It was been exactly one month that I have lived here in Piura, three weeks in my apartment, and just a week shy of my second full month in Peru. I suppose, like anything, adjustment takes time. I don’t just mean the whole boiling water thing, I mean everything. Finally now, it seems that I will be getting my butt off this comfortable pleather futon I own!
This weekend was exciting! Beer on the balcony happened late Friday night, and Saturday was a full day of fun! I went for a run at high noon, which resulted in about 400 more freckles all over. Soon after I went out with the guys for some cebiche de pescado and a couple cold Cusquenas. Our group grew quickly from four to ten! We all came back here for a giant party in honor of the 26th birthday of one of the guys, Jorge. Luckily two more girls had joined us, so it wasn’t a total brofest! We celebrated eh hem…well. There are perks to being friends with a beer distributor.
The night played out as per usual and we drank our beers til we decided to order chifa, and we ordered our typical tallarin (noodles), chaufa (rice), and chicken. Luckily there were more than four of us to eat it this time! Eventually the night slowed, and we decided to head out to Queens, the big dance club! I was so excited! In my two months in Peru I had yet to go dancing!
Five of us made it out to Queens, and luckily there was a live concert that night from a pretty well-known band, Libido (http://www.libidonet.com/). It is rock and very enjoyable! Still though, I was thrilled when the dance music came on. I say I danced pretty darn well for a gringa, but Luis will say otherwise. I think he is just saying it to push my buttons, or just because even a good gringa isn’t even close to a mediocre Peruvian dancer.
It was a very late night, ended by a hamburger (I never thought I would eat meat like this, I hardly believe myself).
The next day I woke up to a disgusting apartment! Ah, this is life post-college. Messes you have to clean up yourself. Gone are the days of partying at frat houses, where they have freshman to clean up. Needless to say I didn’t touch it until after I went out for a bit more cebiche and then met my gringa friend Sarah at a hotel pool. Her and I lounged out in the sun and occasionally jumped into the great pool. The only deal is that we had to order some food, but only $10 worth. I spent $2 on the best frozen orange juice ever and bought a bottle of seltzer. Totally worth it!
It was the most expensive weekend I have had since I arrived here, but I had to admit that my month of frugality made this splurge WAY worth it! It was probably the best weekend I have had here so far. I am now completely tempted by the pool though on a regular basis!
I woke up today to my typical bread and jam. I wasn’t in the mood for instant coffee as the morning already felt scorching, so I squeezed a bit of fresh orange juice and watched a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother. After I found myself already bored, I thought I’d run another Google Search for volunteer opportunities here. My first one had been unsuccessful, which didn’t surprise me because Piura is not exactly a place that people line up to visit. Most volunteer work goes on in Lima and Cuzco.
The University I work for runs some things, but I wanted to separate the two, work and “play.” I also really wanted to work with foreigners. I know that sounds awful since I am living in Peru, but I want to meet a few more gringos. I have learned that it is super important to have other expat friends. I think it is just as important to have Peruvian friends, but my Saturday shindigs remind how hard that is all the time. 12 hours of Spanish at a party where everyone is talking at once can be both difficult and depressing…the first hours always kind of stab at me as a reminder that I am not home and not with my friends. As I hear them tell stories from high school, it only makes it harder, as it is so poignant that I am the outsider. Regardless, these nights always get better with a couple Pilsens.
Anyway, for that reason, I want a few more foreign friends. Ones to explore the beaches with and splurge on the pool with me. Volunteering is also super important to me. Peru has welcomed me with open arms and I know that this is one of the benefits of being from the USA. I can move anywhere, work anywhere, and not really have to stress over a visa. For this reason, I would like to say thank you. I also want to see more of Peru, get a feel for life outside the city, and learn about the culture by experiencing a different element.
Luckily today I stumbled across an organization I hadn’t noticed before called Ayni. They teach English but also work on community development projects in a rural community about 30 minutes outside my city. Luckily though everyone lives here and commutes there daily, so all I have to do is join the crowd! I sent a few whirlwind e-mails and an application, and needless to say, they were happy to have a volunteer who was already living here in Piura! They have welcomed me on board. I will start tomorrow if e-mail is checked in time, or most likely Wednesday out in the community. I will go meet, explore, and see what the group is all about. They sound great, a lot of sustainable development work going on. I am hoping to really sync with them and commit for the whole year and help prepare myself for my masters, which is in Community Development and Planning. How perfect, right?
I can’t wait to have more to do! I will work there daily from 9-1, which gives me plenty of time to NOT sit on the couch! This weekend too I will head out to Trujillo to run my third half-marathon. I have been dying to visit Trujillo and really missing my racing, so I’m thrilled.
I’m learning quickly that moving abroad just takes a little patience, a little open mindedness, and a lot of initiative.