Hello everyone! This was the week it hit us hard realizing just how long we have actually been in Peru. At the time of posting this we have been here for 38 days. It’s crazy to think that we have been in this country for over a month. Our week was yet again pretty uneventful, mostly filled with relaxing in our hotel garden. We did, although, have some excursions throughout the week to take up some of our time. One day we went to the Catedral de Companiña located right next to the city’s center. This place was beautiful and filled with lots of gold throughout the entire building. When going to the back of the building we found a small chapel room (which we cannot remember the name right now) that we relate to the Sistine Chapel yet smaller. The room was hand painted from floor to ceiling using paint that they made from animal fat mixed with fruits and vegetables. Adjoining the chapel was two courtyards that are described as cloisters which had multiple little shops in them. These were also quite nice to hang out in for a short while. Some people on Trip Advisor said to look for the lady selling queso helado in one of these squares and be sure to buy some so of course I (Hannah) had to try some and the people of Trip Advisor were not lying – that was some delicious helado.
Another day in Arequipa we went to an organic chocolate shop to learn about how they make chocolate here and how to make our own. A big portion of the countries cocoa beans are produced here in Peru and the making of chocolate dates back to when Hernando Cortez came and discovered this country. The cocoa bean was used as currency back during that time because of its great value. Women were bought as wives for 3 cacao beans, but in comparison, a rabbit would cost 20 cacao beans. We were shown how the bean goes from bean form to the texture we are most used to seeing chocolate in. We were even given an Andean chocolate drink made from beans that that had been roasted and then we ground ourselves. It wasn’t the best and we couldn’t finish the very small glasses we were given due to the true bitterness. Our instructor told us that Cortez would request this drink multiple times on a daily basis. We were also able to do some taste testing to see if we could tell the difference between artisanal chocolate and store bought as well as between dark and milk. After that was the making of our own chocolates where we were able to pick from different fillings/toppings to bring home. It has taken us a lot of will power to not eat the chocolate we made as Emily and I have some pretty large sweet teeth (almost a week without eating it and going strong).
The chocolate class ended around 7PM and we were very hungry so we went to the main plaza to look around for food. The police presence had grown and we realized that all the lights in the main square were off as well as one side of the plaza. Restaurants were lit by candlelight so we were not sure if they were cooking still. I, Emily, joked and asked Hannah if she would like to have a romantic candlelight dinner with me. Safe to say I got denied. We started walking on the main strip and suddenly every light on the strip around us went out and everything was black. People screamed and grabbed their loved ones close or the nearest police officer. I grabbed Hannah and we walked quickly towards the light, which luckily forus was in the direction of our hotel. We remembered a pizza place near our hotel that we started to head for and as we neared the hotel/pizza it was very smoky and started smelling like campfire. A campfire smell in a city with tons of smoke did not seem normal, but no one seemed worried so we just continued to walk. To this day we still have no idea what happened, but everyone made it seem like it happened often or was not a big ordeal. The next day, while relaxing in the garden, there was a sudden mini earthquake. By that I mean it lasted a maximum of three minutes, if that. Hannah was a little startled and, having been my first earthquake, I should have been, but I just sat there and said, “Oh yeah, I heard earthquakes are an occurrence here.” Earthquake and blackout down. Now we are wondering what Peru has in store for us next…
We also stopped by the large market one day, which is filled with fruits, veggies, meat stands, cheese, hats, and many more different items. They have some stands where you can eat lunch and this is where Hannah and I tried ceviche for the first time!
At the end of the week we headed to the town of Nazca on an overnight bus ride so that we could see the Nazca Lines. We ended up buying the nicer seats so they were much bigger and we were provided with individual TVs for entertainment (a little luxury for a tiny bit of the trip did not hurt). We arrived in Nazca pretty early in the morning and upon arrival we waited for over an hour until we figured out that the person from the tour we booked had forgotten to pick us up. We were able to drive somewhere to get wifi and Emily looked up the tour groups information so that we could get in contact with them. Soon after calling, about 2.5 hours after the bus dropped us off, we were able to be picked up and taken to the airport. Luckily we had plenty of experience waiting throughout our time in Peru, so we didn’t stress very much over the wait. While there we spent quite a while waiting again but the flight was very interesting. Our pilots didn’t give us a lot of information on the background of the lines, but to tell those of you who are not sure what these are, the basics is that they are large archaeological lines that date back to the incas and can only be seen from the sky. They are incredible because whomever designed/constructed these had no arial views of what they were constructing. The flight was a bit scary for both of us and my (Hannah) family especially knows how nervous of a flier I am, but it went well and we were able to get some good pictures that we will try and share with you.
We also wanted to just take the time and say thank you for the comments! They were just discovered by us a short time ago and we appreciate the well wishes and prayers. We just arrived in Puno and will reside here until our flight to Cusco Sunday morning, which we CANNOT wait for!
The title of this post basically explains our past four weeks, especially this past week. We were continually told that the stoves would begin, but they never did. After sitting around playing cards a majority of the time here we figured that our time would be better spent if we left and continued onto another journey traveling around Peru and possibly other close by countries. We know that the stoves will begin at some point and the donated money is being put to good use, but it is a shame we will not see them implemented. We decided that it was in our best interest to leave Chijnaya instead of waiting for tomorrow. It was a very stressful decision, more on my, Emily’s, end, because I tried to stay positive that the stoves would begin. The stoves were to begin Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, and finally Friday, which I was hopeful about. After much discussion with Hannah I emailed my father, Chancey, and those in the Chijnaya organization. After reading my fathers email, Hannah and I teared, okay or bawled, from the words of a father and the stress that we were under. By Wednesday I was defeated, we were both frustrated, and Hannah said, “Emily a decision has to be made now. We leave or stay.” Her parents are SO KIND and allowed me to use minutes on Hannah’s phone to call my father to talk to him. After our discussion, I knew it was best for Hannah and my sanity to depart from Chijnaya. We got back on the motorcycle with Jhuver to take us to Chijnaya and we spoke to Jhuver once at our home. It is hard to tell him our feelings because of the language barrier, but we told him it was in an email for him to translate. This discussion with him took place after he stated that there would be a meeting Friday (so no stoves beginning) and the stoves would probably begin Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. That statement, as Hannah pointed out, definitely solidified the decision we made, for me, and put me at ease of if we were to stay in Chijnaya our last week and a half would be wondering if the stoves would actually begin. We decided to go to Arequipa for the weekend to do research and determine where we will travel for the next week.
Hannah and I discussed that we would never take our time here back because each of us learned extremely important, yet different for both, life lessons. We learned things that will carry us through life, especially in this next chapter we embark on as graduates, and learned a lot about ourselves. As we began packing, we were bittersweet. It was sad to say goodbye as it usually is, especially since we became really close with Hannah’s host family. Lourdes got Hannah a beautiful alpaca sweatshirt as a going away present, which she was thrilled about and so thankful for. Thursday we were able to spend the day with Lourdes, the mom, and Naid, the little girl, at the market in Pucara and watch little toddlers traditional dancing in the next town over, which was pretty hysterical and adorable at the same time. One group had two coaches that were going crazy running everywhere yelling (the coach reminded us of the coach Abby from our friend Maggie’s favorite show Dance Moms).
Lourdes and Naid picking vegetables at the market.
Monday was the celebration of the opening of the cheese factory in Chijnaya. Many of us gathered in a circle to listen to the presentations and watch the “cutting of the ribbon,” which in Chijnaya is a ceramic pot full of water hanging in the doorway and being smashed by a hammer. Cerveza and food was passed around in celebration. One day this week we learned about the history of the Andean region through tapestry work crafted by the tapestry maestra of the community. Her work was beautiful and it was intriguing to hear about the history, which was detailed on the tapestries.
We left Chijnaya Friday night and it was quite sad as we departed. We suddenly looked at each other on the ride from Pucara to Juliaca and said, “We just left for good. This is so strange. I am pretty sad about this actually.” We waved our goodbyes to our home of the last four weeks and hugged our families. Salud to Chijnaya and our next journey!
Us with Hannah’s family.
Left to right top row: Alfredo, Emily, Lourdes, Hannah.
Bottom row: Naid and Miguel
After much research we figured our money and time would be best spent if we stayed here in Arequipa for the week and planned multiple day trips and excursions while here. There is much to do and see around here and one thing we are very excited about is going to a chocolate factory and learning how to make organic chocolate. There is also a lot of hiking and athletic activities here which, as most my family and friends know (oh, this is Hannah now by the way), I am not athletic in any way shape or form. Plus, there is a lot of mountain biking and as my family will most likely laugh about I somehow forgot how to ride a bike in between being 12 and last summer. Anyhow, we have come up with a list of things we can do around here such as museums and scenic areas and possibly along with outdoor exciting activities that don’t require much athleticism for me, sorry Emily! We will keep you posted on all of our adventures and it might even be sooner rather than later now that we have easy access to wifi. Hope everyone had a great Independence Day, ours was mostly spent waiting for Jhuver to come pick us up and traveling to Arequipa but we have enjoyed (actually envied) seeing everyone’s posts about their celebrations.
This week in Arequipa has been full of many things. Travel, new friends, beautiful sights, and little tastes of home. As Hannah stated in our last post, we toured the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, which was absolutely beautiful and filled with so much history. It is a city inside the city, as they referred to it, and for 391 years only nuns were allowed in! It was opened to the public in the 1970s and became an interest to travelers, which is why Arequipa became a tourist destination.
In the main plaza (Plaza de Armas) is the Cathedral of Arequipa, which is beautiful on the inside and outside. It was placed where it is because natives prayed to the mountains and the church blocked the view of the mountains, so that you had to pay your respects towards the church.
After touring the second day here we turned the corner to the main strip to find lunch and when I looked to my left I laughed and said, “Hannah I think your dreams have come true.” I don’t think I have ever seen a person more excited to see a McDonald’s in their life (she was later disappointed in McDs after her lunch there later that week). We tasted many different types of food, different from those we had in Chijnaya. This included delicious carrot cake, my personal favorite – HOT CHOCOLATE, pizza, hamburgers, and traditional Peruvian foods. Speaking of food, we took a cooking class at our hotel and made Lomo Saltado and another traditional meal. They were very delicious! The chef that taught us was very kind and funny, so we had an enjoyable time learning about the history of Peruvian food.
Throughout our week, we continually saw old beetles (the car) and we were so excited because you rarely see them in the USA. Jhuver kept telling us that he had an old car and tonight he came to pick us up in his car to buy bus tickets for tomorrow’s journey. To our excitement, especially Hannah’s, it was an old beetle and we got to ride across town in it with him and his little daughter.
Unfortunately, yet luckily because we had access to some sunshine and plumbing, Hannah and I were both not feeling our best during the week. But we ended up feel much better for our trip back to Chijnaya. We watched many World Cup games and cheered on the USA and Columbia. It was in all a wonderfully relaxing week and gave us a peek back into our westernized culture and a taste of home which is just what we needed before heading back to rural Peru.
We are off to Chijnaya tomorrow on a bus at 6:30AM and will try to write as soon as we can! We begin the stove construction Wednesday and another bricklayer was found, so hopefully we will be able to construct four stoves per day! We cannot believe we are already three weeks in and halfway through our journey. Thank you for the kind words and support throughout our trip, they are much appreciated!
Week 2 is officially complete in Peru! Remember in our last post we were going to purchase sheep? We are sure some of you were as interested in how that transaction would occur as we were. The three of us hopped on the motorcycle and headed to a farm with a couple alpacas, cows, and sheep. There were about 20-30 people from the community the sheep were being purchased for. They all got in a line and shook our hands and everyone ended up in a giant circle. Jhuver, the community president, started speaking and the sheep contracts we stapled earlier in the office were passed out. Supposedly the sheep were in the mountain and were never seen by us and Jhuver had to travel to Juliaca to obtain money for the sheep. Unfortunately, it was quite uneventful. Below we will all give details about our past week from each of our perspectives.
Emily here! Thank you for reading our blog throughout our journey in Peru! This week was an interesting one and the longest I had ever gone without a shower in my life (I may beat this record in the upcoming weeks). I have NEVER been more grateful for plumbing, the ability to shower, and for heating in my entire life. On Tuesday, we went to a nearby community to watch a model stove be implemented and it was so exciting to see! It made us really excited to see what we will be constructing. It’s frustrating the time it took to start the construction of the stoves but our plans are to begin very soon.
On Thursday and Friday we taught English for an hour, but unfortunately out of the 30 students we were supposed to have, we only had 4 Thursday and 2 Friday. It was fun to see the kids who were there so excited about learning, but we didn’t feel as though we were making as grand an impact with only a couple of students showing up.
We played a lot of Gin Rummy this week and I joked with Hannah that by the end of this trip we will be able to do mental math, be professional Gin Rummy players, and will be able to speak a little Spanish. Hannah makes fun of me because I add -ano to the end of a lot of English words and act like they are Spanish. For example, I said, “Is airplane aeroplano?” She replied with, “Seriously you always just add -ano to everything! It’s avion!” Whoops – at least I gave it a shot! It has been hard communicating with my family because they speak the native language and Spanish so sometimes I am lost in translation. My host mom is great and really cares for me, especially when I wasn’t feeling well this week. For dinner she made me a cup of tea that helps with stomach pains, which was very sweet of her. The best part of this week was going to Pucara Thursday with Hannah’s family and seeing the traditional dancing competition with a traditional ritual before the competition. Instead of trophies, first place received a cow, second place received a calf, third place an alpaca, and fourth a sheep. Way better deal than the plastic trophy we get in America!
This week was pretty stagnant, we are just eager to mix it up and start the stoves next week. We came to Arequipa for the week with Jhuver, who’s family lives here, to explore more of Peru because if we stayed in Chijnaya we would only be playing cards and sitting in the cold weather making little impact in the community, which is not our intention.
Alright, I don’t want to go through everything Emily already discussed from our adventures this week so instead I will just talk about how these events had an effect on me this week. The sheep buying was a bit of a let down as we were expecting this grand exchange. As Jhuver went to Juliaca to receive the payment we stayed back at the office to gather teaching materials for our English class and then tried to fill our time scanning the web. It was here that we decided to go to Arequipa for the next week because we wanted to see more of Peru instead of sitting in Chijnaya playing Gin Rummy. There was also a fiesta celebrating the schools 50th anniversary. My host brother, Manuel, had made a lantern in the shape of a school to carry around the community with other students. Some of the lanterns that these kids made were very cool in all different shapes and sizes. We walked behind the students accompanied with traditional music. Once getting back to the school a bonfire was made and dancing was performed. It was here that I made a connection with my little host sister, Naid.
I have been coloring a lot with the kids in the coloring books I got them. They are constantly trying to see what I am doing and although we can’t really understand each other because they can’t understand my broken English I still think we have made a nonverbal bond. It was also Manuel’s birthday on Tuesday and the night before they prepared an entire alpaca which was lying on our kitchen table when I got home. They were also up until midnight preparing it.
The rest of the week was pretty mundane except for the dancing and ritual Emily has already mentioned. I am excited to be in Arequipa for the week enjoying a mattress, the heat, and plumbing throughout our stay. We visited a beautiful monastery today and enjoyed walking around the city.
We plan on trying to fit in all that Arequipa has to offer, including a Peruvian cooking class offered at the hotel we are staying at and was the number 2 thing to do while in Arequipa. I am enjoying having Emily as my travel partner because we have been on the same page about all that has happened since our arrival in Peru. I am also a bit anxious that we haven’t started our stove construction yet. I hope that everything is still on time to begin building them when we return to Chijnaya.
Hello all! Much has changed since we last wrote. We made it to our community Chijnaya and found out our host families. I, Emily, am living with a woman named Isabel (30), her daughter Marisol (6), and her son, whose name I still cannot pronounce nor spell, (13). Marisol goes to the school in town and the son goes to colegio (high school) in the nearest (bigger) town about 15 minutes away, Pucara. The house is two stories, Isabel on the lower level and the kids on the top level. I have my own quarters detached from the house with a bed, table, couch, and dresser. The kitchen is a detached space nearest my quarters, although everything is right next to each other. My backyard is relatively large with a gorgeous view of the mountains. We have about 6 cows, 5 sheep, 5 chickens/roosters, 3 baby pigs, a cat, and a dog – we could have more as I discover new animals daily. I am pretty much in bed at 8PM and up around 6:30/7AM. There are many thoughts that race through my head daily and many new discoveries for only the short amount of time here.
My good friend Aaron told me I should bring a soccer ball and pump for the kids and THANK YOU Aaron for the idea! I have never seen kids’ faces light up and be so excited before. The boy was thrilled and takes the futbol to school a lot to play with his friends. They also loved the famous gourmet popcorn from Chicago and seeing pictures of the city from postcards I brought! Every morning from the time I wake up to the time Marisol goes to school we play volleyball (practicing for our next future competitive team, Aubry and Jess?), and soccer. Aaron, my skills at soccer are getting better by the day, and Hannah and I have been able to catch some of the World Cup.
My house is a bit on the smaller side but my family was gracious enough to provide me with a room to myself with a bed, table, and chair. I do feel a bit bad though because it seems as though my room was previously the kids room and now all four of the family members are in one room with one bed. There are four members in my host family, the mothers name is Lourdes and she has two kids, a boy and a girl. Miguel is the little boy and he is six years old yet his birthday is on Tuesday and I believe they are having a birthday party at the school. Naid is the little girl and she is only three years old. They all seem to be nice and accommodating. I bought the kids coloring books and crayons as a part of my host gift and the kids love to color in them. Every time they finish a picture they run to show me. Miguel is a very good artist and at age 7 he can color inside the lines perfectly with all different colors. Miguel goes to the school in Chijnaya, but Naid stays at home with Lourdes. I am still not quite sure of what the name of the father is or what he does exactly but he is always the one to keep the conversation going at dinner, which I appreciate. I am hoping that since we will have a longer period in Chijnaya this week I will be able to learn even more about my family members.
Ours days have been spent in our office in Pucara working on a manual for the stoves for all the communities receiving stoves. Did we mention that we do the 15 minute drive from Chijnaya to Pucara on a motorcycle with the three of us? By the end of the trip Hannah and I may be sitting sideways on the motorcycle like the local women can!
Both Hannah and I have not had much of an appetite and they serve us a lot of food that we cannot nearly finish at our meals. The nights get very cold, but luckily Hannah and I are given MANY thick blankets to stay warm. The first night I was woken up at 3AM to a rooster singing his “cocka-doodle-doos” outside my quarters until 7:30AM. That night I learned that roosters don’t always wake up at 6AM as an alarm, but can wake up much earlier (there is a city girl for you). The next night Hannah and I were both woken up to a violent dog fight in the streets at 3AM, which lasted many hours. Once it ended, my rooster began it’s routine, so the nights are filled with many wake up calls. Hannah and I agree that if there is one thing we are beyond blessed to have it is plumping: to be able to walk down our hall at home to the restroom with a toilet, soap and water at the sink, a shower, and the ease of filling our water glasses without worry.
We met our first friends Thursday night, Diego (12), Isbet (7), and another boy (11), who took us up to the top of the mountain. I am scared of heights, but I pushed myself to the top to see the views. Thank The Lord I did because the views were INCREDIBLE! We could see the entirety of our community, which is about a 5 minute walk all the way around, and it provided a different perspective of the community.
We spent the weekend in Puno and yesterday we had an amazing day at the Uros Islands and Sillustani. The Uros Islands is HUGE and we were definitely not expecting the vastness of the islands, which contains 2000 people and a school for the kids. We met some really nice men, a father and son, from Orange County who we traveled with all day. After listening to the president of the Uros community speak, we got on this amazing boat made of reeds to the main island where there were restaurants for lunch. We had a delicious lunch with the men, Matt and John, we had met, which was fresh trout with rice, and definitely the most Hannah and I had eaten yet. After Uros, Matt and John had invited us to join them to Sillustani, which is an old archeological complex of Incan burial structures.
This next week will be an interesting one for us. Tomorrow at 8AM we will be buying sheep for another community – yes, you read that correctly. We will go to a community Tuesday to discuss stove implementation there and beginning Thursday we will start teaching English at the school in Chijnaya for an hour each afternoon.
This is the first phrase we were told about Peru. Peru time, Peruvian driving, Peruvian carefree. Those things are not what we are used to. YIA – you’re in America – honey, not anymore! Juliaca is filled with people and cars and chaos. It reminds me a bit of Chicago, but Chicago is much more orderly – who would have thought! I saw children running down the side walk in their adorable plaid and brown uniforms waving the Peruvian flag – talk about Peruvian patriotism being instilled at a young age! Today was a big market day in Juliaca so there were many people roaming the city. As soon as we stepped off the plane and Hannah felt an immediate shortness of breath, whereas mine did not come until after breakfast (what else can you expect at 13,000 feet of elevation). After David and Ralph picked us up from the airport we had breakfast; which consisted of tea, ham and eggs (about a 1/4 cup worth), and ciabatta. Jhuver, who will be our main local, met us at breakfast. He told us he really wants to use this time to practice his English so Hannah and agreed to give him English lessons a couple of times a week. It is crucial he maters the language so that he can obtain his doctorate degree. We have been having interesting and choppy conversations with each other discussing the weather in Chicago (I didn’t know how to say brutal so I went with muy muy frío en invierno, pero caliente ahora). Over breakfast we made plans and heard what we would be doing in our time here. We drove through the busy streets of Juliaca a couple times to pick people up, drop off Ralph at the airport, and while there we met the Mayor of Chijnaya and his wife. He dresses a lot more casually than typical politicians in America. As we left Juliaca, we passed the Universidad Andina, which has the nicest modern buildings we have seen thus far. On our way to Puno we passed many hills, cows, and a couple horses.
Details for our 6 weeks here:
The plan was to leave tomorrow but I don’t feel 100% so we will leave Wednesday for Chijnaya. The new stove construction begins Wednesday! These have been newly engineered stoves and chimneys to replace the old stoves. Some are so bad that families have to go back to the old burning wood in the kitchen and smoke is all over the kitchen and in the house, which is extremely detrimental to the health of women and children, who are the ones mostly around this smoke. The money raised through our ventures and through those supporters in the giving foundation have provided all the materials for these stoves (the exact number that we provided is still TBD), but the organization was extremely grateful and successful. We will work with Jhuver to make sure the stoves are being constructed and running on time. There is a possibility for us to work with kids at the school to teach them how to use their new computers they received, which I would love to do! Again, we would help Jhuver learn English as well and he would help us learn Spanish in return! I feel as though I can understand some things better already, it is the formulating what to say back out loud what I still find to be the most difficult aspect, but we are giving the language our all! They speak another language in Chijnaya as well, we hope to get a phrase sheet to learn some words we can speak which will be nice!
The wifi doesn’t exactly exist in Chijnaya, but we can go into Pucara, the nearest town where Jhuver lives, about 5 miles away, to use the internet. The guys we are working with are all extremely nice and helpful! David is a lawyer in Puno, he is there a majority of the time, thankfully giving us assistance when Jhuver is not around.
Today was a very busy day once we arrived in Puno. We got our hotel room and had a half hour or so to relax before lunch. We headed into the financial center, the most important area in Puno, for lunch. We went to a new restaurant and the food was delicious! We all got quinoa soup (so good Mom!) and for the main meal I ordered like a local (with my father in mind), I got the alpaca something or other which came with vegetables and fries. It tasted just like pork, even Hannah agreed when she tried mine. It has only been day one and Jhuver has already asked if we were coming next year to seethe stoves after we implement them – we are already creating a lasting friendship! After lunch we walked to Lago Titicaca, which was so beautiful and calming. After this, Jhuver took us to his Universidad, supposedly the best of the 8 in Puno because it is the only National University. We met one of his old professors that he still works variously and we were even shown the anthropology museum. There were many skulls, artifacts, and the burial process of the Lupaca tribe. We even saw some bodies buried in the traditional way. It was very interesting to hear Jhuver share all the information he knew about the museum and have us learn all about its history. After seeing his Universidad we took a mini bus immediately back to the hotel because we were all so exhausted.
We can’t wait to meet our families and give you more details on what is to come!
Emily and Hannah
PS. We would post pictures, but my camera is not allowing it at the current moment!
Welcome to our first blog post!
Before we continue our journey to Peru we thought it would be a good idea to share with our friends and family what we are doing in order to prepare for our trip, go over some of our thoughts and expectations overall, and give you all some information about how our blogs will be working throughout our seven weeks in Peru. Our hopes are to have a blog posted once a week throughout the course of our trip. This may not always be possible due to the spotty internet connections in the areas where we will be working but we will try our hardest to keep everyone up to date. We might even be able to post more often than that, we just are not sure about what we will have access to during this time. In addition, some posts may be general/overall updates from the both of us and some will have both Emily and I’s positions on how our trip has gone so far. For example, this post will have both mine and Emily’s take on how preparations are going and what each of us are excited and apprehensive about for our trip.
After graduating and returning home I have been applying to jobs, as well as making sure that I have everything I will need while in Peru. This has been a bit stressful because there are certain items that will be needed that my family and I have to go out and purchase because they are not things you can just find around your house. We have made multiple trips to the store and we still do not have everything I might need. In regards to the trip itself, I am very excited to embark on this journey. I have never done something as grand as this so I am still a bit nervous since I do not know what to expect. I am also very nervous about living with a host family by myself while there. Although I have taken multiple years of spanish lessons, I am still not fluent. This aspect makes me even more scared because I fear I will not be able to communicate adequately with the family. Also, being a shy person does not help either. I have been trying to practice my spanish skills as much as I can in the hopes that I will be a little better. I may be concerned about this aspect of the trip but I know overall this will be an amazing experience and I will have my close friend Emily there with me the entire way to help me through.
Hello all – Emily here! Thank you for following our blog and I hope you have a great time reading throughout this journey Hannah and I are about to embark on (granted we are able to post each week). For those that know me well, I am a planner that enjoys lists, details, and organization, but I know well that going on a trip such as ours cannot be planned to the T. (As I am writing this blog post, I have about ten sheets of paper with different lists surrounding my computer). Finally, this past senior year I began living life more spontaneously, such as a last minute (I mean 20 minutes before we left) trip to Memphis for UD’s Elite 8 game with my best of friends with no game plan. We figured out living situations when we arrived and lived the entire weekend in the present moment. This taught me a lot about how life is spontaneous and we cannot plan life, rather live in the present and enjoy every moment. Additionally, for me, it represented that living each moment of life is something that will never be regretted and life cannot be limited because of our fears and plans. I do not enjoy living life with expectations because you will be disappointed most of the time, so going into this journey I have no expectations, only excitement and a bit of nerves. Hannah and I were just discussing the fact that there are about two weeks left until we leave and it is hitting us that this is actually happening! This journey means the world to me because I am passionate about creating a world that I want to bring future generations into; one full of peace, love, happiness, strength, faith, and a caring humanity. I am blessed to be able to share this journey with Hannah and I cannot wait to see what the two months in Peru has in store for us!
Emily and Hannah
University of Dayton Chapter