Unforgettable Experiences

Since I have to turn in my last blog to be graded by tomorrow, I didn’t know how I was supposed to describe all my great memories into one blog…. SOO I summed it up by making a list of just a few of the memories that helped make my experience in Perú complete.

Here it goes:

1.       Watching the dark scary waves in the middle of the night and talking to Ashley about how scary the ocean is.

2.       Hiking to the sungate in Machu Picchu. It was by far the most amazing view.

3.       Teaming up with Marshall to make smores at the bonfire, and getting nutella all over my arm.

4.       Arriving in Cuzco and Mary panicking that her suitcase won’t come around the conveyer belt, and screaming in panic mode so that everybody could stare at us.

5.       Ashley’s birthday night. Enough said.

6.       Yo también also.

7.       My host mom dancing and “dropping it down low” and not being able to come back up, and us having to help her up. Never laughed so hard.

8.       José photobombing EVERY. SINGLE. PHOTO. (effortlessly)

9.       Adriana and Ashley getting swallowed up by a massive wave on the beach.

10.   The Drink, Stephily, that Emily and I created together.

11.   Sleeping under the stars on the beach.

12.   The little puppy(we named her Jasper) following us home from Punta Roca.

13.   Burning Deep Rivers, the book that we had to read for class the following week…. in order to survive.

14.   Learning how to salsa dance

15.   The bets that we made in Arequipa about how many times Mary will complain about the food she eats. (Ashley won)

16.   Getting ready at Ashley’s place with Amelia, Rachel, Adriana, Sarah, Kathy, and Jessica to head out to the discotecas.

17.   Over bartering with the man at the Indian Market, and him getting really angry at me.

18.   First time trying a random Peruvian dish before knowing the content (Arequipa).

19.   Goons be Lurkin’!

20.   My host sister, Claudia and I, eating all the chips at her friend’s house, then later making a Bembos run.

21.   Amy and I watching the Friends seasons, as an excuse to “learn Spanish.”

22.   Dune buggying in the desert.

23.   Mototaxi ride with Emily, and getting lost on our way back to our resort in Ica.

24.   Marshall doing the worm on karaoke night.

25.   Sneaking photos in the Cathedral in Cuzco when it was strictly prohibited.

26.   Playing “how many people can fit in a taxi/combi?”

27.   White water rafting in El Rio Chile, and being the only person who didn’t fall out of the raft.

28.   Chelsie explaining to me how to get to UPC over and over a thousand times, when it was really two blocks away.

29.   Making Peruvian friends

30.   Playing Dr. Seuss for a day and arguing with Oprah and Leonardo DiCaprio about why I am better than them.

31.   Eating the fanciest meal with “perfect etiquette” with Kathy, Chelsie, and Jessica. Pinkies up ladies!

32.   Chasing the transparent butterflies at Machu Picchu, and Ashley hurrying to get a picture.

33.   High fives all around for getting questions wrong on our grammar exam. The world’s most ridiculous test.

34.   Befriending my host family’s dog Spike with goldfish crackers

35.   Adriana getting lost on our hike alongside the Colca Canyon.

That is only the gist of it, but I am truly going to miss Perú and will never forget the unforgettable experience that I have had… especially with the friends that I have made within the group. They were the ones that made this trip complete!


High Schools

For part of our program, it is required for us to help teach English at some high schools. Now, we didn’t start this until the last couple of weeks in our semester, so this was a brand new thing for me. The school that I go to is Colegio Pio XIII, which teaches kids ages 4-17. The age group that I have worked with is girls ages 15-17, and surprisingly enough their English was almost perfect so we never had any troubles. This is a Catholic school, so they wear uniforms which include blue sweatpants and a plain white tee that says their school’s name on the front. I wish our uniforms from my high school were that comfortable! Each Nebraska student would sit down with a group of 3 or 4 girls to work on a project. The projects that we helped worked on with these girls were more of learning about Lima and Nebraska’s cultures and the similarities and differences between the two. It was surprising to me, when a lot of the girls explained that they want to work in a different country when they grow up, like the United States or Spain especially. It is just like what we learned in our Indigenous Politics class how Peru is currently experiencing substantial out-migration to Japan, the United States, and Europe. 

Another thing that I thought was interesting about this school was how their P.E. consists of karate lessons, which in my opinion is a clever way to use up energy of the kids so that they aren’t bouncing off the walls later. After our couple hours of teaching, the school offers us some snacks such as delicious pizza and empanadas before we go home. This was a great experience in learning how the school system is compared to the United States. 


My Blog Worthy Day

So today was a very interesting one, and I figured it was worth sharing. After my class I went to work out at the new gym on the UPC campus. Not knowing that bringing a towel was required, I was running on the treadmill for about 20 minutes(at a fast pace, of course) and the lady at the front desk came over and told me “no, you can’t workout unless you bring a towel”(but in Spanish) she then reaches over and hits the emergency stop button and I jolt forward because it was really unexpected… and rude! So needless to say I was not happy after that. So I walked to my house only to find out that nobody was home and I was locked out once again, which put another damper on my day. I was sitting outside my door for a good 20 minutes until my next door neighbor came out to water her lawn and flowers. She saw me and asked if I wanted to sit in her house while I waited for my host family to return. And I thought, “Okay, I’m in a foreign country, I don’t know this woman, it would probably be smart if I waited outside.”So I went inside her house. Her house was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS and the lady was really sweet and she immediately went to work, making me a sandwich and fresh lemonade. She asked me the usual, “Where are you from? How long are you here for? What are you studying? How do you like Peru?” She then asked me if there was anything I needed. I said no, but honestly I could have gone for a nice hot shower, since I was sweaty from my short run/walk home and I felt bad for sitting on her expensive-looking furniture. After a while of hanging out and talking to Alicia(ahh-lee-see-ah) she called my house to see if anybody was home so that I could return. Which my host brother was, thankfully. Alicia then told me that if I ever get locked out again, I can come over and hang out. How nice of her! I can’t imagine opening my home up for a stranger to come and hang around in the house. She even went out of her way to make me feel comfortable and serve me food. It really made my day so much better! There needs to be more people like her in the world. End of story. 


Dune Buggying in the desert in Ica!

Dune Buggying in the desert in Ica!


Ica/Paracas

This last weekend (well, Sunday-Tuesday) was a blast! It made me realize how much there is to do in Peru, and I enjoyed it very well. My fellow campañeros and I took about a 5 hour long bus ride on the PanAmerica highway which goes all the way to Alaska in order to get to the city of Ica, where we stayed at our resort. I have never stayed at a resort before, but I am almost certain that nobody can go to this resort and be bored. There was so much to do! They had horse back riding, a bike trail, a pool with a giant slide, a giant chess set, rock climbing wall, spa, paintball gun, racquetball, skating rink, planetarium, a castle, and the list goes on. I was really happy that we had so much free time, because all I wanted to do was to take advantage of these opportunities. So my friends Amy, Chelsie, and I went sand dune buggying our first day in Ica. For the people that do not know, Ica is in the desert and is really close to where the Nazca lines are(mysterious lines in the sand that were built by the Nazca Indians but some people believe were created by aliens). Dune buggying on the sand dunes was so much fun! I figured it would just be a casual ride to see the views, but I was wrong. Our driver whipped us around and took us over the top of a dune and we flew down. We also went on the dunes sideways and it felt as if we were going to tip over. The whole time I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride because I would get that feeling of when my stomach dropped. Our driver stopped us at the top of a dune so that we could sand board down a hill, which was also just as fun. The really ironic thing about this was that it was raining the whole time we were doing this, which I figured is very peculiar since we were in the desert. Even though I developed a nice line on my face from where my goggles were, it was well worth the ride! After dune buggying, we went for a swim, played soccer, and ended the night with some great karaoke. The next day we had our tour around an island, that was off the coast of the city Paracas. Along our route on the boat we drove buy an island that had Nazca lines on it, which was really neat to see. We drove around another island that had no space for anybody to walk on because there were so many birds, penguins, and sea lions. The sea lions were my favorite to watch because they would swim around the boat and talk to the other sea lions with deep howls and barks. The penguins were really boring, because whenever we would drive by on our boat they would just stand still and would not flinch. We also saw some giant crabs on the side of the rocks, but what I was really hoping to see were some dolphins. I have already seen dolphins swim in the distance when I was in Santa Maria, but I was really hoping to see some up close. I didn’t see any but I suppose I have plenty more opportunities to see them when I go to the beach! After our long tour, a couple friends and I went horse back riding into the sand dunes, which was close to our resort. These horses were really difficult to calm down, because once they saw the sand dunes they took off running, which was okay with me because it was so much fun! Whenever I had to slow my horse down I had to pull the reins with all my might because he didn’t want to follow my commands. I had to keep holding the reins back after that because if I were to let loose just a tad that means “faster” to him. I suppose it wasn’t very smart to put 50 soles in my back pocket because it had fallen out and I didn’t realize it until we got back, so it is now forever buried in the sand somewhere.The next day, another group of friends and I went to Wacachina which is a lagoon in the desert. It was really relaxing because we were in row boats with straw tops for shade and just took our sweet time on the lagoon until it was time for us to go back to our resort to pack our things together to head out. It was such a fun trip!


Our victory pose after hiking to the top of the mountain, with machu picchu in the background.

Our victory pose after hiking to the top of the mountain, with machu picchu in the background.




MACHU PICCHU!! (God bless you)

There is nothing like waking up at 3am to catch a bus at 4am to take us to catch our train, then to take another bus to THE Machu Picchu. At least I got a nice hot shower in the morning to wake me up(my first hot shower in Peru, might I add)! Our bus ride to the top of the mountain was crazy! We took a route that zigzagged it’s way up to the top, on a very narrow road. There was a point that a bus from the other direction was coming down as our bus was trying to make it to the top, and there was no room to pass so our bus backed up into the mountain as far as it could so that the other bus could attempt to pass, which it did, with barely an inch to spare from the edge of the cliff. But we made it! When we got to Machu Picchu it was absolutely gorgeous and the weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. Everything was a lot bigger than it seemed in pictures too, and it was absolutely unreal. I took pictures beyond pictures, but I honestly don’t think my pictures did any justice as to how it was in real life. For anybody that doesn’t know what Machu Picchu is, they are ruins of a village that took 300 years to build during the Inca Empire in the 1500s. Then after being built for 200 years, the Spanish came to Peru and were destroying all of the communities within the area. The people that lived in Machu Picchu during this time knew that the Spanish would come, so they abandoned Machu Picchu so that it wouldn’t be destroyed. THEN, in 1911 an American, I can’t remember his name, found the ruins. Within Machu Picchu they had different types of instruments used to measure the astrological system. They also had rocks that pointed to north, south, east, and west around every corner, just incase if anybody got confused of course! They had a sun dome that had two windows pointing north and south. On the winter solstice(December 21st), the sun shines straight through these windows perfectly without catching a splinter of the dome inside. Another thing that I thought was pretty interesting was how in some rooms they have what looks like a window sill, but there are stones blocking from being able to see out. These were used to place things, and they were also used as a speaker system. Our tour guide had us put our heads inside and he would go to another one from across the room and you could hear everything that he was saying through the vibrations. It was crazy! After our tour a couple friends and I went on a 20 minute hike to a bridge that was also built for the village. This bridge was alongside the cliff and it was basically logs that were place down to connect from one side to the other, which looked extremely unsafe since ONCE AGAIN there was no railing. But I didn’t cross it because it was blocked off to the public which was probably a good thing! The hike to this bridge was gorgeous, and it was as if I were in the jungle because it was very green and there was moss along the side of the mountain with bright colored flowers. Then to top off that hike, another group of friends and I decided to take an hour long hike up to the top mountain on the other side of machu picchu. It was a tough hike up to the mountain, but I am very glad I decided to hike it because by this point I was worn out, but it was so worth it! Once we got to the top, there were more Inca ruins and we sat on them for a while just to admire the sight. We were so high up that Machu Picchu looked so little and the river running below us was so far away! If it was a cloudy day I probably would have been sitting in the clouds! I still can’t believe that I visited one of the seven wonders of the world, and it is something that I will never forget!


Driving through the country

Driving through the country