So having lived in Lima for a little over 4 months now, I have compiled a short list about what I like and dislike about Peru. Of course some days are better than others, but I can honestly say that I really do love Peru. The more I see of it, the more I am amazed. I still have yet to make it to the Amazon and Machu Picchu but that will be coming soon enough and I’m sure it’ll strengthen my love for Peru even more. So, without any more anticipation here is my Top 10 list, in no particular order.
Differences in Lima that I’m not a fan of:
- Driving is insane and pedestrians do not have the right of way…ever.
- Cars and buses do not pull over/slow down/stop for a flashing ambulance or police car. (I hope I never need one of those because it would be forever until they even arrived).
- A lot of machismo.
- The checkout process at all stores. (You tell them what you want and they give you a ticket. You take the ticket to the register to pay. You get another ticket/receipt. You go back to the person who you got the first ticket from and show them the new receipt. Finally you get your merchandise.)
- The lavanderia….there’s just something awkward about having another lady wash, dry and fold your clothes.
- No mailboxes.
- No office hours to talk with professors at school
- Not living on campus (getting to school takes ~45min)
- It gets dark around 6pm every day.
- There’s no frozen/ instant food that you just need to heat up and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. (Sooooo “American”, I know.)
What I like about Lima:
- A lot of things are cheaper!
- The weather here is really nice, the winter is usually around 60 degrees (F) and in the summer about 80 degrees (F) in Lima.
- Public transportation (Once you get over the low-quality of some buses, public transportation here is very convenient and cheap)
- All the parks and green space (my favorite spots being the Malecon and Parque de la Exposicion)
- The cuisine!
- There is pretty much some type of holiday almost every month (so far at least) where there’s no school and everyone is off from work for the most part. I think we need this….for psychological purposes.
- My host family
- The night life (karaoke bars, clubs, food, movies etc.)
- The smaller class size and how campus is enclosed into its own little community
- The mix of the very old (pre-Incan and Incan cultures) with the modernity of Lima today
There is a lot more I could put down for both of these categories but you get the idea of what it’s like a little bit here. The important thing is that I am learning to adapt to everything here, and sometimes I find myself forgetting I’m in Peru or a different country for that matter. I have my routine and doing things like ordering food, checking out at stores, using the bus system, talking with my host family, or asking teachers questions is no longer scary. I can do it. My speaking of Spanish still isn’t where I hoped it to be, but I hope that it will increase exponentially over the next few months. Now that I understand nearly everything being said to me (with the exception of some people), I think my vocabulary and grammar will become much better. I am so glad I am staying for a year because right now my Spanish is nowhere near the level I thought I would be at.