Friday, November 19, 2010

La Vida

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh how wonderful is the life of an exchangee! I can feel spring rolling around and the sun is out more and more often. I'm not sure exactly why but the last week was ESPECIALLY great. There was nothing super huge but all the little things just added up to make me happy. A perfect balance of time with friends and family, in the house and on the street, busy but not stressed. Here's a general overview of the week.

Saturday- I went to "apostulado" which is basically community service hours for my school. It may not sound all that exciting but I REALLY enjoyed it! We rode in bus to a very poor elementry school and spent three hours helping teach the kids. I was assigned three 10 year old boys all of whom were rather easily distracted. Luckily I am a foreigner and have stories to tell about the US. With this and oragami as bribes they were pretty well behaved... We spent half the time working on math and the other half was communication. What irony that I of all people was teaching grammar in Spanish... haha but it worked out and I had fun. I got to play with them during recess and buy them little treats from the store and be a generally good role model :) In the evening we had a fiesta for my uncle's birthday with tons and tons of family. All of the sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins. It was the typical Peruvian party where everyone sits outside eatting BBQ, listening to music, and generally having a good time. We got there around 7 and stayed until 1 or 2 in the morning laughing and playing charades.

Sunday- We had a big fundraiser lunch for Rotaract and each person brought a typical dish from their country. ALL of the food was fabulous and it was buffet so I got to try different dishes from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Canada and of course lots of yummy things from the US and Peru. I brought a cesaer salad with homemade crutons and dressing and everything. mmmmmmmm Although in reality it was a very peruvian version of a cesaer salad. The biggest reason is that it took about 2 hours to put together. jajaja We cooked bacon, toasted bread to make garlic crutons, chopped eggs, squeezed limes, and made the entire dressing from scratch. WOW! And after the almuerzo I came home and started cooking for an English project so my entire day was devoted to food. The assignment was to make a video explaining how to cook some type of food so I chose chocolatechip cookies. My sister and I spent about 4 hours in the kitchen filming, fighting technology and dying from laughter. You really don't know how hard it is to keep a straight face and remember the lines at the same time... !

Monday- my first bike ride in Lima! My dad and I went to get bread from an especially tasty panaderia. It was CRAZY! We were on the sidewalk dodging dogs and kids and people and random cracks in the cement...

Tuesday- Dance class in the center of lima!

Wednesday- I met up with one of my exchange friends and we went to explore the national library and Barranco ( an old district with LOTS of history)

Thursday- Two friends and I went to an art institute for a class in the evening. But first I ate lunch in my friends house and tried cows stumach...! It's uuuuh a little bit less that my favorite dish but not too bad. Its just the texture that is very, very chewy. Anyway, the class was an example of what you do if you chose to major in interior design. We basically got to play with cardboard and glue and paint and design a new "art room" for the university.

Friday- School talent show. Very intertaining!

A few random comments...

Christmas is cominggggggggggggggggg! All of the stores pulled out the christmas decorations and trees right after halloween. It's kind of crazy... without Thanksgiving the Christmas season goes all of November AND December. Two monthes of green and red and Papa Noel (yes, he's exactly the same as Santa Claus :) ) Our house has been decorated for over a week and right now I'm sitting listening to the electronic christmas carols blasting from the plastic tree in the other room. I must admit it is rather strange to see all of the decorations and cheesy Christmas stuff exactly the same as in Wenatchee. It may be the middle of summer but Papa Noel still goes to the mall in his red suit and they still drink hot chocolate!!! I just can't quite get the idea of Christmas and beach towels straight in my head but I'm sure it will sink in sometime soon. :)

We have a Camaro. It is pretty much the coolest car EVER! It just came out of the garage for the first that I have been here and I'm in looooooooooove! It is a 67 and it is gray and it is gorgeous. No questions asked, it is now my favorite way to travel in Lima. Besides running of course :)

There was a HUGE drama about the trip to Cuzco which I'm not going to get into but the final outcome is we are NOT going to Machu Picchu for Thanksgiving. We will probably end up going in May...

In every language there are certain words that go perfectly together. They express exactly what you want to say and are impossible to translate. I am continually running into things that I want to say in English or Spanish that just don't work. For example, the prase "I'm glad" does not cross and it happens to be something that I want to say about 5 times everyday. grrrrrrrrrrrr. And in Spanish the words "pasear, conocer, disfrutar, and saludar." These are four of my new favorite words because they express so perfectly the concepts that I could never quite describe before.

I finished my first legit novel in espanol this morning. It was 243 pages and I read it alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. Its a book that my class read earlier in the year and its pretty much a spin off of Twilight. Yeah, a little embarrasing to say my first book was a vampire love story but I'm still proud. And the vocabulary is easy enough that I can follow the plot but complex enough that I learn lots of new words. Yay!

My friend from France taught me how to make crepes yesterday. We figured out that two of the exchangees go to school really close to my house so we can meet up and have exciting adventures. The crepes were AMAZING and I ate tons and tons of them with chocolate and icecream and honey and sugar and fresh cheese and whatever else we found that seemed tasty. While making crepes we got to talk a lot and I am once again in awe of the super cool people from Europe. My friend speaks English, Spanish, French, and Arabic and has traveled to about a million and one different countries. So JEALOUS! Annnnnd they have trains that go 400+ km/h. Crazy huh?

There was a Black Eyes Peas concert in Lima the other day. I didn't go but I'm sure someone will be excited by the news that they came to Peru... :)

I was a little homesick for McGlinns so I made BEER BREAD with my family on Saturday!!!! Yummmmmmmmmmmmm :) It wasn't quite the same but with anticuchos (BBQ'ed cow heart) it was tasty as ever!

I went to see HARRY POTTERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR 77777777777777777. Yes, I am still a die-hard fan while living in another country... I even borrowed the 7th book (in spanish) from a friend so I could re-read. Unfortunately with all my good intentions, I haven't gotten around to actually reading it, but still. :) And the movie is fabulous and everyone should definitely definitely go see it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Ok, so for Rotary we have to send a general report to our club every three monthes on how the exchange is going and general impressions of the country. I wrote my first "rotex roundup" last week and I figured I would share it with you guys. It may seem a little bit out of context but consider it an overview of everything you have read in my blog thus far.


Peru. This country opened its arms wide and wrapped me in a big huge bear-hug from the moment I arrived. My spirit has intertwined with the rich culture and loving people and now we are one. Stuck, unbreakable like the strength of my new pet turtle. (Honestly, I have a little friend that I brought back from the AMAZON!) Every aspect, from the weathered women in their traditional bright skirts to the honking taxi drivers and crowded buses is part of the attraction. From the street vendors selling Mazamora and Anticuchos to the pounding rain in the selva, Peru has truly captured my heart.
When I arrived I came with eyes wide and mind open, ready to soak up every new experience. The sights and sounds of Lima, the throbbing energy that you find in a city of 8 million are incredible. Everyday is an adventure and around each corner I find a surprise. Perhaps it is learning a jump-rope game from little girls in the street or biking to the panederia with my dad, but there is always something new, something that brings a smile to my lips and lights up my face. During the day I do my best to live every opportunity and at night I fall asleep smiling about what I have seen and heard and felt. The people. The music and dance. The nature. The art and history. The food. Yes the FOOD! Peruvians are ridiculously proud of their food and spend hours preparing, eating and talking about food. But, it deserves the attention because all of it, from the potatoes and rice to the fruits and deserts, is mouth-wateringly delicious!
I truly feel like the luckiest girl in the world because these months have been so full of smiles and laughter and exhilarating experiences. I have THE BEST host family I could possibly ask for and a fabulous group of friends at school. Everyone has reached out to welcome me into their lives and treats me like I have always been part of the family. I love my parents and sisters and never ending number of cousins and aunts and uncles. Together we talk about the differences between cultures and they have taught me to be Peruvian. I have learned to eat a huge almuerzo in the middle of the day and buy freshly baked bread for breakfast and dinner. I have learned to arrive 1 or 2 hours late to everything. I have even learned to mobilize myself with public transportation. (Yes I´m overly proud of that fact but hey, Lima is BIG!)
These months as an exchange student have been a time for learning on a deeper level as well. Not only am I learning about culture and language, but I am learning about life and myself as a person. I have new perspective. New eyes to see the world around me and more understanding about what is truly important. I can feel myself changing with every day that passes and it makes me happy. Immersed in an environment entirely different from the one I know, this is my chance to expand and grow and define myself as a person.
So, I would like to say THANKYOU to everyone who has helped me to get this far. Thank you for this opportunity to live out a dream. For helping me to find Peru. Now I am part of two families, two cultures, two different worlds but my love for you guys has only grown stronger. You have been in my heart every step of the way- from the busiest intersections of Lima to the breathtaking reaches of the Andes Mountains to the shores of the river Nanay in the Amazon basin.

Living every moment!

Chelan Pauly