Category Archives: food

pause.

a8ac31100d0411e3a6de22000a1fb5b7_7mike and i both took a pause from our schedules, and we spent 4 days in lima together! hooray! but really, i am just grateful that he was willing to travel all the way down to peru for just 4 short days…which flew by way too fast. we had a blast! we stayed in a condo with an ocean-view in miraflores, walked around town a lot, went bowling, explored barranco, finally visited the ministerio de cultura to visit the shining path exhibit, ate ceviche, and drank plenty of chicha morada. we had another grand finale feast at another top restaurant in peru, this time at central restaurante. it was named as one of the 2013 top 50 restaurants in the world, and the number one overall restaurant in peru. honestly, it was incredible. personally, i thought it was better than astrid y gaston, because they paid attention to every final detail, including the presentation. i still find myself salivating over all of our dishes…mmmmmm…

enoying the ocean-view from our balcony.

enoying the ocean-view from our balcony.

exploring barranco.

exploring barranco.

one of these things is not like the others.

one of these things is not like the others.

enjoying the plaza in barranco.

enjoying the plaza in barranco.

the ministerio de cultura.

the ministerio de cultura.

i asked mike to feel how soft my hair is, and this is how he responded...so romantic...

i asked mike to feel how soft my hair is, and this is how he responded…so romantic…

i had a really hard time with the front door to our condo building...as in it intimidated me...but seriously, it was HUGE!

i had a really hard time with the front door to our condo building…as in it intimidated me…but seriously, it was HUGE!

i had such an incredible time with him, and now i have reacomstombrared myself with the life in the norte. it’s tan caliente right now, and i am counting down the days until we get to see each other again!!!

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(med)check that off the list.

just trucking my mri images around lima.

just trucking my mri images around lima.

once a year, the lima peace corps office, brings all the volunteers to lima for a week of medical checks and a couple of days of training. the training was…well let’s just say the most interesting part was learning what everyone else has been up to for the past year. the rest of the week i was in and out of doctor’s offices throughout lima. i had one day where my first appointment was at 8 and i was spent all day traveling and waiting for my other appointments, with my last one ending at 8:30pm. the results? well, i learned that my fateful fall in the jungle has left me with a torn ligament in my ankle, and i got a broken tooth cap and only had 1 cavity! the bad news, is that i have to go back to the dentist this week for some follow-up work. the good news is that i got my broken glasses replaced! and that i finally learned why my ankle still hurts…though, i would have preferred something like “a really bad sprain…” oh well.

don't worry. my friends and i still found plenty of time to eat plenty of delicious food...and by food, i obviously mean pinkberry.

don’t worry. my friends and i still found plenty of time to eat plenty of delicious food…and by food, i obviously mean pinkberry.

we also made time for gaston's amazing hamburgers at papacho's.

we also made time for gaston’s amazing hamburgers at papacho’s.

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una noche en el campo.

dinner by candlelight.

dinner by candlelight.

a couple of weeks ago, i had the opportunity to have a sleepover with one of my lambaybesties in the campo. she lives in a caserio outside of changoyape. the next day i was going to head to chaparri, and her site is the last place before the reserve, plus we got to have some quality time!!! we ate some veggies and watched the count of monte cristo, and basically were just cracking ourselves up about how gross it is to be a peace corps volunteer sometimes…don’t worry, i will spare you the details. but it was such a fun night!

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la gran experiencia!

the fancy hotel room that lan put us in when our first delayed flight caused us to miss our connecting one.

the fancy hotel room that lan put us in when our first delayed flight caused us to miss our connecting one.

my gran came to visit!!!! hold on. i am going to repeat that for you, so it can sink in: MY GRAN CAME TO VISIT!!!!!!! and my goodness, did she have quite the experience! before coming to visit me, she spent 2 weeks traveling with another tour group that went to cusco, machu picchu, puno, and bolivia! then she headed up north to the coastal desert, where we hung out. she attended my classes and meetings with me. in fact, i think she got as close as one can get to having the “peace corps experience.” we stayed at my house, and she slept in my bed, and i made use of the tile floor. we hung out with my family and friends, and she became the local celebrity. we also took the time to see some of the local sites out here, since my region is rich in history and filled with archeological sites.

enjoying her first ceviche!

enjoying her first ceviche!

breakfast with mi familia.

breakfast with mi familia.

 

enjoying the pyramid ruins in tucume.

enjoying the pyramid ruins in tucume.

another cute photo with my family.

another cute photo with my family.

loving the museo de tumbes reales.

loving the museo de tumbes reales.

we then took a day trip to trujillo, where we visited the ruins of chan chan and also, took time to walk around the city and, of course, ate delicious food!

enjoying the ruins at chan chan.

enjoying the ruins at chan chan.

the view of the plaza.

the view of the plaza.

just a couple of gals taking over trujillo!

just a couple of gals taking over trujillo!

after taking over the coast, we then traveled to a region in the south eastern part of the country, madre de dios. we stayed at a couple of lodges on the rio tambopata in the amazon rainforest basin. we were just tucked away in one of the few untouched parts of the amazon rainforest, and we were just a stone’s throw from puno and bolivia. needless to say, it was one of the most incredible vacations i have ever been on. we saw more than 70+ species while we were there, and saw various types of ecosystems. if you ever have a chance to travel there, i highly recommend it!

gran is all ready for the 3 hour boat ride to our first lodge!

gran is all ready for the 3 hour boat ride to our first lodge!

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enjoying our boat ride!

enjoying our boat ride!

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our incredible room at refugio. it was extremely relaxing, so much so that i ended up reading 4 books while on vacation! yes, please.

our incredible room at refugio. it was extremely relaxing, so much so that i ended up reading 4 books while on vacation! yes, please.

birdwatching with our guide.

birdwatching with our guide.

oxbow lake.

oxbow lake.

a log covered in bats.

a log covered in bats.

with a kepok tree.

with a kepok tree.

i used a machete to break open a brazilian nut and it only took me 3 tries!!!

i used a machete to break open a brazilian nut and it only took me 3 tries!!!

i love this picture. i asked our guide what a certain fruit was and before he even finished to say whether or not it was edible, gran decided to go ahead and pop a seed into her mouth. the seeds are actually used for dyes and paint because of it's brilliant color. gran is modeling it on her lips.

i love this picture. i asked our guide what a certain fruit was and before he even finished to say whether or not it was edible, gran decided to go ahead and pop a seed into her mouth. the seeds are actually used for dyes and paint because of it’s brilliant color. gran is modeling it on her lips.

the fruit in question.

the fruit in question.

we eventually headed 4 more hours down the river to stay at the tambopata research center. it was one of the most incredible places i have been to. it was so tranquil and beautiful. on our boat ride there, there was quite the rain storm brewing.

we eventually headed 4 more hours down the river to stay at the tambopata research center. it was one of the most incredible places i have been to. it was so tranquil and beautiful. on our boat ride there, there was quite the rain storm brewing.

our room at the research center.

our room at the research center.

the research center focuses its studies on the macaws, specifically the macaw clay licks. in the amazon, much of the wildlife feeds off the clay, which is unique to only this region. when the center first started, they handfed some macaws that were abandoned by their mothers. as a result, many of those macaws still visit and pass time at the center.

the research center focuses its studies on the macaws, specifically the macaw clay licks. in the amazon, much of the wildlife feeds off the clay, which is unique to only this region. when the center first started, they handfed some macaws that were abandoned by their mothers. as a result, many of those macaws still visit and pass time at the center.

enjoying a muddy hike!

enjoying a muddy hike!

parrots and macaws feeding on the clay.

parrots and macaws feeding on the clay.

fashion queen! but seriously.

fashion queen! but seriously.

enjoying the view of puno.

enjoying the view of puno.

honestly. the best part of the entire vacation was getting to spend time with my gran. she is incredible and vivacious and i hope that i have inherited her good health. but really. i have always had a close relationship with my gran, so i am so glad that we were able to have a chance to share this time together, and also that she was able to see the life that i have forged for myself here. love her. and miss her.

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a little bit of everything.

oh hi! long time no see! what have i been up to lately? well, that is a great question, indeed!

let’s see…

my environmental arts group ended. this is everyone with all their projects they completed.

my environmental arts group ended. this is everyone with all their projects they completed.

this is my part of my world map painting group waiting for my socio to show up with the needed projector, and who didn't show up for the second day in a row...

this is my part of my world map painting group waiting for my socio to show up with the needed projector, and who didn’t show up for the second day in a row…

third time is a charm. after waiting for 2 hours on the third day, he finally showed. we had a blast drawing the map.

third time is a charm. after waiting for 2 hours on the third day, he finally showed. we had a blast drawing the map.

between my day planner and the random plastic bag i found in my bag, it was a pretty sturdy setup....

between my day planner and the random plastic bag i found in my bag, it was a pretty sturdy setup….

i hiked all 15k through the bosque de pomac, and it was a nice break from the usual distractions. this is the million year tree and is sacred to the incans who originally inhabited the area. also, the government is working on the reforestation of the bosque, since many of the trees were cut down to use the wood for pollo a la brasa.

i hiked all 15k through the bosque de pomac, and it was a nice break from the usual distractions.
this is the million year tree and is sacred to the incans who originally inhabited the area. also, the government is working on the reforestation of the bosque, since many of the trees were cut down to use the wood for pollo a la brasa.

a group of volunteers went camping. this is part of our group enjoying the sunset.

a group of volunteers went camping. this is part of our group enjoying the sunset.

i celebrated carnaval in illimo and joined banda verde. this was my favorite verde float.

i celebrated carnaval in illimo and joined banda verde. this was my favorite verde float.

though the red team went all out in the decorations. carnaval in illimo is a big celebration. the day before there was a giant water fight in the town square between the two teams.

though the red team went all out in the decorations.
carnaval in illimo is a big celebration. the day before there was a giant water fight in the town square between the two teams.

originally for international women's day, i wanted to give a charla to the women of vaso de leche about the importance of being a woman. though, big surprise, my muni said no and wanted to do a parade instead. so, i worked with vaso de leche to organize the muni workers for a parade. this is everyone after.

originally for international women’s day, i wanted to give a charla to the women of vaso de leche about the importance of being a woman. though, big surprise, my muni said no and wanted to do a parade instead. so, i worked with vaso de leche to organize the muni workers for a parade. this is everyone after.

after giving a little speech on gender equality, the band decided to play more more tunes, which resulted in a mini dance party. i was partnered with a regidor (equivalent to a city council member/officer).

after giving a little speech on gender equality, the band decided to play more more tunes, which resulted in a mini dance party. i was partnered with a regidor (equivalent to a city council member/officer).

ysabel and i after the parade, with the sign i made.

ysabel and i after the parade, with the sign i made.

i finally gave my community diagnostic presentation. it was....interesting to say the least...but it happened and some positive things came out of it.

i finally gave my community diagnostic presentation. it was….interesting to say the least…but it happened and some positive things came out of it.

my family and i went for a night out on the town in chiclayo and dined on the finest pollo a la brasa. seriously. it was DELISH.

my family and i went for a night out on the town in chiclayo and dined on the finest pollo a la brasa. seriously. it was DELISH.

the artisans had a number of new products, and so i spent an afternoon taking more pictures for them.

the artisans had a number of new products, and so i spent an afternoon taking more pictures for them.

 

and of course. samia and i are still keeping it real. school has started, so sometimes i help with her homework. or sometimes we just hang out and pretend to dance marenara.

and of course. samia and i are still keeping it real. school has started, so sometimes i help with her homework. or sometimes we just hang out and pretend to dance marenara.

the number of mosquitos in my site has increased significantly  i now know what it feels like to get eaten alive. i go through insect repellent like it’s my job, but it doesn’t seem to keep them away. also of note, as seen in the pictures above, there are a lot of ups and downs. and that is exactly it. there have been a number of challenges i have been facing work-wise in site. sudden changes with my socia at the health post…i had been working with her for 3-4 months on the preparations for one project, and now she is no longer working there, and other health post employees are overloaded already. my municipality has been more of a challenge to work with than anything else. the school i normally work with cancelled it’s first week of classes, then during the next week, i went to coordinate my program with them, there were zero teachers in the classrooms with kids, and they had yet to make the schedule for the new year, and the schools are just handing out textbooks/curriculum this week. in fact, the official school schedule will not be ready until next week…that is 4 weeks after the school year has started…and even though i am little astonished by this, i can’t say i am anymore surprised by it. in fact, all of it seems pretty par for the course, in regards to the experiences that one has not only living in a developing country, but also it’s just part of the peace corps experience.

the important part is concentrate on the positives and learn from the things that don’t work out. and with that, i am concentrating on the goals and things that i want to get done in site, and if i keep that perspective, i really think some positive changes will happen. and the winds are slowly starting to change in my favor!

…it’s about time…

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all’s well that ends well.

our last evening together.

our last evening together.

despite the altitude sickness we still had a blast traveling around peru, and trying all sorts of new and delicious food and seeing incredible sites throughout the country. it was such a treat to be able to share my life, my site, my community, my family with mp, and now there is someone else back home who knows what i am talking about when i talk about the ants in my bed, the pig outside my window and how much samia has grown.

for our last night together, we had a grand finale of some sorts. we dined at the world-renowned astrid y gaston, listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world…and goodness it was worth all the hype. it has been almost 4 days since we have eaten there and i am still full. the flavors there were incredible and they really did take peruvian cuisine up a number of levels…which i, honestly, didn’t think was possible. plus, it was just fun to spend a nice quiet evening together before we said goodbyes at the airport.

today marks my first day back to work in site…which really means that i will be going from socio to socio to let them know i am here…that i didn’t move away…and to just talk and see what i can do to get myself back into the swing of things. site is still site. there are still a number of ants in my bed and they have moved back into my computer as well. the pig in my backyard has gotten a little bigger…samia has gotten a little taller as well…and the weather only seems to be getting hotter. i guess it’s summertime here…now i just need to see if the mangoes are getting sweeter…

also. just a short 3.5 months until i make my way back to the states for a quick visit to mp. considering that it had been 6.5 months previously, this should go faster than lightening…i hope!

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barranco.

the streets were lined with old houses that made me feel like i was in the old-timey french quarter of new orleans.

the streets were lined with old houses that made me feel like i was in the old-timey french quarter of new orleans.

while walking along the beach, we made our way over to the neighboring district of barranco. it’s known for it’s architecture, as it was the home of  many of the french and italian immigrants. now it is just full of ceviche restaurants and to a more relaxed bohemian feel than the rest of of its neighbors.

we grabbed some ceviche at canta rana, which had the best ceviche i have ever had. the atmosphere of the restaurant was a delightful change of pace as well.

we grabbed some ceviche at canta rana, which had the best ceviche i have ever had. the atmosphere of the restaurant was a delightful change of pace as well.

i loved the delightful little library in the town plaza.

i loved the delightful little library in the town plaza.

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master chefs.

one our favorite pastimes together is cooking, and what better way to also create a cultural exchange than food! the tricky part was picking out meals that we could find all the ingredients for and have it be something that peruvians would like.

for our first meal, we made a classic southern bbq lunch: bbq chicken, corn bread, mashed potatoes, carrots and coke...though the carrots were the least popular item, they enjoyed everything else!

for our first meal, we made a classic southern bbq lunch: bbq chicken, corn bread, mashed potatoes, carrots and coke…though the carrots were the least popular item, they enjoyed everything else!

we also made breakfast on christmas morning: french toast with homemade whipped cream...which was more like a sauce, homemade strawberry syrup, and scrambled eggs. yum!

we also made breakfast on christmas morning: french toast with homemade whipped cream…which was more like a sauce, homemade strawberry syrup, and scrambled eggs. yum!

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puppy wuppy.

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my family acquired a baby pig. samia has since decided to start calling him puppy wuppy…which she got from my favorite childhood stuffed animal…it’s not traumatic or anything…

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this just happened (twice).

well really the other happened earlier this week. i have been slaving away on this community diagnostic, and i feel like i have returned to finals week in college so many years ago as i try to work through this ridiculous document (which is really helpful and i am glad that the peace corps requires us to do one…so for all you future pcvs out there…i did not give it a bad rep…okay? OKAY?). ANYWAYS, twice this week i have had magical fruit surprise me at my door:

so i had literally just gotten out of the shower, but who would not be this excited about being greeted with a HUGE chunk of watermelon?!?!?!

and then…fast forward to today…as in 5 minutes ago…

MANGOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

needless to say, i needed to take a writing break to share the literal FRUITS of labor…or someone else’s labor in town…but the reward of my labor…and to think that earlier today i was thinking what a travesty that i have been so busy that i have almost gone a full week without mangoes…#tucumeproblems…

and this is just to show progress of my mango face…

 

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