Tic, toc: Two months left in Peru
Time has gotten away from me. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in my bedroom at my mom’s house searching the Internet for information about the adventure I was soon to begin. I posted on this blog religiously about Peruvian culture, events and news, but after my first month in Peru, the posts stopped. Perhaps my class load is to blame, which 2-foot tall stack of papers in my...
NY Times explores Peru's Qoyllur Rit’i festival →
New York Times reporter Paula Sadok experiences Qoyllur Rit’i, the Snow Star Festival, last summer and shares her experiences in this article. Qoyllur Rit’i is an annual pilgrimage that draws indigenous Peruvians from all over the country. It’s almost time for this year’s event to begin. I stopped, again, to catch my breath in the thin Andean air, struggling to ease the...
Anonymous asked: I really admire how willing you are to challenge yourself - it's a rare and wonderful thing. Keep it up :) My best friend and I are going to be in Lima and Cusco this summer. We are two girls, age 20. We'll be volunteering in Cusco, but exploring Lima on our own - any recommendations? Must-sees? Warnings?
Anonymous asked: Hi :) -Peruana from California here- glad you're enjoying yourself in Lima! I always enjoy reading your posts and somehow they make me homesick :( ..Looking forward to hear more from you and your experience in Peru :D
I’m used to not thinking before I speak. I just say what comes to mind, but in Spanish, the worlds rarely come. I settle for “sí” not having the strength to think of more eloquent responses. This causes problems when questions like “have you eaten yet” come up, and I’m starving. A few seconds later my mind catches up, and I realize what was said, but not before...
Anonymous asked: oh, my name is Patri. (short for Patricia).
The gringa on Lima's combis →
I’ve been a little lazy about posting lately, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing. During my study abroad, I’m working at a local news site for English speakers in Peru, and I have a weekly column about culture shock and my experiences. Look for it every Wednesday on Peru this Week. My next column will be about celebrating a birthday in Peru. Here’s an excerpt...
Spanish: Friend to the expat in Peru →
This is how I’ve been feeling about Spanish lately, and I really hope it becomes my friend very soon.
Paddle, paddle harder. Do an upward dog, and jump to your feet. I went surfing today on the Peruvian coast, and I actually did pretty well at it. While practicing on dry land, I couldn’t get the motions right, but somehow, once I hit the board, I stood up and rode five waves. The other surfers congratulated me saying “good wave,” but all I could muster was a “that was...
I can speak Spanish... I think
I dove under trying to escape the crushing wave, but as I came up, another one hit taking me under water and filling my senses with salt water. After four days filled with classes in Spanish and reading boring theory of literature, I feel quite defeated by Peru. My patience is running short, and my emotions are running high. Everything feels like an insult and another notch on someone...
I hate clean, orderly countries where everything works. I like hot, messy,...– Anthony Bourdain (via soupsoup)
Falling in love with the ocean
The surf came in and for a moment, I felt like I when the water receded I would go with it. For the first time, I swam in the ocean, and it probably was one of the best moments of my life. The water washed away all my fears and reservations, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like a kid again. I smiled and cheer as the water washed over my legs removing small rocks below my feet. I...
Week one in Peru brings troubles and successes
I thought leaving home and moving to a foreign country would be easy. I don’t mean that I would get the language right away or automatically blend in with the locals, but that it would be easier to enjoy every moment. But right now, enjoying myself is the hardest part. I’m torn between my life at home with my love, my friends and my family, and feel like it’s keeping me from...
Day one and sunburns
It started waking up on an airplane and looking out at clusters of lights glittering the Andes mountains in the dark. I was supposed to land in Lima last night, but after my flight from Minneapolis to Newark was cancelled, the day took an unexpected turn. I was rerouted to Miami on a 1 a.m. flight, but that was after I said goodbye to mi novio and cried until my eyes were red. I landed in...
Apprehension at a journey's headwaters
I wrote this post from the Minneapolis airport while waiting to board a flight, but couldn’t find an Internet connection. After writing this post, I board my flight to Newark and stay on board for about 20 minutes before being kicked off because of technical difficulties. My 8 a.m. flight was cancelled, and I was rerouted to Miami, but more on that later. Today is the day. The day I’ve...
No peace for Ayacucho →
This article does a great job of explaining terrorism, in particular the Shinning Path, in Peru and showing how it still impacts the country today. Each bounce on the gravel road knocked my neighbour and I together like billiard balls, the driver rocketing at alarming speed around sharp corners with steep drops at their sides. We passed tiny adobe homes with thatched roofs and livestock out...
When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take...– Susan Heller I have six days to pack up my life and head to Peru. This is the best advice I’ve found so far.
Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.– Mohammed
Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.– Roy M. Goodman
Travel guilty pleasures →
This is the all-time best guilty pleasure, and I might steal it! I can’t stop myself from pulling the odd prank while on the road. In Japan I would sometimes go fishing with a fly-rod in parks and shopping malls. A ¥1,000 note makes great bait, and I would catch everyone from old ladies to salary men. No hooks of course, just tape, though once my line got tangled in the spokes of a man’s...
Five off-the-beaten-path beaches in Peru →
I can get behind visiting all these beaches, especially Tortugas, where this sunset photo was taken, and Eco Truly Park in Lima, where yoga is offered on the beach. Yes, please. Peru has nearly 2,500 kilometers of coastline, and yet in the height of the summer beach season, it seems that most of Peru’s population crowds onto just a few kilometers of it. While Máncora, Punta Sal, Punta Hermosa,...
7 facts of expat life in Bolivia →
Bolivia is just a hope over the Andes and a frightening and dangerous drive from Peru. Right now, it’s on the top of my list for travel outside of Peru. Whether you’ve arranged a volunteer gig at Villa Tunari’s wildlife refuge or just plan on bummin’ it up on the La Paz-Uyuni-Sucre circuit, here are some things to keep in mind about South America’s underdog.
Peru's indie-folk fave Kanahku & El Tigre →
I have a total music crush on this Peruvian band. So good. I hadn’t fully related to the sounds from Peru until now. Listen to their album “Caracoles” free on Spotify.
Questions worth answering before traveling
My study abroad program suggests that students answer these questions before leaving for their destination. I added another one at the end. It was surprisingly difficult to answer many of these questions - except what I’m looking forward to most and what I want to do while abroad. What are the five things that you are most looking forward to about studying abroad? Living near mountains ...
10 things to miss about traveling →
When you travel for more than a few months at a stretch, it becomes a job. A job you don’t really like all the time. A job you start to complain about. I should know – while skipping around the world for a year, I did a lot less skipping than I did budgeting, reading transportation timetables, and gesturing wildly to unsympathetic street vendors. But eventually the journey ends, you return to...
Justice delayed for Peru victims of forced... →
Fox News has a sad but interesting and informative story on corruption in Peru. It was 1996 when Micaela Flores and 15 other women from Peru’s highlands accepted an ambulance ride to a Cuzco clinic, lured by the offer of a free medical checkup. But when they arrived, the clinic’s doors were locked behind them. “‘We’re going to make a small...
7 bands to help you learn Spanish →
Listening to music or singing is a wonderful way to consolidate your language learning. Music triggers the language centers of the brain, and draws emotion into the learning process, which serves as a memory trigger. Check out five more bands to help you learn Spanish (Argentina edition) by the same author.
National Geographic photos from Peru →
There are many awesome photos in this slideshow submitted from National Geographic readers. Check them out.
5 movies to help learn Spanish →
I plan to watch all these movies in the next two weeks to brush up on my Spanish. I’ve already seen “La Teta Asustada,” which is a little disturbing with potatoes in strange places, and “Amores Perros,” which is awesome but involves much violence towards animals and therefore tears.
I have a packing problem. The culprit: books, shoes and beloved American hygiene products. And I’m not even bringing enough of any of those things to last the full trip! I thought clothes would be an issue, but it’s been remarkably easy to leave out that adorable dress. But leaving behind the Mario Vargas Llosa I bought specifically for this trip but haven’t had time to read yet...
8 reasons why Lima is more than a layover →
With Machu Picchu having recently won the title of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, there has been an influx of visitors to Peru. Many, though, aren’t inclined to stop in Lima. But stay a while and you will discover how undeserving of those obituary reviews this city really is. This isn’t Paris, but Lima is a developing metropolis with culture and style.
Alien landscapes →
All these places look incomparably awesome. Who cares about exploring Mars or the moon? We have our own crazy world to check out.
Bolivia Reborn: Lithium rush →
I worked on the “Bolivia Reborn” magazine and website last year, and while every story made me want to go to Bolivia, this one was special. I learned so much about Bolivia, but the Salar de Uyuni is one of the most tangible ways to see the nation’s untapped potential. I hope to go to Bolivia sometime in the next year, and see for myself. White stretches as far as the eye can...
Peru safety tips →
After buying a new camera today - a Canon PowerShot S95, I’m super pumped - I started looking at several articles about keeping your valuables safe while traveling in Peru. This is one of the better articles I found.
Minor earthquake shakes Lima →
I’ve never experienced an earthquake, but it seems like 10 months in Lima is likely to change that.
Ready, set, freak out
It finally hit me late last night that I’m leaving for Peru in two and a half weeks… and I’m scared - really, really scared. My to do list seems daunting, but under ordinary circumstances, it wouldn’t be. I must do things like buy a new camera, get my affairs sorted and pack a few suitcases. But with the added stress of 10 months away from my friends and family, these...
5 reasons to study abroad in developing nations →
This article hits all the reasons why I chose to study abroad in Peru. I will be forced to step outside my comfort zone much more in Peru than I would in a developed European country. The experience will be challenging and life changing in an amazing and mind-opening way. I want to live in a country that still has growing pains. Peru has changed substantially in the last five years alone and...
Eat like a Peruvian →
I’m so ready to eat like a Peruvian! Heavy on the garlic, heavy on the peppers, heavy on the carbs. I can definitely handle all those things. There will be no cutting calories on this trip.
I'm so excited!
Today, I got all my host-family information. There is hot water all day, internet, private bedrooms and bathrooms and my host-mom’s name is Rosa. I was so excited that I jumped up and down, screamed a few times and ended by dancing around my house singing “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it” over and over until I was out of breath. Needless to say, I’m...
I’m ready to fall in love with Peru, and enjoyed the music in this video and the sights. I especially enjoyed all the people even though many of the clips were too long, but I don’t understand the purpose of the puppy shots (although they are adorable). It also makes a case for the new camera I want that has awesome HD video capabilities. Slowly savor some morsels of South...
A day in the life of an expat in Cusco, Peru →
This is about what I expect my life in Peru to be like with the addition of the hectic city life that will come with Lima, public transportation instead of taxis and my meager language skills. Clear Andean sunshine streams through thin green curtains. The kitten is meowing outside my window like somebody stepped on her, and laughter drifts in from the patio. It’s impossible to refute the fact...
the-other-side-of-bed asked: Holaaaaa! You are going to love Peru :) We have the BEST food EVER!!! :) you won't leave ;)
Peru's cutest endangered animals →
I died of aw-ing at these adorable creatures. This sleepy guy is Goeldi’s marmoset. He is an Amazon-dwelling monkey who is named after his discoverer, a Swiss naturalist. Fun fact: perhaps because they are so rare, these guys tend to live in small packs and stay within a few feet of each other all the time. Am I the only one that thinks that sort of tight-knit family bond makes this...
Peru struggles to keep Amazon tribe isolated →
If a group of people wants to be left alone, why can’t we respect that? Ever since photos were taken of this little-known tribe, tourists started searching for the group trying to catch their own glimpse. They are being ridiculous and are putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation. I admit it would be a great experience to see and meet these people, who have been practically...
Confessions of a hotel soap thief →
This article made me laugh out loud. I might start pilfering soaps on my own, even though most of the hotels I have frequented did not have the best options.