Sunday, February 27, 2011

2 - 27 - 11

Looking out to Miraflores from a park near my home

Well this week has been a little different than the the past couple weeks.  There have been a lot of changes, not bad, but just things I have to learn to adjust to.  I've also had a big reality check this week.  I'm learning a lot about myself and how I handle my stress and daily challenges.

Unfortunately I don't have much for crazy adventures to share this time, but I'll share a little bit about my new job.  (Which I guess has been kind of a crazy adventure)  I feel a little like I've been thrown into something very unprepared, and I don't like that.  I like to feel confident in what I am doing and have all the facts and figures in front of me.  I don't mind learning on my own at all, I actually prefer it, I just feel because of their desperate need to fill the position and train someone before the only other sales agent when on a two week vacation that I wasn't given ample time.  I can honestly say I have never felt so busy at a job before.  What should be a 40 hour work week was over 50 hours this week.  In all honesty, I guess I choose to work that much; I can basically work as much or little as want depending on the needs of my clients and how many sales I want to make.  However, all incoming clients are coming to me this week, and even my boss said it has been an unusually busy week with new requests.  I think I finally have a really good grasp on how the whole process works and I feel confident in my ability to do the job.  I gained about 15 new clients this week.  This involves calling the client, talking to them about their trip and what they want, putting together a package, quoting prices for all hotels/flights/tours/dinners/etc...., and putting it in a written itinerary to sell the finished product.  Obviously, no one is ever happy with the initial offer.  There are always calls for changes in the itinerary, changes in dates, or just wanting to negotiate the price.  Most of my clients I talked with this week about 2 or 3 times over the phone and endless emails.  I've only made one for sure booking, but a lot of hopeful ones for this week!  I hope!  (I also lost one really big booking that I spent way too much time on with the client.... very frustrating....)  I've found myself not always telling the whole truth on the phone either, like when people ask if I've been somewhere or done something, of course I tell them about how great of an experience I had.  I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me later on.

Everyone I work with is really nice and helpful.  Although I hate to have to ask for help, when I need to, everyone has been very patient with me.  It's been a little difficult because some of the people I need to work with for price quotes do not speak English.  It's been good practice for me with my Spanish skills I guess, but also trying at times.  Another language barrier at work that is really bothering me is Microsoft Office.  I use Microsoft Excel and Word for every package, and everything is in Spanish.  It's not that hard, but every once in a while I find myself wasting time trying to figure out how to edit something or change a formula and I can't read the darn toolbar.  Again, just making my work day longer.

My commute to work is a topic I would rather pass over.  It takes me anywhere from 40 minutes to almost an hour to get to and from work via the bus.  The bus is crowded, smelly, and causing me more stress than I want to deal with.  After some thinking and talking with Julio about quality of life versus money, I think I am willing to pay more for a taxi everyday.  I read an article a while back about how your commute to work is a top contributor to your level of happiness.  The less traffic and less time it takes you to get to work, the happier you really will be.  I've never had much of a commute to work before and let me tell you, I now think that article is 100% right.  I'm not sure what happened this week, but I definitely felt way to much anxiety over my commute to work, I was not smiling and bubbly the way I should be.

Example of another type of neighborhood in the city
Since I'm on the subject of using the bus and taxi services, I have to admit I got kind of lost this week. One night after work I got on apparently the wrong bus. (technically it was kind of the right bus, but a special one that does like an off route from the main one) How was I supposed to know this?  Well I didn't, and the bus was so crowded, I didn't realize we had turned off the route until we were somewhere I did not recognize.  I tried to ask a couple people around me where we were and if we were going back to Javier Prado, but no one seemed to care or understand me.  It was dark and I had no idea where I was going, so I just got off the bus.  This was a mistake.  I was in a really bad part of town.  I instantly had people coming up to me and trying to sell me stuff, everyone was whistling and yelling at me, and it looked like a dump.  I was scared and really did not know what to do.  I knew that I was not that far from the coast, so I walked as fast as I could toward the ocean.  After a few blocks I got to a point where I could see the ocean and kind of knew which direction I needed to go to get home.  I was not close though and had to take a taxi. Taking a taxi at night alone is not very advisable for a female, but I felt I had no other choice.  Thank goodness my taxi driver was very nice and got me home safe, even though he definitely overcharged me.

I think I lost my mind for a while this weekend.  I'm honestly not sure how to describe it, but I just felt like I was in another world, all alone, and completely unable to understand what was going on around me.  I guess after some struggles this week; work, buses, taxis, miscommunication with Julio - more than once, I kind of just checked out.  Up until this point I had felt I was adapting really well and learning more every day.  This weekend, everything just felt so unfamiliar and frankly I was sick of constantly trying so hard to understand what is going on around me.  I was feeling a little like I was just there going through the motions because I had no choices and no way to communicate. All of this was very obvious to Julio, because well he is really the only friend I have here.  There were just really stupid common sense things I was forgetting, I wasn't hearing what was being said to me, and I was definitely not even trying to make conversation.  After talking with Julio yesterday afternoon, or more so just listening, I think some things are a little more clear to me now.

I am not in the United States anymore, I am in Peru.  The types of actions, interactions, and basic things I took for granted before are not here.  I need to learn to communicate exactly what I want, and not assume that I am always understood, because I am not.  I also need to learn alot about being in a relationship.  I've never been one to really want a relationship, not in a long time anyway.  And now, I am in one with a whole pile of extra challenges thrown on top.  Julio has been so patient and caring towards me.  I wouldn't be able to do this without him, and I really hope he knows how thankful I am to have him in my life.  Me coming has obviously changed his life a lot to.  He went from just worrying about himself to now not only having a girlfriend, but one he feels he has to take care of so much because she is pretty much lost.  I have never been able to really communicate my feelings well; I've always felt I can handle everything on my own and don't need to.  I can't assume that Julio knows how I feel or what I need, I need to learn to communicate with him.  This is especially important becasue we come from two very different cultures with different norms. 

Julio went to the beach last night with a couple friends.  They were planning to do some biking and kayaking today.  I was actually really glad he wanted to do this.  He needs to have time with his friends, and I definitely needed some time alone to wrap my head around a few things.  After a lot of thinking, I'm definitely ready to put myself back on a positive track.  I'm going to pay more for the things in life that will make me happier, I'm going to make some new friends (I hope!), and I'm going try my darndest to spend more time smiling everyday.  Actions really do speak louder than words.  Since my words are a little lacking in this language, it is important that I find other ways to express to people my thanks, happiness, or needs.

- One final note, Julio and I did get to play squash a couple times this week.  Unfortunately, even after all my bragging about my raquetball skills, Julio still won.  (Actually I just let him win, but don't tell him this!)


  1. Hey girl, I really enjoy that you have a blog because I feel that I get to hear about your life even though we aren't in the same country anymore. I read your post out loud to Peter and he can relate when he went to Chicago just on the transportation and being lost aspect!

    I hear a sense of loneliness in your post, but I know that you will be alright because if anyone can make it work it's you! You are such an independent lady and I know it's hard to have to depend on others for basic day to day living. I do know that you have a great attitude and I think that you will make the best of it. Eventually you will learn your way around and I do think your Spanish will get way better as well. New beginnings have pit falls, but I am glad you have Julio there with you and that you have a job and things can only go up from here!

    Hang in there! We are thinking about you!
    Krystal and Peter

  2. Julia! I am so glad you mentioned your blog on facebook!! I have been wondering how you are and wanting to see some pictures, so this is just fantastic.
    Your last blog is by far your best. Although difficult, these days will be the ones you grow the most. I'm so very proud of you! Always bring things back to "you" - centering yourself you will find you have everything you need to overcome any suffering you feel. When you lay out on the beach and look up at the sun - it is the same sky and sun that you looked up at back home. It is the same YOU laying there. It all comes from within. In the business of your day - take time to be peaceful, listen to your breath, and draw from that strength that comes from this knowing.
    I am so excited to think of the things you will do!!!!
    My love to you - always.