This past weekend I attended a festival in Lima called Mistura. It is a fair with JUST FOOD, yes you read that correct. This fair brings together all the different types of food from around Peru, including chocolate, coffee, pisco (the national alcohol). The festival was broken into all different “worlds”. There was Mundo Norteño (northern Peruvian food), Mundo Sureño (southern Peruvian food), Mundo del Ceviche, Mundo de las brasas (Rotisserie cooked meats), Mundo de los líquidos (drinks), Mundo Oriental, Mundo Amazónico (Amazonian food), Mundo Limeño (Lima style food), Mundo del Anitcucho (cow heart on a stick), Mundo Andino (food from the Andes), Mundo de las tabernas y bares (world of the taverns and bars), and Mundo de los sánguches (sandwich world).
This is a 2 week long festival that attracts people from all over Peru. I was so interesting to see all the different types of food that Peruvians eat. The food here consists of a lot of potato, rice, and meat dishes. Typically, we eat lunch at 1 or 2 pm, and lunch is the biggest meal of the day. It starts with either a type of soup, salad, or papas a la hauncaína which is a cooked, cold potato, with a cheese-pepper sauce. After that come the main course which I said is always rice, with some type of meat and/or potatoes. When we get hungry in the evening we eat the same meal we had for lunch. One of my favorites here is a dish called Salchipapas. It is hot dogs sliced very thin and fried, served over french fries with ketchup and mayonnaise. I was very surprised that I liked this dish because I have never been a fan of hot dogs.
Below are some of the pictures I took at Mistura, as well as an example of Salchipapas
The picture with the worm like bugs are a type of grub that live inside the purple, scaley looking fruit, and the people from the amazon fry them and eat them.
This past week was definitely a difficult week for me. I have had great fun in the last month that I have been here but reality really has gotten to me.
The first thing that really has bothered me is not feeling safe, my second week here I had a scary situation while riding in a taxi alone with a male cab driver, and then a few nights ago I witnessed a robbery on my street. Both situations have taught me things:
- Don’t get too comfortable speaking with cab drivers, by communicating with them about your personal life may allow them to think you are showing interest in them.
- Try to avoid walking alone at night, if you have to make sure you have your belongs close to your body and you’re aware of your surrounds, don’t walk with your phone in your hand or headphones in your ears, and walk where there are street lights and cars, even if it means taking the long way home.
- Don’t try and stand out; I have found it better to try and blend in as much as possible to avoid the looks, and “cat calls”.
During the robbery, I was very relieved when the police flew arrived within seconds of realizing what was happening, and luckily, they chased the guy down and took him to jail. That is something I am very thankful for, the amount of police here in Lima is insane, and I always thought there were a lot of police in Monmouth….LOL
I am very grateful for things: having an amazing host family that truly cares for me as my own family would, and having knowledge about what to do while experiencing culture shock as well as being homesick….the handouts given during the pre-departure orientation have come in very handy.
And just remember, no matter where you go, whether you’re in another country, state, or even in Monmouth, there will always be dangerous situations. I think to myself “maybe it would have been better if I chose to study in Costa Rica, or Puerto Rico” but then I remember no matter where I am, anything can happen, and I also think had I not chosen Peru I wouldn’t have been blessed with such an AMAZING host family.
I do not have any pictures that specifically relate to this posting but I do have some that I would like to share
The picture below is my friend Katie from Ohio who is also in CIS
Me having a mimosa on my roof
Peruvian party life is crazy. Typically, in the United States, when we party we try to start our night around 10 or 11, anytime after 11 is getting a little late, especially since the bars in Monmouth close at 2 am. Here in Lima, people don’t even go out until midnight or later. I have found it difficult to keep up! Welcome week was full of events and parties hosted by a group called “USIL Buddies” and it is a group of Peruvian students who host parties and events for the international students. The first weekend there was an all night party in a secret location about and hour outside of Lima. You could pay s./30 a ticket which is around $10, and this ticket “included” a bus to and from the party, drinks, food, and the house which also had a pool. Little did I know how unorganized Peruvians can be, the bus my group ended up on was a little micro bus, and for the hour drive we were packed in like sardines, standing rather than sitting because we could fit more people by standing. Once we finally got to the party there were hardly any drinks left at the open bar, it was WAY too cold to swim, and there was no place to really sit and relax. The first hour was a blast but once I realized I couldn’t get on the bus to go home for another 5 hours, I was a little worried. Luckily around 3 am they let people on one of the buses (a nice tour bus) to sleep until it was time to leave. It was fun at first, but I will know for next time to choose not to go somewhere that is an hour away, so that if need be I could get a cab home.
Don’t get me wrong the parties here have been AMAZING. The night life is great, it will just take time getting used to the late hours
During the first week I noticed something that really had me mind boggled. Here in Lima, gringos and gringas, as well as cholos and cholas are commonly used words. In the United States the term gringos(as) comes from Latinos and can be used as a derogatory term, and cholos(as) are sort of like Latino “thugs” or gangsters.
While walking around Lima I found out quickly that the term gringa is not used as a bad thing, little girls would walk by my room mate and I and say “aye que lindas las gringas” which means oh how pretty the gringas are. It also could be used to our advantage, for example during hora punta (rush hour) it is almost impossible to try and merge into traffic from side streets, last night during this time all I had to do was roll my window down and as soon as the bus driver noticed that I was a gringa he let my host mother merge in. The term cholo and chola is used to describe people of Peruvian descent.
The information I found was verified very quickly when, like I mentioned above, it was obvious that being a gringa wasn’t a bad thing, also I went to a restaurant called La Dama Juana and there was a show with all different types of Peruvian dances and my program coordinator says to me “look at how well the chola dances”
I discovered, and am still learning, that many terms and words we have in the United States, other countries have as well but with totally different meanings.
Something that caught my attention upon arrival in Lima was the weather. It was very cold when I got out of the airport, not at all what I was expecting. The air was cold but also humid, at midnight it was around 60 degrees and 95% humidity. I arrived late Tuesday night and it is now Thursday. Although today has been one of the warmer days, it still feels very cold to me. In Oregon 60 degrees doesn’t feel as cold as it feels here, it also could be because I’m near the ocean.
When I got dressed the next day my host mother, Ana, was surprised to see me in sandals and a light sweater….I didn’t understand why until we went outside. She explained to me that right now in Lima it is winter time, out seasons are opposite of theirs. I really should have packed less summer clothes….
After finding out that it is actually winter right now, and that I’m not going to be swimming in the ocean and laying on the beach like I thought I was, I decided to look into the weather to see if it was get colder or warmer, to decide if I should buy some different clothes.
I found an awesome website with a lot of information about Peru. It says, as I now know, that winter begins in May and ends in Novembers, since I will be here until mid December I hope to be able to experience a few nicer days. Even though the weather isn’t what I expected, I still love Lima!
Today is Sunday July 28th, and I leave for Lima early Tuesday morning, July 30th. The last two weeks of packing and moving went by very fast, it seems I had all this time to get things done before I left and now the time is here and I still have SO much to do. Friday the 26th I packed my entire 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath town house into a 5 foot by 10 foot storage unit, everything fit except one chair and my dinner table. I was amazed! On that same Friday I sat at Yeasty Beasty on Main street with my mom and brother, a few family friends, and my best friend. Watching people outside walking from the pub to the market, riding their bikes, or just enjoying others’ company made me realize how much I truly am going to miss Monmouth. I know I am going to have the time of my life while I am gone, but I can’t help to think of the fun I will be missing.
I am pretty unsure of how it will be in Peru. I have heard mixed things: “don’t talk to strangers; you can’t trust anyone” or things such as “every person you meet in Peru will greet you with a smile and treat you with respect”…..I’m hoping that is how it really will be. I hope to improve my Spanish, well…..I BETTER improve my Spanish since that is the whole purpose of this study abroad. I’m not worried though, I know I’ll be using it everyday, all day.
I can’t even describe my emotions right now because I don’t exactly know what I am feeling; excited? scared? nervous? All of the above….. I am excited to go, but sad to go. Happy to be fortunate enough to experience something this incredible but worried about potential situations, but one thing I am certain of is that I will have the most amazing experience of my life.