Moving to Lima

I still can’t believe that I actually moved to Peru. In many ways I feel more grown up, but at the same time foolish/childish since I have no idea what I got myself into. However, I hope that it’s as rewarding as I want it to be in more ways than one! So, here goes nothing…

Before I got here, everyone was telling me how cold it is in Lima. But looking at the temperatures, it didn’t seem so bad. Just 50 to 60 degrees. When I stepped off the plane, I was wearing flip-flops and capris while everyone else was bundled up in coats and sweaters. Initially, I thought it was a wonderful respite from the 100 degree heat in Dallas. However, now I feel cold all the time. There’s no central heat or air anywhere so you just have to keep warm with layers of clothing and blankets. It’s not so bad, and the weather is supposed to get better in the next 2 weeks or so.

The first thing I was warned about, when Diana and her sister, Pochita picked me up from the airport, was the traffic. Cars don’t stop for anyone and pedestrians definitely don’t have the right-of-way. Well, maybe the cars would stop if they hit you. Maybe. You have to also be careful about what taxis you get as well. Some of them aren’t in safe cars, or the driver is shady. So before you get in, you check out the driver and negotiate a price with him since there are no meters. Every time I got into a taxi in the beginning, I was white-knuckling the door handles. I thought the sidewalks would be safe. Well, I was proven wrong when a motorcyclist decided it would be more convenient to run alongside pedestrians. I even had a driver in Cusco that hit a dog with the grill of his car, and he just kept going with seemingly no remorse.

The food in Peru is delicious, and Lima also has a variety of cuisines (and even American chains like Chili’s, TGI Friday’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut)! The first night I had chicha, a maroon corn fermented drink. In Lima chicha doesn’t have any alcohol content, but it does in Cusco (only like 2% alcohol). I really like this drink; it’s kind of like juice, but with less sugar. I also like this Fanta-like drink called Inca Cola. It apparently sells more bottles than Coca Cola in Peru, and today I found out that there’s a diet version of the drink! Yay! My first full day in Peru, the directors of the company I’m working for took me to this restaurant for lunch called La Mar. It’s owned by the best chef in Peru, Gaston Acurio. I ate 5 different types of ceviche (fish “cooked” in lime juice) at the restaurant, and it was delicious and light.

The first few days I was in Lima, I followed Diana around doing errands and exploring the city a little bit. I got my phone working, but it’s pretty expensive to make even local phone calls and you have to go to these little stores and recharge your minutes every so often. It’s kind of a pain. The night before I went to Cusco, we went to a circus in a different district in Lima. I was told that it was a more dangerous area, and that I should only carry a little money in my pocket and nothing else. There are really only 3 safe districts in Lima: Miraflores (where I live), San Isidro, and Barranco. The circus really surprised me; it was very good and kind of like a smaller version of Cirque du soleil.

I really like my host family; they’ve basically taken me in as one of their own and are helping me in every way they can. They are warm and inviting, and have welcomed me into the family with open arms. They are also being so patient with me, and helping me practice my Spanish. Sometimes I can’t be in the conversation because it’s too complex or I lose my concentration and miss important parts of what everyone is talking about. It’s getting easier though, and in the course of a week I can already tell that my Spanish has improved drastically. I’m now more confident and my abilities to verbally communicate-and it can only get better from this point forward.

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