Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Know You're NOT in Peru When....

...your glasses fog up as soon as you walk out of the air conditioning. actually need air conditioning. can flush toilet paper down the toilet again. don't hear dogs barking throughout the night. can drink tap water again without any worry of getting sick. have to drive yourself to the store. don't see taxis and hear car horns on every corner.
...the sound of a car horn is impatient instead of safe and polite. don't get to spend daily time with your sister, brother-in-law and niece.

I am now back in the states and these are just a few things that are different from Peru. There are a mix of positive and negative differences. For instance, I don't mind the absence of dogs barking through the night but I sure miss the weather in Arequipa! I loved experiencing a Latin American culture that was slightly different from my previous experience in Costa Rica. It was great getting introduced to the daily life of my family down there and to get to experience their ministry. There are several pictures and several stories that will be posted soon. I hope everyone continues to have a great summer and I hope to catch up with y''all soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet Paco

In my previous post, I mentioned how wonderful the language school is here in Arequipa. Learning outside in a garden has been a treat and made my language learning experience more enjoyable. The school is actually a hostal/hotel as well. Travelers looking for a place to stay can also brush up on their Spanish skills during their ingenious idea in my opinion. A permanent inhabitant of this hostel is Paco. Paco is a turtle you can usually find sleeping in the shade in the garden. He is well known by the staff, professors, students, and travelers. As you can see below, Paco frequently recieves gifts.

Sometimes he is fed by hand. One spoiled turtle....don't you think.

Yes, I spoil him. I've never fed a turtle by hand before. It's fun! You just have to keep your fingers out of the way!
One of the first times I met Paco was with my niece, Shaye. One of the hotel staff helped us locate Paco. (He was hiding in the shade.) The worker brought him out to us, which was in the sun. Shaye was thrilled to see him but did not want him to get to close. She was content to watch him from a nearby chair. It became obvious that Paco did not like the sun, so he started walking toward the shade. At this point, I was trying to take some pictures of him with Shaye and I didn't want him to leave just yet. Therefore, I stood in from of him to block his path. This did not phase Paco one bit. Before I knew it, he lunged forward and headbutted my leg. I can't say this has ever happened to me before and it took me by surprise. Shaye and I both started laughing and I got out of Paco's way. If anyone has every been headbutted by a turtle...I would love to hear your story. As for me, I won't get in another turtle's way.

I still got a good picture of Shaye and Paco!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Top Ten Things I Love About Arequipa Peru

10) Laundry
I know I sound crazy but there is something fun about drying your clothes on a clothesline. It has been a different experience but one I've enjoyed!

9) The Market

You can find a large variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers just around the corner. It makes for a different experience with grocery shopping, some excellent homemade food, and fresh flowers around the house. What more can you ask for?

8) The Prices!!!
Did I mention that the prices at the market are incredible! I'm always one for a bargain and lets just say that everyday has a bargain in Peru (or at least that's what it feels like)!

7) The View
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I'll save myself some typing with this one.

6) The Weather

I never would have thought that I would get cold wearing flip flops in the summer but I consistently find myself trying to keep my feet in the sun at school in order to stay warm. (I get to have class outside and it is wonderful but we'll get to that). It is consistently between 50-70 degrees here (more or less).

5) Learning Spanish
To be perfectly honest I was not looking forward to jumping back into a class setting once I was finally finished with my graduate program. However, when you get to go to a school like this one....who can complain? Take a look.

4) Trying New Food

There is a special dish here in Arequipa that I've yet to try but fully intend to before leaving. It is called Cuy or AKA guinea pig. It is one of the most expensive dishes here. We'll see if I have the guts to try it before I leave. Here are a few new dishes I HAVE tried. These are SalteƱas. They are wonderful! Kristen and I have been to Roma (the restaurant) to eat them several times already. To describe them...they are something like a homemade hot pocket but that really doesn't do them justice. The filling is like your grandmother's famous stew and it is wrapped up in a sweet homemade roll. They are messy but yummy!

This is milanesa. It is a chicken dish that Manuela (a friend of Team Arequipa) made for us last Friday. Let's just say that she is a great Peruvian cook!

This is Adobo. It is Sunday meal here and is a pork chop stewed in a broth for a long time. Manuela also made this dish for us to try and it was delicious!

3) Spending Time with Kristen Eastland

She and I grew up at the same church and have therefore known each other for years. We've had different running groups and attended different universities but that hasn't gotten in the way. I'm getting to spend more time with her than I have in a long time and I'm loving it!

2) Playing with My Niece, Shaye

The first night we were here, Shaye decided to put all of her new hair clips in our hair. I think she's a natural beautician...don't you?

These are our sour faces in case you were wondering.

After watching Shaye grow up over Skype for almost a year it has been wonderful to see it in person. I'm not partial or anything :) but she has amazed me with her language learning. I'm mentioned before that I enjoy learning Spanish...I must say I did not expect to learn Spanish from my 2 1/2 year old niece. She is a fun girl and she continues to amaze me with her Spanish and English!

1) Being with Family

Anyone who knows me well knows how important my family is to me. Skype has been a huge help in staying in touch with my sister, brother-n-law and niece but it has been a blessing to spend time with them in person. I love their new home and consider myself extremely blessed to have the opportunity to familiarize myself with their daily life. They have done a great job getting settled in and adapting to their new culture. I'm excited to see what evolves with their ministry here and love that I'm getting to be a part of it.