Saturday, July 16, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con MTEL

Today I took my fifth (and hopefully last) MTEL, the Massachusetts teacher licensure exams.
This one was the Spanish one.
Waiting to be let in provided some nice people-watching.

The crowd of people looked like a scatterplot with clusters in the shade but everyone else with their personal bubble radius of a few feet. As more people arrived they inserted themselves where there was space but never invading this buffer zone. Quite a difference from the Latin American sense of personal space, especially on micros!

I wish I could comment on some of the strange questions but that probably breaks all kinds of potentially-voiding-your-test rules. Thus, suffice it to say that I far preferred the Latin American Peruvian-ish accent over the others, Argentine and Peninsular Spanish in particular, on the listening section. And that Machu Picchu is apparently all of Peru that the test-makers have heard of, despite their apparently in-depth knowledge of other areas. :(
Oh well, ya fue.

Hasta la proxima

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en casa 1

I'm home!
What a concept
I have several 'homes' now, but this one is my first and longest.
My flights were fine
(Except for the confiscation of my snack... since when is peanut butter a liquid?)

My flight from Lima was overnight and the best part was watching as we literally flew into daybreak. It went from dark night to a rainbow, red on the horizon stretching to the still-dark sky with stars.

And then my awesome brother picked me up at the airport and took me out for lunch - for some delicious clam chowder that I had been craving.
Thus far, it's good to be home.

Hasta la proxima

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en mi ultimo dia

It's been a bittersweet week, filled with lasts and goodbyes but also looking forward to things I've missed.
My taxi comes in 6 hours and it still doesn't feel real that tomorrow I will not wake up in Lima and go off to la Cato.

Studying abroad started out as something that I had to do, a requirement of my major that took me away from my friends, family and comfort zone. At I felt like I was missing from my own life. But now I have a life here too. I have met many amazing people, Peruvians and not, and have a lovely familia peruana. The whole experience has turned out to be a blessing and filled with lots of opportunities to try to new things, take chances, step out of my comfort zone, and see what I can do.
This vaguely-introverted small-town homebody who is known to sit in the same spot in class and order the same thing every time at certain restaurants has now traveled alone, lived in a city of 9 million, can navigate the micro system, has friends that only speak my second language, has tried foods from lucuma to cuy and doesn't (usually) get annoyed with la hora peruana.

I won't say it was the easiest 5 months of my life but I am absolutely glad that I studied abroad and that I went to Peru. So if any out there is on the fence about studying abroad, DO IT. (And go to Peru, because it's clearly the best)

And now I am off to spend my last half day with my lovely Peruvian family :)
Hasta la proxima

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Aqui estoy ... ensuciada

Winter in Lima means dirty.
It rains just enough to make all the dirt into mud but not enough to clean anything.
So all the sidewalks have new designs,
my building has cardboard mud mats,
I have to dump sand out of my shoes after Deporte y Vida,
and micros look like this:
Yes, it's dark because it's at night...but look at the white part on look at the bottom. That used to be white.
Now you can't even read the place names on the side.

Hasta la proxima

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Aqui estoy ... de casualidad

Today I revisited Centro de Lima with my family...
And we happened to walk into an Andean festival of some sort.
I'm still not certain exactly.
There were various dance groups all decked out in their colorful and feather-ful costumes
They brought icons and banners out of the church and paraded them around the square with dancers in between each. The festival was definitely Andean and from Cuzco area; I asked a crowd-neighbor and he said it wasn't Corpus Cristi but similar. Who knows.

Oh, and then the president showed up - Alan Garcia, the current president of Peru. So we saw him enter the cathedral from his motorcade and then leave later. Cool.
(He's there in the middle below, the tall one next to the white-haired one, surrounded by all his people)
And now my parents know what I meant when I said random things just happen in Lima.

Hasta la proxima

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con familia

Family visiting is a good excuse to
- revisit my favorite restaurants
- do some touristy things I haven't done
- wander around the artesania market some more
- put off studying
- send an extra suitcase of stuff home so the rest fits later

Oh, and hang out with the family I've missed for four months.
That too.