It’s odd how familiar Lima has gotten. I know what buses to take to get around the city, what Peruvian snacks are my favorite (margaritas: http://en.tubodeguita.com/cookies-margarita-vanilla-cookies-6-packs-from-sayon.html), where the good places are to eat, when I’m getting ripped off, or what a non-Peruvian Spanish accent sounds like.
When taxi drivers try to make me pay twice as much, I refuse to pay the gringa price. When people tell me prices in dollars, I convert it back to soles and think how many lunches or how many alfajores I could buy with that many soles. When people talk about Peruvian food, I try to avoid saying that I don’t like ceviche, but emphasize the fact that I love pollo a la brasa and aji de gallina. I may struggle with my Spanish at times, but I love it when I can throw in the word “manyas?” (Got it?) or the ever-so-popular “chevere” (cool).
It no longer feels strange to eat rice with nearly every meal, drink juice instead of milk, use soles, write the date as day/month/year, or speak Spanish. It kinda feels like a second home and if I didn’t know I was so far away, I wouldn’t feel like I was so far away. A lot of times I have to picture myself on the map of South America to remind myself that I couldn’t drive home on the weekend (although tanning in January was a good reminder).
And despite what Peruvians might say about my appearance as a foreigner, I really don’t feel like one anymore!
Amor y Paz.