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!