FestiUSIL

So this weekend there was a festival put on by my university called FestiUSIL. It is a music festival with beer and food and games. It was such a blast! It was in a district about 40 minutes from the university called Panchacamac; there is a USIL campus there. The thing that surprised me the most was the drinking.

Drinking back home is such a “bad” thing, there is always cops waiting to bust someone or get someone in trouble, but here it is such a cultural thing. While waiting in line for buses at the university there were so many students drinking alcohol, in public, outside of the school! This would never be okay at WOU nor any other university for that matter. I was told that the only way to get in was by going by the buses that were provided by the university, as well as the only way to leave. Nobody could come or go by taxi, or any other form of transportation, simply because they knew people would be drinking so instead of trying to stop the drinking, they work to stop the drinking and driving. I think that if other schools though of things like this there may be less problems, but like I said, I do understand it is all a cultural difference.

The other thing that surprised me was that the festival was sponsored by a beer company, so the only thing to drink there was beer, water, or Pepsi. Again, not something you would see at a University in the states. I always find it so interesting the cultural stigma of alcohol. But needless to say, it was a great festival! 1012482_10201723971372474_1013653438_n 1467232_10201723971012465_904500263_n 1474534_10201723975372574_1371791411_n

Week 9….What a week

I’m almost half way through with my time here in Lima, and so bad nothing TOO awful had happened, but with my luck I should have known I had it coming for me.

Wednesday September 25, I was sitting in my only class of the day, Spanish, when I noticed an annoying rattling sound coming from the glass cabinets behind me, along with the rattling I could feel a shaking and vibration feeling in my legs, but I didn’t think anything of it, just like if a train passed by and it rattled the building a bit, but a few seconds later I realized, “I’m on the 4th floor, there is no train passing by”….my attention was drawn to the projector screen which was swaying back and forth and suddenly it hit everyone….we were having an earthquake. At this moment I cannot say how I felt, scared, nervous, worried, all emotions possible, I was feeling them. It had been about 45 seconds that the shaking went on until we realized what was happening, and it lasted for about another minute after that. Our teacher had us exit the class into the hallway where there are strong pillars, we walked along those planning to go to the bottom floor and then the shaking stopped, and to my surprise my teacher had us go back to class for the next hour until class was out, as if nothing had even happened.

It was amazing to me that it was no big deal to anyone, except for the international students. We had just experienced a 7 point quake and nobody even thought anything of it?? Then I found out this type of thing happens frequently when the temperature shifts and the air gets warmer. What an experience it was for me…

After Wednesday things went on normal as always, until Friday night. Thursday night I noticed I wasn’t feeling well…specifically having certain stomach issues, but I ignored it figuring it would go away, Friday rolled around and we had our night tour of the cemetery as you can see in my last post. Luckily I was able to survive through the tour, until I got on the bus to go back. I had never had stomach pain that bad in my life, and I knew something was wrong. I went home and told my family what was happening and they were very worried and insisted that I go to the hospital right away since I would be reimbursed 100% through my insurance. Well…I went and turns out I was suffering from dysentery. Dysentery??? I hadn’t heard of that since playing the Oregon Trail computer game in 5th grade! The doctor immediately started an IV to get me re-hydrated and to administer an antibiotic and pain medicine. What a relief to finally get some medicine in me, I have never felt pain like that in my life.

My 21st birthday was Monday, and because of this sickness, I was not able to drink and celebrate like I would have liked to, but I was thankful that I was feeling better!

A word of advice for everyone before traveling: Have your doctor prescribe you 500 mg Ciprofolxacin before traveling. This is a common antibiotic that can be used for many bacterial infections and I was lucky that I already had it because it saved me from having to buy it at the pharmacy here.

Presbyter Matías Maestro Cemetery

As you may know, Lima is a huge city, over 9 million people live here and it came as a surprise that I had not seen even 1 cemetery. Not that I am fascinated with death like some Americans, but I have always found cemeteries to be very interesting, especially old cemeteries, and I knew there had to be one somewhere. I asked my program coordinator where we could find one and she offered my group a tour by NIGHT of Lima’s oldest cemetery.

The tour began at 7 pm when it had just gotten dark and it was done on an open bus, so of course my group chose to sit on the top/open part of the bus, which was really cool. The cemetery was about a half hour from where we began and it was interesting to pass through districts by night, we started in Miraflores which is a nice, richer district, and ended up in La Victoria which is Lima’s poorest district. Seeing the change in scenery and people was very interesting.

Once we got to the cemetery I already knew we were in for quite a thrilling adventure. The cemetery was opened in 1808 and there are around 800 mausoleums as well as another 800 or so tombs on the premises, many of which are occupied by the bodies of deceased priests, heroes of war, and important literary and political figures.

What surprised me is that when I told my host family about the cemetery they had never visited it, and gave me the impression that it wasn’t very interesting, but I found it extremely interesting and incredible.

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Barranco

Last week a friend and I decided to take a trip to Barranco, another district here in Lima. Barranco is beautiful and full of many old buildings. It is along the beach so we were able to walk down and put our feet in the ocean. It reminded me a lot of the Oregon Coast, maybe the Pacific Ocean is the same anywhere you are.

Barranco is about 25 minutes away from my district, Santiago de Surco, but it is a costly cab ride. Originally we went because we heard of a Mexican burrito shop, but the day we went it was closed so of course we had to return. Something I have come to find here in Perú is that many places are closed on Monday, instead of Sunday, because even on Sundays people are still out enjoying their weekend, where as in the United States, Sundays are the days to relax and recover from the weekend. So we returned a few days later to try out the burrito stand. I think I would have liked my burrito had it not had “fajita style” veggies in it. My first week I got sick off a dish called lomo saltado which has tomatoes and onions similar to a fajita, so now anything like that is difficult for me to eat.

After we had our burritos we went down to the beach and sat and watched the waves. I felt so happy because it was like having my own little piece of Oregon, here in Perú. Barranco is beautiful, as well as the rest of Lima!

If you look closely you can see the statue of a saint in the fog.

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My lovely friend Katie

 

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View from a hilltop

 

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The walk down to the beach, and the bottom picture with the building is a night club and restaurant, which is so amazing at night to be able to go down on the beach after a fun night of dancing.

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Mistura

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 :)

 

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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.

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Homesick..

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:

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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

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Me having a mimosa on my roof :)

Fiestas, Fiestas, Fiestas

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 :)

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First day of school, in Lima, Peru

Today was my first day at the university, and as I already have realized, Lima’s schooling system is much different that those of the United States, but I didn’t realize HOW different it really is.

Before departing, I wondered if bringing school supplies such as notebook, pencils, pens, etc. was necessary and I thought, no, there will be stores in Lima with all the supplies I need….WRONG. I had no idea it would be so difficult to find a simple lined spiral notebook. All the notebooks that I saw had spider man or hello kitty on the front and the pages had paper that was cubed, like graphing paper. So then I moved on to my next option and thought I’d maybe find some lined filler paper, wrong again. I couldn’t believe that no one store I went had just a normal notebook…..not even the university could show me where to find a notebook.

The next difficult encounter I had was buying text books…there is 2 stores to buy books, one at the school and one in another district, but nowhere else. Luckily books aren’t as expensive as they are in the states but I am used to ordering them offline for a low price, and here they don’t have that option.

Lastly, there is no printers in the school…anything you need printed you have to take to a print shop and pay 30 cents per sheet. That is something I am going to have a difficult time with because I need to have things available in front of me to be able to look at, such as schedules and syllabuses.

All these things I know I will get used to, I just feel that I am back to the first week of arriving here, everything was different and took awhile to get used to, and as soon as I started getting accustomed to one thing something else popped up that is going to take time to get used to. It’s all a learning process :)

Below is a picture of the only “simple” notebook I could find…

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The entire group of international students in front of the university :)

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Las Gringas, Que Lindas

  • D

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.

  • I

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.

  • V

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”

  • E

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.

 

 

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Arriving to Peru

  • D

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.

  • I

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….

  • V

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.

  • E

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!

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