I finished my last coursework at la Cato today just a few short hours ago. I guess it was actually my last course work of my undergraduate career. 🙂 I rewarded myself with some new reading and some sweets 🙂

After our oral exam, Calin and I ate lunch at “El Arbolito,” a yummy vegetarian restaurant near school. I had palta rellena and a fruit salad with yogurt. Delicious! Then, I went and dropped off some books at the library and turned in my 11 page final essay for Justicia. Before leaving campus, I stopped into the bookstore. Right when I walked in, I spotted some publications entitled, “Memoria: revista sobre cultura, democracia y derechos humanos” near the cash register. There were 7 volumes in total. I picked one up and thumbed through– it looked pretty interesting! But how was I supposed to choose which volume?!?!!? Well, I called my friend Emilio from Justicia class–I figured if anyone would know about these revistas (what I would consider an academic journal), it would be him! and sure enough! Emilio suggested volume no. 2! “Numero dos es bastante bueno!” I enjoyed having a phone conversation with a Peruvian without having to say “Qué?” o “Cómo?” even once! It made it even better that it was a great friend I’ve made while here. (I’m going to miss Emilio–I’ve seriously never met someone so genuinely kind-hearted! We plan on meeting up this weekend before I leave to say goodbye.) I started reading my newly purchased revista on the combi ride home. The first article is about a study conducted with people from four different locations in Peru about how they felt during the conflict. It is really really fascinating, and I’m so glad I purchased it because I’ve finished all my books and some borrowed ones!! Plus, it’s in Spanish, and it’s such a great feeling to be able to read-read Spanish now (without looking up things or translating back into English–seriously not translating back, I never thought the day would come!! 🙂 )

I’m sad my time here is winding down. I can’t BELIEVE I only have 5 more days left in Peru. Only 5 more days of being able to speak Spanish regularly, to look out on busy Lima, to ride dirty combis (said with love <3 ), and to visit with friends.

PS World Cup!!!!!!!!!!! finishes on the day we leave. We will have been lucky enough to experience the entire thing in fútbol-crazy Peru!

I've been so fortunate to have spent the past four months here. Lima will always hold a special place in my heart.

My time here in Lima is winding down. I can’t believe I only have two weeks left. This next week is finals week excluding Tuesday which is a holiday for the pope. I have tests Monday and Wednesday and a take-home test that will be handed out Thursday. Then on the Tuesday of my last week here, I have an oral exam and a paper to turn in (test would have been during finals week if not for the holiday.)

I’m not too stressed about my tests. If I study, I should be fine.

I’m looking forward to having a little free time after my tests are all finished. I’ll have about 5 free days in Lima to do some reflecting on my time here and go to places for my “lasts”. I think it’ll be nice to sit back and think about what this experience has meant to me, being able to evaluate it without worrying about the responsibilities of school and with the advantage of hindsight.

My restaurants/foods to try list consisted of:
Rocoto Relleno–yet to be checked off.
Limeño Traditions–closed down
Don Rosalina–check! great Italian food
Como Agua Para Chocolate–check! great Mexican food
Mi Carcochita–good mexican–not as good as como agua (above)
La Rosa Nautica–check!!!! beautiful, amazing atmosphere, fantastic service, wide selection of food!
cuy: check! unimpressed—boney, came with a face and paws, little meat
anticuchos–not yet
ceviche–check! really liked it–very unique flavor. not my favorite food, but a great experience!
pollo a la braza-check! just like any other roasted chicken i’ve ever had haha but they love it here.

Places to visit/ visit again and things to do before I leave:

–Park near my house–this is where I want to do some looking-back on my trip.
–Miraflores–Larco Mar/ beach
–Japanese Restaurant with friend from school
–Souvenir shopping
–hamburger near school again (There is a hamburger kiosk across the street from Católica. This guy’s hamburgers are famous with the students–they call him Tio Bigote. Mine was great, but not necessarily for the meat haha there is a lot of stuff on these burgers. I asked for a burger with cheese,but he handed me a burger with egg. I took it 🙂 There were swarms of people crowding the stand, and I knew I would never get another if I turned it down.)
–Center of Lima–museums and catacombs
–Museo Larco
–5 estaciones
–Tortas emily’s
–Hang out with my Peruvian friends

Arte por La Memoria

Last week during my Justicia class, a group from the organization “Arte por La Memoria” came and presented. We all waited outside while they set up. When we entered, a somber tone was set. We were asked to only sit in chairs with photographs. The group explained the organization´s objectives, showed a video, explained a beautiful display of artwork created by a group of women named Mama Quilla, and then lit candles for the altar colectivo.

Their objectives: (from their website :http://arteporlamemoria.wordpress.com/)
¿Qué queremos?
-Recuperar memoria (Recuperate memory)
-Evidenciar silencios cómplices (Demonstrate silent accomplices–I think this means give a voice to those who can’t tell their story through conventional means–like writing or even vocally b/c of language barrier,etc.)
-Reivindicar a las y los afectados (Vindicate the victims)
-Ser una forma de reparación simbólica para las y los afectados del conflicto. (Be a form of symbolic reparation for the victims of the conflict)
-Democratizar plataformas de exhibición y consumo de arte y lograr un trabajo articulado entre varios actores.
(Democratize platforms of exhibition and consumption of arte and acheive a work articulated between various actors)

Arpilleras Mama Quilla de Huaycán. This was one of the coolest works of art I have ever seen.

Arpilleras Mama Quilla de Huaycán. This was one of the coolest works of art I have ever seen.

The arpilleras de Mama Quilla de Huaycán (these decorated clothes tell the story of a population of people who migrated to the outskirts of Lima during the conflict) :
Top Left: How their small village was before the conflict arrived there.
Top Right: Their village after the Senderistas y Fuerzas Armadas arrived
Center Right: The villagers hiding in the hills.
Center Left: The village they set up on the outskirts of Lima: Huaycán
Bottom Left: But the conflict came to Huaycán too.
Bottom Right: Their march to the plaza de armas in Lima to demand water and electricity (which they received as a result).
Center Center: What the villagers hope for their town in the future. You can see children playing soccer.

The collective altar:
In my seat was the foto of Saul Cantoral Huamani (Lima) who was assasinated on February 13, 1989. I was the first one up at the altar. I set his foto on the table and lit a blue candle in his memory. One of the seats next to me was empty (student-wise), but sitting in the seat was the foto of Felix Huaman, a journalist–so I placed his foto on the table as well. I felt his memory should be honored too.

Altar Colectivo

Altar Colectivo

Last weekend, Calin and I finally made it to Cajamarca.
We took a Tepsa bus. It is a 14 hour trip. We left Lima at 4:15 on Thursday afternoon and arrived in Cajamarca at 9am on Friday morning (took longer than normal–our bus was stopped several times along the way). Cajamarca is known for its delicious milk products and historical sites (Atahualpa–the last Inca was executed here). I must admit I liked the historical sites better than the food, although we did buy some yummy manjar blanco.
On Friday, we ate breakfast at the Tuna Cafe. I had a sunny-side up egg (result of inadequately explaining over-easy), bacon, and pineapple juice. We visited the Iglesia de Belén, ex-hospital for men, ex-hospital for women (made into a museum), and the cuarto de rescate (Atahualpa ransom room). We purchased the tickets for these 4 places in a bundle deal for only 2.5 soles a piece with our student discount. Then we payed 7 soles for a tour guide (worth it if only for a funny memory). After that tour, we visited a San Francisco church with catacombs and a museum outback. Then we tried our first cuy (guinea pig). I have to say I wasn’t too impressed and kind of grossed out haha. It came with a face, teeth, paws,a TON of bones, and little meat. After dinner, we headed for a musical we had seen advertised. Turned out it was at a high school 🙂 It was actually pretty good. They performed Oscar Wilde’s “The Ghost of Canterbury.” I loved loved loved the little kid ghosts.iglesia de belénpachacamacex-hospital de mujeresarrow headscuarto del rescatesan francisco churchgoing down to the catacombscatacombscatacombs 2little ghosts at the musicalOn Saturday, we visited the Baños del Inca–ancient thermal baths-about 10-15 minutes from Cajamarca. In addition to showing off the old, they now offer a heated pool, saunas, hot showers, massages,etc. We didn’t partake in the new–just checked out the incan baths 🙂 they were pretty cool. After returning to Cajamarca, we ate the menú at the Tuna Cafe: palta rellena, lomo saltado, a gross dessert haha, and chicha morada ( i liked it!). Then we trekked up to Santa Apolonia, the mirador, and the Incan seat.
banos del inca up to Santa Apoloniaoverlooking Cajamarcamiradorincan seat
We took a 6:30 bus back to Lima and arrived around 9 am on Sunday morning. It was all in all a great trip, and I’m so glad we FINALLY made it!

I know I promised a “food blog” from my Machu Picchu/Cusco trip. It will come!!!! But first I wanted to blog about some of the amazing experiences I’ve been having lately learning about Peru’s history.

My favorite course here at Católica is called “Justicia y Organismos Públicos” taught by Jo Marie Burt. Profesora Burt is a visiting professor from George Mason. In class, we’ve been studying transitional justice.
Transitional justice is a response to systematic or widespread violations of human rights. It seeks recognition for victims and to promote possibilities for peace, reconciliation and democracy. Transitional justice is not a special form of justice but justice adapted to societies transforming themselves after a period of pervasive human rights abuse.http://www.ictj.org/en/tj/

If you do not know much about this time period in Peru (as I didn’t when I first arrived), I highly highly recommend reading about. Here’s the wikipedia link–it really doesn’t do it justice.

I feel like basically, the easy/common thing to do is blame all the human rights violations on Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path–maoist, guerilla, terrorist group started by a professor at an Ayacuchan university named Abimael Guzman (their leader captured in 1992). The Senderistas wanted to take over the government and make a “New Democracy.” They went to the rural, indigenous areas to gain support, highlighting the failures of the current regime and boasting change for the better.) It is true that SL was responsible for many many many violations–massacres, disappearances, torture, sexual violations.. However, according to the CVR (the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru), the Senderistas were responsible for 54%, the MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) was responsible for 1.5%,and the Peruvian armed forces were responsible for 37%.

Some specific cases if you would like to learn more “Cantuta Massacre” “Barrios Altos Massacre” “Putis”–all committed by the armed forces. “Uchuraccay Massacre” where journalists were killed in Ayacucho. “Tarata Bombing” “Lucanmarca Massacre”Assassination of María Elena Moyano” carried out by the Shining Path. The Peruvian government was ill-prepared to fight the Senderos and their guerrilla war. The rural, indigenous, quechua speakers got the brunt of the impact. 79% of the victims were from rural areas (only 29% of Peru’s entire population lives in rural areas). 75% of the victims spoke Quechua or other native language as thir primary language (Only 16% or Peru’s population speaks a native language as their first.) These statistics show how lopsided the violations were. Statistics given in class–time period: 1980-2000.
69,000 deaths
14,000 forced disappearances,
600,000 displaced persons
4-5,000 arrests without justification

A couple of weeks ago, our professor was out of town. Instead of going to class, she asked us to visit Yuyanapaq, a photographic memorial to the victims of the armed conflict. Yuyanapaq means “para recordar” or “to remember” in Quechua. Here’s a link to a random blog I found that has pictures of the memorial-with captions from the blogger (I didn’t think to bring my camera):

The memorial did an incredible job of making history come to life. Words cannot describe what an impact it had on me. And today, I was fortunate enough to receive a publication of the memorial that includes the majority, if not all, of the the pictures with captions. My teacher brought them to class!! Yuyanapaq is awesome–a great way to memorialize the conflict and its victims. The exhibit evokes many strong emotions and serves as a place for Peruvians to remember and contemplate their history–as well as for foreigners to learn about it. One photo in particular had a strong effect on me. It was a black and white of the Pan American Highway with tons of rocks on it and a combi off to the side. The rocks formed a roadblock for the combi and the senderos killed everyone on the combi. It struck me hard. I have traveled on the Pan American before in a combi just like the one depicted. The conflict during which this picture was taken ended a mere 10 years ago. It is still very fresh in the minds of those who lived through it. Yuyanpaq brought history to life for me and made it personal. I will never forget the atrocities that occurred here in Peru…ever.

On Saturday, June 5, Calin and I visited the Ojo Que Llora monument in Campo Marte (park in Lima). This is a monument by an artist named Lika Mutal, who was born in Holland but has lived in Peru for 40 years. Mutual inspiration for the monument was her visit to Yuyanapaq. The monument consists of a maze of around 47,000 stones that used to have the names of 27,000 victims on them (taken from an official list). Visitors are meant to follow the maze of stones from inside out until they come face to face with Mother Earth or Pachamama in the center. She is represented as an eye perpetually crying–a stream of water continually flows from this sculpture. The monument was funded by private donations. There is a huge debate about this monument–basically about how to distinguish “victims” from “perpetrators”. Many believe that among the rocks, are names of both. The monument was defaced once in 2007 when news of Fujimori´s extradition surfaced. The persons responsible for this attacked a guard at the monument, smashed several rocks, and left neon orange paint all over the monument. The sun and weather have washed away all the original names on the rocks (painted with permanent ink), and now the rocks are being inscribed and placed in a series of ceremonies.

The day after we visited “El Ojo que Llora,” I attended a group meeting for a project in Justicia class. Our group met with members of EPAF (Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense).http://epafperu.org/ We discussed the case we´ve been researching–El Caso de Putis. This event occurred in December 1984 in the region of Huanta. In this region, there had been high sendero presence. Many of the people living in the region, had fled to the mountains and forests to hide in 1983. A military base was installed in 1984. The armed forces asked the villagers to come out of hiding, promising protection from the Senderos. When the villagers returned, the military led them to a site under the pretense of making a piscigranja or fish farm to aid in the redevelopment of their town. The men started digging, and when they had finished, the all of the villagers lined up around the holes for the fish farm. The military proceeded to shoot all 123 of them–men, women, and children (many many many innocent children–the youngest was only 1 year old). Basically the villagers had dug their own grave. The CVR–truth and justice commission of Peru–investigated this case and confirmed that these events occurred. They found two graves, one in 2001 and the other in 2003. These graves were not exhumed until 2008–24 years after the massacre had occurred. EPAF helped with the exhumation, conducting tests with DNA and identifying the bones, clothes, and other possessions within the graves. They also found bullets with the markings of the armed forces inside. The testimonies of the CVR and the evidence from the exhumation matched perfectly. (Exhumations are only allowed in Peru if the case is being brought to court) However, there is still no justice for the case of the Putis. To find out why my group believes why you can read our essay. (I will try to attach it later)

While talking to members of EPAF, we touched on the subject of memory. I gave the example of September 11: For my children, it will “just” another part of history. How will they understand the importance or impact of what happened? EPAF emphasized that this is the importance of their work–not only to help with exhumations and run tests and analyze data but ALSO to make sure people don´t forget.

I believe this is the importance of memorials like Yuyanapaq and El Ojo que Llora–to FORCE people to remember what happened so that it won´t happen again. I like the way a guest professor to our class put it best in these few statements (he was talking about film, but it still applies:) ) :

–>The images call us to reflect and analyze what we see.

–>They give new generations the possibility to have a memory so they can investigate the events so they can turn “myths” into history.

Wow. I can’t believe my time here in Peru is winding down. I am almost 2/3 of the way done. A little more than 6 weeks to go.  That fact evokes a mixture of emotions–as ready as I am to come home, I still feel I have a lot more to accomplish here in Lima. There are still things to be seen, and I would love for my Spanish to get a little better. It has definitely become better, but not quite as much as I would’ve hoped for at this point.

Jon arrived in Lima at 2 am last Friday morning–delayed in Houston.  I took a safe taxi Taxi San Borja to and from the airport. You have to call this company well in advance to get a taxi, but late at night–especially since I was alone, it was definitely worth it.  The taxista was nice and showed me where to go to pick him up and then waited (for an hour due to customs and baggage claim) for me to return with Jon.  He took us to my host stay. We got about 3 hours of sleep and then the same taxista picked us up and took us back to the airport for our flight to Cusco.

Here’s the logistics of our trip:

Friday--Flight to Cusco left around 10, in Cusco around 11. We took Taca airlines.  Checked into our hostel, Wasichay in Cusco. It was a great location-and ok room for the price.

Saturday– Our travel agency Andina Travel picked us up at Wasichay at 6:50 am. We took a Perurail bus from Cusco to Piscacucho and then the Peru Rail train from Piscacucho to Aguas Calientes. We arrived in Aguas Calientes around 12:30 in the afternoon, and our hostel Pirwa Hostel (highly recommended by a friend of mine, and I loved it too) picked us up from the train station. Everything in Aguas Calientes is basically within walking distance so we walked to our hostel, left our backpacks, and then walked to the bus station. We took a 20 min bus up to Machu Picchu! and spent the afternoon there (about 3 1/2 hours). We didn’t use a guide–just walked around by ourself. I had a tour book especially for MP, but decided not to use it about 3o min in and just soaked up the beauty instead of figuring out what each rock was haha.

Sunday– We took the 10 am Peru Rail train and were back in Piscacucho at 11:30. Then we took a Peru Rail bus to Ollantambo. Then our travel agency sent a taxi to pick us up from Ollantambo and bring us back to Cusco. We didn’t get back until a little after 3 pm because the towns of Ollantambo and Urubamaba were celebrating a religious festival and the traffic near Urubamba was backed up.

Monday– We took a flight to Lima from Cusco at noon!

This was definitely a whirlwind go-go-go type of trip, but Jon only had 6 days in Peru-so it was necessary. And quite honestly, I felt like we got what we wanted out of the trip–great food, relaxation, and MACHU PICCHU!  There was probably a lot in Cusco to see that we didn’t, but I really don’t feel too bad about it……

I would defintely definitely recommend using Andina Travel. And ask for Erick! He speaks English, which is nice when planning a complicated schedule, and he was very quick to respond by email!  I booked our flights to Cusco, our Peru Rail train tickets, and our hostel in Aguas Calientes all on my own. Then I sent this information to Erick, and he handled coordinated transit bus/taxi pick ups, our entrances to Machu Picchu, the bus to Machu Picchu, and our hotel in Cusco.  As far as I could tell, I payed no extra than what I would’ve for these services had I done it all on my own–agency must get a discount. And it saved us a montón of time and stress. When the agency picked us up from our hostel in Cusco on Saturday morning, the lady had our train tickets, MP bus tickets, and MP entrance tickets all stapled together for each one of us and in a nice brown envelope. Also the only reason we had to do taxi and buses to and from Piscacucho was because of the January mudslide. Normally Peru Rail would take you straight from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, you would take the same bus from AC to MP and be done with it.  Apparently Peru Rail has been changing ticket details last minute frequently and having an agency who was used to this and adjusted according was awesome. Plus having the bus and entrance tickets to MP in hand was soooo convenient. No standing in long lines, figuring out where to the ticket offices are, etc.

When back from Cusco/Machu Picchu Jon and I rested/went to a movie– ROBIN HOOD!!!with Russell Crow and Cate Blanchett–so good! Then the next day, we went to Miraflores–Park of Love, beach, another movie DATE NIGHT with Steve Carell and Tina Fey–also good! and dinner at the Rosa Nautica. Then Wed (day he left) just rested and showed him around my neighborhood and took him to the 4 estaciones jugeria for dinner and banana milk (my new fav drink).

All in all it was a successful trip. It was hard to say goodbye again, but I’ll be back in 6 weeks!!!  Also the things he brought from home (my sister packed them) are really gonna make my time in Lima better–assorted teas from the candy basket, cinnamon disks, trail mix (goldfish, dried cranberries, mnms, and peanuts), warmer shoes, extra workout shirts, moisturizer, hot chocolate mix, new OU scholars tee, and LuLu (my stuffed bunny)!! My sister is amazing. I love and miss her so much.

I’m going to do a separate post about the food we ate while traveling and in Lima! The food was definitely Jon’s favorite part!!!! And I don’t blame him–we happened upon some great places with great dishes!!!!!


The seasons have begun to change here in Lima. It is now fall! When I first arrived, sandals and shorts were the appropriate attire. Now, layers are more efficient.  When the sun is out, it’s warm-ish. But there are stretches in the morning and definitely after sunset that are absolutely freezing!! The temperature might be 60, but it feels like 40 or below. And according to some (new!yay!) Peruvian friends and our host family, June will be colder.  So…I need to invest in a warmer jacket ( I only packed a light Columbia zip-up jacket) and some more comfortable closed-toe shoes! I don’t want to wear my tennis shoes everyday, and the couple pair of closed-toes I brought give me blisters easily!  My boyfriend is coming for a visit (he’ll be here Thursday ahhhh!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) and I’m going to ask him to bring my boots and also take home some sandals and other summerish clothes that I will no longer be needing.  I figure I’ll buy a warmer coat here, because I don’t want my peacoat making a trip to Lima.  I would hate for something to happen to it! Besides my Lima winter coat can also serve as a souvenir!

As a result of not initially being prepared, I have a bit of a cold.  I went to the pharmacy (boticas–they’re literally everywhere) and told them that I had a headache and a stuffy nose. They gave me a pill called “gripadyn” –not an antibiotic, because I asked– but no idea really what it was, although it did work wonders along with 4-5 pocket packs of kleenex! (Funny side story about the kleenex: I went to a corner store to buy some pocket packs, and I knew the word for kleenexes was “pañuelos”.  I had bought “pañuelos” in Mexico and had remembered the word from seeing it on the package.  However, I never realized I had only just read it and never said it out loud. So when I asked the lady at the counter for the kleenexes she had no idea what I was talking about.  I had to resort to the hand motion of blowing my nose :/ This was followed by a well-intentioned Spanish lesson.  She actually had me “repeat after me”.  She was like– “pan….repita! pan” ….”ñu”…”el”… “o” and I humored her and repeated 🙂 🙂  I kinda still have trouble saying it, and I think next time I will try saying “Kleenex” with a Castellano accent haha it works with things like oreos :))

Some linguistic tips for fall (in addition to the pañuelo lesson):

resfrío (cold)

gripe (literally flu– but I think here it is like a stomach bug? or sickness in general–b/c often they ask if I have gripe after I describe my cold symptoms…ok maybe this one wasn’t actually a tip, but rather something I’m trying to figure out..)

chompa (jacket)

abrígate! (keep warm or bundle up)


I also found that I have a fish allergy.  Kind of weird since fish (both fresh and marine) has never made me sick before.  Well, remember how I got sick last Thursday and we didn’t end up going to Cajamarca as a result? We ate fish for lunch that day.  Well I chalked my sicknesss up to a motion-related one because everyone ate the same food and I was the only one who got sick.  However…. this Saturday we also ate fish for lunch. And sure enough, two hours later  I got sick in the same exact way (same headache, acid reflux, vomit-type).  I feel the fact that I ate fish both days is enough to consider these episodes noncoincidental… I am also allergic to betadine (contains an Iodine compound–I looked up the word Iodine and it’s “yodo” in Spanish.) From what I’ve been reading, marine fish can have a large amount of iodine or a protein similar to it in their muscles.  I don’t really know how I can be unallergic to iodized salt and other iodine-containing foods, but I am allergic to the iodine in the fish….. Maybe different forms of iodine.

Perhaps this is something I will learn in medical school. I’ve tried to search out the answer on the internet (google and such), but the answers are exteremely variable–seeing as how anyone can post their opinion on the web!  Well–if anyone reading this can enlighten me–I’d love your input! (Especially Lizz if you’re reading–maybe you can ask Dr. Ryals if he knows!) Also, I’m not sure exactly what kind of fish I ate (only that I ate the same kind both times) –my host family calls it “diamante” or diamond fish.

Time after Midterms

Besides the two relatively short bouts of sickness related to the diamond fish, my time since midterms has been thoroughly enjoyable.  I have caught up on blogging, reading, scholarship essay writing, working out, and a little sightseeing!

This past Thursday Calin and I went to the Center of Lima for our first time! Cindy and Serena (two other OU students studying at Católica) were nice enough to take us! We now know which combis to take from school and a little of our way around.  We walked through Plaza San Martín and the Plaza de Armas, ate lunch, and went up to the Mirador San Cristobal! It was a great trip. We only stayed a few hours because we had to get back for class, but hopefully we’ll go again soon and get to see more!

Calin and I also went into Wong for our first time. I am so so so excited about my first (good) purchase of turkey meat and cheese for sandwiches.  ( My first time was at Metro, and I was very disappointed). Calin and I have also tried out two Mexican restaurants: Mi Carcochito (last post) and Sí Señor.  We went to Sí Señor today in Miraflores.  I think it was my favorite of the two.  It had many more choices and almost all were Mexican (where as at Mi Carcochito the majority was Peruvian, but they offered tacos).  I ate tacos de carnita cancun or something along those lines. They were great, great, great flour tortillas with meat, pineapple, onions, peach, beans, and guacomole inside. Calin had enchiladas, which she said were really good.

List of restuarantes to try before I leave is now the following:

–>Rocoto Relleno

–>a cevicheria en Miraflores (which might be tricky now with my aversion to fish)

–>Don Rosalina

–>Como Agua Para Chocolate

–>Limeño Tradiciones

–>La Rosa Nautica ( Hopefully I get to check this one off when Jon comes!)


I have yet to get all of my midterm grades, but hopefully I will this week. I did get my “Etnicidad, Identidad y Nación” grade back and it was an A! (which I was proud of because it was an essay test in Spanish).  I am still waiting on my “Seguridad Internacional” grade–it was also an essay test–, my “Justicia y Organismos Publicos” ensayo–5-7 page essay in English–, and my Quechua exam…..which practically everyone cheated on (not me-gracias to my morals and OU’s strict academic honesty policy). And the teacher is not going to make us retake it!  The teacher was not present at the exam–a proctor was, and everyone whipped out their notes claiming they were “like” dictionaries (b/c dictionaries were allowed, but not recommended). It was one of my most bizarre experiences here. I was livid about the whole situation, and from what I could tell it was not as big of a deal to the professor or the students. The profesora lightly scolded everyone the next class period, but that was that.

Oh well, what’s done is done haha–I need not stew about my Quechua test any longer, and I am  so excited for this week! I have four days of class, and then Jon will get here late Thursday night. And we will be off to Cuzco and Machu Picchu for the weekend! I hope that all goes smoothly! Wish us luck! And I will surely be returning with beautiful pictures and memories!

We didn’t end up going to Cajamarca this weekend after all. On Thursday, we purchased our tickets at Cruz del Sur (ida y vuelta), and boarded the bus. However, after only twenty minutes or so, I vomited (sorry) all over, multiple times. I’ll leave the details at that :/ I have no idea why I got sick. Maybe it was motion sickness? Although that doesn’t normally happen to me…. Anyways, we got off the bus in Los Olivos and took a taxi back to Cruz del Sur durante “la hora punta” according to our taxi driver. There is a lot of traffic around 6 o’clock. We payed him and tipped well (because I also puked on his taxi :/ and then he was gracious enough to pull over for me). I didn’t get sick for the rest of the night and only had a headache for the next day or so. I cannot explain this bout of sickness, but we’re chalking it up to a sign that this was not the right weekend to go to Cajamarca :/

We took this opportunity to relax in Lima, which was nice since we just finished midterms.

On Friday, I rested most of the day. For dinner, we checked off El Carcochito from our list of restaurants we want to try! It was great we both had orange juice and chicken tacos with mucho guacamole riquísimo!!

On Saturday, Calin and I went to el teatro en Miraflores se llama ICPNA and watched “El Noche Arabe.”. It was quite the experience 🙂 We were prepared for the 1001 Nights, Arabian Night story. Instead we got a crazed woman who was nude or wearing transparent clothing throughout the entire play who somehow traps one man in a bottle, another in the desert, and another in a weird room. Each man encountered the crazy woman in her apartment sleeping, and after interacting with her the men find themselves in thier different scenarios (bottle, desert, weird room). The third man was the boyfriend of her roommate, and upon upon finding the two together, the roommate becomes enraged and a bit psychotic. At the end, the man from the desert (who was also the maintenance man at the apartment) and the delusional woman fall in love, the roomate kills her ex-boyfriend, and the man in the bottle dies when the bottle is dropped from the apartment. Confused? Yeah, so were we. haha. The only thing similar to Arabian Night was the cheating, the desert, and that the roomate’s name was Fatima. If anyone can explain this rendition, please feel free to do so!! But we’re glad we went and experienced this unique performance despite the craziness.

Today, Mother’s Day, Calin and I called our moms, worked out, and then went to a family get-together. We accompanied our host parents to Enrique’s brother’s house. (Enrique is our host dad). Here, we met much of Enrique’s extended family. I really, really enjoyed this experience and am so glad they invited us along! I loved chatting with everyone, eating chifa and chocolate cake, and being part of a Peruvian family gathering. I hope that we do it again for Father’s Day!

I can hardly believe that my 9th week has come to an end. Tomorrow marks the beginning of our 10th. I feel that I’ve accomplished and experienced so much already, but at the same time I feel that I have SOOO much more to do! My Spanish is not near as good as I would like it to be. As much as people might compliment it, I still struggle to understand every word of a conversation or say exactly what I want. My Spanish has improved since my arrival; I am more comfortable when speaking and can always converse, just not always quite as articulately as I’d like. I would love to improve a lot more before leaving! I definitely agree with Helen (Chile Blog) in that the language barrier is one of the more frustrating things about studying abroad! All the other differences are exactly as she said–things that we set out to experience. If life in Peru were just like that in the US…it wouldn’t really be an exciting, learning experience–just merely an extension of my everyday life.

All this said, I am so excited to start my 10th week! I’m looking forward to my classes, receiving my midterm grades, our first trip to Lima’s Plaza de Armas, and whatever our next weekend’s activities may be!

This past week I finished my first (and last) round of Peruvian midterms! I have been in Lima for 9 weeks now and have 9 more left! It has gone by sooo quickly!

Midterms were stressful, but I’m happy to say that I survived and had worried more than necessary (as is usual for me and test blocks). In about 10 minutes Calin and I are going to leave for our third side-trip of the semester. We’re going to Cajamarca!!! Calin is especially looking forward to this trip because she knows so much about the history behind the city!

Our previous two trips were to the Pisco/Paracas/Ica area (all three are cities in the Ica region of Perua) and to Huaraz. Both trips were successes!!

Trip 1: Pisco/Paracas/Ica

The Islas Ballestas and the Reserva Nacional in Paracas were beautiful. We loved seeing the animals, the candelabra, and the juxtaposition of sand and sea. The bodega in Ica, Vista Alegre, was also really cool! We took a tour of the vineyard and saw how wine and pisco are made, and then we taste tested! My travel guide (lonely planet Peru) was a little misleading because it was written pre-2007 earthquake. The earthquake hit the area hard, and the cities had done little to reconstruct. So we had less things to do than expected and cut our trip short– 2 days. We stayed the night in Pisco at a hostel, which I would recommend, named Villa San Manuelita! I think if I were going to do this again, I would do Huacachina (sandboarding,etc), Ica, Pisco, and Paracas all in a 4 day trip. Pisco is about 3-4 hours from Lima, and Huachachina and Ica are pretty close together and only a couple hours from Pisco. We took Soyuz. They have bus departures every 20 minutes to all parts of the South.

Ok–I’m leaving for Cajamarca now so I will finish this blog soon and add pictures!!


Trip 2: Huaraz

Huaraz was indescribably beautiful. The mountain views and lakes were breathtaking. We also got to see many campesinos/as in traditional dress, llamas, alpacas, and other farm animals. Huaraz is a 7-8 hour bus ride from Lima. We took Movil Tours overnight and purchased semi-cama seats.

Upon arriving to Huaraz, we called Carolina Lodging, a hostal highly recommended by my Lonely Planet. We, however, did not have very much luck with them. They wanted to keep our passports (which we didn’t bring because it’s unsafe to do so–We had copies), and since we didn’t have them they wanted a 100 sol deposit. 100 soles was more than 3 nights worth of payment. They also refused to give us a receipt for this deposit.. After much arguing (I was being polite, but there was a definite miscommunication and not linguistic), we ended up leaving the hostel.

We called another hostel, Alojamiento Soledad, and an employee came in a taxi and picked us up from Carolina Lodging. She was very accomodating, and after interacting with her, we knew we had made the right decision. The hostal was beautiful and economical to boot. It had a terrace with mountain views, a patio, a dining room,a communal living area with tv and couches, and brightly colored bedrooms (ours was yellow). Breakfast of té and pan con marmelada was also included!

After breakfasting, the empleada helped us find a combi to Willkahuain (we tried and failed to do so by ourselves :/) The combi was a bumpy and squished experience. We started from Huaraz and traveled up a gravel trail into the mountains, picking up more and more people along the way until we could not possibly fit any more. As uncomfortable as it was, I kind of enjoyed it. (Also–side note: the cobradors in Huaraz do not call out their destinations like in Lima. As a result, it is very difficult to decide which one to flag down.) In Willkahuain, are ruinas de la cultura Huari. We took a tour of these ruins with the help of a local guide who spoke Spanish, Quechua, and some English. (We took the tour in Spanish.) Our guide was really great, and he said he worked as a volunteer and not for pay….but really this means he works for tip 🙂 Later that night, our hostel arranged a taxi to pick us up and take us to the Mirador, a beautiful location with panoramic views of the city of Huaraz and a huge turquoise cross, covered in graffiti. After the Mirador, Calin and I shared a dinner de Brucheta (sp?– they were like shish kabobs) at El Encuentro, una restuarante bien bonita en Huaraz cerca de la Plaza del Armas. After dinner, we met up with some Oklahoma friends in la plaza and went to El Tambo., a pub with great live music.

The next day, Saturday, we left at 6:30 am for our trek into the Cordilleras Blancas. Our guide, a sister of the empleada at the hostel, met us at the hostel to take our taxi. We took a 3 hour taxi drive up to Laguna Llanganuco, trekked up 3 hours to Laguna 69, trekked down for 3 hours, and then took the taxi back down for 3 hours. This made for a long, very dangerous, but beautiful day. The taxi was not not not safe and the trek was soooooooooo hard (altitude and upward climb), but the views were absolutely spectacular. I’m glad we made it back safely! And I can say with confidence that the trek was one of my best and simultaneously worst experiences ever!!! Again, I cannot stress enough how BEAUTIFUL everything was (see pictures below). En fin, una aventura buenísima.

On Sunday, we woke up early and walked to the California Cafe for breakfast. This cafe is owned by a man from California–he hosts ultimate frisbee tournaments every Friday. This was cafe was so cool and the food was DELICIOUS! We had panqueques rellena con manjar blanca y fruta, huevos revueltas, pan con marmelada, yogurt, papas con cebollas, té, y un banana milkshake. This was a special (one plate!!) that Calin and I split. After breakfast, we went to the Museum of Anthropology, meandered around the plaza, took pictures with alpacas, went to an Incan market, and then went back to our hostel to catch a taxi to the bus station.

Our trip was awesome! But everytime we travel away from Lima, we are so relieved to be back again. I guess it is kinda becoming like “home.”

Pictures are all mixed together. In order they are of pisco, bodega, islas ballestas, our hostel in Huaraz, willkahuain, mirador, trek, museum, plaza de armas, …. if you click on them, you can see a larger view and also headings with the location.

Since I last posted, I have been enjoying all that Lima has to offer– post-culture shock 🙂

On the Friday before Easter Calin (friend and roomate, also from OU) went to a “country club” near our house. Our host dad showed us where to go and how to get in. We spent the day sunbathing, drinking, eating, and just enjoying each other´s company. I had an awful sunburn as a result of the sun only shining on my left arm–lessoned learned there. On Saturday, Calin and I went with Karla and her mom to Pulpos–a beachtown about 1 1/2 hours from Lima by bus. We loved the beach and the seafood! On Easter Sunday, Calin and I went to El Parque de Leyendas with the chica that works in our house, Marleni. This park is a zoo! It has exhibits showcasing the animals of the different climates/terrain of Peru–the jungle, mountains, and coast! It was really cool and 10 soles well spent. On Easter night, Calin and I went with our host mom to mass. It was a little weird attending a service so different to what I’m used to, but I still enjoyed it and the church was beautiful!

I have also recently discovered one of my favorite restaurants in Peru!!!!!!!!!! —La 5ta Estación, which is a restaurant only a few blocks from my house. This restaurant is diner style– seating is at a bar where you can see them cook the food and is open to the fresh air (no doors to the outside)–and they also serve like a drive-in when cars pull up! They serve sandwiches, platos tipicos de Peru, and the best fresh juice ever!! I´m obsessed specifically with their orange juice for two reasons: 1) it´s absolutely delicious and freshly squeezed 2) you can´t find real OJ in grocery stores here–only mandarina. I also love to mix their strawberry and orange juices together 🙂 There is another restuarant named the Las 4 Estaciones. They appear to be of the same chain–same colors and everything, but according to our host dad, they have a different owner and the Las 4 is the original and better. Guess I´ll have to try it out too 🙂

Here is a running list of my favorite Peruvian foods/restaurants:
Causa–lemony, mashed potatos with chicken salad inside–served casserole style
Chifa–one dish in particular I like, but don´t know the name: it has pineapples and chicken served over rice with a sweet sauce
Lomo Saltado–like fajitas with more juice served over french fries and rice
Ahi de Gallina— ahi and chicken mixture with a creamy sauce served over boiled potatoes
Guiso–kinda like stew with a little less juice and of course, served over rice
Jalea Mixto–basically a big plate of different kinds of seafood all fried–shrimp, calamari, octopus, white fish, clams, etc. We tried this dish in a small restaurant in Pulpos. (I also tried Leche de Tigre while in Pulpos–lemon, cilantro,choclo, onions, and raw/”cooked” fish like in ceviche, and a lot of liquid. This was a good experience, but I don´t think it´s something I´ll want to order again :))
Chifles— fried platanos–kinda potatoe chip-py. You can buy them at street vendors or at many restaurants!

Mangos–Restaurant in Miraflores inside a mall called Larcomar. Really nice atmosphere and good food with a great view of the sea if you get the right seat 🙂
La 5ta Estación–description above 🙂

My List of foods/restaurants to try:
Roky´s–Pollo a al brasa
Mi Carcochito–Mexican food
La Rosa Nautica–restaurant in Miraflores which is situated on top of a “peninsula” (for lack of a better word) of rocks
anticucho–cow´s heart
ceviche–citrus marinated fish, which appears raw but is technically “cooked” by the citric acid

School has been getting better/easier every day as I´m becoming more comfortable with my Spanish and my schedule here in general. Calin and I also joined a gym here this past week! It´s really near our house and offers good equipment as well as various group classes! We went to pilates yesterday!

We have yet to take a “side-trip” outside of Lima, with the exception of our afternoon at Pulpos. We are hoping to go to the Paracas/Pisco/Huachachina area this weekend! Wish us luck with travel arrangements!

Sharing this is a little embarrassing, but I do it for a few reasons:
1) To let future study-abroaders know that they are not alone in feeling frustrated/discouraged while experiencing culture shock.
2) That culture shock does happen and can be severe–certain destinations are not for the faint hearted–choose wisely.
3) To cope with my feelings and say GOODBYE to them! 🙂

I am admitting that I have now experienced TRUE culture shock on what is my 3rd study abroad trip. I have had many ups and downs these first 3 1/2 weeks. I was often discouraged by my classes, people, transportation, boredom etc. At one point, I truly considered coming back home.

However, things are now back in perspective for me. I came to Lima to accomplish certain goals of mine:
–Experience a new culture for a longer period of time than I ever had before (my other two study abroad were one month apiece)
–Become more fluent in Spanish
–Take Quechua lessons
–Challenge myself and grow my levels of confidence, independence, and travel skills

These goals are definitely works in progress, but I have already gained some unexpected lessons from my first 3 1/2 weeks. It never hurts to get old ideas reaffirmed in new, memorable ways 🙂
–Things are not always as expected. You have a choice to give up or get tough.
–Lima can be liberating. Studying abroad can liberate you from outside pressures that you never realized existed. For example, in the future I might want to settle down in a place that is smaller and very different than Lima. (But now having experienced life in other cities: some in the US, as well as Guadalajara, Oxford, and now Lima,) I wouldn’t be doing it from pressures such as fear or ignorance of the unknown. [I think prior to coming to college and studying abroad these might have been issues for me]. I would be doing it because I CHOSE to, knowing about and feeling confident in a variety of different atmospheres. I am ready for whatever challenges life throws my way–I can feel confident living wherever I want or need to! Lima has liberated me from fear, ignorance, prejudices, taking things for granted, ….the list could go on.

Yes combis are a little gross, tiring, and incovenient. Yes, I often think that people could benefit from some manner lessons. Yes, I miss my comfort food, friends, family, and boyfriend–my support system. Yes, I’m often bored because I don’t know how to get around and do things.

–I will most likely get the chance to drive a car (not ride in combis) for the next 30+ years. In addition, the system really is quite ingenious. How else are you supposed to get 8-9 million people around? If everyone had their personal car, there’s no way–and their economy can’t really support adding new infrastructure like a subway. Plus, it gives the cobradors, drivers, and the men with the clipboards jobs!
— Ppl are bound to be rude, and I’ve got to let it go. Also, sometimes being pushy might be their idea of a perfect tool for getting things done here with so many people and chaotic circumstances.
— My food will be there when I get home, and when might I get to experience real Peruvian food again? I’ve just got to choose wisely, and thank goodness my stomach has finally settled WAHOO!
— My friends, family, and boyfriend will always be there for me no matter what the distance, and absence really does makes the heart grow fonder.
–There have been days in the past I would’ve killed to be bored so I should find a good book or movie. Besides, the city and getting around will become easier.

I am determined to spend the next 14 weeks of my trip soaking up all the experience (good and bad) that Lima has to offer (and learning and growing as a result)!

Hopefully we find something to do for Semana Santa weekend! We started planning a little too late :/ …oh well!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (It’s my favorite holiday! Will someone PLEASE eat a Cadbury egg for me??)

And look out LIMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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