Monday, February 7, 2011

Peru Arrival 2-3-11

I would like to say a special thanks to my family for all their support and love! I'm blessed to have this opportunity, and I hope I can take full advantage of it. I want to immerse myself in this place and this culture. It helps knowing I will always have a safe place to come home to and continuous love from my family.

I arrived in Peru late on Thursday night, February 3rd, 2011; it's hard to believe that was only four days ago. I would like to use this blog as a place for me to document my experiences, and also to share a bit of my life with my family and friends. I came to Lima, Peru because I was feeling a little stuck. Life was really good, but I could not shake the feeling that I needed to get out and do some more exploring. As many of you know, this is not my first time visiting Peru. I came here for two weeks in July of 2010. When I was here on vacation I got to explore the country by backpacking through the Andes and along the northern coast. Oh... and did I forget to mention that my boyfriend, Julio, lives in Lima, Peru. He just may be part of the reason I even know where Lima, Peru is, let alone that I am now calling it home for an undetermined amount of time.

So the journey begins:

February 3rd
- My flight left for Peru at about 9:30 am. I had stops in Houston, TX and Panama City, Panama. I was lucky enough to get out just in time to avoid an ice storm in Houston, TX. (yes, really - it was 27 degress in Houston!) It was a long day of travel, and I have to admit I was beginning to think to myself, "Am I crazy?"

I arrived in Peru at 12:30 am. Julio picked me up from the airport and brought me to my new home. I had made arrangements ahead of time for a place to stay via the internet, and Julio had met with the landlord and received the key. The house is very quaint and pleasant, the neighborhood, better than I imagined it would be. I have close access to everything I need, and most importantly, the beach is only about a 10 minute walk. It was so great to catch up with Julio and have everything in place when I arrived. As for still thinking, "Am I crazy?", as soon as I saw Julio at the airport I knew the answer to that.

February 4th
- I woke up early to the sound of birds chirping and the sun coming up. Soon to follow was the sound of traffic starting to move as people began their commutes for the day. Tired and anxious, I got out of bed and began to get acquainted with the house. Julio had to work all day, so I was on my own. There are two rooms in the house and two studios connected with outside access. I met two of my roommates in the morning. Luckily, both spoke English. I spent the morning unpacking my bags, organizing, and learning my way around the house. At about noon hunger started setting in. I was excited to go out of the house, and a trip to the grocery store would be a good start. Gloria, the landlord, had left me a hand drawn map showing all the streets and places that may be useful in the district. Since I have such superb navigation skills, I had no trouble finding my way to Vivanda (local grocery store). I was pleasantly surprised with how nice and safe the neighborhood felt as I walked to the store. I definitely felt like this is a place I could call home for a while.

After having lunch, it was time to do what I had been most looking forward to! With my Spanish Vocab words in tote, I headed down to the beach. It was 82 degrees, and humid, I definitely worked up more than just a bit of a sweat on my way to the beach. (not that I am complaining or anything!) The beach is hard to describe. There are large dunes(sand/dirt) leading up to the coast. Below the dunes there is one coastal road and lots of parks and gardens right along the coast. There is a lot of construction and landscaping going on. The coastal area closest to my home is more of a pebble/stone beach. There are sand beaches developed, but along other parts of the coast. I will post pictures eventually!

Later that afternoon, Julio informed me that we could head to his friend's beach house for the weekend about 20 miles south of the city. It sounded like a great idea to me! Julio came to get me after work and then we packed our bags and headed out. The beach we went to is called Punta de Hermosa. There are lots of houses and small shops leading up to the beach area. It appears to be pretty poor and run down, but as you get closer to the ocean there are lots of beautiful homes and clubs. There were about 10 people staying at the beach house; all friends and acquaintances of Julio. I really started to realize that my Spanish skills were lacking! It was still a good time though, and everyone was very kind to me.

February 5th
- Beach, sun, and water. There really isn't much more to say. We spent the day laying out on the beach, taking an occasional dip in the water, and eating a little ceviche de pescada (a peruvian dish). I'm pretty sure I was by far the fairest skinned person on the beach and used almost an entire bottle of sunscreen throughout the day! After being worn out from the sun, Julio and I returned back to my house that night.

February 6th
- After finally getting a full night's rest, I woke up feeling really at ease. Julio and I did a little shopping, attempted to get me a local cellphone(the store we needed was not open on Sunday), and stopped at his family's house for lunch. It was nice to see his family again. I was getting more used to listening and trying to respond in Spanish, but there is a long way to go! We took Julio's dogs to the park and spent the afternoon watching the horse races at the Jockey Club. We placed some bets and I won 8 soles! ($3) I completely forgot that the superbowl was on. I have to admit, I think the horse races were a little better. We then went home to watch a movie. Apparently in Peru, you can buy movies that aren't even yet out on video in the U.S. for only $1!! Julio brought me back to my house and tried to give me some lessons on how to use the bus system. There really is no system, I would just call it caos. Anyways, I felt confident that the next day I could get on the bus alone and get to the cellphone store and buy a local phone. I don't think Julio actually thought I would be able to do this.

February 7th
- First thing in the morning, I headed out in persuit of a cellphone. I was a little nervous about using the bus and possibly getting lost in a city of 9 million people, but what better time to learn than now! Success! I made it to the store, got my phone (after a long drawn out conversation with the representative due to my poor Spanish skills), had lunch, and returned home. I think Julio was a little shocked when I sent him a text message from my new phone.

I spent this afternoon trying to study my Spanish. The more I try to study, the more I realize I just need to go out and talk to people. I have 1000s of words memorized, but I need to actually HEAR people speaking them to really understand. At about 5 pm I needed to get out of the house, so I went for a walk. About 8 blocks from my house, I randomly run into Julio's sister on the sidewalk. What a crazy coincidence. I'm in a city of 9 million, only know about 1o people's names, and I run into her. It turns out she works only about a mile from where I live and she was on her way to meet a friend for dinner after work.

Well that is it for now. Tomorrow I am planning to meet with a Spanish teacher, hopefully this will help! Gloria, the landlord, will also be taking me on a little tour of the area to show me around and help me find some information on getting a job! I'll give another update next week. Hopefully things continue to go well! :)


  1. How fun to read about your new home and life there!! You sound soooooo happy!! Glad things are going well and that you found such a nice place to live . . . good luck with the language and job hunting! Sending lots of hugs and love from Minnesota, USA!! Love, Aunt Lynn

  2. This is my favorite part:
    "Since I have such superb navigation skills."
    Hahah. I like to think the same, actually.
    I LOVE READING THIS STUFF! Some day, I am coming to visit. Except I really know ZERO Spanish!