This is the view from the third floor where Erin and I have our rooms. My bathroom is just around the corner so here I am walking to it. Already the cars are lined up at stoplights and car alarms are going off. I’m not really sure why there are always car alarms. People can also be seen walking around the streets, little kids with backpacks, mothers with bags of fresh bread, and joggers.
Greetings from Marquenso. If you stand in one place too long, he’ll start chewing whatever fabric is closest. So far he’s nibbled most of my shoelaces, pant legs, and ruined my hiking shoe laces (my fault, I left them outside overnight). Despite this issue, I still love waking up to this cute little face every morning.
Typical breakfast: pancito, or “little bread” that Maria buys every morning (and apparently most Peruvians). Palto, or avocado. Instant coffee with some raw sugar, and freshly made juice. This juice is strawberries and papaya, I believe. Variations on the typical breakfast: cold meat, cheese, banana, chocolate milk.
My vitals: phone, student ID card, iPod, house keys, coin pouch, pen, and anything I plan on reading during the day. These things are necessary for the smooth functioning of my life in Lima, barring any external issues like traffic and miscommunication! I like that not everything is online—though it’s more environmentally friendly to not print, I still like reading hard copies and underlining.
Bus ride on the micro. There are few official bus stops here, and you just flag it down on the same street. Waiting for the micro take anywhere from a few seconds to thirty minutes, so I have to allow extra time in order to arrive on time. The ride itself is about a half hour. Though Peruvian time is more lenient, I still like to get there early so I can sit in front and thus hear the professor better.
The key to life in Lima: un sol. Equivalent to about 33 cents, this little coin will buy you gum, water, a bus ride, an empanada, a sandwich, and coffee (individually prices). I’m sure there are many uses I’m yet unaware of.
To enter the university you need to flash your ID card. This is the main path, with palm trees and signs announcing current events that appear on the right. Once you enter the university it’s like a different world. No cars to watch out for, incredibly clean and upkept, and groups of Peruvian students milling around. On Mondays they pass out school newspapers to anyone who enters through the front.
You’re not supposed to put toilet paper in the toilets here, so this is a wonderful picture of the trashcan in each stall. It’s the little differences that are really the most relevant. It’s these things that trip you up, like not knowing what the translation for just a straight up brewed coffee is, not knowing the slang for socks, being unfamiliar with the metric system, and not knowing how the mail system works. Little by little I learn who to ask and these things become natural.
Left: If it’s sunny out I like to stretch out on the grass and soak up some Vit D while I read packets, usually readings for my lit class, critiques of authors, or else history for my Realidad Social Peruana class. Right now we’re reading about the conquest of America.
Right: my scrambled notes. I unfortunately did not get to test out my RSP class before I signed up and my professor is a bit difficult to understand, as well as his unclear notes drawn on the board. He also wrote almost half the articles necessary to know, and that’s always intimidating. I believe the triangles are social hierarchies… However, the class is very interesting, and I’m looking forward to learning more about modern Peruvian society.
Here is a sign that warns students that ‘deer are wild animals,’ don’t feed them. I did have the exciting opportunity to touch one… It thought I had food. There’s probably about 10 deer running around campus, rumor has it that they jumped the fence from the zoo behind campus. They’re about half the size of our good old whitetail Wisconsin deer. The other picture is the typical cafeteria.
Possibly the best aspect of campus is the numerous coffee dispensers. For about 50 cents you can get a Café Americano, a Mokkacino, etc, etc. You press some buttons, adjust sugar, and the machine does the rest. When it’s cold it’s hard to resist picking one of these up every couple hours.
This is the comedor central, usually teeming with students and their food trays. If you’re willing to wait about an hour in lines, you can get the basic plate for about $1.50, but if not, there are sandwiches, snacks, and salads elsewhere.
After a salsa class from 8:30-10 I’m ready to go home after a long day on campus. Our micro stops running at 10, so Erin and I take a taxi home on Tuesdays. It costs about $3.00. Taxis are cheap, especially if you can pull of convincing Spanish. As in all places, tourists are the easiest to scam.
Whenever we get home our host mom will heat up dinner that she made that night. Tonight it was chifa, a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian food. The picture isn’t that appetizing, but it is always delicious! Maria is a wonderful cook.
As a longstanding tradition in my life, I end my night reading. After an hour or two of homework, I just need a break from all the Spanish. Currently I’m reading The Book Thief (shout-out to Tess who left it here), with a headlamp, as my overhead lamp switch isn’t close to my bed. Another example of small, seemingly unimportant comforts that just aren’t around as frequently.