Happy May! It has been a phenomenal past couple of days. Part of this success is most assuredly linked with my recent recommitment to caffeine and therefore overall enhancement of energy. You see, my mentor, a past AV who offered me advice and answered questions, sent me a bag of ground coffee- surprisingly near impossible to find down here. Sadly, the majority of the coffee grown is exported out of the country and the locals really only drink instant coffee.
This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting the younger brother of a former AV. John has been backpacking around Central and South America for six months now and wanted to make a pit stop in Chulucanas so he stayed with us. We had fun toting him around with us and even brought him with us to the Augustinians' house for our monthly Friday night dinner. Like always, the food was just as rich and filling as the conversation. There's never a dull moment with the padres. I can also thank padre Arturo for giving me his old French Press-which makes delicious coffee by the way. After that we went home and invited Francis (an English boy that is living is Chulucanas for the month as a volunteer) over to hang out. Before long, some of our other friends showed up- there is never a shortage of friends in Chulucanas.
John left to continue his travels on Saturday but our spare bedroom was once again occupied by Micah and Jocelyn (the couple from Stonehill also serving down here). We brought them out to one of our favorite restaurants and made them try anticucho (beef heart-so good!). Next came a trip to the ice cream shop: always a wonderful time!A Saturday night Chulucanas tradition is to walk around the main plaza (so many times that you're practically dizzy!). So after ice cream we went to work off the carbs, doing laps around the plaza and saying hello to all the friends and students we passed. We soon met up with Francis again who also had a hankering for ice cream, so it was off the the other ice cream shop in Chulu. Once there we surprised ourselves by ordering more ice cream- solidarity with Francis!
The next morning we all went to the market for a breakfast of bread and fresh juice. The bread here is so good. Even though I have a fun time baking bread, I LOVE the local bread, and it's cheap: a sol for a full bag of bread! After our breakfast we climbed to the top of the hill that stands right at the city "gate." From this lookout point, you can see out over all of Chulucanas. We had some fun taking in the view and posing by the Chulucanas "Hollywood sign," which is exactly what it sounds like, big white letters placed in the hillside. Soon after Jocelyn and Micah boarded a moto on their way home, but not without us promising to visit them next! They're really great, deeply spiritual, and fun people.
Coffee was not the only thing making me high on Monday morning. The day started with a bang when Britt texted and told us to come right away- and bring a camera! All of the students from the school where she teaches were parading through the streets, dressed in traditional Incan clothes. The costumes were beautiful and it was so fun to see the students literally stopping traffic.
It was so good to see my students again after a week away and it helped that they all professed that they had missed me and were concerned for my well being. Later that day I had my favorite university class. They're active listeners, they laugh at my jokes, and they always complain at the end of the class because they don't want me to leave!
After my class, I pedaled my way to Pelau's house. On the way there, I passed Pelau on the street with some friends and we rode the rest of the way to his house together (precious, right?). Sucora quit her job at the chicken place as she wants to start her own business instead. I'm so happy to see her so relaxed and excited for the future. As I hugged Pelau goodbye he said, come back soon I miss you! Again, precious.
For dinner we went with our friends Ruso, Keny, and Francis to El Cincuenta, a small town just outside of Chulu which is famous for its carne seca and chifles (dried meat, which is kind of like beef jerky, and fried banana chips). Delicious.
Last night consisted of a delicious dinner at the Obispado, and then a visit to the Serenata at San Jose Obrero (the Augustinian parish). Every year on the anniversary of the creation of the parish zone, there is a big party/talent show. It was so fun and interesting to sit and watch the many singers and traditional dancers perform. We finished our fabulous night by going to the Faborit Festival. Faborit is the new discoteca that they will soon be opening in Chulu so to promote it the owners held a big party in a big field. So. Much. Fun!
Ok, I've talked your ear off enough (can you say that when you're only typing?).
May your coffee energize you, may your bread be cheap, and may your chifles always be served with carne seca!!!