Saturday, October 8, 2011

momentitos de la semana

Currently watching the dubbed Spanish version of Matilda with mi prima. Today was Matias' 12th birthday! Toda la familia and his group of amigos from school all came over to eat tiny pollo sandwiches, caramellos, drink chicha and vino and ron con coke, and just chat and laugh and enjoy good company. Feliz día a mi hermano Matías! 
todos mis primos lindos
haciendo galletas con Micaela

Yesterday, Friday, viernes, was the Peru vs Paraguay fútbol match! Oh yeah, we won, ganamos, oooh yeah. We play Chile on Tuesday, who beat Argentina yesterday. I went with mi amiga Cinthia to a friend's house to watch the game, yell "vamos vamos! aye pucha! viva Peru!" drink beer, and wave the Peru flag around. Following the emotional victory, Cinthia and I headed out to meet up with friends at Indy's place. Couldn't find the door to the gate, had to shimmy through the bars! The doorman found that odd I think. The night was about the spirit of Peru and excitement of winning, pretty cool to be a part of it. 
viva el Perú

En jueves Sarah and I ventured to Barranco, one of the coolest districts in Lima. Beautiful architecture, bohemian vibes, sits on a coastal cliff (as do all the coastal Lima districts, pretty kewl.) I found a few homes that I wouldn't mind nestling into when I open up my coffee shop here. Hey I can dream. 

 scooo ducks

Thursday night the group had a "cultural event" at La Dama Juana, a touristy restaurant buffet show, dancers perform traditional Peruvian dances while you eat. Bien chevere.   
Below is one of the dances called El Alcatraz. Yes, he is attempting to light her tailfeather on fire as she wiggles about. And yes, I was called on stage to participate. Booty on fire, ¿por que no?

Miercoles I woke up early and an awesome surf day with Sarah, we went out in the water with a pair of our amigos, laughed and caught some good waves. That night I went to my first tango class at Cholas Bravas, and I'm absolutely in love. I can't wait to tango again. 
When I got home, I hung out with Adet in her room for a while, chatting and helping her with her English homework. I'm going to start volunteering at the trabajadoras syndicate she is a part of, check back later for updates on that. Elva and I also had a nice heart-to-heart, as we sometimes do when it's late and we're the only ones up. She is so wonderful and I feel so lucky to be a part of this family. 

A few nuggets: there's a husky dog that lives in a house that I pass on my way to school every day. He's usually sitting on the roof with his paws over the ledge. I think it's so damn cute, I always say hi to him, I think he likes me. He's my little amigo. 
Going to Iquitos right after my historia midterm on thursday! Jungle here we come!
Micaela, my sweet younger cousin, drew a picture called "La Naturaleza" (nature) and gave it to me. It's her watering plants, and cute scenery. She said that there's nothing else but nature, and that's why it's so happy. Que linda es. 

Besitos cariños!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

ser una chola brava

Well examenes parciales, midterms, are rapidly approaching. The fact that I have to pay strict attention to what my professors are saying in order to understand is turning me into a better student. I've really been able to immerse myself in what I'm learning, especially in my class on literatura hispanoamericana contemporánea. My profesora is very engaging, adorable, and approachable. We recently finished reading Cien Anos de Soleadad de Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Lo realismo magico opens up a lot of doors in literature that I'd never truly explored, maybe because I had never understood the context from where it originates. Now in the homeland of the concept I find it to be quite a captivating experience. Also, my profesora has a cool grasp on the links between art and literature, and always shows us examples of how latinamericana literature has extended its roots into the world and modern culture.

Friday I went to a place called Cholas Bravas. A quick walk from my house, it's an independent art space run by a group of women in the district of Magdalena, right near the ocean. A friend heard about it and suggested we go, so I really didn't know what to expect. I absolutely fell in love with the place. It was tango night, and we got to watch the dancers swoon the night away, while we had delicious Argentine wine and homemade pizza. A few of the women who I met who run the place, Estrella, Camu, Sharon, told me kind of how the place works, how they do events and artists show their work there for free and have dancing and eating and fiestaing or you can go read and have a cup of tea during the afternoon. I have a feeling I'll be going back often. A wonderful night, my heart felt full. So great to meet new people and connect across a different language. It's hard to explain the environment, watch the video and you'll understand why it's so...warm.

Saturday a few friends and I tried to go to Cerro Azul, beach in the south, to surf. The micro adventure dropped us off in a quaint, unknown fishing town. Not the surf we were searching for, but we had a nice lunch on the water. We backtracked a little to a playa se llama Punta Hermosa, laid in the sun, splashed about in the ocean, and headed back to Lima where me acosté so quick like a little baby happy as a clam.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

por fin, an update!

Hello amigos y familia!
I've been on an accidental hiatus, running around Peru with few seconds to spare for a blog update. But here I am! Last night I got home from a weekend trip to Huacachina, Ica, and Paracas with Sare, Jacey, Emily, Meghan and our wonderful Peruvian friend Indy. Huacachina is this beautiful laguna oasis in the middle of the desert, a town so small you can walk around it in t-minus 10 minutes. The tiny sunny city is surrounded by massive sand dunes, which we dune buggied aaaaall da way up and sandboarded aaaaall da way down. You can choose to ride a regular sandboard with simple straps or a snowboard with boots, which Jacey did cause she's a badass. We all rode down standing up but then on the huuuuge dunes you have to go down on your belly face first, intense. Except Jacey didn't have a choice due to her board! Girl raced down the mountain, sand in her teeth for days hahaha. Shredders! Saturday in the morning we ate breakfast on the laguna and lounged by the pool of our crazy cool hostel which sat right at the foot of a towering sand dune. We rode paddle boats on the lagoon! Ica is the nearby bigger city, and Paracas is a coastal hub about an hour away. After a few hours of combis, collectivos, taxis, etc (all of which cost us about 20 soles total= under $10, ooh yeah love the exchange rate) we made it to Paracas to sit by the beach and have the freshest fish and ceviche on the planet. Literally still scales on the plate. We walked along the beach and ate Lucuma ice cream then headed back to Ica to catch our bus back to Lima.

 To catch up on a few other trips and things: I went to Huaraz a few weeks ago, and I think it has been my favorite trip so far. It's about 8 hours north of Lima, smack dab in between the Cordillera Blancas mountain chain and the Cordillera Negra. Look up at any point in the entire city to white glaciers, catching the light in otherworldly ways. The first day, which we were "supposed" to take easy because of the altitude, we rode little horses up a glacier instead! New favorite thing: big people on little horses. A concept that I am slowly adapting to is the sense of Peruvian time. "cinco minutos, solo un poco mas" (5 minutes, only a little bit further)  could literally mean "oh just to the top of the glacier!"  So asking our horsebackriding guides how much longer we would be scaling slippery mountain tops really was quite useless. Alas, an adventure ensued, and an amazing experience was had. We all felt like rebel cowboys and I decided to invest in a solid pair of cowgirl boots one of these days. As my friend Meghan said, "The best time to be rebellious is on a mini horse!"

The next day was my favorite day of Peru. We woke up early temprano early to hike to Laguna 69, a glacial lake high in the Cordillera Blancas. We crossed meadows and streams inhabited by wild horses and cows, living and grazing so peacefully I couldn't help but feel an irrevocable happiness. As we got further up, we began to zig zag across the terrain, surrounded by waterfalls and glaciers above and beautiful green flatland below. At such high altitude it was extremely difficult, and we had to take a lot of "pausas." We all had a wad of coca leaves in our mouths the whole weekend, as to fight of altitude sickness. Not super tasty, but definitely works. For reals: this was THE hardest hike I've ever done, but "vale la pena mucho," it was so worth it. When we finally reached the top, Laguna 69 was waiting for us in all it's amazing blue glory! We ate lunch and dipped our feet in the freezing azul, soooo proud of ourselves. I think it will always be my happy place.


Peru is so wonderful because of it's versatility. One day I will be surfing on the cloudy Lima coast, another I'm climbing to a glacial lake in the Cordillera Blancas, and another I'm racing face first down a sand dune. What's next?

As for what I've been doing in Lima, to name a few... (!) Having fun, staying up too late, eating delicious food (Aji de gallina, pollo a la brasa, PALTA SANDWICHES,  tequeños, arroz con pollo, camotes y muuucho mas,) drinking fresh papaya juice every morning, surfing, making friends on the micros, enjoying the exchange rate, watching Al Fondo Hay Sitio (veeery silly peruvian tv series) every night at 8 with my host fam, enjoying every second with my amazing host family, laughing with Elva, listening to Matias' jokes, reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, discotecas/bars/outside lawn parties that last till 10am, exploring my charming district of Pueblo Libre, running to all the music that we hear in the clubs, pretending I know the lyrics when they play on the micro radios, knitting and sharing knitting tips with my Abuelita, speaking in spanish A LOT (but I always want more!), making brownie muffins with Sarah and Elva but the oven doesn't work so we hop on a bus with raw brownies and cook them at another family members house, dancing in big circles with a hundred adorable older Peruvians, BBQs, jumping in pools with clothes on oops, Mistura the famous Peruvian food festival, more surfing, dancing, laughing, making Peruvian friends (finally!) okay I'm beginning to repeat myself, rightfully so I guess because that's how it is when life is a whirlwind!

Being away has made me appreciate home more than I could ever imagine. I miss you all with every inch of my heart!

besotes y abrazos,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whas been happnin..

This vida loca has prevented me from updating the blog, not to be assumed that I'm just boring and have nothing to update! Oooh no, quite the opposite. We CIEE American kids are wrapping up our second week of Intensive Spanish Grammar class, and start our fo real La Catolica classes come Monday. Being a gringa has it's advantages: "intercambio" students get to sit in on the first week of classes before we actually register, so I make sure I'm not getting into anything over my head. Then again, I think "over my head" is something I'll just have to get used to. 

My favorite parts of Lima so far are the nightlife and the transportation. Last weekend we bar hopped in Barranco, drank Piscos and danced all night long. The life. We also took the double decker MiraBus all around Lima letting everyone know we're foreign and lovin it. We stopped at this amazing fountain park and ran around like 4 year olds in Disneyland. I stole some pics from Sarah to give ya a taste. 

nuestro gringo grupo, we lub each udder
Sarah and I walkin down the aisle. Word.

Everyone gets around in these dinky little buses called micros. The "cobrador" (fare collector) yells at you "SUBE SUBE SUBE!" or "BAJA BAJA BAJA" whenever you get on or off. It's really cheap and there are millions so you can go pretty much anywhere in the city on one. Each one has it's own, um, flavor, and sometimes people get on and preach about Jesus or politics, ya know, important things. It's always exciting getting around, even if you have small peruvian men basically sitting on your lap. Oh yeah, all the micros compete for passengers, so even if the bus is about to explode they'll let people on. Don't worry mom and dad! hehe.

It's not actually going to Brasil, justa street name

Last Saturday Sarah, Viole (her awesome host sister), Shiela, Emily, Ani (her wonderful host mother) and I took a day trip to Antioquia, a small pueblo a few hours outside of Lima. All the buildings are painted with beautiful simple flowers, butterflies, birds, etc. The town was quite empty, I think everyone was inside napping, but it was SUNNY! Here's me with some me sized tulips.

Una puerta en Antioquia

A few other cositas I'm loving: when I came home yesterday I went outside to check if my clothes were dry on the clothesline yet. What I stumbled upon quite easily was aaaaall my clean underwear hanging up, one by one, all the way across the line. Hey, if that's how they do it down here, I guess I'll roll with it! 

Breakfast is my favorite part of the day because I sit and talk with Adet over café con leche, papaya juice and some bread and butter. Some mornings she makes me yummy oatmeal, which Peruvians literally call Quaker and pronounce Quacker. They rule.  

Elva and I run together some evenings at a park right by our house. She's so fun and loving, I love spending time with her and Matias and Abuelita, they are such the perfect family for me. 

In our house, a glass pitcher of water is kept on the counter, and if you pour it out really fast, it makes this sound like a bird singing. I don't think it's meant to do that, it just makes me really happy.

Oh yeah, yogurt is mostly comes in beverage form here, and it's soooo good. Take that gogurt!

More to come soon, I'll try to be better about updatalating. Love love love to all. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My new favorite yellow

Feast your eyes on the most popular bebida (drink) / gaseosa (soda) de Peru: Inca Kola! It was created by a British immigrant in Lima in the 1930's, and is owned by Coca-Cola everywhere in the world EXCEPT Peru. It's mega sweet, and I've heard it's made with lemongrass. Or maybe lemon verbena. Whatever. In it is an herb that Peruvians use in tea, hierba luisa. Mi abuelita makes hierba luisa and has it in a pitcher most of the time, although her version is much more healthy and much less pucker-inducing. Peruvians have it warm sometimes, as well as most of their drinks. Ice (hielo) is not very popular down here! Despite Inca Cola's bionic color and taste, I don't mind me an ice coldy con almuerzo once and a while. 
"Solo hay una y no se parece a ninguna" (There is only one, unlike any other)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Besito en tu mejilla

Mothers, sons, cousins, teachers, acquaintances, everyone is so affectionate with each other here. It's custom to give someone a kiss on the cheek when you see them, which I find to be such a great way to say hello. This bottomless love has really helped me settle in these past few days, going from a 2 day stay in a hotel in Miraflores to my new casa con my familia nueva in Pueblo Libre, just a few districts away. I am stunned by the perfect match my family and I are. Elva, mi mama, is gracious, funny, amiable, happy, and so easy to be around. Mi hermano, Matias, loves rock music like Green Day and Iron Maiden, Harry Potter, and the Simpsons. It's his routine to watch Simpsons at 8 every night, and I've started joining him, which makes me feel pretty cool. He likes making art and movies, and told me he "wants to make humanity better with his art". He told me this in quick passing, no big deal. So cool. I haven't had much time to spend with mi abuelita, but I have a feeling she is going to be my very good friend. There is always extended family around to talk to and get to know, and they are all equally fun and "graciosos." The casa es tan bonita, there are no words to explain this oasis, so aquí hay fotos!

 mi cuarto

 Micaela, mi primita
 Mica, mi hermano Matias, y mi mama Elva
 mi familia graciosa!

 arte de Klimt que me ENCANTA

Cositas bonitas everywhere you look! More to come later.