I still love American music though. A lot of my Peruvian and Nebraskan friends have even associated me with the song 'Tirate Un Paso' because I sing it all the time and love to dance to it! At least this is one thing I can take back with me when I have to return and can even ask my Peruvian friends to send me some new music, which brings me to my next point...

5. My Peruvian Friends:
I've made some really good friends while I've been down here and I always have fun with them. I hang out with my Peruvian friends practically every week. It's usually a mix of Americans and Peruvians which is always a blast. They love to hear how we do things differently and vise versa. I've also hung out with just Peruvians which is equally a blast. They love to heat how I speak ha. We've even gotten to the point where we can sarcastically make fun of each other; you know the things friends usually do. I've been told by my friend Hugo, on two separate occasions, that when I speak Spanish I sound like a little kid, and like Speedy Gonzales, don't know where that one came from.
Isabella, Emily, Hugo, Me, and Mary
They're all Peruvians, I swear

Me, and Hugo

Here's a link to hear how Speedy Gonzales speaks in case you were wondering. Skip to 1:20 to hear him

6. My Host Family:
Lastly I am going to miss my host family probably the most. They have truly made me feel a part of their family. I was very fortunate to have been placed with the family that I ended up with. We've done a lot of things together such as day trips, gone out to eat, and I have even met a lot of their relatives. My host family has even extended their kindness to my Nebraska and Peru friends. They've invited them over, had them stay for lunch, and even told me to invite some for my host dad's birthday party. They just loved that! I've really gotten close to them and it's going to suck when I have to leave.
Me and my host family
Max and Luzmila Patrucco

I sure am going to miss a lot when I have to return to Nebraska. I could honestly see myself living here for another four months or even returning to live here again in the future. I have just fallen in love with Lima and Peru. This experience has really shown me that I want to live abroad again. One thing is for sure though, I'll be coming back to visit in no time!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I've been writing so many blogs about my adventures in Peru I thought I'd take a minute and share some of the popular songs here. I can't gurantee you'll like any of them, or understand them, but these are some of my favorites.
Una Vaina Loca:
Por Que Te Demoras:
Ai Se Eu Te Pego:
This one's in Portuguese and is played all the time! I don't understand anything but it has a nice rhythm and pretty fun dance.

Ella Se Arrebata:
Tirate Un Paso
Hands down this is my favorite one to dance too!!

What's sigh-rope?

Sadly my time here in Peru is starting to come to a close. I only have three weeks left exactly. That's too depressing to talk about so let's stop! I haven't done such exciting things as my last blog but there still interesting none the less, well that is to me. Two Wednesdays ago, as a part of my UNK class I'm taking down here, I started to go to a local high school to teach English with other students from UNK. All we basically do is brake off into groups and the students ask us questions in English. Sometimes they start speaking Spanish to us because it is easy for them which they're not supposed to but that's fine by me, more practice for me! The questions are pretty basic and can be about anything. Except one kid did ask me what I think of British boys, and when I asked him why he replied, 'just trying to keep up the conversation.' Haha ok at least he's trying! I was dreading going to these high schools to teach but all in all they're not that bad, I wouldn't do it voluntarily that's for sure, but they also give us food afterwards! Wherever there's free food that's where I am!
I have no more trips outside of Lima until I leave so I have just been hanging out. Two weekends we decided to have a good old fashioned bon fire at the beach with some Peruvian friends. First some of us went with our friend Hugo to drop his car off at his house by the beach then took a taxi the rest of the way there. We basically just chilled out at the beach the whole time and talked. I remember being promised smores and as I'm writing this blog I realize that I never got those smores!

I was attacked by the camera while napping on the beach

The following week was Semana Santa, or holy week. Lima celebrates Easter a little differently than America; they celebrate the whole week, mainly with mass every day. Because of this we have a four day weekend starting Thursday! Although because it was a holy week that meant that a lot of things were closed and not as many taxis, bummer, but that also meant less traffic, possibly my biggest gripe with Lima. That didn't matter though. On Thursday night we decided to make French toast at my house. This is the second time I've made French toast with Peruvians and I've some to the conclusion that no one knows what syrup is in this country! I tried explaining to in to my host family and even showed them a bottle. The acted as if I got the stuff from Mars, the prononced it like sigh-rope. Which begs the questions, since they don't eat French toast here how do they eat their pancakes?

Preparing the food

The feast!!

Enjoying the food with the 'exotic' syrup in the middle

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Surviving The Rapids

This past weekend my and some 'compañeros' took a trip to Arequipa, Peru. Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and is known as the white city for all of it's stone washed buildings. We started off the trip with another early morning. Our flight was at 530 in the morning and we got there at 7 and to the hostel at about 8. We started off the day with a nap of course and then hit the city. We walked to the Plaza de Armas which is basically the town square. We walked around there and decided to go get something to eat. We were told by alot of Limeños (People form Lima) that the food in Arequipa is the best in Peru. They weren't lying either. I got Rocotto Relleno which is basically a pepper stuffed with cheese, meat, and some egg, it was AMAZING!! After the meal we took a 4 hour tour around town for under seven bucks! On the tour we saw the Arequipan landscape, which was gorgeous, saw some historical sights and even rode some horses. My horse was so cranky, he bit any and every horse the tried to pass him. Good thing he couldn't reach me, he would have amputated my leg.
Statue in the Plaza de Armas

A hippie that sang in the restaurant we ate in

My cranky horse Pablo

Plaza de Armas

That next day we foung a really good deal for white water rafting. We paid around 25 dollars! We loaded up in a van and headed of to the River Chili. We put on all of our rafting gear, in which I felt like I was about to swim with Shamu, and got our quick lesson on rafting. I'm surprised the guide passed us after finding out our level of intelligence. He was giving commands like 'Forward' 'Back' which we passed with flying colors but then he yelled 'Left side forward, right side back', we all looked at him with a blank stare. This was in English by the way. We hit the river and it was a blast. The water level wasn´t very high so we were hitting rocks left and right, this made for a more fun/dangerous ride. My friend Emily and I even fell in at one point. She fleww of her side and flew in right after her. She thought I was trying to save her, I Should've just let her believe that. I did bang my thigh really bad and couldn't walk that night.
Before the rafting

After rafting, we lost alot of good men...

That next morning, I should say night, we got up at 2 am and drove three hours to go to Colca Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. We drove three hours in the most uncomfortable seats in the world. The stayed at an 90 degree angle and felt like rock. Staying in them was a task also. Forget Abb RipperX, I have a 12 pack now from just trying to keep my self in my seat! We learned in class that the Sierra, the part od Peru up in the mountains, is lacking in infrastructure and the roads are very bumpy and sometimes dangerous. They lived up to this reputation. Instead of going through the mountains like in the US, we had to go around, sometimes teetering on a ledge.
On the bus to Colca Canyon!
Joke, just a joke...

But it was all woth it when we finally got there! We also learned in class that in the Sierra there are many small plots of farming lands that are built into the mountains by the Incas and even some that date before that, that's crazy how old they are! More than 500 years and they're still being used. We hiked throughout the canyon and stopped at many checkpoints. One of the big atractions to the canyon are the condors that frequent the canyon. We were told that they are rare to see, but guess what?? We saw not one but two! They must have heard we traveled so far to come to the canyon.
All of the farming plots

Colca Canyon

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Peruvian Style Party

This Saturday me host family, their family, a couple of my friends, and I all celebrated me host dad’s birthday. The party officially started at 830, but as in Peruvian fashion the guests didn’t arrive until at least 9, including the neighbor. But even then the bulk of the guests didn’t get there until 930. I and my friends were lucky we only had to greet everyone with the Peruvian kiss one at a time, while some people had to do it literally twenty times in a row. One guest even had to wipe his forehead from all the work. I think I think I like the wave and hello to everyone in the room American greeting more than the Peruvian greeting, a lot less work.
We sat around and talked to all of the family members about a variety of things. We talked to my ‘host aunt’ who seemed to be very interested in what we had to say. She sure did get a kick out of us when by accident my friend Mary said we live in the same room back in America. Luckily we got that misunderstanding all straightened out. While we talked we were served food and drinks. There were enough appetizers to feed an army but we downed them all. I thought that was all the food but oh now we still had the main courses to tackle. There were about thirty and we couldn’t finish all of the food! I ate so much I’m still full from Saturday night. And as in Peruvian fashion we didn't sing happy birthday or eat untill midnight, and we sang in English first then in Spanish, even though many of them didn't know English. Half way through 'Happy' as they call Happy Birthday, a plastic piece on the cake caught on fire. This seemed to phase no one but us Americans.
All the food, not including the appetizers!

After eating some of us managed to dance despite all of the food we just ate. We moved the dining room table and danced the night away, ok more like 20 minutes. We danced to all of the popular songs in Peru and did the dances. We even did some American dances, this made everybody laugh. We even sang along to some of the songs which impressed some people. We must have been quite the site, a couple of gringos singing, dancing in Spanish.

After the dancing I walked my friends home and my host sister tagged along as well. While walking to their houses we were lucky enough to experience a Lima rain shower. When I say rain shower don’t get images of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning, it was barely spitting out. But that didn’t stop my host sister from commenting on the huge amount of rain we were walking in. After getting back from walking my friends home I ate even more! I was offered cake. How could I, an American, so no to a dessert? I didn’t get to bed until a little after three and the next morning no one ate breakfast. We were still full from the previous night
Getting the party started!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

30 Seconds Or Less

Last weekend we took our second trip around Peru. This time we went to Ica, it’s about 4 hours south of Lima by bus. Ica’s located in the desert so there wasn’t much to look at on the drive there. I mostly slept the whole way. We got to the resort we were staying at about one and almost everyone was hungry. We decided to go into town to go get food, I was not about to pay 50 soles for a meal at the resort, which in is only about 20 bucks, but the three dollar meal in town was just too good to pass up. We split into about four groups five for the taxi’s and headed for a shopping mall to eat. Too bad my group paid no attention to where we were supposed to go and ended up on the opposite side of town. We decided to just stay there and eat by ourselves. We went to a Chifa restaurant, which is basically Chinese food. We sat down, ordered our food and in maybe thirty seconds the food was already at our table. I don’t know if I should’ve been impressed or concerned that my rice and chicken was cooked in less than a minute. I ate it anyways and luckily I survived.
The restaurant we ended up at by accident

After having a bowl of mystery meat chifa we went back to the resort and all of us went to the pool. Instead of relaxing by the pool we decided to play water polo. Let me tell ya’, it got intense. I was told I went wild while playing and earned the title ‘the animal’, ‘The animal’s out of his cage’ I heard a couple of times. After the game of water polo I went sand boarding for the first time ever with a group of friends and it was a blast! The only thing that sucked is we had to climb up a huge sand dune to get to the top and by the time you were done climbing you were so worn out. But it was all worth it, the view was amazing, who knew sand could be so beautiful?? To top it all of I actually made it all the way down the dune without falling. After sand boarding we played soccer, our level of physical activity has surprised many Peruvians. Again, I heard ‘The animal’s out of his cage’, maybe that’s a sign to be a little less aggressive, nah.
Water Polo at the resort
The Animal

The next day we all went sightseeing to some islands in Paracas, which is about 1 hour away from Ica. It was another 40 minutes in boat to get to the islands, but it was worth it. We had to stay in the boat because there was nowhere to dock but the islands were amazing, every inch of the island was covered in birds, penguins, sea lions, and guana, which could be smelled a good distance away. There were so many sea lions and their babies, I thought we were going to crash into one! Like all of our tours it was multilingual. Before we got to the islands the guide went down the row asking everyone what they spoke. When he finally got to me, I was sitting by other americans, he looked at us and said ‘English?’, and in my best Peruvian accent I said in Spanish ‘No, I don’t know English’ to which he replied in Spanish ‘Me neither’ as serious as can be. I guess my accent is better than I thought. Although he even heard me speaking English. One we got back to the resort me and some friends went on a dune buggy ride. It was intense! It felt exactly like a roller coaster. At some points I honestly thought the dune buggy was going to tip over. It was well worth the money I paid, it even came with all the sand you could eat. After the ride I could fell sand in my mouth for hours. They need to start making scarves mandatory on this rides along with the goggles.
The island in Paracas

All those black dots are birds!

On the sand dunes

On the last day a big group of us went to a lagoon in town to go and check it out. We didn’t know it until we got there but they had row boats we could rent and take out on the lagoon. It was sweet! The boats fit four, and had space for two people to row with a grass roof. While rowing I kept feeling like I was in Egypt rowing down the Nile for the pharaoh, I even felt like a slave with all the work my friends were making me do. The landscape looked just like it. Our row boat was called the Titanic. I was a little skeptical about taking that one at first; I didn’t want to sink into the green water. Luckily we didn’t crash into any icebergs but it was the biggest coincidence while we were rowing, off in the distance we could hear somebody playing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ out of a radio, what are the odds of that!
The Lagoon

Friday, March 9, 2012

A World Of Difference

After living her in Lima for two months (I remember when one month was long) now I’ve learned to do a couple of things correctly that I was doing wrong in the beginning, and have noticed a few differences here also. 1.The first thing I’ve learned is that everything that is polite in English is basically rude in Spanish. When asked a question in Spanish it’s rude to say ‘Que’ (what). They take as if you were yelling at them, instead it’s better to say ‘Díme’ which is like saying ‘tell me!’ in English, those are fighting words. No one corrected me on that for the longest time. I must have fit the typical rude American every time I said ‘Que’ to a stranger!
2. Another thing I’ve learned to do her is bargain. I’ve learned to bargain, with the taxis, small stands, and at the Indian markets. With all of these you have to try to get them to lower their prices or else they take you for a fool. At first they tell you a price and then they tell you yes or no. If no you have to keep going at it. I’m still working at my bargaining skills though; I’m still too easy of a sell.
3. One thing I have noticed is the lack if clocks in this country. In every class room, every building, and a lot of houses there are almost no clocks. It didn’t take me very long to realize this because I always want to know what the time is, and this lack of clocks really bugs me, sometimes this drives me up the wall! It seemed strange to me at first but I soon started to realize it makes sense. To Peruvians the concept of time is not that important. If they have to be somewhere at one that means they leave at 1:10, and that’s being early. Once, me and my friends told even our Peruvians friends to meet at 10 but we planned on being there at 10:30 knowing they’d be late, but what do you know, that was the one time they showed up on time!
4. The last thing I’ve noticed is that our perceptions of things are way different than those of a Peruvian. During the day my host family says it’s hot, which I have to agree with them but still doesn’t compare to a Nebraska summer, but at night oh boy are we thinking different things. At night it probably dips below 65  or 60, I’m not really sure, but that might as well be a winter storm to my family. They always mention how cold it as a night, I just sit there and laugh to myself. I’ve even told them they need to experience a Nebraska winter, they declined and said the summer would be better, I don’t know which one is worst! Another thing we think differently on is time and distance. My friend from Peru once told me ‘Oh it’s really close, maybe like 50 minutes top’. 50 minutes! When he said close I thought 5 ten minutes. 50 minutes could get me to Lincoln and some. I guess your concept of time and distance is different when living in a city of 9 million.