life is too fast paced at home. i am constantly bombarded with signals to get up and do something. here it is very different.
today we didsome intense earth moving with shovels picks and our brawny gringo backs. we were then taken in by a campesino family who gave us hearty portions of steamy potato and pumpkin stew over white rice. this simple act of hospitality would not happen at home. people in the US are often very hostile towards foreigners, at times bordering on xenophobia. here people receive us gringos as if we were their own children. the adobe house in the mountains may have been humble, with its leaky faucet and its rusted corrugated tin roof, but the mere fact that they received us as guests and fed us meant more than the size or quality of the house ever could.
after returning back to my casa i had to dissapoint my mother huami by telling her that i had already eaten, ALOT. being the worried mother that she is she had thought i must be dying of hunger and was pleased to hear that i could still walk. huami and her sister had kindly washed my dirty clothes, by hand and left them drying in the andean sun. huami then prepared me a bucket of hot water with which to bathe my dirty body. the water may have been tepid, the bar of soap looked like a dead toad, and the shampoo was baby shampoo, but simply being given the means to clean myself was a very generous gift.
at home i do not love my washing machine, or my hot water heater, or my shift key for that matter. (as you can tell the latter is taking a siesta in peru.) at home i vainly yell at my appliances when they break, when they let ME down. here everything is done by hand but with amor, con cariño, with love. i am positive that my family here spends more time than i will every know looking after my well being. they spend hours preparing delicious hot meals that may have beef the texture of a tire, but are made to make me happy. peruvian hospitality is unique.
i have additionally learned to enjoy the simple pleasures of life here. today my favorite hours were those when i could bathe myself in hot water, change into fresh clothes, and curl up in my sexy north face snowshoe sleeping back, which can survive an avalanche, so thus can also provide a legit. siesta. i spent about an hour or so reading my trashy clive cussler novel i bought in the san francisco airport. it centers around a dashing explorer that works for a government agency who must save the world from anarchists who wish to reverse the geological and magnetic poles. as any scientist knows, when said phenomena happens, the world ends unless a dashing hero can sleazily hit on as many foreign women as possible, and exchange witty dialouge while in sticky situations. i realize this isnt exactly like reading shakespeare, but it passes the time and makes me feel like im in california again, where such adventures are common place. i then curled up for an amazing nap of forty minutes, ended only by a loud peruvian parade passing my way. i went out to go see the parade in the plaza and then took a walk to find some friends at the soccer field and play some frisbee. i never found that damn field but i did get called a gringo alot, almost got attacked by a giant mastiff, and managed to talk an accidental tour of most of our pueblito. i then wandered back to my neighbor zoes house to use her internet.
i have been doing most of my really deep reflection in my journal and plan to type it all up and send it to every human being that might give a damn at the end of the trip, this includes dragons. however, i will try to post more insightfull things (i have no idea if this qualifies) more often.for now i have answered the call to arms of my leaders, i have raised my spear of the internet and struck down upon the earth a yak yak to rock the ages. so now they can stop bugging my to post more things on the internet than the bolivia group, because apparently we´re in a competition to see who can be on the internet the most in a foreign country. oh well, the head dragons must know best.
hope all is well back in the states (no insurgencies or anything right?)
life is too fast paced at home. i am constantly bombarded with signals to get up and do something. here it is very different. today we did some intense earth moving with shovels picks and our brawny gringo backs. we were then taken in by a campesino family who gave us hearty portions of steamy […]
We stumbled out of the bus, weary and wrinkled like wrapping paper in the hands of a 5 year old. Travel had taken it´s toll. Our bags were stacked high on tarpulin. Each on bulging with memories of home. The oblique shapes nestled together under our family´s laundry lines whispering tales of two cultures as […]
Well! We´ve been awway from home for 6 days- six fascinating, challenging and invigorating days- and I must say it feels much longer. I can hardly remember a time when showers were hot and I could drink from faucets. But it´s a rich, authentic experience that all of u is living, and I know that I´ll be immeasurably grateful at the end.
I confess I felt more than a little home and heartsick at the beginning of the trip. Most of us have just finished surviving junior year (I think surviving is the right word) and I know I felt like collapsing when I got off the plane in humid, smoggy Miami. We slept on buses, airplanes and in patios for the first few days, uncomfortably, and so were a little sluggish and slow moving in the fast-paced, dirty and crowded city of Lima. But it was our first taste of both the Peruvian people and Peruvian food, and I can honestly say that as much as I love the former, I, in my northern California healthfreak way, resent the latter. White bread has never been my cup of tea.
The country is stunningly, arestingly beautiful. I think one the group said it best with, "damn you for being so photogenic, PEru!" I think we all feel a little that way; that after being here for a while, you become almost immune to the jagged snow covered peaks and hollowed out green valleys and steppes. I´m not immune yet, though, and yesterday we took a leisurely hike to a waterfall with perfect rainbow spray, set in some of the most picture perfect mountains, clean air, and lush fields I have ever seen. There are many onstants to life in PEru- white bread, dogs, trash in the streets, beggars, and powerful beauty. We took a twisty tunry hairpin bus ride from Huarez, the trekking capital of Peru, that must have been one of the most consistently overwhelming rides I have ever been on.
There are entertaining parts to being here, aside from the spiritual and emotional power of the place. One has to carry toilet paper everywhere, and it´s always a little bit of a sturggle to communicate. We spent a few hours with preschool kids today who had never encountered simon says or any of the other classics, so we taught it to them, in our slightly broken and unclear spanish.
Other than that, life is good. The weather is refreshingly cool, as it is winter, and the group refreshingly "chill." We´re having fun- PEruvian style- and loving the time with our homestay families. I learned how to knit today, and tonight there´s a party at my house for everyone to learn how too.
Well! We´ve been awway from home for 6 days- six fascinating, challenging and invigorating days- and I must say it feels much longer. I can hardly remember a time when showers were hot and I could drink from faucets. But it´s a rich, authentic experience that all of u is living, and I know that […]
Peru is the land of many colors. Not only am I constantly struck by the contrasts of an old woman´s pink and blue alpaca sweater against the crystal white of the mountains, the culture itself is richer than all the shades of thread. Kindness and hospitality permeates Peuvian culture to the extent of which I have never experienced. As I walk the streets of Chiquian, I am always greeted by the smell fo small family wood stoves, and against this backdrop, I hear the sound of donkey´s hooves chattering up behind me. A cow moos, a rooster crows, and children laugh in the distance. As I turn the corner of a cobblestone stret, I encounter an elderly woman greeting me as she returns from her outing to buy some bread. Hidden behind the wise, wrinkled, and optimistic faces are the mysteries unique to this country. Inca culture is still everywhere, even in the knitted alpaca hat of my 15 month old host son. and to thihnk that this is just the beginning...
This bright Peru surrounds and permeates our Dragon lair in which we have already experienced together a love of nature, of kindness, of curiosity, and of humility. We have learned to struggle individually with communication in our homestays and we eagerly donated a morning to play simple games with preschool children. We have become irritated with prejudices and overjoyed by the people´s strong grace. We have learned to live with ice water showers and we have been amazed when our host mothers boil pot after pot of water so that we are as comfortable as possible. We struggle, but through these oftenly uncomfortable, unknown paths, we learn. Learn to listen, to laugh, to experience, to understand, to lead, to support, to fit in, to be unique, to share and to live in new ways and new lights. This is Peru and we are just beginning to see her true colors.
Peru is the land of many colors. Not only am I constantly struck by the contrasts of an old woman´s pink and blue alpaca sweater against the crystal white of the mountains, the culture itself is richer than all the shades of thread. Kindness and hospitality permeates Peuvian culture to the extent of which I […]