Peru – Off the Beaten Path

Hey everybody!

I am already feeling pretty comfortable here in San Miguel! However, every once and a while I get a wave of anxiety or apprehension. To give you all an idea, I have not seen another gringo in my district really (I have seen about 5 so far since arriving). Oriana and I have done quite a bit in our quick three or four days that we have been here. It is pretty crazy being here. I still cannot believe I am here. I still cannot believe I am not coming home in a while. ANYWAY! We explored the local parks, we played futbol with some of the locals (scroll down for a story about that lol), eaten at local side restaurants, explored the Plaza de San Miguel (basically a large shopping mall), and explored a bit of Magdalena and saw the coast with a friend of my Uncle’s living here for quite some time.

Here Oriana and I are enjoying exploring the local markets in Magdalena (Mercado Magdalena)

The Cousin and Our Arrival

Oriana’s Cousin Andres, picked us up from the airport with open arms. He bought us some food from the long flight, got a cab for us to come to our new home, and then we celebrated by drinking the national drink, Pisco Sour (His new name is Santo Andres). I am not fluent in Spanish by any means so listening to the two talk was a little difficult, and I was not always able to understand everything. However, Andres and I will learn from each other and will grow from this experience – that I am sure of. I am so incredibly grateful to have her cousin here to help us out! He is so incredibly giving, nice, and kind-hearted! Thank Andres! I will do everything I can to appreciate you here!


Getting Used to Everything

The following days were walking around the neighborhood getting a feel of where we are, looking for potential areas for food and water, and getting a feel of being new with the locals. Drinking water for me was a major concern along with the food. I was a little gun shy and skeptical of drinking water at first, and nor did I want to buy bottled water every day for environmental concerns. Fortunately, we have a rapid water boiler that boils the water just under a minute and it is great to use. I think my body is adapting well to the food and water here (knock on wood), but I have been pretty careful on what I eat and drink. There are other options as well. We have the ability to buy bottled water for under a dollar! There are also large 20L of water for incredibly cheap prices. You can have them deliver to your apartment for a really cheap price as well. My body seems to be handling the process of boiled water and how we are eating, so I think we will keep that option on the back burner.

The Climate and John (In the middle of the paragraph) 

The weather is beautiful here. It is roughly 70 degrees with a breeze all of the time which is beyond amazing. The sun peeks out every once and a while but mostly it has been cloudy/overcast which is normal since this is the rainy season. When the sun does come out, it is so much hotter than living in the United States. My neck and my hands got pretty burnt the first few days here. We bought some sunscreen and a whole bunch of fun stuff, but I forgot it in John’s car! John is a friend of my Uncle who has been living here for about 12 years now! How crazy is that! I should make a whole post about John and how crazy cool that kat is.  He took us all over Magdalena through the markets, restaurants, and this weekend we are going to the beach to meet his dog. ANYWAY.  The rainy season in Lima almost never rains though, and if it does it is a slight sprinkle. The vegetation is so exotic looking to me from living in Wisconsin and we have this beautiful fern looking tree right outside our window which I love to look at (I will figure out what kind of tree it is soon). I could get used to this.

Food (Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum – Delicioso) 

The food here is absolutely delicious. Yesterday I tried, bonito en salsa de esparragos, which is a type of fish with asparagus sauce. IT WAS SO DARN RIQUISIMO (it was tasty).

My plate of yuca, rice, bonito and the asparagus sauce

The plate of food pictured above has something called Yuca. Yuca is a type of root that much of Latin America uses (not sure all) eat. To me, it tasted like a dry potato with a different type of flavor – add the sauce and it was tasty tasty tasty! This is jumping back to the flight here, but I promise you it is relevant to this. On our flight here, we had a Peruvian man sit next to us. We got talking, and we found out he fights professionally in the United States for UFC! Look him up – Enrique Barzola!  How cool is that! Not only that, he is well known in Peru for his profession, so we met a pretty famous guy before we even entered the country! How is this relevant? He recommended a ton of food to us, and it is probably one of my favorite things to explore here, because they have so many different options for food! I would totally list them here for you (we took notes), but Oriana’s phone has them and right now it is at a phone shop getting internationally unlocked so we can use it for service. Bottom line – The food is great!


Futbol Story and Expectations

I would like to write about my previous post about expectations and whether or not they have been met, but I am not sure I have experienced enough life down here to discuss if they have been met or not! I will share one example with you all that has been interesting. The second day we were here, we went to a park that is located just a block or two away from our apartment. It is nice, they have a few workout stations, a playground for the kids, and soccer fields! One of my expectations was for people to be extremely friendly (especially playing soccer). To our disappointment, when we asked to play with them, they were extremely uncomfortable with our request! I would have thought they would have jumped at the question to have more people playing. I mean it was only two-on-two anyway! Now this is where I do not want to jump to conclusions, because later we found out in order to use those fields, you must rent them per hour. That explains a lot, but it just does not seem incredibly friendly where we are living. Well, we will give it some time and we will see if things will adjust, but it also could be a cultural aspect.

All I know is that I am ready for this change, and I am fully grasping it and diving it and making the most of it – No matter what happens!

The next blog post is from today’s visit to Avenida Wilson in Peru and the anxiety, apprehensions, and experiences to a place far from tourism that came along with it!

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment or a suggestion if you want to see more pictures, or want me to address something different! I would love your feedback!




Chicago>Fort Lauderdale > Lima, Peru

FB_IMG_1516564429019So the time is 2:21 pm and Oriana and I are just kind of hanging out at the airport in Fort Lauderdale. I am pretty exhausted considering I only slept about an hour and a half before our road trip to the Chicago O’hare. I don’t even know where to begin right now to be honest. Let’s start with the going away party shall we?

Oriana and I invited some of our friends to a favorite bar of ours with pool tables, darts, ping pong, other games and a relaxing atmosphere. About 40ish people showed up coming and going and it was terribly difficult to talk to everyone deeply and thoroughly. We said our goodbyes to our friends which was slightly difficult at times, however we are excited for our next adventure in Peru!

We said goodbye to my family members next. Danny and Mac came over, my buddy Jacob came over, and we all were supposed to socialize, however I was frantically making sure I had everything together for our big trip (I thought I was ready). My father and mother drove us to Chicago to drop us off for our flight, but like always I am always way too early for everything and ended up waiting two hours before check in, with another two hours of waiting for a flight. Then we boarded and went to Florida and here I am writing this blog post with a delay for our flight on Jet Blue!

Airline – Jet Blue

Jet Blue is 10/10 stars in my book. I read some pretty awful ratings/reviews on this airline so we were a little skeptical at first, but I enjoyed the legroom, the price, the free snacks, and they even had little TVs to watch cable! The staff were incredibly friendly and I highly recommend this airline!

Questions and Opinions 

Oriana asked what I am going to miss about what she calls “Gringoland” aka the United States. That was a hard question, because I am sure I will miss a lot of things. Generally speaking I think I will miss the feeling of security of home. This is kind of ironic, because I have always wanted to break out of my comfort zone and leave the United States to learn grow and better myself, but I guess that is exactly what I am going to do and I want to do it! So I guess it is not that ironic. I am incredibly ready to become uncomfortable, experience things in a different light, live and breathe a different lifestyle, learn and become a local in a foreign country. As much as I will miss the security of being home, I think it is just because I have been getting used to it, but the travel drive is still there ready to keep going, and keep growing!

She also asked about my potential expectations of Peru. This one is basically formed upon stereotypes of what I think Latin America is like. I traveled to Mexico for a week, but it was in an incredibly touristy area of the country so I really wasn’t able to dive into the Mexican culture. When I think of Latin America I think of children playing futbol (soccer) on the streets, people just kind of lingering outside their dwellings, people in poverty, dirt roads, beautiful landscapes and the list goes on. I have a high expectation for the people and I hope I am not wrong. I feel like Latinos in particular are exceptionally warming and welcoming to everyone around them. If this is true I am incredibly excited to dive into making relationships with people and connecting them on different cultural levels. There is so much knowledge, history, and stories to be shared and learned and that is lingering in the near future.

My biggest fear right now living in Lima, Peru is dealing with the food and water. I am a little anxious and nervous about how my body will handle the foreign food and foreign bacteria. I became pretty sick in Mexico from food poisoning and that was just awful for the two of the longest days of my existence. So that will be a small fear of mine at the moment. Luckily I have a family friend who lives just down the road (a few miles) from where we will be living, so I hope he can give me some sweet advice on not getting the Gringo Sickness is what I am calling it. I need to adapt fast, because I really want to try their ceviche, which is a popular dish in their country, however it has raw fish in it, so that could be a potential issue early on in my body adaptation.

To be honest, I am incredibly excited but it does not feel real. It does not feel like time has built into this. It just kind of happened. Like, I am just sitting in an airport and I am not coming home for a while. This is unreal feeling. I am incredibly excited to see what life has in store for me down in Peru and Latin America in general! Let’s bring on the adventures, let’s make some memories, let’s keep going and keep growing!



Note – I am incredibly tired and this post is kind of scrambled and unorganized

Our Next Adventure – South America

South America, home to many beautiful countries that are home to exotic people and places, where Oriana and I’s adventurous spirits will soon dwell upon, because we just bought two one way tickets to Peru!

 Why choose Peru?

Continue reading “Our Next Adventure – South America”