One Month Down in Peru – Lessons, Experiences, Gunshots?

What a special day today is!

I welcome you all to a special day for Oriana and I! Today marks our FIRST WHOLE MONTH of living in Peru, and what a way to bring it in with gunshots this morning! There were 15 gunshots (I counted, yes) near our apartment (the noise probably carried down the road and was not right outside), but no worries we are OKAY. Man oh man, has it been a crazy month in Latin America. We have experienced so much in this short amount of time (but it feels so long at the same time). In this short amount of time, we have learned so many valuable lessons. We encountered obstacles from drinking the water and eating certain foods making us sick, a trip to the hospital, a day trip to Pucusana, a daytrip to a breathtaking beach, and mastering the art of transportation alone, and the list goes on and on! I want to welcome you to a post of reflection of this journey thus far

I cannot believe I am here sometimes. I have been thinking a lot how lucky and fortunate I am to be experiencing this lifestyle. The fact I am taking this risk and traveling at the age of 23 blows my mind sometimes. It can be scary sometimes living here, but I am so appreciative that I am able to live this way in this stage of my life. What do I mean by scary? Well, you know how sometimes it can be hard “adulting” in the United States? Imagine doing all of that in a different language, with a different culture, and with different systems. It can be challenging, but it is SO worth it!

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I grew up in the country without street lights, without car horns, with the knowledge of the area, and peace and the tranquility of living in quiet semi-secluded neighborhood. Now jump right into a city of almost 10 million, not knowing the language, and figuring out how to live (like life isn’t hard enough in English at home!). My new lifestyle holds so much learning and growth potential, and I am truly living in the moment each and everyday.

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Challenges and Learning Outcomes:

  • How to take public transportation – in Spanish
  • The language barrier – Spanish learning in progress
  • How to overcome food/water sickness – Purchase boxed water (it helped immensely)
  • How to walk the streets less like a tourist with how I present myself
  • How to appreciate what I have
  • Being happier for no reason at all (or for everything I have for that matter)
  • How to become a local in the area
  • Finding a job – English Teacher
  • How to teach and English class (I’ve taught two classes already)
  • Finding out how the phone services work
  • How to bargain with sellers
  • How to cook (in progress)
  • Making friends
  • So much more

 

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A beautiful sunset in the district of Barranco

 

The First Couple Weeks

Oriana and I have come so far from day one. We used to walk the streets to explore and feel a little uncomfortable as outsiders. It felt weird at first when everyone looked at me and her with sideway expressions of, “why are you here”. It felt weird to take the bus as I never really took the bus back in Wisconsin. Living in a city, (something I have never experienced) in a different language was a huge step and is a HUGE accomplishment for myself. I now feel more comfortable walking the streets, and today I went to work by myself taking the bus by myself comfortably. Also. finding a job was actually pretty simple for the connections I have here, however it was still an obstacle, and I still want to push myself professionally (big shoutout to Gringo John!).

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Stunning

Life Lessons

One of the most important life lessons I am learning is to be happy and appreciate things more. This also includes the small things. For example. watching the sunset over the ocean isn’t something I could do everyday back at home, and now I can. Every moment is precious in life. Additionally appreciating the time with loved ones is limited and I am learning to take advantage of the time that I have when provided with them (I am talking about friends and family back at home, and even here). I miss you friends and family! Another lesson that I have learned is that seeing homeless people, Venezuelan Immigrants struggling to live (*Small explanation of Venezuelan immigrants below), poor indigenous people, and other struggling individuals, has made me realize that the life you have is so precious. I will share another story with you soon about people who make a living off of the bus, and it’s heartbreaking. Even if you cannot help someone financially, you can always give them your time. It is so easy just to smile or talk to the people around you. You would be surprised how far a simple conversation and smile goes for people who struggle. Your time can be just as valuable as currency, it’s amazing.

*In Venezuela, there is a government and economic crisis that is forcing Venezuelans to leave their own country to survive. Blogpost coming soon on the Venezuelan crisis.

Uncomfortable Situations

Now, my pictures may look like times here are always gold and dandy, however that is definitely not the case. We experienced a couple sketchy situations. One night we were getting ready to go to sleep when we heard a ton of rustling around outside, dogs

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One of the groups fighting each other with police on scene

barking, people shouting, and when we ran to the window, there were two mobs of people fighting each other. They were physically fighting, throwing things, trying cause physical harm to the other party. This happens every once and a while due to sport conflicts. This was NOT gang related. They are related to soccer matches and soccer events. Now, remember that these types of situations are similar to those after the Super Bowl in Philadelphia this year, or if you are a packer fan, violence that can come after a bad game. These types of things can happen everywhere and anywhere. This just happened to be in front of our apartment. Eventually the cops came and gunshots were involved (sorry mom and dad for not sharing this with you until now), but I want to share that traveling is not always gold and glamorous like a lot of bloggers share. This is the reality of life and the world, and I want to share the truth. For example, this morning, we woke up to 15 gunshots as stated earlier (I counted) at 5am. What a way to share the first month here. Also for those who are wondering, we are looking for a new place to live. It is not unsafe, but we would prefer somewhere more inviting.

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Oriana posing in front of Barranco’s many street art

This has been such a wonderful month of ups and downs, but that is life. These ups and downs help me remember one important phrase that I like to live by,

Keep Going, Keep Growing

It is so important to keep going strong during the downs to build back up and learn. Learning these lessons are part of life, and is important to become the person you want to be, even if you don’t know who or what you want to be. Keep pushing through everything, and you will learn so many valuable lessons! That is exactly what I plan to do with my future adventures and experiences.

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Thanks for joining in on today’s special post, I hope you enjoyed today’s stories and reflection. I am so grateful for every lesson and experience thus far and hope to continue learning and loving, because that’s what life is about. That’s all for now, and remember this: Keep going, Keep Growing.

Cheers,

Chris

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One of Peru’s national drink

 

 

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