Category Archives: happiness

anna howard shaw day.

thursday marked my first valentine’s day in peru. here in peru, it is also dia de la amistad (day of friendship). so a few other volunteers and i decided to get together and spend the day at the beach, since 3 of us had valentine’s that we could not celebrate with. however, that did not leave me without surprises, which made me the luckiest girl at least out of our group, but i am just going to say in the whole world. the volunteers were coordinated to show up with flowers or balloons for me to receive from them throughout the day, and then lunch was taken care of, which made all the other volunteers extremely happy. at first it caught me by surprise and i didn’t believe and thought it all to be a joke, but then each time my heart kept melting. the best part though was that i was able to share my valentine’s with everyone, and we were all able to partake in the happiness.

i came out of the bathroom, and all the volunteers set up their balloons and flowers for me. ha. ps. the balloons are SUPER popular here for valentine's. there were people selling them everywhere.

i came out of the bathroom, and all the volunteers set up their balloons and flowers for me. ha.
ps. the balloons are SUPER popular here for valentine’s. there were people selling them everywhere.

the post-lunch damage. ceviche, arroz con mariscos, tortillas de choclo, papas fritas, camote fritos, pisco sours, and a 1/2 jar of fresh mango juice for me. needless to say, we were all quite full after.

the post-lunch damage. ceviche, arroz con mariscos, tortillas de choclo, papas fritas, camote fritos, pisco sours, and a 1/2 jar of fresh mango juice for me. needless to say, we were all quite full after.

we then spent a couple of hours at the beach in puerto eten. and i was able to boogie board!

we then spent a couple of hours at the beach in puerto eten. and i was able to boogie board!

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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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central lima.

in the plaza mayor in lima.

in the plaza mayor in lima.

during my 2.5 months of training, i never went to lima all that often. i was, generally, too preoccupied in integrating with my family in order to increase my language proficiency, so having a few days in lima with mp was perfect. we went to the main plaza as well as visited the catacombs, which really gave me the heebyjeebies, but so much fun at the same time. i definitely recommend this stop while exploring central lima!

only smiles in the plaza mayor.

only smiles in the plaza mayor.

 

the cathedral of san francisco, where the entrance to the catacombs is located.

the cathedral of san francisco, where the entrance to the catacombs is located.

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parque de las reservas.

IMG_2728earlier in the day we visited my family in lima, and they gave us the best recommendation we received all week: parque de las reservas. at night they have a giant water show, and the park is filled with numerous other fountains with light and music and interesting structures. it was so much fun! however, i would say that we left wishing that we had worn our swimsuits, as it was so tempting to run and play in all the fountains as well.

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we were soaked after running through the fountain tunnel behind us.

we were soaked after running through the fountain tunnel behind us.

this one was a blast to watch. all the kids tried not to get sprayed until...

this one was a blast to watch. all the kids tried not to get sprayed until…

SURPRISE!!!!

SURPRISE!!!!

if you ever have a free evening in lima, i highly recommend this. it is only 4 soles to enter and is located next to the national stadium. it is so much fun and will bring out the kid in you!

 

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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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miraflores.

at the nearby parque kennedy.

at the nearby parque kennedy.

while in miraflores, we stayed in a condo just 2 blocks away from parque kennedy and only a 15 minute walk to the beach. we frequented both locations quite a bit during our last leg of the trip.

the famous miraflores coastline.

the famous miraflores coastline.

 

walking along the beach.

walking along the beach.

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nye.

getting ready for our night out.

getting ready for our night out.

we arrived in lima, miraflores to be exact, on new years eve. peruvians have all sorts of traditions for new years. first of all, everyone wears yellow (we obviously dropped the ball on this one, as noted above), and that especially includes yellow underwear…stands selling the garments littered the streets. at midnight there’s a lot of fireworks and many eat 12 grapes for good luck and run around the town fountain (sometimes with suitcases) in order to bring great travels in the new year. in my site, many people had miniature dolls that they burned in the middle of the street signifying leaving the old behind in 2012 and becoming anew in 2013. having it be that we were in lima, we just stuck with the grapes and the fireworks…but it was still a lot of fun. in fact, i woke up at 5:30 am to all of lima still celebrating!

some of the crowd sporting their yellow.

some of the crowd sporting their yellow.

just after it struck midnight! i can't believe it is 2013 already.

just after it struck midnight! i can’t believe it is 2013 already.

this picture really doesn't do the fireworks justice. not only could we see fireworks along he coastline, but they were happening right behind us too. so much so, that it was hard to watch without getting debris in our eyes, but still so much fun!

this picture really doesn’t do the fireworks justice. not only could we see fireworks along he coastline, but they were happening right behind us too. so much so, that it was hard to watch without getting debris in our eyes, but still so much fun!

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cusco.

IMG_2648we spent a couple of days in cusco city. we both dealt with the ills of altitude sickness even though we were taking altitude medicine. i suppose at some point, altitude medication can only help so much when you go from sea level to 11,000 ft. as a result, we relaxed for the majority of our time in the city, but we still took time to explore as well.

life in the city.

life in the city.

i was so excited about the 12-sided stone. seriously, it was one of my top things to see while in cusco. (nerd alert).

i was so excited about the 12-sided stone. seriously, it was one of my top things to see while in cusco. (nerd alert).

 

the other highlight to the city was going to the religious art museum...not necessarily for the art, but  really just for the carved cedar wood ceilings.

the other highlight to the city was going to the religious art museum…not necessarily for the art, but really just for the carved cedar wood ceilings.

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the sun came out in the afternoon for a beautiful shot of the main plaza.

the sun came out in the afternoon for a beautiful shot of the main plaza.

 

we attended a mass in the main cathedral. the interior was quite ornate and had a last supper painting that included cuy and chica.

we attended a mass in the main cathedral. the interior was quite ornate and had a last supper painting that included cuy and chica.

this is us waiting for our delayed flight to lima. i can't say i was surprised that it was delayed considering everything in peru is always behind schedule. i am pretty sure we were the only gringos not stressed about the delay...

this is us waiting for our delayed flight to lima. i can’t say i was surprised that it was delayed considering everything in peru is always behind schedule. i am pretty sure we were the only gringos not stressed about the delay…

 

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chincheros.

chincheros.

chincheros.

we made our way to chincheros, which is well-known for its textiles and open-air market. unfortunately, we were there on a non-market day, but we still had the fabulous opportunity to visit a homestead who’s family specialized in creating natural textiles.

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nancy greeting us to her homestead.

nancy greeting us to her homestead.

all of the examples of local plants that are used to create dyes for the alpaca.

all of the examples of local plants that are used to create dyes for the alpaca.

nancy showing us how to clean the alpaca wool and then spool it into yarn.

nancy showing us how to clean the alpaca wool and then spool it into yarn.

after, she dressed us up in the finest sierran wear.

after, she dressed us up in the finest sierran wear.

moray.

IMG_2608as seen above, i was extremely excited to visit and explore moray. moray is where it is believed that the incas experimented with various crops to find the ideal growing conditions. to do this they had layered circles with various irrigation levels as well, which would test approximately how much sunlight and water was needed for the crop. it is believed that they experimented with more than 250 different types of crops.

an overhead view of moray.

an overhead view of moray.

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look at the snow capped mountain in the background!

look at the snow capped mountain in the background!

 

the extremely safe and secure steps to get from level to level.

the extremely safe and secure steps to get from level to level.

 

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