Saturday, November 28, 2009


Monday my math teacher was absent for the second day in a row. Teachers not showing up in not an uncommon expirience so we didn't think much of it until another teacher came in to inform us that our math teacher in in the hostpital with cholera. Earlier this week a student was absent from English, the teacher asked why a friend responded that she was out sick with hepatitis. On both occasions I was shocked by the normaliciy of the whole situation, students expressed their desire for a friend to be healthy and life continued. Imagining my friends reactions, in my school if they were informed that a fellow student was out sick with hepatitis is shockingly different. We all live in the nicer parts of Lima, families that can send their daughters to private schools can also afford clean water and disease free foods. These are people living in apartments and houses in clean areas and they are getting sanitation related diseases. Where I come from people don't get sick with hepatitis or cholera, and if they did we would all be shocked. At my school when someone needs to invent an illness to skip school they claim to have a cold, in Lima people claim to have diarrhea.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Begun to Seem Normal

Today as I jumped off a combi and dodged traffic on my way home I smiled to myself, thinking of cross walks and stop signs in Seattle. I realized that, I have gotten to the point in my life in Lima that the things I used to be suprised by seem normal.

So I have decided to make a list of things that used to seem strange:

- "making" milk by pouring milk from a can and water from a bottle
- crossing the street sucessfully being a combination of luck, timing and running
- delicious fresh bread
- kids doing kart-wheels on in the street during red lights to earn some money
- people throwing things and generally not paying attention in class
- deciding what to wear depending on the district of Lima I will be in that day
- picking bones and fat from my meat
- One Sol($0.30) Snacks
- Inca Kola tasting almost good
- Ripe Mangos
- The fact that is still hasn't rained
- Afternoon Naps
- Dinner at 10pm

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brizas Del Titicaca

This weekend a friend and I went to see a preformance of typical Peruvian dances. Each one a different style from a different region ranging from the Quechua dances of the highlands to the Spanish Marinara of Peru. No matter the style the joy of the dancers and the audience was evident. The smiles never left their faces. In between dances the audience would get up on stage and do some of their own dancing. Audience and dancers alike took joy in dancing until beads of sweat dripped from their faces but their smiles never faltered.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My First Solo Combi

Today I took my first solo ride on a Combi, one of the buses here, sucessfully. As I write bus I can't help but smile, these are nothing like the ordely numbered clean vehicles of King County Metro. There are two types of combis in Lima. One,unfortunatly more common, resenmbles a Mini-Van with three rows of seats stuffed inside, when the seats are full passengers stand doubled-over and wait for an empty seat. My much prefered combi looks a lot like a school bus that has been painted flourescent colors. I am still unsure of how the routes work, the names of the sub-districts the combi goes to are painted on the sides and the paraderos (bus stops) have no logic, not to meantion the combi doesn't always stop at every paradero. Once think you found the right bus you jump on, litteraly jump because they have been known to leave without passengers who take too long. The driver drives like a maniac through Lima traffic and you try to stay upright as you wait for a seat to free up. Remaining vertical is a skill I haven't yet mastered, and remains a constant source of amusement for my Peruvian friends. Offen someone boards the bus selling chicklet (gum) or singing a song, a snack and some entertainment on the bus. There is a man who walks down the bus clicking coins allerting the passengers that it's time to pay. You have to know how much you should be paying and insist on recieving correct change. Eventually you think you are near your destination you ask the driver to "baja aca" or stop here and hope he actually stopes long enough to get off the bus. I am always quite thankful to still be alive and at my destination sucessfuly.

In a lot of ways combis represent the Perivian mind set. The whole affair is chaotic and disorderly with crouds of people, but no one seems to mind. Getting lost is not really an issue because people here enjoy the journey. They are contented to wait talking with a friend, exchanging recipies for Lomo Saltado with a neighbor or even teaching a child the ABCs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kicked Out!

On friday I got kicked out of class for being late. Half our class had to show our dance to the head of school so she could approve it for the school party (details soon). We arrived late to class we were "punished" by not being allowed into class for an hour of an hour and a half class. Apparently the head of school made me late is not a valid excuse.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Las Piletas

Fountains in the city center, they are breath taking!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I should have posted these much earlier but better late than never.

My third week here we had Olympics at school. We had 2 hours of class in the mornings then Olympics the rest of the day. All ages were divided in three color teams and compete.

Mi Colegio

My school is named Sagrado Corazon Sophianum. It begins in Inicial and ends in Quinto de Secondaria, Pre-School through the end of high school. In total eleven years, all my classmates have attended SCS since they were four. The school is absolutely spectacular and situated behind a large brick wall right in Lima.

Dia De Mater

Last week was Mater's* feast day and we went to mass (just like every other sacred heart student)but things started getting interesting when the Preist whipped out his guitar and sung his homily- thats right, he sung a wrote and preformed a song about a saint. After mass there was a school wide celebration where the teachers but on a show for the students. There were teachers singing and dancing, my personal favorite was the PE teacher's rendition of "Let it Be".

After we has all stopped laughing there was cake for the entire school! This was cake for Cuinto, about 35 people

*Mater is the patron saint/icon of sacred heart schools (Forest Ridge and Sophianum included)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

La Hora Peruana

In Peru everything starts after it's supposed to, if you were supossed to meet friends at 9 you show up at 10. This phenominon is called "La Hora Peruana" or Peruvian Hour. Here there is a lot more waiting around which was initially irritating but after being here longer I have learned to enjoy hanging around. Here time that Americans would be anxiously waiting wondering what is happening the Peruvians take the time to enjoy eachother's company and time, is irrelevant.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

el sol y la playa

today I went shopping for polos (shirts) with my host sister in Magdelena which is a market. In Magdelena there is also a beautiful church! I had my first Empanada de Queso which I'm sure will give me heart disease, but was decicious. An Empanada de Queso is a pastery filled with salty melted cheese, delicious! Karina had classes to prepare for Med School this afternoon so I spent the afternoon hanging out on the beach with a good book and ice cream in 70 degree weather. I had a sucessful day :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Como?... No Entiendo

This week my colegio (school) has vacation and no one seems to know why. Yesterday Karina and I went to school to practice la marca (the march) which is sort of like a flag ceremony. Then we went to Frida's house where we sat around talking until 9 when we went back to Karina's house then at 11 went to dinner then to see a movie called "la crueda verdad" in english: the ugly truth with Karina's mom and brother, Juan Carlos. We got home at 2, on a school night - I love Peru!

Today I went with Karina's friend Andrea to medical school today. In Peru medical school starts after high school and lasts 7 years, Andrea and Karina are both applying this year. I am having problems forming complete sentences in english but there are a few more thoughts:

thigs I take for granted in the US:
- buses that stop for you to get on and off
- warm showers
- not fearing for your life in traffic
- toilet seats

Things we really should have in the US:
- Inca Cola
- migros (the little buses here- they're a lot like mini-vans)
- big lunches and small dinners eaten at 9 or so

Sunday, October 11, 2009

estoy en peru!

good news,
after a day of United related mishaps,
I am finally in Peru.

I sat between these two Japanese Ladies on the plane who were adorable!
The two of them managed to put more different products on and off their faces without messing up their make-up than I thought was humanly possible.
the conversation went something like this:
- where are you from
- Tokeyo, and Hokkaido
- You?
- Seattle
- Oh! San Diego
- no seattle
- San Diego?
- do you know Ichiro?
- Oh! Mariners, you are from Seattle!

I went to dinner with my host family at 1:30 their time (I love this place!) and tried my first Inca Cola (it tastes a lot like bad cream soda and is highlighter yellow).

Highlight of the Day: being mistaken for Peruvian by a Peruvian and being able to have a decient length conversation in Spanish before he realized that I'm not from Peru

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two Days!

I leave on saturday, two days from now and I still have SO much stuff to do!