Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Los Juegos Mecanicos

When we got back from Christmas vacation, Karen promptly presented us with the idea of going to the amusement park rides. Obviously, that sounds fun!

Finally, last weekend, we made it happen. Around 9:30am on Sunday morning, we headed out to catch a bus and head to the park. Lo and behold, the park didn't actually open up until 12pm, so we had to wait a while. It was nice to catch up with Rocio and Karen. Most of our conversations are things in passing because we really only chat in the evening right before going to bed. Sometimes, all we have a chance to say is good night. It was a little blessing. 

Also, while we were waiting in line for the park to open, we had to plan out what we were going to do first. Karen and I were up for any ride. Melissa didn't want to do any crazy rides. And I got the impression that Rocio has never been on a rollercoaster, so she was very uncertain. We opted to try "Crazy Mouse" first. 

Finally, a little after 12pm, we got into the park and headed straight for "Crazy Mouse". Well, it was an awesome idea, until we got there, one group that had made it there before us, rode the ride, and then it broke. Womp womp. 

Instead, our first ride was the Ferris Wheel. It was nice to get up high and see what all there was in the park (not that it was real big) and you could look out over the ocean and over the surrounding cliffs. It was an excellent and calm way to start the day. 

We rode lots of spinny rides, checked out the crazy mirrors, and went down the slide. The basic rides that you'll find at every park. Unfortunately, the spinny rides get to me after a while, so didn't ride all of the ones I wanted. We did however make it back to ride "Crazy Mouse".. it was a must. 

We noticed that the food stands were all in English and were selling some familiar fair foods. I got a little excited. I got a corn dog and it was awesome. We also had to buy a funnel cake so that Rocio and Karen could know the glory of funnel cakes. It had powdered sugar, strawberries, chocolate, and whipped cream on it. So good! I think the girls enjoyed it too. :) 

While we bought the funnel cake, we had a chance to talk to the lady making it about what was up with the fair. Turns out it is a traveling fair from the US, hence everything written in English and many of the event workers speaking English.. This was their first time in Lima, but there are plans to make it an annual event. They shipped all of their equipment down by boat. All of the workers were staying in trailers set up near the grounds. So, it ended up being a day of sharing something from our culture with the people here, but without the cost of the plane ticket. Haha. 

After that, we went to see the circus. I may be wrong, but I think it is the first time I have seen a circus act in person. Man, it made me nervous. Swinging up real high. Balancing on things high up in the air. My heart was racing for them. The clown was pretty funny and one of his games was to get a kid to only say the word "chicharron" regardless of what he asked. The kid never knew when the game ended, so he just kept right on saying chicharron. It was hilarious and cute.  

As we headed out of the park, Karen remembered she had a few more tickets left, so we found a game to spend them on. We only had enough to buy one chance at winning, so no one wanted to do it. Finally, we talked Rocio into the game were you pop a balloon with a dart. We handed her the dart and she asked, "what do I do with this?" After a brief explanation and one toss, she popped a balloon! She won a very handsome little starfish. It was the best! 

We had a great time at the park, and only got a little bit sunburnt. We even made it to church before it started. A very successful and fun day!

~nos vemos

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Turismo en Miraflores

A couple of days ago, Melissa's friends, Erica and Dave, arrived in Peru to start their 3 week long adventure here. They are currently living in Paraguay, while Erica teaches at a school there. They are diligently making their way from country to country in S. America..hence coming to Peru, plus they get the perk of running into a longtime friend as well and I am sure Melissa is excited to see them too. 

They landed on Sunday night while we were at church, so we opted to meet up on Monday in Miraflores. We have visited Miraflores on a number of occasions, especially during the month that we were taking our Spanish classes there. However, we have never been the acting tour guides, so it was fun to switch things up and show them around. 

We meet up at the Bull in Kennedy Park, aka Cat Park (I think I blogged about it before). Turns out, this is a great spot to meet up. A huge ornately decorated bull is kind of hard to miss and it is very centrally located. 

We then wandered through the park and down to Larcomar to see the ocean and to hunt for internet because I was trying to get the instructions my doctor gave me on malaria pills because we couldn't seem to find the one the doctor here recommended that we get. We literally stopped in at every single pharmacy we passed on the 15 minute saunter down to the mall. Nothing. 

When we got down the the mall I found out that there is a Banana Republic AND Gap here! I am little bit excited. Just a little. Haha. 

From SF to Lima, just like me!

So, after securing internet at Starbucks and enjoying a blackberry drink, we headed out to find out how to get down to the beach. We spotted some stairs that we thought would get us down there, but unfortunately there was a huge brick wall blocking them off. We contemplated jumping the wall, but decided there had to be a better way. Still in search of stairs, we headed in the direction of Parque del Amor. Then, Melissa and I remembered that there were stairs down under the bridge! As we headed in that direction there were a lot of people with body boards and had their swimsuits on and all that jazz, so figured we were headed the right way. Turns out the city built a huge bridge contraption to allow pedestrians to cross over the 4 lane highway below to get down to the beach. Por fin, llegamos! 

Melissa and Erica enjoying the rocks at the beach!

The view up at Miraflores from down at the beach.

This was actually the first time that we spent any time at the water. The beach is all rocks, but there were still a number of people out there wanting to swim and all of the surfer dudes are out there finding people to give lessons to. It was quite nice and the cool breeze off the water felt wonderful! 

As seems to be our touristy place to eat now, we headed to Tanta's for lunch. It isn't touristy in that the restaurant is owned by Gaston Acurio, a famous Peruvian chef. BUT it is touristy because you can get a menu in English and the bathrooms have toilet seats and toilet paper. Oh well, it is a nice place to eat and they have good food, that includes traditional Peruvian cuisine. 

A tour of Miraflores is not complete without a stop at Melissa's favorite churro shop, Manolo's. It may the most expensive churro you can find in Peru at S/. 4 ($1.43), but they are dang good. I got one filled with vanilla, Melissa got the dulce de leche, and Erica and Dave got the chocolate. Yum yum yum. 

Now, I feel I could show someone around Miraflores and take them to good places to eat. Wanna come? :) 

Btw, we did find malaria pills! The very very last shop had them. Thank goodness for notes from my doctor, because we never did find Mefloquine, but we did find Chloroquine and Doxycycline Hyclate. We opted for the Chloroquine. Hope it works! Apparently we are in store for some interesting side effects - crazy dreams are the most common. I'll keep you posted on that front. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I just want to share a short tid bit today.. about hipos. No, I did not misspell it and no, not the animal. Hipo is the word for hiccups in Spanish. 

So today, I got hiccups. It is not such an uncommon thing for me. From my other occurrences, I have learned that they treat hiccups about the same way we do: scare the person, drink water, hold your breath for 10 seconds, etc. etc. 

While in the car on the way home, Wilfredo told Sandra's littler brother, Billy, 10 years old, to try and scare me to scare the hiccups away. Billy thought very long and hard about what he should do. First, he sort of growled, kind of like the growl that Simba gives the hyenas when he is little. It didn't work. Back to the drawing board. 

He thought long and hard, then looks at me and gasps then says, "you forgot your glasses!" It was hilarious. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure who would be frightened by said news. It was a good laugh, so good that it sort of increased my hiccups for a bit. 

After a bit more thinking, he told me to look away and then look back and he was doing this weird, creepy thing with his eyes. It was decently scary, but unfortunately, only time made these hiccups go away. 

Billy's Eyes of Miedo

It was a solid effort on his part. I especially liked the "you forgot your glasses!" part. Say what? Hahaha. 

Thanks for your assistance Billy! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Seeing the Sites with Emily and Steve

In the middle of our first week back, our bosses/supervisors/mentors/etc etc., Emily and Steve, came to visit us in Peru! They arrived Wednesday night and stayed through Sunday. We had a blast getting to know them better (I had only met them 1 time each in the past), touring Lima, sharing thoughts, and sharing in church and class. It was a busy few days! 

I very big thank you goes to Wilfredo for letting us use his shower with  hot running water multiple times! They definitely helped us refresh and reset for the following busy days.. 

Thursday, Melissa and I chatted with Emily and Steve for about 2 hours going over things we have experienced and observed in the church, with WSC, and with each other. It was an intensive meeting, but was nice to get some feedback and do some venting with people that understand where we are coming from. 

Friday was our dia de turismo. We headed out to Lima to visit Plaza Mayor and the National Cathedral. I have visited the Plaza many times and is the first place Wilfredo takes everyone. It isn't very exciting or anything, it's just a plaza. We watched the changing of the guard again. The band hasn't changed up their playlist since we went 6 ms ago, in case you were wondering. The National Cathedral was pretty spectacular. They have all of these very ornately decorated nooks that celebrate particular saints or events. You can head down stairs and check out the graves, how people were buried, and what kinds of people were buried in the church. It was my first visit there because other people I went with said it was too expensive. As it turns out, it only costs S/. 10, which I suppose could be a lot for going into a church, but it doesn't break the bank. It was a good experience, so I am glad we finally went inside. 

Carved wooden statue.

Choir Pew

After checking out the Plaza and eating some Peruvian grub (or Ceasar Salad in Emily's case, though she did try chicha morada), we headed over to the Museum of the Inquisition. Wow. I mean, I have studied about it and seen depictions of the torture, but this takes your understanding of how gruesome it was to a whole other level. Did you know that 5 people had to accuse you to start an investigation, but only 3 had to stay firm on their accusation for you to then be tortured to death? They have a room that talks about how people were brought into the public square dressed in robes with the devil on them. Then there is the room with the various types of shackles, such as sitting with your feet strapped in for 6+ hours or the others where your head and hands are locked in place. After that, there is the room with dummies set up to show the types of torture - whipping, stretching, waterboarding, strangling, etc. Very vivid. You then go underground to see the very deep cells that the prisoners were kept in. On a lighter note, after making it through all of that, you go through the rooms that talk about the Congress of Peru. Haha. It was a bizarre and intense museum experience. We had a few kids around 8 years old in our group and I felt bad for them having to see that. Good for them for not freaking out as I probably would have done at that age. 

Melissa, Emily, Steve, and Wilfredo
with the President's house in the background.

Since it was Friday night, after getting back from Lima and getting cleaned up, we headed to Monte Sion for adult class. I enjoy every part of being in Peru, but when I show up at Monte Sion, I feel a sense of need to be in Peru. There is a lot of potential and possibility for the church there, but I also feel like I have a lot to learn from the people there. It's far and it's tiresome to trek there, but it is totally worth it. Steve started setting up the chairs for class and Wilfredo made a comment about it being a lot of chairs. However, all of those chairs were filled for class. Melissa led a class on giving up our anxiety to God, which led to the Trust Fall activity and then writing down a pressing issues that causes us anxiety and offering a prayer over those things. 

Saturday and Sunday were filled with classes and discussions, followed by a small church service. At the very least, it was fun to do. In time, I will figure out how much I actually learned from it. It was definitely nice to have "important" things happening because it meant everyone was in attendance, so we had opportunities to finally say hi again to everyone and catch up a little bit. It was an excellent way to throw us back into the thick of things here in Peru. 

Showin' us how it's done! (How to teach a little kids' class)

Jose Luis was very proud of our pictogram of Jeremiah 31:12!

Thanks for the visit Emily and Steve! 

~nos vemos~

Monday, January 6, 2014

Made it Back!

After a very very long day of travel, I have made it back to Peru! 

I woke up around 3am to be at the airport for what was supposed to be my 6am flight. The lines were huge and awful with a bunch of people with cancelled flights or connections, which led to me checking in literally 7 minutes late. Because of that, I had to get my flight rescheduled. The lady that took care of me was a freakin' rockstar. She was hunting and calling people and making things happen. It was awesome. I ended up on a 9am flight to Houston that would land about an hour before my connection left for Peru. Unfortunately, we ended up leaving about 40 min late from SFO because of loading the bags onto the plane. I was not alone on my plane freaking out about catching my connection. For this, the flight attendants announced that we could look up a map in the magazine of the airport layout to find out where we need to go and they asked that people who were not in a hurry to stay seated, so that those of us in the back of the plane could get off more quickly. Not many actually did, but all the folks with babies and little kids stayed seated near me. This was also awesome. I got off the plane and walked over to my next gate and immediately got in line to board my flight. I got there in time, but this flight was also about 40 min late leaving because of loading the luggage. We landed in Lima around 12am. We finally got home and settled and in bed by around 3am. 

Despite the delays I ran into and the snow Melissa had to encounter, we made it back! 

I am very thankful to have had the time to see my family and friends for the holidays. It was relaxing and refreshing. 

Now it is time to get back to life in Peru. There are a lot of things I would love to see happen. There are a lot of things I need to know about in terms of what the congregation feels they need from us. We shall see what God's got in store for us! As a very wise friend of mine has said, regardless of the outcome, "we are doing God's work." Through prayer, working together, and keeping our focus on God, I think we will have it in the bag. 

Gracias a mi familia peruana para una bienvenida muy bonita. Estoy muy emocionada para estar aqui con ustedes por 6 meses mas!