Category Archives: home

home. +1.

peru on our world map.

peru on our world map.

well. this month marks my one year mark of living in peru. i did it! but really, to live and adapt and integrate into a foreign country is not a cake walk, but it has also been one of the most enriching experiences. i arrived to peru, well….exhausted…, but completely open minded to the experiences that awaited. i also arrived only being able to reply with “si.” and by the second day, i was able to say the word “claro.” and i only hoped that i wasn’t agreeing to anything too absurd.

after learning enough language to survive, and receiving a full library’s worth of manuals and books, i was sent off to a pueblo in the middle of the peruvian northern coastal desert. this pueblo has slowly but surely become my home. i have built a strong relationship with a family that has become my own. i have built friendships with people who have never shorted me with their patience, their positivity and love….and of course, food.

traditional mochican wall carving.

traditional mochican wall carving.

their passion for their immense cultural history here has captured me, and as i explore and discover new parts of my site’s more rural parts, i relish in the fact that i am experiencing a living history.

i have discovered that in order to truly grow to love a place and people and culture, you have to endure the hardships as well as relish in the great things. throughout my time in site thus far, i have had some key socios move or have a change in career, a month long school strike, accumulative to a month’s strike from the health post, a school that started more than a month late, have spent hours upon hours waiting for people to show for meetings, and so much more. another challenge for me, in particular, was breaking the social barriers that existed in my municipality because of my being a female and a foreigner. so, when i was asked to raise my district’s flag with my mayor during my town’s celebratory flag ceremony for bolognesi, which happened to share the same date of arrival to peru, my heart was overwhelmed…because for me, this was a sign of how far i had come, and how far my site and i have come together. the truth is, everyone’s site is completely different. and some come with more difficulties than others, and sometimes i found myself wishing for an easier service. but, at the end of the day, it was through those challenges, that have come to call my site home. that it is. home. with one more year + a couple of months. i’m home. and i love it here.

getting ready to walk the flag through town before the flag raising ceremony.

getting ready to walk the flag through town before the flag raising ceremony.

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mi casa es su casa.

back in april, i put together a video for my world wise school that i am partnered with, and also for my presentation that i gave in the states. i don’t know how i did it, but i forgot to share it with you all here! let’s just call it, getting caught up in work, shall we?

anyways, here is a video that gives you a glimpse into my home, my site and its culture…featuring the accompaniment by the none other…talking heads (if you know me, then you know of my love and adoration of a band that was way before its time)!

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the great may escape.

goodness gracious. my, oh, my how time has escaped us…or really just me.

after celebrating the most incredible peruvian birthday, i hopped on a plane to visit friends and family in the us. i was overwhelmed in general, but also by the love of those closest to me. bu seriously, i was pretty overwhelmed culturally as well. being in the peace corps, you get so used to a certain pace of life, a very slow one, and also that about 90% of your time is spent independent of all other americans and in solitude in your country’s culture. another 5% is spent with any volunteer that may be near you, who you may see with varying frequency (once a week or once every month or so depending on schedules). and the final 5% is with other volunteers once or twice month, who are all living the same life of solitude as you, so really we are pretty not self-aware of  how strangely awkward we have become. so, to put me in a situation where i was constantly interacting with people, by the end of the 3rd day in a row, i slept for almost a full 24 hours to catch up. though, i am not complaining. it was so wonderful to see all of my family. and i am so blessed that my brother and close friend both flew in from nyc to see me.

it was especially nice to get to spend time with mp, who was my main reason to visit the us. when mp last left, we went to cusco and lima, and now it was my turn to pay him a visit. though, he kept me quite busy and even gave me a second birthday surprise! he coordinated with a local animal sanctuary to do an at-home visit with a SLOTH and FENNEC FOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




i think it should also be noted that i got my hair cut for the first time in almost a year, and saw it straightened and cleaned, and i felt like a new woman. but obviously with the animals above i was on another level of excitement that was out of this world. eventually all good (read: great) things have to come to an end, and a very reluctant to leave girl was pushed on to her plane by an amazing mp to return to peru.

i arrived back to peru in one piece, and had a few days in site to remind everyone that i was still here and wanting to work, and also coordinate and prepare for our PEPFAR (president’s emergency plan for aids relief) training. with this training, my socia and i were able to take away a number of great new resources and statistics to share with our community, and now have the opportunity to receive aid money for our project.

doris and i after she received her certificate of completion!

doris and i after she received her certificate of completion!

the following week, we jump started our 6 classes of our sex ed leadership training program, but unfortunately later that week, she received news that she was being transfered to another post far from my site, so now i am still spearheading this training, but more so solo-style, since my health post is dramatically understaffed, and have them help out when it needed. but if anything, this motivates me even more to get my youth promoters trained, so they then can be doing this part and alleviate some of the stress from the health post as well.

i have been terrible about using my camera lately, so i will succinctly describe the other activities that have been keeping me quite busy:

  • i have been giving business charlas to the artisans, and helping them figure out what the costs of their products are and how to determine what they should be setting as their prices. and goodness, they were in need of this. one artisan had been selling these beautifully embroidered bread covers for only 10 soles, when the cost alone to make them was 35 soles.
  • 6 classes of pasos a week keeps a girl busy. let’s just leave it at that.
  • i have been working with my youth leadership council (ADEPZORT) on helping them with their community diagnostic. we have been visiting the most rural caserios and my goodness, you never get used to seeing the amount of poverty that exists in this country, or in any country, but you can’t help but want to give so many more opportunities to these people.
  • celebrated dia internacional de los museos with other volunteers, and finally visited my museum’s pyramids.
  • weekly youth group meetings with my mochumi young women’s group.
  • coordinating a 5-pueblo job fair for september
  • coordinating an environmental awareness event with my colegio for next week.
  • working on a website for the artisans
  • working on a video for the museum
  • and of course, camp ALMA!!!!!!!!!!! (which will be covered in it’s own post)

so i have been busy, busy girl and for that i am grateful. i have also been able to watch all of the new arrested development…superb! as a parting gift, here is a picture from the top of one of my pyramids:


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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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today marks exactly six months since i groggily arrived to the beautiful country of peru, after a very long flight that began with sitting on the tarmac in miami for 3 hours, after a night of next to no sleep. at that time, i had little to no idea what lie ahead, and you know what? i still don’t. that is the beauty of this experience. it is, above all else, an experience of discovery. not only about oneself, but about people and culture and learning to adapt, and help others adapt to a new view point. it really is about building a bridge between that cultural divide, between two very different life experiences to helpfully create a sustainable change for everyone’s future. though, i should add the caveat that it is far from easy.

being here for six months, i am still confronting cultural differences, and deciding if this is just something that i should become acostumbrar to or that it is actually a revealed opportunity for change. though, i will never acostumbrar to eating mayonaise, cow blood, hard-boiled eggs or chicken feet. nor to the whistling and constant harassment of a machismo culture. and i don’t think i will ever get used to people showing up HOURS late to a meeting. BUT i have gotten used to only have water a few times a day, carrying toilet paper with me everywhere i go, lack of air conditioning, showering 1-2 times a week, lack of toilet seats in the country, fitting 5 people on a 3 person combi seat, eating beef heart (seriously, love me some anticuchos), constant power outages, talking about one’s bowels movements as casually as you used to talk about the weather, greeting everyone you see on the street and receiving 20 phone calls from the same person until you answer your phone.

acostumbrar-ing and not acostumbrar-ing set aside, i do know that in such a short amount of time i have learned to love in a way that i didn’t know could be done before. loving people because of their patience with my lack in ability to communicate, and their passion for change in a community. i have also learned that you can love an entire community, without knowing every single person, because you so badly want to help them realize their full potential.

tucume, has become my home. i love my site. i love my community. i love my host family.

i am home.


there is not too much to report on this. i don’t think it is a secret to everyone that i am one of the few people where training is not my favorite part of my experience. however, i did welcome the opportunity to partake in some pinkberry and get to stay with my host family in lima again.

it was especially nice to spend time with my lima host family, because my language has improved so much and i was able to understand and communicate with them so much better. it was such a tender-delight. i love my lima family with all my heart, and i cannot wait to see them again in just one quick month!

the main church in trujillo.

the main church in trujillo.

for the second half of training i went to trujillo. i spent all week with the gripe (cold), and so my energy wasn’t there to explore. however i did get to have an all-american night where i partook of papa john’s, pinkberry and even went to go see twilight…AGAIN…but this time it was dubbed in spanish…but you know what? it was just as good.


we found a christmas tree at the mall. merry christmas y'all!

we found a christmas tree at the mall. merry christmas y’all!

anyways, i finally returned home yesterday afternoon after a long regional meeting. my heart is overjoyed to be back in site. all the worries that it started to experience the week before were placated, and my since of purpose in stie has been strengthened. i think i experience the opposite of volunteers…where the majority experience their doubts while in site and then go to training and are rejuvenated, whereas i am the opposite, and being in site gives me the strength and excitement and purpose and reminds me why i am in service. it was also a nice treat to experience all the saludos after i returned, as i learned that my town actually missed me. woohoo for integration!


living quarters.

finally. i finished painting and organizing my room. see?

this is the entrance to my room. (yawn).

this is on the same gray wall in the above picture. some clothes, and i use cut-in-half used water jugs to organize my items. to the right, i have my permanent water jug, which i fill right now with water that i buy in town, but once i figure out how to install my water filter i will just be able to drink from the tap. also next to my water bin is my mercado bag, and, of course, my trusty peace corps med kit.

i think this is more than obvious. i decided to save some money and not buy a blanket and just my sleeping bag as a comforter, since soon it will be too hot to even use a sheet. also the red and green bins below my bed are my laundry bins, as in the bins i do my laundry in. that’s right, i can do my laundry by hand now (be impressed).

i painted the hooks to match the paint in my room. (nerd alert).

desk/work area and my other organizer case.

there you have it. it only took four weeks, but i thought i would finally get around to unpacking and setting in…you know stay for a while.


i wish i had better before pictures, but alas, i do have during the process pictures. the bottom-half of my cement walls were chipping away. literally, chipping away. i am not sure why, i am just assuming age, possible mold or rot. anyways, my host mom had the neighbor across the street come over and get it fixed. it was quite fascinating, honestly.

he chipped the wall in for about ¾”.

the remnants of my wall.

he then went away filling it all in. this is my room covered with cement.

we moved most of my furniture out of my room, except for my bed, which was also covered in cement dust and there are few spackles here and there on my bed. my mom is great and i came home from work and she had already cleaned my sheets for me and hung them to dry.

the final product. i didn’t know about the changes and had just finished painting my room, which i will now to redo the bottom-half next week. but i guess this is a sneak peek of the colors.



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as i prepped my room for painting and was jamming out to some cumbia, my host sobrinita, samia, came in my room and discovered my photo booth app. needless to say only cuteness was then ensued.


get it?!?! peace corps?!?!? (not apologizing for this).

yesterday was my first charla, and i decided to look official and sported my new polo with my peace corps patch. i was pretty stoked for it.

i also had a little extra time this morning and taught myself how to french braid part of my hair back into a side bun. honestly, this was quite a feat for me. normally i lack in the refined motor skills area…who knows…maybe i will learn how to use chopsticks by the end of this???

also, it got down to about 60 degrees today, which means it is FREEZING here. i actually took a coat out of my winter storage bag. and because i rekindled my love for photo booth today, here are my vain catalog poses:

sorry guys. it’s just not everyday that i get ready and feel photogenic. ohhhhh peace corps…


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