Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Well it has been a busy couple of weeks here in Peru, but very exciting as well.  To be honest, being busy is actually not the reason at all that I have not updated my blog.  I have been kind of starting to ask myself, "Why am I keeping this blog?"  I am not trying to just use this as another social media outlet to broadcast information about myself or brag about everything I am doing.  Writing this blog has actually been really enjoyable for me; but I don't want it to become a chore - just something I have to do for any readers out there I may have.  The truth is I started this because I enjoy writing and thought it would be wonderful to document some of my experiences to look back on later in life.  Of course, at the same time I know it is a great way for my family and friends to check in on me and share comments if they'd like.  I also want to make sure to try to use this blog for more of a purpose rather than just gossip or updates on what I am doing.  (Because to be honest, it is wonderful and exciting, but no matter what you do or don't do in life you can choose to make it wonderful and exciting)  In conclusion, you may find that from now I probably won't share as many deatils about my day to day activities.  More than anything, I want to share the meaningful experiences and hopefully send a message that will somehow brighten another person's day or touch them in some way. 

I spent last weekend on a little trip for work.  It was a 4 day / 3 night trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu - packed full of tours and hotel visits.  I won't explain everything about this trip, but there are definitely some highlights worth mentioning.  The ancient city of Cusco was the heart and driving force of the Inca Empire.  Learning more about the history and power of this Empire is incredible;  I highly suggest any history buffs out there to go do some reading about the rise of this colony and era.  The architecture, art, intelect, spirtuality, and power of the Inca Empire can not really completely be understood until you are standing there in front of something like Machu Picchu.  Breathtaking is truly an understatement.  Looking down on this massive ruin temple you literally feel the energy and spirit of the place come to life.  There is no doubt that the significance of this site can not be fully understood by us today.  There are many unanswered questions about the purpose of this site, how it was constructed, and the capabilities of the people whom dwelt here.  The fact that these Inca ruins have withstood hundreds of years of abuse - hidden under brush, withstanding several earthquakes, massive floods, and have been uncovered in nearly perfect condition is astonishing.  Can you honestly imagine any buildings we build today will be standing in 500 or 1000 years from now?  Obviously we haven't figured out how to build buildings that withstand earthquakes, yet the logic of building something at a 9 degree angle leaning inward to withstand any ground movements was very aparent to ancient societies.  The architecture and manpower is absolutely mind boggling.

Another important thing I took away from this trip was the experience of being a tourist - and doing it alone.  Of course I was on tours with different groups everyday, but it is a totally different experience to arrive somewhere and travel alone.  A lot of people tell me I am very independent and brave, and I also like to think I can be at times; however this isn't always true.  Being a solo traveler in a group, people are very receptive of you.  I made a lot of friends and had some great conversations with travelers from all of the place.  The other solo travelers tend to group together, and many other young and old adventurers become very interested in finding out how you got here and what your story is.  I was definitely received much differently than I would have been had I been traveling with a friend or boyfriend by my side.  I have a new respect for many of those people who head out on vacations and adventure treks completely alone.  It is a totally different experience from traveling with friends, and I think many new doors are opened to you when you are solo.  Although it may be hard to take that first step off the plane alone or walk onto a bus with no one to sit next too, I think everyone should try it.  It is definitely not something I always want to do, but it really taught me a lot about myself and made me feel more confident.  I am not in any way saying that traveling alone is better than sharing a vacation with a spouse or friend, but I honestly feel it is something everyone should experience.  So if anyone is looking to get away and experience traveling on their own, please call me at my office and I'l'l set up your trip.... (sorry I have to add a little plug!)

There is a major change happening in Peru right now politically.  The primary election round was just held this past Sunday and voters have finalized two candidates to run for election in June.  Peru is still most definitely a "third world country" (I don't really like this term) but has received an economic surge over the past 15 - 20 years.  Obviously I have not lived here and can not speak from experience, but I would like to share some of what I have learned.  Peru has had many corrupt governments in the past that have held the country and people far behind the rest of the world.  The sudden upturn Peru (basically Lima) has experienced in it's recent history has been accredited to the right side currently in office.  Peru is seen from the outside as a rising power with a lot of potential for growth.  It is very evident in the beautiful communities here in Lima that there definitely is wealth and opportunity.  However, what is not typically seen by the rest of the world is that two blocks away from the most modern, impressive buildings and companies in Lima there is extreme poverty.  The living conditions outside of this safe, heart of Lima (that I am fortunate to live in) are often covered up and not portrayed in news, media, or corprate decisions.  This isn't to say that the country is not still progressing and improving the lives of those in poverty; it is just an observation regarding the extreme differences that exist.  The front running and top candidates of the current party in office, as portrayed by the media, didn't even come close to winning.  It turns out there is a much larger population in Peru than that of the upperclass, educated young adults, and people dwelling in the heart of Lima.  What became impressively evident in the elections was the desire for change by the underclass.  They do not feel the last 20 years of economic growth have benefitted them; they are looking for a change.  The winning candidates for election in Peru have been portrayed in a very ugly light in the media.  Ollanta Humala is known as an extreme leftist with socialist ideas.  He was strongly active in the military with a track record that consists of a lot of human rights issues and uprising, also a brother serving a life sentence for involvement in a lot of dangerous activities that many think Humala should have been arrested for as well.  Many think Humala will be a dictator, throwing out Congress and allowing complete military control. The other candidate is a young women, Keiko.  She is advocating for lots of help and support for the poor and continued growth of the current economic system.  The problem is that her father was president of Peru during some very ugly years.  He was involved in a lot of government scandels and is serving consecutive life sentences in prison for some horrible acts he was part of.  Peru celebrated the day her father was taken out of office, and this is when the country first began to surge and take an economic rise.  How she is even being considered for office after what her father had done is questioned by many.  I want to point out that this is my perception as an outsider - based on television reports, news, and opinions of many of the young people around me.  There is definitely a sense of uncertainty about what is going to happen; many people will refuse to vote for either of the final candidates.  Peru is in for some changes that is evident; however, how soon or in what form these changes will come is to be determined.  I guess we can only hope that whoever takes office truly has the best interest of the people in hand.  With today's media and bashing during elections, it is hard to say what is and isn't true.  It will be interesting to see everything unfold in the June elections.  (if you thought political campaigns were dirty in the U.S. - you have no idea)

I talked to my family tonight - got to talk with my godson and nephew, Hudson.  I sure do miss being part of his life, he is one special little boy that is for sure.  I'm not sure where my future is headed.  It would be nice if life were easy and I could just travel all around returning home anytime I missed my family and wanted to visit.  Unfortunately it is not quite as easy as that.  Finding a balance between all the things you want in your life and all the things you need in your life is not always easy.  I guess I am continually learning.  Right now I am missing home - yet I am loving the experience of life here.  My heart is torn, but I know that things always do fall into place.  It is sometimes just the waiting and decision making that is hard.

Good night to all!

1 comment:

  1. Julia, thank you so much for your first hand perspective of the political situation in Peru right now. Hearing from the "grass roots" is always a good thing. That's where life is lived. And it is so hard to find unbiased media - if not impossible. You don't have to know all the political facts and history to see and understand the impact on the people.
    It's always SO good to hear from you!