Four cities and 34 hours later I stand in Jorge Chávez International Airport, lugging around my over packed bags, bombarded by taxi drivers asking me if I need a ride and my Spanish is needed to tell them “estoy esperando por mis amigos”, “Im waiting for my friends”. Gosh, just that simple utterance
requires a thought process completely impossible for a sleep deprived barely fluent Spanish speaker. Well, after 10 minutes I see 2 very friendly faces and know that Julio and Christina, a fellow volunteer, have arrived to take me to the home I will inhabit for the next 2 months, I’m thrilled to see my bed. While on the car ride to Planeta, the area in Central Lima in which we will be living, excitement replaces my exhaustion as I peer out the windows taking in everything Lima has to offer.
The homes in Lima are colorful and it seems people really try to be different in the design of their homes. The colors and designs vary from house to house and you cannot help but stare at each one. Our humble abode is a off white with a balcony on the seconded floor where ‘Killer’, the friendliest dog around, resides. I can estimate 10 minutes when I was around and about getting a small tour of the house then went straight for a well-deserved nap.
I was awoke several hours later by persistent knocks at my bedroom door and I knew exactly what they meant, Dinner. My first Peruvian meal consisted of 2 courses. The first was potato in a cream sauce and the second was chicken on a bed of seasoned spaghetti. Dinner was amazing and just what I need to fuel a few hours night out in the heart of Lima. The highlight of the night was sitting down at the recommended Pisco Palace, “La Catedral de Pisco”, and sipping on my first Pisco Sour. After walking through Jiron de la Union into la Plaza de Armas and spending some time hanging out on the square with the night view of the President’s Palace we climbed into a cab with home as the destination and a well deserved night of sleep.
My initial days in Peru have been filled with new experiences and I cannot wait for what I have in store. I do know a few things now: my Spanish is not as bad as I thought and Julio’s eight year-old niece will be a great aid in my newly acquired Spanish fluency. Vacations can be boring but volunteering for half of the summer in Peru is the best way to gain experience writing while seeing the sights and getting away from the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia.
Anastacia is a volunteer with the Karikuy volunteer program, to learn more or apply for a position click here