Monday, May 30, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con debate

Last night was the last presidential debate before the second round elections next Sunday. Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori are the remaining candidates, by the way. Neither was really the definitive winner last night, at least not according to me. The city of Lima and the whole country are very divided. The next week and the next 5 years will be very interesting for Peru. Both candidates have the potential to be great and the potential to be awful. I hope it's the former, whomever is chosen, because I have come to love Peru and want the best for it!

(Less seriously...) Humala got the you're-in-trouble face from me last night when his supporters went marching down the street blowing their horns and shouting after the debate. Really now? Past 11pm?

Any who wake a sleeping child in my care earn my eternal wrath.
(Doesn't that sound poetic?... I'm only half kidding)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Aqui estoy ... normal

My apologies for several days with no posts, I’ve been busy doing not terribly blog-worthy things, like class, homework and micros.

Interesting moments:


- Story time in Inca class, my professor told us his story of going to the Ayacucho area in the 80s to study a colonial-era religious movement, but getting arrested by the army because it was right at the beginning of the terrorist years and they thought he was in the Italian mafia and helping the communist Sendero Luminoso.

Inside my micro


- Big birthday party for the 4 people in my program with birthdays in May. Everyone brought some Peruvian friends; I’d say there were about 50 people in all! I had a good time talking with some new people
JNew friends

- Went to a dance workshop where I learned some steps from various Peruvian dances (marineram festejo, nortena), and that my hips just don't move that way (much less hips, shoulders and feet all at once) Haha

- Spending the day with my host mom and her grandchildren, ages 2 and 5 months. Love it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aqui estoy ... dibujando

So apparently, I know how to draw. At least according to the kids at Deporte y Vida. “La profesora sabe dibujar.” I find this amusing because if you asked me, I’d say I can’t draw. I can copy a picture somewhat proficiently, but drawing something out of my head, not going to happen. Nonetheless, yesterday I drew (mostly copied) a penguin, a turkey, a manatee, various dancers, some food and 2 ceremonies. (What are they supposed to learn by copying a picture and a sentence? I don’t know, but that’s another soap box I won’t get on)

And then they brought over the posterboard, (not intimidating at all) and asked for a scene of “Educacion inicial.” And when the mom of another girl saw me with that one, she brought over her daughter’s as well. Which is how I ended up drawing 2 posters and a smaller one of teachers and children and their toys and cake. (I really wish I had had my camera to take a picture) I’m pretty sure the mom could have drawn equally well or better. I have no idea why they wanted me to do it but I didn’t feel like arguing anymore and I don’t think I inhibited any learning by doing it for them. (I just wish I could see the profesora’s face when three kids walk in with drawings that have remarkably similar disproportionate people)

And, since I am apparently now the resident “profesora que sabe dibujar,” I figured I’d better practice. Thus I present to you this masterpiece of drawing-by-squares. (Just don’t look at their poor misshapen hands)

Hasta la proxima

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con chocolate

Mmm rico.

A day is good when it ends in chocolate.

Amusing moment of the day: Thursday has infected Monday - mid-class a group marches by with drums and horns...and a person in a panda costume. Apparently peruvians are serious about their Interfacultad competitions. They even have department mascots. Come on Gordon, why don't we have department mascots that march around with drums?

Hasta la proxima

PS: Has anyone seen The Concert/Le Conciert/El Concierto? I saw it yesterday with my host mom in French with Spanish subtitles and I think I missed a lot of the plot, much less the humor.

PS 2: Shout out to Abby and all the other new Gordon grads. Congratulations!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con buen viernes

Today I had a most excellent morning of cookie-making and guitar-playing with Zoe. I brought a cookie mix with me to Lima and saved it until I really wanted some. Which was today. We brought them to share with the group because this afternoon we went on a tour of Villa El Salvador. Villa is a poorer district of Lima where Deporte y Vida is, the afterschool program I volunteer at. Villa began as a land invasion by migrants Lima who needed a place to live. Many of the outer districts of Lima began this way. The first houses were made of straw mats which have since been replaced by wooden and even multi-floor concrete buildings. The community was incredibly well planned, building a district in the middle of the desert with groups of lots called manzanas grouped into neighborhoods, each with a plaza and field in the middle and a school and market every certain number of groups. Gradually they fought to have running water and sewage service and electricity, some are still fighting. One section just got water this month after fighting for 15 years. This week the district celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Below are the first houses, just little straw tunnels. They've come a long way.
My Deporte y Vida friend

Hasta la proxima!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con jueves extrano

I've mentioned it before, but strange things happen on Thursdays at la Catolica.

I was doing homework in the computer lab when outside I heard drums and shouting, which turned out to be these guys with drums, a horn and some flags.

I have no idea what they were doing or shouting about. But then they started marching.
I decided to walk down the main pathway and see what else was going on and found this: a dancefloor (And some Anti-Keiko protestors dressed and painted all in white)

Which turned into this: a dance competition with couples from each facultad (academic department) competing, kind of like intramurals. They started with about 25 couples, gradually voting them off until there were 4 finalists. By the end, those 4 pairs had danced for over an hour straight! (And no, I don't know why there was someone in a crow costume, all I can saw is strange things happen on Thursdays)

They danced a great variety of music, starting with discoteca-type Latin pop, moving into some American music, (Thriller, YMCA, MC Hammer and the Macarena all made an appearance) then on to some more classic dances, from salsa to marinera to an afroperuvian dance as well as others I didn't know. Here's one of my favorites, check out their footwork!
All in all a pretty epic Thursday. (And that's before meeting with a director about possibly being a movie extra. Except I apparently can't pass as a Peruvian man or a Chilean soldier. Bummer. ;) )
Hasta la proxima!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con buen dia

Today was a good day despite the fact that it started out cold :)

Things which were good or amusing or made me smile:
- Techno in the micro this morning. I was hoping for something peppy, I guess I got it.
- Not 1 but 2 letters in the mail! Thanks Abby and Emme!!
- No homework to do during my between-class break. It was either done or I didn't have any for that class. Imagine that.
- Lunch with cool people
- People-watching across campus from the 5th floor
- Drawing dinosaurs in my notes margin
- The guy across the street whose jam session I could hear while eating dinner
- Fun times with Melissa

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Aqui estoy .. con fruta

Random picture of the day:
Art on campus is cool but PUCP has some that is really random...these fruit, for example. They used to be surrounded by an orange fence. They've now been set free...only to be used as furniture. Poor banana.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con peruanos famosos

As part of my curiosity-driven self-education about Peru I wanted to know who exactly the namesakes of the streets I frequent were. Thus, I present to you Famous Peruvian People, (assisted by Wikipedia).

Simón Bolivar – known as El Libertador, a key leader in the wars for independence of most of South America as well as the establishment of democracy. (Thus he gets multiple streets named after him, potentially leading to confusion if you take a micro to the wrong one. I walk past one in Miraflores and my micro takes one as well)

Jose de San Martin – another important liberator of various South American countries

Antonio Raimondi – a Italian-born early archaeologist who got a park rather than a road named after him (He was even in my Incas book)

Alfredo Benavides – a Peruvian diplomat and founder of the Peruvian Olympic Committee. Not the president Oscar Benavides.

José Larco – possibly a mayor of Miraflores. There’s apparently a song about the street though.

José Pardo – a twice president of Perú in the early 1900s, also the son of a president. He worked on education reform (bonus points for that) But he got ousted in a coup.

Javier Prado – a prime minister of Perú in 1910. There is also a Costa Rican soccer player and a Mexican luchador by the same name but I’m going with the Peruvian.

Admiral Miguel Grau – a Peruvian hero of the naval Battle of Angamos and the War of the Pacific, known as the Gentleman of the Seas for his chivalry, rescuing the crew of the enemy ship he sunk or warning them to abandon ship before opening fire. He was mourned by both Peruvians and Chileans when killed in battle.

There’s also lots of streets named after places, international and domestic, from Brasil, Panama and Cuba to Arequipa and Tacna.

Hasta la proxima

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Aqui estoy .. con libros

The two ethnographies I read for Amazonica
(Yes, they're in English, turns out most anthropology work is in English and the Peruvian students are expected to read it. But I'm still writing my paper in Spanish, no worries)
(And yes, that second one is a photocopy. The library copy is a photocopy. Don't even get me started)
Let's just say me and the Peruvian library system are not friends and leave it at that.

Times I have had to take out and return and take out again:
Kinship with Monkeys: 4
From the Milk River: 5
(Subtitle on that second one: Spatial and temporal processes in the Northwest Amazonia...doesn't that sound like a fun read?)

Total days out:
Kinship with Monkeys: 17
From the Milk River: 21

Do you realize that at Gordon or Gales Ferry I would only have had to take them out once and wouldn't have even needed to renew them!
Oh Peru. Some of your differences I love, some are amusing, some are strange and some make me want to pull my hair out. Asi es la vida I suppose.

Hasta la proxima

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en el zoo

Today I visited Parque de la Leyendas, a combination zoo, family park and archaeological site. I must say, it was a little awkward because we were definitely the whitest people around and by appearances the only ones without small children in tow. Oh well, we had fun anyway.

The park is separated into la sierra (mountain region), la selva (jungle), la costa (coast) and internacionales. (The monkeys in the selva were my favorite) We also went into a museum that explained the huacas of the park and one randomly about petroleum, sponsored by PetroPeru. (A nice happy view of gas exploration, an interesting comparison to the video we watched in class about all the awful things such companies are doing to indigenous peoples who have little political voice and their lands) It wasn’t the best zoo I’ve ever been to but we certainly got our exercise for the day, the place is huge!

The Lord of Sipan
The venado - these deer escaped from this same zoo years ago and that's why there's crazy deer on the PUCP campus
Tortugas galapagos ("Psst, hey, you awake over there")
Mono :)
And then there was a lagoon. Random, but it had pretty boats

Hasta la proxima!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en el museo

This afternoon I went to the National Museum (Museo de la Nacion) with my program. We were guided by our ever amusing and brilliant professor Jorge (no seriously, he's awesome) to see a variety of Peruvian history artifacts, from pottery to textiles to metalwork to paintings. I particularly enjoyed it because it gave me a chance to see a lot of things I've been reading and hearing about in classes. (Actually, the homework I was reading this morning was on Inca artisans)

Moche mask

Indigenous painting

Ceremonial costumes
Quipu - knotted string used by the Incas and earlier cultures as a mnemonic recording device. They could record everything from census records to battle results to narrative poetry.

Pottery from various PreInca cultures

The museum also featured an exhibit on the years of terrorism in Peru. It's not well-known outside Peru but from 1980-2000 Peru battled two communist terrorist groups, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA (Revolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru). The violence was focused in the sierra region of Ayacucho; the truth and reconciliation commission has said that 69,000 people died in those 20 years, the fault of both the terrorists and excessive force by the military. 75% were Quechua-speaking indigenous Andean people. 50% were in the region of Ayacucho. This is still a current issue with the current presidential elections because Keiko Fujimori, a current candidate, is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, the ex-president currently in jail for human rights violations during this war.

It was an intense but an interesting and important exhibit to see. It never ceases to astound me the horrible things people have done to other people.

Hands holding the photo of a "desaparecido" - a disappeared family member

Relatives of the dead of the Andean village all of whose residents were killed by the army. The terrorists waged a guerrilla war, seeking to blend in with the villagers. In this case the army killed an innocent person, so in an effort to erase the memory, they killed the entire town.

Hasta la proxima

Aqui estoy ... con desfile

So this morning I was reading for homework when outside my window I heard horns and drums and lots of people. Turns out there's a parade coming down the street. It was actually a pilgramage to a nearby church, la Iglesia Fatima.

They were coming down Larco, the main road that the micros run on, then turned down a side street toward the church. Some micros tried to get around by going down my road but ended up getting stuck anyway.

A short video so you can hear their playing:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con individual

Individual in this context means placemat, not individual, by the way.

With the lunch of a friend today came this:

Now I agree that plagarism is bad, but isn't this usually a topic covered in class, not on a placemat? Did it really require a superhero to "save the world from a lack of ethics" and a rat with a "horde of plagarism thugs"?

The more useful side of the placemat:

We spent lunch questioning a Peruvian friend about a variety of things, math vocabulary in particular. You'd think math would be the easiest thing to help with homework at Deporte y Vida because it's objective, but no. It's actually among the harder things because we don't know the vocabulary or the slightly different symbols they use. But now I will be able to discuss types of triangles and their parts as well as the various mathematical operations and the Pythagorean theorem. Bring it on, strange math worksheets.

We reciprocated by explaining some English as well, words that sound and charge; live, live, and life, etc...

Hasta la proxima!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aqui estoy ... mejorando

Thing most awesome today: Laughter

of small children on a seesaw (and sliding off a seesaw)
of my host mom about my funny story
of my own at things out the micro window and at myself

Runner up: peanut butter (just so delicious)

Hasta la proxima

Monday, May 9, 2011

Aqui estoy ... meh

Because not everything is Peru is fun times and penguins.
(If you don't feel like hearing me complain for a few minutes you should stop reading now. But I figured it's only fair to post all parts of life, even the not-awesome ones)

Things which are decidedly not awesome:
- Getting stabbed in the foot by high-heeled lady on the micro. Pain is always a nice way to start a cloudy Monday morning, right?
- Only being allowed to take out library books for 4 days at a time and not being able to renew them. I took out the same book for the fifth time today. How is this helping anyone?
- People walking so slowly they might as well stop moving altogether
- Professors who assign something and then don't read it. (And then discuss the topic in class, repeating themselves several times and asking if we get it. Gee, if you'd read our work, you might know that)
- Missing people at home
- Eating the same thing for the fourth meal in a row. (Leftovers are awesome. Leftovers of leftovers of leftovers are not)
- Being frustrated with myself for being cross and frustrated with the world

Anyway, now that I've gotten that out, I'll say I really do like Peru. I'm glad I'm here. But that doesn't mean I don't get frustrated. But tomorrow will be better.
Time to listen to music, sleep and look for little happy things tomorrow.

Hasta la proxima

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Aqui estoy ... deseando feliz dia a todas las madres

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mommy in the US, mi mama peruana, and all the women who have been like mothers to me from family to friends to professors to ladies at church and Emmaus. <3

Mother's day is big in Peru, by the way. (Even Domino's gets in on it. And the various casinos whose doorways are now decorated in red and pink balloons and hearts) Family in general is important but Mama is up top. Children often remain in their parents' house into their twenties and thirties, often until they get married.

I spent the day with my host mom and her daughter and family. :)

Hasta la proxima

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Aqui estoy ... nadando con lobos marinos!

Today the program took us to go on a boat tour of the islands just off the coast of Lima. They are called the Islas Palominos and are known for a variety of things, from the guano that was once a huge commodity and that Peru still exports to the prison that holds notorious prisoners like Abimael Guzman (former leader of the terrorist group Shining Path). The islands are also known for sea lions which is what we primarily went to see.

We left from the port of Callao and traveled past several islands

On the way we saw some neat birds including the Inca tern which has a "mustache"

An island with many lobos marinos and their calls (lobos marinos literally means marine wolves in Spanish)

Then we jumped off the boat into the (very, very) cold water and swam off toward the sea lions. We got really close! (As in, one popped up about a foot from my face. Surprise!)

There was lots of smiling and laughing and a little shrieking in surprise

I think the sea lions were equally curious about us..

And then there were penguins. :)

Hasta la proxima

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en una huaca

Today I took advantage of a day off from classes to visit Huaca Pucllana. (PUCP does exams right. Midterms are spread through a whole week with a weekend before to study. None of this two day at the end of a week business. But I digress)

Anyway, Huaca Pucllana is an archaeological site (look! I spelled it right) located right in Miraflores. It is from the Lima culture and also has Wari remains. (As well as a later culture whose name I didn't quite catch; it sounded like it started with an I) It looks like a big pile of dirt in the middle of a city from the outside but it's much more than that. Our tour guide was excellent, very informative and easy to understand. (Yes, we took the Spanish tour. No English for us)

Huaca Pucllana means, roughly, toy oracle. That was our translation based on learning huaca means oracle (me in my History of Peru class) and pucllana means toy (Melissa in her Quechua class) Our guide explained that huaca referred to any sacred place, it could be a temple, a stone, the ocean, etc... and pucllana referred to playing games but sacred ones in this case. So we had the right idea.

Here from atop the pyramid you can see part of the rest of the site and the surrounding city

The walls are built with the "librero" technique; librero as in libro as in book because the blocks look like books all lined up. This style gives the wall the flexibility necessary to withstand earthquakes for the hundreds of years it has.

The side of the pyramid. The pyramid does not have a point because it is solid, no rooms inside, so the top has plazas that were used for a variety of religious and secular purposes. It wasn't built all at once, a cross-section would show distinct layers.

A Wari tomb with examples of how they would've been buried, including the types of provisions for the afterlife that would have been present. The Wari took over the area from the Lima and buried their people here as part of their way to claim the land. Our guide explained that destroying the ancestral burials of another group was a powerful way to defeat them.

The pyramid we got to go on top of.

Hasta la proxima!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Aqui estoy ... estudiando

This post brought to you by the Incas I was studying all weekend. (And the history of art I'm studying tonight) Aren't parciales fun?

What I wish I was doing...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aqui estoy ... confundida

Spanish is messing with my head.
As I was studying for my History of Peru parcial, organzing my thoughts, making outlines and practicing writing essays on the given themes, I attempted to write about archaeological evidence.
I stared at arqueological for a good full minute before realizing why Word did not recognize it. (Spanish spells it with a q, by the way)

Likewise, I kept writing parciality instead of partiality. And adding cion instead of tion to things.
I'm going to end up with a curious form of Spanglish if this keeps up!

Wish me luck!
Hasta la proxima