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Peru

Half way done already?!

Time has been racing by! I can’t believe my time here in Arequipa is already half way done. I definitely haven’t done as much as I’d hoped to have done by this point but I have two more months and just confirmed with my boss I’ll be coming back in October :O
So I’m only half way done this time around.

I’ve gotten pretty bad at blogging but hey I’ve been living and working. A quick summary of the past two months adventures.

I’ve had the most delicious Ceviche. 
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I’ve seen a traditional Peruvian Dance Show.
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I lived with a wonderful host family and greatly improved my Spanish. 

I’ve taken a quick weekend trip to Chile.
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I’ve explored more markets then I can count.
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I’ve tried Guinea Pig :O 


I graduated from my TEFL class!
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I moved into my new apartment!
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I’ve take a day trip to Mollendo beach, about a 2.5 hour bus ride away.
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I’ve explored more tiny Plaza’s then I can remember.
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I’ve been to a BBQ at a local Peruvian’s place and had delicious food and practiced more Spanish 🙂
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I’ve been to Sabandia, 25 minute taxi ride away and planning on returning later this month to go horse back riding. 
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I’ve finished my first month of TEFL teaching!
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And I’ve seen more gorgeous sunsets than I can remember.
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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in Love.

Normally I am very cautious with my heart. Yet as I was gazing off the rooftop of my new apartment, watching the sunset behind the mountains, I realized I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love.

I cursed to myself as I realized I’d fallen in love with yet another heart breaker. I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I’ve broken my own heart. I guess it’s my own fault. I’ve let my guard down again and again as I leave bits of my heart across the world.

I don’t leave it with boys, Oh no, I leave it in the nooks and crannies of a city. In the corner of a cafe in Prague, on the mountain top over looking Barcelona, in a park on the edge of a river in Porto. I’ve left pieces in the jungle of Costa Rica, on the beaches in Australia, in the sand dunes of the Sahara desert. And now, on my own rooftop in Arequipa.

Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes it’s slow, but normally it just hits me like slap in the face and I realize I’ve fallen heads over heals. Then two days later, or if I’m lucky six months later, I’ll have to end the romance.

I’m already not looking forward to this breakup.

First Wash out of a Bucket

No I am not in the middle of a jungle where there is no running water. I am in Arequipa, Peru where they had a rain storm last week that damaged the water pipes and have been out of water for 5 days now.

Arriving to my home stay in Arequipa turned out to be a little more of an adventure then I anticipated. The flight from Lima to Arequipa is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We had been in the air for about an hour when they announced we needed to turn around due to bad weather, back to Lima we went! 30 minutes after disembarking and being told we wouldn’t be able to fly out until 5:30am and would all have to sleep in the airport they decided the weather was cleared up enough.

I arrived in Arequipa around midnight and one of the coordinators from my TEFL school came to pick me up with her nanny from about 25 years ago. About 15 minutes after driving we suddenly got out, I hadn’t been paying attention to the conversation going on in the taxi but apparently the Nanny had been concerned of the route the taxi driver was taking us.  We then spent the next 15 minutes on the side of the road trying to hail a taxi, me thinking it was just another adventure and the coordinator freaking out. But luckily an elderly gentleman stopped to pick us up and I arrived in one piece to my home stay.

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The next morning I was able to meet my host mom, her husband, daughter (who left the next morning for Lima), her son (still lives at home but I haven’t seen him since ha) and the son’s girlfriend. All of which were extremely friendly, welcoming, and willing to put up with my broken Spanish! After lunch with everyone my host mom, her daughter, and I headed to the city center. We needed to take a 10 minute mini bus, there is a driver and someone standing in the door who takes you .80 Peruvian sol (about 25 cents) when you disembark. The whole thing is quite entertaining. There are also Alpaca’s in the park across the street from my TEFL school.

There’s a quote from Pirates of the Caribbean about “The Code is more what you call guidelines, than actual rules…” And this is how Peruvian drivers, especially taxi drivers, feel about the lines on the road, they’re just guidelines. Any time I am in a taxi I keep thinking we’re going to get hit because the drivers is in two lanes or on the wrong side of the road! Later on when I visited the market again there was a woman modeling in front of the fruits, not exactly sure why…..

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Eventually I needed to shower, but the water still wasn’t running through the pipes. SO my host mom filled a bucket with about 1/3 water, then boiled a giant pot of water to add to create nice lukewarm water. It really made me assess just how much water is wasted when showering, even a quick one. I only needed a bucket to wash my body and hair, the same amount of water would probably be used in about 30 seconds of showering.

Overall I mainly spent my first couple days in Arequipa getting to know my host family and preparing for my TEFL course to start!

Smoggy, Humid, Lima

I was only in Lima for 3.5 days but wow did it seem like a lot longer.

I didn’t arrive to the city until 11:30pm Tuesday night, caught my Taxi to the hostel and checked in around 1am. However, I wasn’t able to fall asleep until about 3am because it was SO hot and humid!

Wednesday: Everyone in my room was up by 8 because it was STILL SO hot and humid. I headed out to the common room where the wifi worked to check in with friends and family and slowly started meeting others in my hostel.

Max is from LA, hated his job so quite and moved to China to teach english for a year, then backpacked around Thailand for about 6 months, and also just arrived to Lima to start teaching here.
Nick is also from the US, Seattle, and has been completing his Computer Science degree online for a while, use to work in accounting and would travel every couple months but last April decided to move to Chile to teach for a school year, now he’s working his way back to the states to finish his degree.
British girl (never got her name) is studying abroad in Chile for a year.
Virginia Dad (never got his name either) was probably one of my favorite travelers I met, he’d mainly talk to the boys while British Girl and I wrote/blogged but listening was great. He’s pretty traveled, especially around Peru and brought his 14 year old son to school down here to teach him Spanish and spend time with family (mom side even though he looks as white/ European as they can get). He’s taking a gap year after 8th grade and he’ll go back in as a freshman in the fall.

Wednesday seemed like the long day of my life.

Woke up around 8, ate breakfast, hung around the hostel and met people, Max and I went out to find food for Lunch and walked around some, went back to the hostel, went out on my own to check out the beach and walk around Lima, got a sim card and phone charger (I bought Nick’s old hone from Chile), went back to the hostel, then went back out with Max and Nick for dinner, had a delicious sandwhich and tried Chicha, went back to the hostel and we all (including Virginia Dad and British Girl) hung out in the lounge area talking.

Thursday: I was able to sleep WAY better that night than the night before, the weather was finally cooling down, only woke up about 3-5 time instead of what seemed like every half hour the night before. AND slept in ( only 9:30).

I wanted to go to Barranco and try a sandwich shop a friend had recommended  so invited Max and Nick. We headed off to get their hair cut first which turned out to only cost them like $5 USD. With the dollar getting stronger things in Peru are extra cheap. But then Nick headed back to the hostel to work on his online classes so Max and I wandered off to Barranco which is suppose to have a more bohemian feel to it than Miraflores (the area I was staying in).

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It was fun getting lost and wandering down the streets, we finally found the stand and took our sandwhiches to the park to eat. Then we walked back to Miraflores along the ocean and stopped for some delicious fruit smoothies. Our adventure took about three hours and even though it was so hot because it was completely over cast out I forgot to put on sunscreen so got a nice sunburn on my forehead, nose and chest.

That night a good friend from back in the states family who is from Peru and were currently in town invited me out with them. It was great to practice my Spanish as well as see some family faces!

Friday: That morning Nick, Max and I headed to Huaca Pucllana, ruins built by Peruvians eons ago, we were too hot and it was too humid though for any of us to pay close attention.

My favorite thing about travel is actually meeting other travelers and hearing their stories. Yes I love trying new foods, meeting locals and seeing how they live, learning about different cultures, but nothing beats that moment when within 5 minutes you just realize you click with someone.

In a daily routine it’s hard to meet new people you just click with, because you see the same people every single day. But when you’re traveling, you’re in a random country, at a random hostel or on a city tour when there are hundreds of different countries you could be in, dozens of different hostels you could be staying in, or a handful of different tours you could be on BUT you meet someone and you just click. At least I felt like we did.

 

 

Isabella was also from the states and traveling on her own and the conversation just flowed. We went out for lunch and got some delicious Ceviche then walked along the beach. That night my friends family invited me out for a Traditional Peruvian dance show and since Isabella and I were already on our way out the door to head to dinner they said it was fine if she came along. It was a blast! I absolutely adore the family and the show was amazing as well. There would be a performance and then the singer would sing a basic merengue song so everyone was welcome up to join and dance so of course majority of our group would go (at least 10 of us at a time ha). All of the other tourists were from Latin Americana countries so the dance floor was always full of people dancing.

Saturday: I slept in and bummed around the hostel before heading to the airport. I also finally looked at my visa and instead of giving me 3 months like I ask (and what is usually given) she gave me 20 days….. So looks like I’ll be taking a trip to Chile in a week or two!

On The Move Again

I was finally getting nervous right before my flight. Crazy thoughts were racing through my head.
“What am I forgetting?”
“Why didn’t I practice my Spanish more?”
“What am I doing on a one way flight?!”

I flew out on a one way ticket and by the end of March I’ll have my TEFL certification but I don’t have a place to live after that, don’t have a job lined up, and don’t know what I am doing with my life.

But as the plane started to descend into Lima, I got excited and a grin crept it’s way onto my face and I couldn’t hide it.

Getting off the airplane I was no longer nervous, or anxious or second guessing anything as I might have seemed in prior days to friends. I felt alive. I felt rejuvenated. It might have been midnight in a strange country with a different language but I was awake, I was alert, I felt alive.

There are highs and lows to solo travel, but in that moment I didn’t want to share it.
I wanted that high all to myself!
And it was.

 

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