Saturday, June 27, 2009

¿3 Semanas Ya? Really?

So it has been three weeks of Peace Corps training so far and I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone (especially these past two weeks!). Training definitely keeps you busy! I know my vida will be different once I move to my site in late August and I´m glad for this stepping stone that is training. The support system is amazing. Not only do I have my fellow American friends all going through the same things as me at the same time, but the tech trainers for the Youth Development program are amazing, warm, supportive women (Angelica y Isabel), the doctor Jorge is hilarious and knows how to give shots without hurting me!, the safety guy Enrique is AWESOME and I feel very protected by him and all the staff (not in the sense that nothing is going to happen to me.. but in the sense that if something should go wrong, the best of the best have my back), and my current language teacher (Darío) is great and i play music with him/ chat in English/ talk about U.S. and Peruvian differences most days after classes. I can confidently take the combi by myself (yay) and have been to Lima twice so far.
Today we went to a University in Lime called La Molina where they have a huge department in Agricultural work and we will be going there every Saturday from now on to learn how to plant, make gardens, learn the names of different kinds of fruit/veggies/herbs, bee keeping (yup, you heard me), how to raise cuyes (guinea pigs... they eat them here... and no I have not tried one yet.. my familia´s cuyes are still growing in the backyard), etc etc. It was fun today... Dad: we got to use mulch and plant lettuce and eat weird fruits! My fav. fruit of the day is Chilimoya. I highly suggest everyone try one once in their life time... delicioso!!!
¿Qué más? I´m teaching my host siblings to type fast on the compter... the tootsie roll lolly pops are almost gone... oh! My friend Lisa´s family´s dog bit me yesterday.. pretty hard I might add. Luckily I already had my rabies shots and the dog has vaccines. So, that was a first! mostly it was just funny.
Here´s just a lil section to get a glimpse of Peruvian culture: There is so much i love about Peru so far: one being that they really understand my sense of humor and two when you offer food/a treat or to share something you brought with you in your lunch.. they will accept and take some! :) Its the simple things. I am surprisingly getting used to cold showers.. although I don´t look forward to showers like I used to and they make AMAZING teas and warm drinks here mornings and nights. The combi (bus) rides involve a guy yelling at you to SUBE SUBE (get up get up) or BAJO BAJO (get off get off).
I will find out what site I´m headed to 4 weeks from now I believe. Meanwhile we have another spanish interview next week to see if we advance levels.. annddd.. there´s another strike on Tuesday (this time the public transportation will not be running so we hae to walk an hour and a half to the center that day).
If anyone has good ideas for group dinámicas (fun ice breaker ish games) for kids/teens please send them my way. I hope everyone is having a great start to their summer! (winter for me!) I am on skype during the week in the evenings (about 7pm your time) sometimes and on Sundays in the mornings! (FYI).


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Fotos of Peruvian Life...

  This is the delicious lunch I had today. Note the mountain of popcorn. That is not normal... but I thought it was hilarious so I took a picture. I love getting cucumbers almost everyday! 

Monday, June 22, 2009

¡Desde Perú!

¡Hola a todos! Just wanted to write a quick update with the work that I´m doing in training... Currently for training (besides getting vaccinated like crazy) we have project to do based on what language level we´re in/ our program. I, with my group of 4 other peacecordians in the youth development field, need to get together about 15 youth in our towns together for an afterschool weekly club of sorts. We need to create games/create a fun atmosphere and teach. We plan on using the pianica for sure!
Next I have to create an hour long lesson for some 30 kids in the local school.... about ANYTHING I want. Sooo.. I thought of the idea to do a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego type of thing. To teach geography/play games at the same time. Plus who doesn´t need to learn more about geography? :) We shall see how that goes.
Finally I need to come up with another project to do for the entire town of Yanacoto as a way to thank them for hosting us peacecordians. Maybe a trash clean up? It can include adults and kids. As you can see, creativity seems to be essential for work in the Peace Corps. I´m pretty excited about the groups. I´ve learned so much from my job at City Corps in Ventura... things don´t seem as daunting as they would have before City Corps.
Besides projects I have the normal español tarea and such, I watch pokemon or dragon ballz reguarly with my host bro, I play music with my spanish professor Darío after class most days, hang out, play cards with the familia, oh! And today I played basketball with some locals and peacecordians and it really pays to be tall!! Or at least a lot taller than basicaly the entire population of Peru.
¡Hasta pronto! More pics to be posted soon.

Abrazos Fuertes,

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Sorry about not explaining the pics guys... I downloaded the pictures when I didn´t have mucho tiempo and I just decided to post `em without having to write anything. So the first is dos of my amigas Lisa on the left y Colleen on the right. (Colleen went to UP with me! Crazy, no?). Lisa is from Ohio and is awesome. I am at her casa right now here in Yanacoto cuz she lives in an internet café. There´s also a pic of my house here (the blue and yellow one) I live on the yellow floor. Theres a pic of the training center when they first greeted us on the first Sunday and then there are llamas that were at the Huampaní. (The resort place we went to during the first weekend.) Wow. I use a lot of parenthesis! I will write more laters! I´m in the process of training to download skype to talk to the familia! Hope everything is swell in the states (and in Belgium too Emilie and Guillaume!) !


Thursday, June 18, 2009


              This is... well.. me.. with my town  Yanacoto in the background.
                                     :) Taken from my casa.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Dia en the Life of a Peruvian Peacecordian in Training!

Alrighty everyone... This is the entry where I tell you what the daily routine is for me and the rest of the 36 of us here in Peru for Cuerpo de Paz. Just to give you an idea:

I live in a little town called Yanacoto which is Quechua (the most commonly spoken indigenous language in this country) for Black One/Thing. Our training center is in Chaclacayo which is about 30 minutes by walking, then bus (combi), then walking again. Other volunteers live in (I believe) 4 other nearby towns. Yanacoto has the most volunteers living in it at the moment (14 or us!) and is (in the best way to describe it) a sprawling mass of houses with dirt roads built up a hill. It´s as if someone decided to build a house and then it grew and in order to expand people had to just keep building houses up into the hills. There are churches, a couple cement places to play soccer/basketball and of course.. and my favorite.. a swing set!! In order to organize the town, it´s sectioned off into 5 zonas. I live in the 2nd zona. Every day I go down the hill to the main street to take a combi and everyday after school I subir (climb up) the hill. And when I say hill... I mean... BASTANTE hill. Yeah. It´s a killer. But I like having it because I have all this excess energy after sitting for 9 hours a day in clases and it´s definitely a good way to get exercise without having to be that "weird gringo" who runs. psshh.. ¿who does that?

side nota: I LOVE having ñ keys and ¿s on the keyboard!!!!

Sooooooo.. my dia es asi:
I wake up about 6:30 or so to dogs fighting/chickens crowing/my alarm (which I still hit about a zillion times before I get up Raquel hehe). By that time my whole family is already up. I dont know how they do it because they go to bed after me.. and then wake up a good 30 minutes before me... including my 18 year old brother! sheesh. Anywho. I have learned to NOT take a shower in the morning anymore... demasiado frio (too cold) so I just get ready and then have breaky with usually my sister and padre. So far it´s always been two medium sized fresh bread rolls with something in it... like... this morning some type of meat (my bro told me it was chicken. I highly doubt that.), or jam and butter... or one time is was guacomole/slices of avocado. They always give me two drinks in the morning. One is hot and is some type of Quaker or soya or... usually vanilla tasting thing. The other is a cold fruit juice. Then I go to school! With the lunch box and everything... awwww.. lately I´ve been brining my pianica. More on that later.

So classes start at 8 in the morning, lunch at 12, and resume at 1 until 5 in a nutshell. Half the day is dedicated to language. My profesor is Dario. He is awesome and there are only 5 people in my clase. Sometimes our classes are conducted in our host familia´s houses. After lunch we normally break into our program groups (mine is Youth Development), or have a charla (little class) on health or safety or food.... algo asi. After classes I have been staying after to play music with Dario. He plays guitar and is teaching me some awesome peruvian songs to play. He LOVES the pianica!! Theres this one song I learned today called Caballo Viejo. Its a haunting tune you can dance to. All the volunteers seem to like the pianica too. Everyone knows I have it and no one knew what it was before. (Yukiko. The pianica is a HIT). I had my host familia play it and I have some video footage of that to share. They love when I play. When I get to my site in August I think kids will love it too.

I get back home about 6 45 or so (if I play musica) and have dinner at about 7. By the way. Peruvians DO eat a bunch of rice and potatoes. Those two things are the staple of my diet and boy do they serve a lot. I do like the food so far (exception: chunky sweet soupish dish) but I´m not going to lie... it might become old. We shall see. :) I´ve helped make a number of meals (mostly soups). Tonight I helped my padre peel pea pods for an hour. Normally I chat with the padres about what not and my sister gets back about 8 30, my bro about 9 (they go to school/work/hang out with friends) and then we play cards (Bri.. I taught reyes en el rincon to my host bro and vete a pescar!) and watch TV and chat. I feel very comfortable with them. My bro and I are pretty good friends, I feel like they all have the same sense of humor as me and understand me pretty well. I usually go to sleep about 11 ish after spending that time with them.

After all that.. in short. I have a great support system with the peace corps and all my fellow volunteers, I love speaking spanish with the familia, I get to tocar the piano often and its nice to have structure right now. Ya!

With that said I have a funny story about me going to an Evangelical church with my padre and hermana if anyone is interested. Email me :) Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you all! Keep leaving comments. They make me even more happy. Hasta!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perros, Peruvians, y Paras... Oh my!

Hola a todos!
It has officially been a week of Peacecordian Life. Que chevere! (how cool). Let me take a little time to describe my Familia!
Mi Papa is named Paul. He is in his early sixties and is so... cute.. there´s really not other word to describe him. He is jubliado (or retired as we say in the States) but stays active taking care of the house since my madre here is paralyzed from the waist down after a bus accident 14 years ago. He cooks, washes clothes, and actually... (I did NOT ask him to do this.. but he does it anyway) organizes my room each day after I leave... even though I do not think it is messy.. I dont have much to be messy with! He is protective and tells me continuously that this is my house and he is my dad and to tener confianza y dice a el todo (tell him everything).

Side Note: theres this little girl sitting next to me who has become my friend. Nicole (who is 6) and I met two days ago in this internet cafe and she hugged me today when she saw me and remembered my name and everything. She is adorable and tells me all the English words she knows. She is currently playing Barbie games.

Then there is my madre: Teofila. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. Like I said she cannot move and stays in the house constantly. Either in bed or on the couch with us in the main room. She exudes an essense of tranquility... makes me feel very content and at home and always has something to ask me about my day and classes. She made me take a nap today. :) I fell asleep watching a movie with her. (we watched A Walk to Remember in espanol the other day).

My sister is Dennis. Before I met her I thought I had two brothers!! I soon found out you pronounce it like Denise. She is one year older than me (her birthday is in September too!) and understands everything I say and I love to spend time with her. On my very first day I went with her and my brother to buy him some clothes and she would ask my opinion and it was awesome! Anywho. She cooks a lot in the house (her food is awesome) one of my favorite things so far that she makes is a warm drink for breakfast called Soya.. is delicioso. She is studying to become a laboratory worker for hospitals (like... examining blood and other human liquids as she put it).

Mi hermano se llama Randol. He is 18 and is hilarious. I joke aroudn with him a lot (with the whole familia actually). He is the hardest for me to understand because his voice is low and he talks fast.. but he is very calm and considerate too. I think I´m going to go play soccer with him on Saturday if I can. He loves Dragonball, action movies, and is studying in a University in Lima too... studying Computers.

So. That is my family in a nutshell. Theres also a little dog named Tobey. He is cute and loves to play. I haven´t taken that many pictures at all! But I did take some of my casa today so I will try and post them soon. Anywho, lots of funny things have happened, I´ve made American friends and Peruvian friends... seen a protest (against the things that are happening in the rainforests here right now), wake up to dogs fighting and roosters crowing... I have taken 2 cold showers so far... and.... have not gotten used to them yet. I think I´ve advanced levels of Spanish already.. (maybe.. keep your fingers crossed for me). I tested into Intermediate Medium... and they say I should move up to Intermediate High. We shall see. I LOVE riding in the combis (the busses here) and speaking spanish CONSTANTLY. It´s like.. my dream! The spanish major finally paid off!People are still confused here when they ask me what I studied and I say Spanish.. and then they say.. but what career? hehe. I´ll put my pics up soon and I hope everyone is doing well! Write me and ask questions! Lets set up skype dates everyone!

Abrazos Fuertes,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Estoy en Peru!

So here I am... a little out side of Lima, Peru, sitting in a little tienda that is in this resort (that is the best way to describe it) where all 36 of us Peace Corps Trainees (both Business Development and Youth Development volunteers) are staying for two nights before we meet our first host familias tomorrow. I literally have no words for how happy I am! Our plane had some weather issues coming into Miami yesterday so we were delayed... needless to say.... A LOT. and got into Peru at about 2 in the morning... I went to bed at 4 a.m. We are all sleep deprived, tired, drained.. and psyched about everything! This place we are staying is basically made for retreats and families to come during the day to get away from the city. There are tons of jungle gyms, llamas, horses just wakling around with the llamas, swing sets, go karts, sports fields, ping pong tables, pool, and even paddle boats (that I for sure already tried out!). Whew. Theres so much to talk about! We were greeted at the aeropuerto by the peace corps staff.. who are all so exceptionally warm, caring people. It was so nice not to have to worry about a thing last nice once we arrived. We had some training today.. oh.. did I mention how AWESOME all these people whoa re doing this with me are? I am already fast friends with many of them and feel like I have known them for much longer than just two days! I am almost teary with joy.
Some things I have done ya (already):
taken a picture of llamas
gotten to know some peruvians (theyre sooooo friendly) one guy video taped me for his nieces in California
had a spanish test
not gotten sick yet
paddle boated in a very small area
eaten delicious arroz con pollo
made many friends!
played on a swing set
played with peruvian kids in a (not so safe.. but awesome) tree house
slept only 3 hours a night... for the past 3 nights!
met a woman from Colombia (she said shes Shakiras twin.. hehe)
gotten my spanish back!!!!

There are more things.. but that is what I can think of now. Please email me with questions or queever at
I feel good, we are safe, peruvians are friendly, the staff are amazing and I am unbelieveably excited and know this is the what I need to be doing right now. Tomorrow I move in with a family and I start official classes on Monday. Wish me luck... so far so good.

Con abrazos fuertes,