Monday, February 28, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con puesta del sol

So last night, my first night in my new house, after a somewhat cloudy afternoon, I was treated to an absolutely gorgeous sunset out my window.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con fotos de la comida

Ok, so I decided it was easier to write about the food and put the pictures separately, so you should go read the previous post first then look at the pictures. Or don't, I suppose it doesn't really matter.

First, photos I took at one of the buffets. To the left there, clockwise from top: milhoja a la alfredo, tamal, chiflas, papas saltadas, ceviche, (i forget) y aji de gallina.

Pisco sours. And the super fun colorful napkins that I liked.

(to the right) La tuna

Churros con chocolate

Aquí estoy … con comida

As you might expect, my first few days in Lima have been filled with trying new foods. I can be a picky eater, so this is a challenge, but a welcome one, because so far, I really like Peruvian food. Both orientation days, we ate lunch at a buffet so we could sample a variety of things. (Did you know that in Peru, lunch is the main meal of the day and then dinner in the evening is much smaller, almost a snack.) Here’s a list of things I’ve tried and I’ll try to steal some pictures from google of them for you.

- Pisco – an alcoholic beverage of some sort, I’m no expert. I can’t say I’m terribly fond of it. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste.

- Ceviche – a classic Peruvian seafood dish, fish cooked in lemon or lime juice (not heat) (There has been some argument in our group about what exactly constitutes cooking and so forth, but whatever) I really like it. I can’t eat a ton of it at once, but it’s tasty. (I actually tried this at a Peruvian restaurant in the US but this is my first officially Peruvian ceviche)

- Tuna – again, a fruit, not the fish. The one piece I had was fine but it wasn’t something I’d wish to have again.

- Ají de gallina – a chicken dish with a yellow sauce that apparently has pepper of some sort in it but it’s not spicy. I love it. This will probably become a go-to dish for me.

- Lúcuma – another fruit, I haven’t had the fruit, just things the flavor of it. The lúcuma gelato was pretty tasty, very lightly fruity.

- Milhojas al alfredo – little crackers with a filling. I had a couple at the buffet and they were delicious.

- Tamal verde – also at the buffet – it was a small little tamale, pretty good.

- Chiflas – little crisps made out of bananas, I think. I don’t like bananas but these are pretty good.

- Churros – delicious

- Empanada – a big puff pastry filled with meat that I had for part of lunch with Kitty today. Delicious!

- Jugo de fresa (Strawberry juice) – I didn’t even know they made strawberry juice but this was fresh-squeezed and very tasty. (Basically all the fruits and veggies are fresh here and a lot of the juice is freshly squeezed)

Hasta la próxima!

Aquí estoy … con primeras

So, the last few days have been full of firsts for me:

- Flying alone

- Going to Peru (anywhere out of North America)

- Going through airport customs and immigration

- Trying Pisco Sour

- Spilling my Pisco Sour

- Having a pay as you go phone

- Recargando my phone at the store

- Seeing deer on a university campus

- Trying tuna (a fruit, not the fish. I love the fish, but that’s atún in Spanish. Tuna the fruit is a prickly pear type of thing. Not my new favorite but pretty good)

- Earthquake tremor (Very small one. No worries. It felt like a train going by)

- First micro ride

- Successfully asking for separate checks at dinner in Spanish (This was actually more successful than some times I have asked in English)

- Churros

- Meeting my host mom, Kitty J

Hasta la próxima (que será pronto)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aqui estoy … con cartitas

Dear Abby,
I’m stealing your idea. Sorry. Hope that’s ok. :D

Dear Continental airplane,
Your little seatback TVs are pretty awesome but I was still disappointed there was not SkyMall for me to read.

Dear little boy on my flight,
You are awesome for being so excited. “We’re FLYING!!!”

Dear soccer jersey man,
I knew when you sat down at the gate and I could hear your music through your ear buds that we were not friends. But you certainly didn’t help matters but reclining your seat the entire 8 hours so I couldn’t actually put my knees straight.

Dear taxi driver,
Why were you playing an English radio station? Return to Sender was pretty random to hear in my first hour in Lima.

Dear Dani and Abby,
Everything you said about Lima traffic is true. I think they abide by the “Turn signals give away your plan” maxim even more than Mass. drivers. Yield signs and lane lines are mere suggestions. And don’t even think about the speed limit.

Dear Lima,
You have awesome colored buildings. I particularly like the periwinkle one.

Dear Catolica deer,
I’m watching you. I have heard about your escapades.

Dear Peru,
Your food is delicious. I look forward to trying more.

Hasta la próxima

Friday, February 25, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en PERU!

It's true, I am finally in Peru. I arrived in Lima late last night after a very long flight. I met some people from the program last night and the rest today. Everyone seems very nice. We went to PUCP today and took a placement exam. (Which went fine, except for the part where I misread the essay question. Not to self, read all future questions very carefully) I really like the campus. It's very pretty, but that could also be some bonus points from the weather. It is lovely to have warm weather although at points it is uncomfortably hot. When there's a breeze it's beautiful. (Sorry to everyone still stuck with snow.) The rest of the day was orientation and lunch at a buffet. I tried some new foods, tried some things again. Aji de gallina was delicious. Tried Pisco Sour (a very Peruvian alcoholic drink) but didn't like it. This evening we are going out for dinner on our own. Should be fun!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Aquí estoy … con maletas

Who knew? My life fits in two suitcases and a backpack. Or at least enough life for a semester. I hope. But the real question is how I managed to fit one semester of my life’s stuff in two suitcases when I stuffed my car to the gills to move in for last semester. (That of course, has a little something to do with having an apartment and thus a kitchen to outfit, but still!) Whatever. At least it all fits. And I’m not even at the have-to-sit-on-it-to-get-it-to-close point. (But once I start sticking things in leftover nooks and crannies...all bets are off) I love packing. It appeals to my organized and list-making self.

(Potentially interesting) things I’m bringing besides clothes and such:
- Peanut butter. Oh yes. Did you know peanut butter is uncommon in Peru? I LOVE peanut butter. I’m all for trying new foods and enjoying Peruvian cuisine. But I still want peanut butter.

- Spanish bananagrams. A present for my host family. Hopefully they like word games. And hopefully I will improve at Spanish bananagrams.

- Crossword books. For the plane. Again, the word game theme. Too bad boggle is no fun to play against yourself.

- Sticky notes. Do Peruvians use post-its? I have no idea. But I definitely use them. So just in case, I have some. Maybe I can get llama sticky notes ;)

- Webcam. For skype. You should skype me.

Hasta la próxima (¡que será en Perú!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aqui estoy … con clases

Okay, so I’m not really here with classes. I’m really here with a list of potential classes. I love scheduling some I'm a little (lot) ahead of the game. (Just ask any of my friends. I make color-coded schedules for them and try to make 4-year paradigms of their classes. Sorry gang. It’s the type-A-ness. Don’t judge.)

So I used the lovely PUCP site to search for classes that might fit my requirements and interests. (That was like a week ago) Then I waited (im)patiently until today when the actual schedule with times and such was posted and looked up all of those. Then I made a colorful schedule to see which classes conflicted and such and so forth. I was having so much fun I forgot to eat lunch. See the picture? Isn’t it pretty? (You can click on it and see it bigger in all its prettiness)

Now I have been warned that Peru is unlikely to oblige my on-time, prepared, type-A-ness. I already have some experience with ‘latin time’. I’m sure this will factor in to some culture shock but at least I’m expecting it. I figure that even if things end up happening “mañana”, I’m prepared for the rare time that they do happen 'hoy'. (Hoy = today) Because if they wait for mañana and I wait for mañana, mañana’s mañana will never come. (If that made no sense, don’t worry. I already got a raised eyebrow look when I said it to my mom. It makes sense in my head so too bad.) Lucky you, you shall perhaps be privy to future ranting on the subject ;)

Hasta la próxima

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aquí estoy … con calendario

So, I got an email from Relaciones Internacionales (Hopefully you guessed that that is International Relations) with a semester calendar. It lists when registration is and when classes start, etc… Useful things to know. It also lists a couple public holidays, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then, to my surprise, June 29th. This is amusing and surprising to me because that happens to be my birthday. Obviously, in the US, school ends in mid-June so I’ve never gone to school on my birthday. I thought this semester in Peru would be my first time. (Maybe I’d bring in cupcakes like I never got to in elementary school as a summer birthday kid. Am I still bitter? Maybe.[not really])

Anyway, as it turns out, it’s a holiday, so I shall retain my record of school-free brithdays. Which I count as a win. According to the ever-useful Google, it’s St. Peter and St. Paul’s day. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I shall endeavor to find out in June. It does add another layer of amusement though because when at school the church I attend is Iglesia San Pedro – St. Peters.

My birthday is a Peruvian holiday for the same guy my church is named after. Win. All that to say that I like Peru just a little more already J

Hasta la próxima.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Aquí estoy … con niños

Since I have had such a long winter break (because it’s summer in Peru), I have been working full-time as a toddler/preschool teacher. I can’t believe that today was my last day. I have really, really enjoyed it. My coworkers are great; the kids are great. I’m sad to be leaving them. (But I get to go back this summer!) Some things I’ve learned in just a few short weeks:

As soon as someone has it, someone else will want it. The toy can sit unused for a whole day (or week), but as soon as one kid has it, suddenly everyone is fighting over it.
2. (As a teacher,) You will find yourself saying things that could only make sense once. (“Please be nice to the pancake” “Put down the pickle”)
3. Be prepared to repeat yourself ad infinitum. (Go potty. Walk away from ___. Clean up. Yes I will tie your shoe.)
4. Children are more observant than adults realize.
5. Like a watched pot, watched babies will not spit up. It’s only when you glance away that they getcha.
6. You will sometimes have to try desperately not to laugh at things the kids do or say. (Girl to boy who just knocked over her block tower, “Don’t break my heart like that!”)

Kids are wonderful.

Hasta la próxima.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con amigos

This weekend I visited Gordon for the last time before I leave for Peru. It was a wonderful weekend but bittersweet; Nice to be able to hang out with friends without the need to do homework but sad to drive away and know I won’t be back for months. I really am blessed to have landed at Gordon for my college career. I didn’t entirely know what I wanted when I was looking at schools as a high school senior, but the longer I’m at Gordon, the more certain I am that I found it. I love the atmosphere, the opportunities both academic and extracurricular and most of all the people. From students to professors, people I know well to acquaintances, the Gordon community has quality people. And I have an especially amazing (and silly and absurd and smart) group of friends.

This was proven again Friday night as we again joined the pub quiz. I am astounded every time at the sheer combined quantity of arcane trivia we know. Most of our arguments over an answer were not over the actual answer, but over spelling. (Spelling, by the way, did not count. Only to us) But that’s us for you.

I’m excited to dive into a new place with new people and a new culture. I know Peru is an amazing place and that I will find some wonderful people there. I hope it will become yet another home away from home. But I’m still glad to know that in the fall, I have one more year to enjoy at Gordon.

Hasta la próxima.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Aqui estoy … con futbol americano

(This has nothing to do with Peru. Except that in Peru, they play futbol, not football.)

(This post is also on the somewhat sarcastic end of my personality. Not the side you probably see in class or work for those of you from those places. There's your fair warning)

Super bowl commercials are always much-hyped. Here’s my thoughts on this year’s:

The winner – Child dressed as Darth Vader goes around the house trying to use the force. Nothing changes until he gets to the car, which turns on … spin to Dad inside with the remote key – Cute and actually made me laugh out loud

Also a win – the shiny glow stick people from the half-time show

Clever and amusing if not actually funny - Chevy Cruze – old people mishearing things while watching the commercial


Licking fingers and pants (Doritos)

Talking cars (

Talking investment baby (etrade)


Eminem being dumb and demanding things (Brisk – I don’t even know what this is, only that I will never buy it)

Random scantily-clad women (Go Daddy – I don’t know what this is either and don’t think I want to)

Other comments

The Daily – with What a wonderful world in the background – I hate this song. It may be ‘classic’ but I still hate it. So sue me.

Best Buy – with Ozzy and Justin Bieber – sorry, but I have to approve the Bieber-bashing. I can’t stand his songs… “How many bloody G’s are there?!” “What’s a bieber”

Chevy cruze – first date – Just what the world needs: a car you can check facebook in while driving

In any case, I was sufficiently amused by the commercials and the football game in between was even good! ;) Go Packers.

Hasta la próxima.

Aqui estoy ... con números

You probably know already that I’m a math person. (Or if you don’t, now you do.) Not as much as my brother (grin of acknowledgement here for those who know him) but I like numbers and on any personality sort of test, the logical-mathematical-type one always comes out on top. It goes along with the type-A-scheduled-organized-ness. Thus, I have some numbers about Peru to share.

According to my little desktop gadget, I leave in 17 days, 22 hours and 45 minutes, also known as less than three weeks! This seems simultaneously like a very short time and a very long time. I’m certainly feeling ready to leave winter but I’m not sure I’m ready to go to a new continent to do it. As time ticks by I am getting more excited for new opportunities and experiences though. But I’ve still got 3 more weeks of snow to make me completely ready to go anywhere else. ;)

According to the other gadget, the exchange rate is currently 1 dollar = 2.765 soles. This means next to nothing to me at the moment since I’m not yet attempting to buy things in nuevo soles, except that I will probably get very good at dividing by about-3.

And of course, there’s always the weather. Lately I am convinced that the weather has decided to cram as much winter as possibly into January and February before I go. I don’t remember this much snow before, ever. We could practically build an igloo garage for my poor car. Now I know this vendetta is unlikely to be the case, as my mother kindly reminded me, “Bec, no offense, but I doubt the weather cares about you personally.” Fine, but allow me my delusions. Anyway, the numbers I’m intending to be sharing. The high today in CT is 39. (Which, unfortunately for the point I am attempting to make, is the highest high we’ve had in weeks. Oh well, I shouldn’t complain, it’s sunny out) The high in Lima today is 28. But that’s in Celsius, which actually makes it a balmy 81 F. Only 3 more weeks. J

Hasta la próxima (if I don’t get snowed in)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Aqui estoy … al principio

A blog seems to be the thing to do while abroad. Not that I make a habit of doing things because they are the thing to do, but I’m going to try it anyway. I will hopefully be more consistent than if I were to mass e-mail, but possibly a bit more facetious. J I do offer fair warning though, my prior record of journal-keeping is spotty at best.

For those of you who don’t know all the details, I will be studying abroad in Lima, Peru this spring. I leave February 24 and return July 11. I will be living with a host family and taking classes at a university in Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru, aka PUCP or la Católica. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, trying new food and using and improving my Spanish.

I chose the name Aqui Estoy for several reasons. It means “here I am” and it’s to be a reminder for me (and you, wherever you are) to be in the moment and take in and appreciate what is going on right now. I’m a planner and a scheduler and an analyzer and it can be too easy for me to lose what’s going on now because I’m thinking about what comes next. I want to make the most of my experience and opportunities in Peru and not lose that in worrying about what I should be doing next or what grammatical errors I’m making or what picture I should be taking. Aqui Estoy is also the Spanish name for one of my favorite Hillsong songs, known as The Stand in English.

Hasta la próxima