Thursday, March 18, 2010

The One About Living In Peru

Today's guest blogger is Amanda from La Blondie Peruana.


First of all, Thanks to Krysten for having me while she is on vacation! This is my second guest blog and I LOVE it!

I have been living in Peru for the past 3 months. A (very) brief background: In 2008, my husband went on a mission trip to Lima, Peru and we had no idea how this one event would forever change our lives. The next year began our adventure to move to Peru as missionaries. Shaun, the hubby, left in October 2009 and I stayed in the states to finish working and tie up a few loose ends.

On December 2, 2009 I boarded a flight to my final destination: Peru. For now our timeline is one year but we don't have a returning date yet and it's always a possibility that God could call us to be here for longer...Who knows??

So, before moving to Peru I had some ideas of what it would be like living here, but there are a few things I didn't know. For example:

Taxis, Buses...Well just transportation in general. My first time in a taxi was horrifying. I honestly thought I would not make it to the house. Sure there are lights, street signs, lines and all sorts of warning signals...but why bother. They are merely suggestions. And if someone gets in your way, simply lay on your horn for a minute or two. Eventually they will move and if they don't, well at least you took out a little aggression on your horn. Go you! By about the 3rd taxi ride you hardly notice it anymore. On occasion you go flying out of your seat and end up in the floorboard, but no big deal...get back in your seat and hold on tight.

My feet are permanently black. It's not just walking around on the streets, it's walking around in my house! Our apartment is right on a main street, we keep our windows open all day everyday, and of course Lima is a big city in the desert. All of these things combined mean dirty, dirty feet! I can sweep and mop the entire house and in less than 24 hours there is dirt and dust everywhere. It's a little bit annoying (considering I am a clean freak) but it comes with the territory.

I never, ever thought I would want and love to take cold showers. I'm not taking about a warm or even a cool shower. I'm talking absolutely zero heat. The summer here is fabulous but the sun is strong and can be brutal where there are not any clouds. So on days where we walk a lot, it's nice to come home and take a freezing cold shower!

I don't think I will ever get used to being whistled, honked and yelled at. I realize I stand out but come on...Show a girl a little respect!

Peruvians share everything...everything! When we go to dinner, there is one check. When we take a taxi, we all pack into one. The craziest of all...a few times we have seen women sharing babies. Let me explain; I've watched women breastfeeding their baby then pass the baby off to someone else and they continue the breast feeding session. Not. Even. Kidding.

I love, love, love, love, love Peruvian food! I have yet to experience even a small percent of what Peru has to offer and I cannot wait to try everything. I will try anything at least once. So far a few of my favorite foods are Ceviche (a citrus marinated seafood, similar to sushi) and Anticuchos (cow heart). I know what you're thinking and it's something like...Ewwwwww! But don't knock it until you try it. Honestly, I would probably take Anticuchos over a steak. It's amazing! and don't even get me started on desserts. There are some fruits here that we don't have in the states (ex: Grandilla and maracuya) and they have fabulous flavor! Mmmmm! I could talk about Peruvian food all day!

Speaking of food...Did you know Peruvians LOVE Chifa (Chinese)?! I didn't either. It's actually a bit of a shock when you realize that there is Chifa everywhere! There are at least 3 places within a few blocks of our house. It's crazy!

Organization? What's that?! It would be one thing if I were talking about people's homes. No, I am talking about the government. If there is one thing I cannot stand it's things being out of place. So you can imagine my surprise when we go to get our P.O. Box setup and we have THIS experience. But even better, last week we went to pick up our missionary visas (YAY!) and behind the desk was floor to ceiling piles of paperwork. I wish I were exaggerating but I'm not. I honestly thought maybe it was old paperwork that they were working on filing or something. Until we gave the guy our name and he walked over to one of the stacks and pulled out a handful of papers. When he came back over I realized they were rubber banded together and had a "W" handwritten on the rubber band with a sharpie. OMG, I about had a conniption! I told Shaun if I ever needed to get a job in Peru I was offering my services to Interpol and then to the Post Office.

I didn't know that it would be the little things that I would miss the most:

The biggest adjustment has been that I am not able to go many places alone. Sometimes I go down to the mini-market across the street to get water or something quick for dinner, but I can't even go down to the actual supermarket to grocery shop alone. I didn't realize exactly how much I missed it until a few weeks ago when my hubby and I were at a store together to grab something real quick. We went through the "Home" section and I saw some pillows that I liked and then started browsing around. We were in a hurry and my husband pulled me away and I about cried. All I wanted to do was look! It was then I realized that it had been almost 3 months since I have had any alone time. It really made me miss jumping in my car and going to Target for no reason. (I *love* Target)

I. Miss. My. Dishwasher. Most days I don't mind hand-washing dishes, but there are just some days I just DONT want to do it and so I let the dishes pile up and then regret it when I have to stand over the sink for 20 minutes. Blah!

One silly thing that I didn't even think about until I was here...our walls are concrete, therefore we have no wall decor (for the time being). In order to hang anything we have to get a drill and drill a hole thorough the cement and then use the "right" type of anchor system. You really have to make sure that you want something on the wall before putting it up. Pro: There are no random holes in the walls Con: My walls are bare.

Two Words: Peanut. Butter. It is hard to find here, and when we finally found a place it cost about $8.00 for the tiny jar. No thanks!
Of course, this is just the beginning. I have only been here for 3 months and I'm sure with each passing week I will learn new things about Peru and start to miss more and more about the states. The great thing is I am living my dream of living in another country and slowly, but surely, getting adjusted to a different lifestyle. As much as I miss being home with my family, I adore Peruvians and their culture and look forward to learning everything I can about this country. Come on over and read about my daily adventures at La Blondie Peruana!

Ciao!



5 wonderful thoughts:

Helena - A Diary of Lovely

great post Amanda, it's always nice reading about your adventure in Peru xoxo

Kelly

Hi Amanda! I live in Lima also, so here's some advice and comments ;)

1) Sayonaras, sandals, shower shoes, flipflops.. whatever you call them, we wear them all day in the house to keep our feet clean. I'm from Florida, and used to going barefoot, but I just can't stand the black feet.

2) Invest in a water heater. I agree, the cold showers are nice now, but they won't be in another month or so. It's going to be very chilly!

3) The more you get used to things, the more you'll start doing things on your own. Learning Spanish (if you don't already know it) will help a lot. I go out all the time, shopping or whatever.

4) Peanut Butter - check the deli section at your supermarket, they usually have the natural peanut butter available by weight, and I believe it's cheaper than the jar kind.

5) Check out expatperu.com - lots of people there who've lived in Peru for a while and the place to get any questions answered.

6) Stop by my blog What We're Eating (and More!) and say hi! I talk about a lot of different facets of living in Lima, and also post recipes.

And btw - I met a missionary at the immigrations office 2 weeks ago. She'd been here over 30 years, so who knows what's in store for you! ;)

gringationcancun

I live in Mexico, and most of what you mentioned doesn't apply to me.

I will have to agree, however, on the dust (have to sweep daily and can't walk around barefoot), the stacks of papers at immigration, and the cold showers!!

Enjoy your adventures!!

Alissa

Wow it was great to read a little about Peru.

Mary

I've been to Ecuador twice for study abroad and your post brings back memories. On my 1st trip, I only had 2 showers in 6 weeks that were hot from beginning to end, and that was in hotels. I am heading over to your blog to read more!