Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Neighbor's Donkey

Sunset out our window at the obispado.

Looking at the dining room from the back yard.

My neighbor's donkey and a passing moto.

Anabel did my hair.

Pelau with mangoes from his father's chakra.

Anabel and I. That's a creamolada (essentially juice) in my hand.

Bananas from my "grandma's" tree.

This is how we wash our clothes.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Drop Dead, Traffic Stopping Gorgeous

There is a very funny scene from the movie Overboard in which Goldie Haun's character is interviewed by the local news station. The news station itself is laughable. Run completely by a man and his wife, it is clear that they are broadcasting from their living room and have made their set our of paper and cardboard. I was delighted to discover that the local news here in Chulucanas is exactly the same set up: a middle aged man sits behind a desk and the wall behind him is covered by a big picture that simply says, "noticias" (news). Recently, when Britt, Chantelle and I were walking home we passed the building where the news is filmed (by buliding, I mean the small room). It's safe to say that I flipped out... For some reason the news is so comical to me and to have my assumptions realized of what this little "studio" actually looks like really tickled my funny bone!

Beauty does not have a universal definition. I know this because the people here think that us gringas are GORGEOUS. I mean drop dead, traffic stopping gorgeous (and we really do stop traffic). Why is this? I've never thought of myself as particularly ugly, but I'm certainly no goddess. Indeed, it is quite peculiar to be considered so exotic when I've always considered myself plain and normal. This goes to show just how ridiculous the notion of "normal" really is.

Peace, love, and chifles!

(Chifles are fried banana chips, yum)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Te Quiero, Lucia

One of our "chanchos"

Chalon and I

Dancing with Pdr. Fidel

Cachema, it's what's for dinner.

Playing "Carnival" with Yudy and Rafaela

Sucora and Pelau with his most recent project

Ed, Pat, Britt and Chantelle

Rafaella and I

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Evil Circles

Thursday 2/14:

Sometime you simply have a bad day, or perhaps a bad week. Usually nothing major occurs, but it is the little nuances of daily life that drag us down. This is how I felt as I left the obispado last Thursday. However, as soon as we stepped out of the building we were met with a fantastic sunset. The colors painted across the sky were breathtaking. It is in those moments that I feel and sense God's presence. Needless to say, my bad mood was instantly replaced with a grateful and pleasant one. That night we went with Patti, Yudy, another Patti, and Chellie (ok so none of us could pronounce Chellie's real name so we've just been calling her Chellie- oops) to the discoteca, La Amistad. The girls, my neighbors, kindly invited us to join them for a popular Valentine's Day tradition. When we first got there I was a little disappointed by how dull it seemed. However, as in mat countries, the fun does not start until around 11:30. La Amistad has a live band that plays all of the "hits." If you're curious as to what it looks like, just imagine a high school dance or a Stonehill mixer. It's kind of cute how all the dancing starts too: All of the girls gather in little circles (or evil circles as my cousin Ian calls them) and simply wait until a boy clew over and politely asks them to dance- and the boys love to dance! Needless to say, we all had a blast at the discoteca and I sincerely hope that we return.

Friday 2/15:

We agreed to dine with the Augustinians here in Chulucanas once every other week, but as they were invited to Chantelle's house t celebrate her "grandparents" anniversary, we went there for dinner. The priests, Padre Juan Carlos, Pdr. Fidel (who we met while in Lima), Pdr. Isoel, and the Augustinian seminarians were all very kind and humorous. Britt said it best when she turned to me and said, "I've never met such lively priests!" It is always refreshing to meet priests in a place where they feel free and comfortable to be themselves.

After dinner, the music came on. Just guess what these fun loving priests did: danced! Pdr. Carlos is quite a good dancer and impressed us all by dancing the Marianera, a traditional Peruvian dance, with Claudia, Chantelle's "cousin." They all love Gangham Style or "el caballo" (the horse)- as they call it- and joined us in jumping all over the place. I look forward to our next meal with them. After dinner, Sra. Rosa's nephew drove Britt and I home on the back of his motorcycle... At the same time!

Saturday 2/16:

Claudia, Othmar, Ganiella (both Britt's siblings), Yudy, and Anabel went with us to La Pilca, one of the nearby towns that he river runs through. La Pilca is a lot closer to the mountains and offered a much better view. It was nice swimming and playing in the water, but we soon realized that it's not always fun hanging out with fifteen year olds. Claudia stepped on a thorn, hurt her foot, and had to go home. We explained this to the other girls and told them that two of them would have to go home to keep the balance of people between the two motos that we took. None of them would budge though and we were left trying to figure out what to do. Finally Britt announced that we would all be leaving in ten minutes. Sometimes it's hard to be an adult.

On the moto ride back, I sat in the very back of the moto so that I could admire the spectacular view, a dirty but excellent life choice!

Later, I went with Rafaela, Ananbel and Sucora to her brother's house for Ingrid's (Anabel's cousin) fifteenth birthday party. The party consisted of a meal and a cake. It seems like the singing before they eat cake lasts forever. They sing "happy birthday" in Spanish, English, then there's this other part about cutting the cake, etc... The person who's birthday it is also has to bite the cake first before anyone else.

More to come later!!!

Miss you all. Love you all!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Exorbitant Amounts of Food

Watching Bishop Dan's face and noticing just how much he enjoyed himself was the best part of his mardi gras party. Last Monday we were invited to the obispado for this little celebration. Peruvian parties are arranged like this: all of the chairs are set up in a circle leaving an empty space in the middle. At the beginning, someone goes up and grabs a tray of food (typical party food like popcorn) and walks around the circle offering it to each person. Later on in the party, some brave couple gets up to dance while everyone else watches until someone else finally gets the courage to dance too. Basically, imagine a middle school dance right down to the fact that the boys go up to girls and ask them to dance. Despite it being a strange experience for us, the party was quite fun.

Today our landlord, Marlón showed us the house that we will live in together and it is absolutely gorgeous! It was exciting to see where we will live together once we are more fully settled. One of the funnier moments of the visit occurred when we toured the bathroom and it looked like someone had left a little present in the toilet (if you know what I mean). That is, until it started moving! It seems that two little frogs had taken up residence in the toilet!

I continue to be fed exorbitant amounts of food which contains barely any vegetables and way too many carbs. It's one of those things that's really good the first time then quickly gets really old. Other than that though I don't dislike the food, I just miss veggies!

Love you!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I love, I weep.

I love leaving my house and hearing a two year-old scream after me, "¡Lucía! No te vayas." ("Lucía! Don't leave!). I love walking down the street, nodding to all the old folks sitting out on their front stoops, giggling as one woman exclaims, "Good evening! Ah, how beautiful you look tonight!" I love waving to my neighbor as he drives his moto down the street. I love coming home later that night to a family excited to see me and dragging me into the street to play volleyball with their neighbors until the wee hours of the morning. I love waking up the next morning and having a water fight in the street with all of the neighborhood kids.

At the top of the hill we climbed!

Anabel, Rafaela, me, Chantelle, Britt, Pelau, Othmar (Britt's host brother)

Twilight looking out the back of our house.

The mountains!

Cooking Aji de Gallina with Pelau being silly in the background.

Still cooking dinner with Anabel!

The duckies that have free reign of our back yard!

Yet, I weep. I weep for the dogs, kicked and abused by their owners. I weep for the environmental disregard that takes place when people simply throw their rubbish in the street. I weep for those children who's bones push forth a little too prominently. I weep for the women and children who suffer from the machismo culture. Finally, I weep for those who think that the people I met are only poor. They know that they are poor, but it in no way defines them. Their richness of living overpowers any physical poverty.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Are you happy Lucía?

What a whirlwind this has been! I even have a new name as Lacie was just a little too difficult to say and remember. They call me Lucía. It seems that my days are either so stuffed that I run from one place to another or I sit around all day with nothing to do! As I mentioned in my previous post I am now living with my host family. Pelau (the father), Sucora (the mother), Anabel (the 14 year old), and Rafaela (the 2 year old) have all welcomed me into their home in their own special ways. They live in a very simple house. It is essentially has one main room with a table on the right, the TV in the middle of the room, and their beds are on the left side of the room hidden by hanging bed sheets. The back of the house is covered by a roof but is essentially open to the outside so the pigs, ducks, and dogs all roam about back there. Both the bathroom and my room are each in a corner of the backyard. One of the first things that Pelau said to me was, “We are poor, we do not have much, but what we have is now also yours. You are family.” I told him that it was perfect and that my grandfather always told us, “Your wealth is in your children.”

The first day that I got there was the grandmother’s (who lives next door) birthday so we went over to pass around a bottle of beer. This is how they drink in Chulucanas: 
1. You are passed the bottle and cup. 
2. You pour as much as you want into the cup and pass the bottle to the next person.
3. You drink it, shake out what’s left onto the floor then pass the cup to the next person.
It sounds weird, but that’s what they do here! Rafaela’s personality really shone through when her mother dropped some money on the floor and she ran over to it, picked it up and yelled, “¡a comprar!” which basically means, “I’m going shopping!” She has a fairly extensive vocabulary for a two year-old and even yells “¡Callate!” (Shut up!) and “¡Largate!” (Go away!) when she’s unhappy. She’s cute.

Last Saturday the two girls and I went with their cousin to their grandfather’s mango chakra, or farm. It was neat to get out of the city and to see a little bit of the country. Also, mangoes are SO delicious here. Sunday morning Pelau and I went to church together at San Jose Obrero (the Augustinian church) and I could actually understand a lot of what was going on as it is not a large building. Monday Pelau and Anabel offered to walk us up a nearby hill to get a great view over all of Chulucanas. The hike was fun and the view amazing! On Wednesday Pelau invited me to go to Piura (a nearby city) with him. We went to a lumberyard to get wood for his next big project; he is a carpenter and specializes in building furniture for people. It was neat to see him at work and so happy to be there! On our way home, perched on top of piles of wood strapped to a tiny little moto, he asked me, “Are you happy Lucía?” I responded that I was and asked him the same to which he replied, “I am, I am happy to have a job.” Going anywhere with Pelau is hilarious as he seems to know everyone. He always waves or yells some joke to people as we pass.

Yesterday Anabel and I went to the community pool with Britt and her two host siblings. Apparently women in Chulucanas do not wear bathing suits so we awkwardly went in in our clothes. However, it was fun hanging out with the kids and acting silly, especially with Anabel. I feel like she is always caring for her little sister and taking care of their home but rarely gets to be silly. Last night I helped Anabel and Sucora make dinner: Aji de gallina. DELICIOUS. I hope that I can attempt to replicate this dish because it is definitely my favorite so far.

This morning Britt, Chantelle and I taught Pat’s English class for her as she needed to go to Piura with her husband (it was a class of teenagers just learning English). It was fun to work with the kids and gave me a little more confidence to be a teacher. Tonight we promised to help out again at the university with pronunciation (this time with a class of older students). Next time I will post some pictures that I’ve taken recently!
PS I wrote another post for the Augustinian blog, here’s the link:

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Essence of Splat

Cosas que he aprendido en Perú
Things that I have learned in Peru:

1. Don't do ANYTHING between 1:00pm and 3:00pm. It's just WAY too hot.
2. Don't assume that pedestrians have the right of way. You will go splat.
3. Don't eat the skin off of any fruit or vegetable or drink tap water. You will get the splats.
4. Do eat the mangoes and limes. They are both delicious.
5. Don't wear nice shoes to the market. You will get any version of splat on them.
6. Don't be afraid to barter. They will respect you more.
7. Do say hello to everyone you see. After all, they're already staring at you.
8. Don't respond in any way when someone whistles or cat calls at you. Withold your inner feminist.
9. Don't throw your toilet paper in the toilet but into the trash barrel. You will clog the toilet.
10. Do bring a roll of your own toilet paper everywhere you go. It's hard to come by.
11. Don't expect that the people you need to talk to will be there. They like to vacation.
12. Don't ask anyone how old they are. It's rude.
13. Don't try to download YouTube videos. It will take an hour for 20 seconds.
14. Don't be surprised to hear Gangham Style everywhere... all the time.
15. Don't overthink the sign of peace at mass. It will always be awkward.
16. Don't think about the fully intact chicken feet in your soup.
17. Do enjoy all of the potatoes that they feed you. Nom nom nom.
18. Don't leave your pet chickens, turkeys, or ducks unattended. Their feet will be bound, they will be plucked, gutted, chopped up, and fed to you for lunch or dinner.
19. Don't be alarmed when you see a man riding his bicycle down the street with two live ducks hanging from each handlebar.
20. Don't question what the street dogs are eating. You do not want to know.
21. Do enjoy the stars at night. They are different here.
22. Do watch the direction that the toilet flushes. It's different here.

Today we move in with our host families and my internet connection will be limited. Just as the exciting things start I will have limited time and resources to tell you of them! Alas, I'm excited to get going. Everybody send thoughts and prayers to my family as my dad had a little accident at home. Mom & Dad: love you guys so much!