Two weeks. I can hardly believe it. In some ways it feels like I have always lived in Peru and I've been here FOREVER. I have learned the habbits of my family and how the house works (wet towels go upstairs on the roof, one kiss on the right cheek to say hello, goodbye, goodnight etc, everything is later than planned, and honking at other cars is completely normal). I miss my friends, family and life in Wenatchee but I love Peru too much to feel homesick. I feel lucky that the transition has been so smooth.
Anyway, here are a few of my random observations...
You can tell a lot about a place by the bathroom. The things we take for granted in the US like toilet paper and toilet seats are not standard. In most public bathrooms you are expected to carry your own TP and some of them don't have a toilet seat. Almost all seem to lack soap. So the next time you walk into the bathroom and use nice fluffy TP and wash your hands with scented soap, appreciate it!
When you don't speak the language very well people find ingenius ways to communicate. For example, we were eatting out at a resaurant the other day and I didn't know exactly what I was eatting. My "que es eso" was answered with the name of a particular seafood but naturally I still had no idea. So my brother said (in spanish) you know the kids show Sponge Bob, well you are eatting his friend (meaning squidward). Later on the waiter kindly confirmed the conclusion that it was squid. Although this particular story exemplifies my lack of lingual skills, I have to say that my Spanish is definitely improving. I can usually follow the conversation and if people talk directly to me its even easier.
I bought my school uniform two days ago and toured my school. The uniform is, lets just say interesting. I wear black shoes, knee high red socks, a plaid dress, white blouse and red sweater. Hopefully I will post a picture tomorrow so you guys can all laugh :) And then we have shorts, polos, and a sweat suit for PE. I've never worn a uniform to school before so I guess it will be a good experience. At least now when I am asked to answer dumb essay prompts for the SAT about school uniforms I will have a valid opinion. But back to my school. Its big, three stories, connected to the church, has a central courtyard and no indoor hallways. I am in 5b and I have 37 other students in my class. I should get to know them well because we are always together. The teachers move rather than the students so I guess no one will be tardy to class. :)
Tomorrow is el cumpleanos de mi mama (yep ANOTHER birthday!) So I tried to make chocolate chips cookies this evening. They certainly weren't the same as at home but they turned out surprisingly well. First of all, Peruvians don't use their oven much so we had to begin by removing all the pots and pans stored inside. Then we lit the oven with a match and set it to high (there was no temperature gage). Next came the measuring of ingrediants without a measuring cup and substituting of one thing for another. We used margerine instead of butter, white sugar instead of brown and baking powder instead of soda. It was a little challenge getting them to cook without burning on the bottom but in the end they were delicious! :) Woot Woot. A little bit of traditional american food. I am continually reminded of our lack of specialty food but I realised three things that are quite American. Waffles, chocolate chips, and bagels.
So I don't think I have talked about the climate yet. Obviously this is South American so we are in the middle of winter. And it is surprisingly chilly. None of the houses or buildings have heating so I have been wearing a lot of coats and layers. In fact, I am planning to buy one of those long poofy winter coats this week. Still this morning I went for a lovely run in shorts and a t-shirt under a beautiful blue sky and shining sun (rare but all the more enjoyable).
Ooooh, one more thing before I snooze... We went to visit el Palacio del Gobierno! This is the equivilant to the White House and absolutely gorgeous inside. We toured the part where Alan Garcia doesn't live and got to hear all about the history and artwork and decorations. Fascinating and fun because I could understand a lot. I have come to appreciate tour guides because they speak slowly and clearly... :)