Sick & the City

Let’s be real: sometimes, even when you’re on the trip of a lifetime, you’re gonna have a bad day. So while I love Peru and mostly everything about it, yesterday was just one of those days. I’ll leave it at saying that have a stomachache all day while climbing through Incan ruins is not the most fun I’ve ever had.

But rather than complaining about one rough day (I’m feeling totally better today), I wanted to just mention some things about Peru from my first week here:
1. I miss ice. And milk. The milk thing I knew would happen. I drink so much milk at home. Here, cold milk is not common. But ice – never even thought about that one.
2. Everything here is super cheap. I bought a t-shirt for roughly 4 dollars.
3. I could never drive here. No one really drives in their lanes, and there is so much honking. (Why people honk, I haven’t quite figured out. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a reason).
4. I keep getting Spanish words/phrases stuck in my head.
5. I feel safer walking around at night here than I do at home.
6. All toilet paper has to go in the trash can, which can be kind of gross sometimes.
7. I tried alpaca yesterday. Next up is guinea pig (because yes, it’s a food here).

Today we’re headed out of our hotel in Cusco to go to a clinic for the next two days, and then it’s on to Trujillo on Friday. I again have no idea whether I’ll have internet access anywhere, so until next time, adios!

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I can do all things

We’re back in Cusco after two days in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo). Saturday was a day full of travel – a van ride to the train station, then a train ride to the town. I listened to Harry Potter audio book on the rides, which makes me feel like I have a little bit of home here with me (nerd alert?).

Yesterday we climbed Wayna Picchu (the mountain in the background of the photo below). I remembered reading my friend Olivia’s blog about climbing a volcano in Nicaragua, and on my way up the mountain I just kept repeating “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And I did it! It was hard, but now I feel like I could climb Stone Mountain ten times over. We had to wake up at 5 am to get up to the mountain on time, but it was definitely worth it. After the climb, we took a tour of the Incan ruins. I’ve definitely learned more about the Incans on this trip than I ever expected to learn, but some of it is pretty interesting stuff.

After a late lunch, most of our group went to los baños termales, which are hot springs that people go to (kind of like a water park with hot tubs instead of water slides? Trying to put it in perspective). It was an experience, to say the least. The water was more of a lukewarm, and we didn’t stay for long – but we were all still glad we went for the cultural experience.

I surprisingly don’t have much else to report right now. Today’s been a pretty calm day of traveling back to Cusco and some more shopping in the markets. My legs are so sore from climbing the mountain yesterday, and looking at that picture, I still can’t believe we actually did it!

When in Peru

Well, it’s 1:00 in the morning here, and we just got back from a night of salsa dancing – and for anyone who knows me even slightly, they know I don’t typically dance, pero when in Peru…! We had so much fun, and when Caroline and I were walking back to the hotel, it just hit me – we are just living here in Peru. Crazy.

Today included a very full morning of sight-seeing, and I heard so much information, I’m not sure how much I can even relay it at this point. We started out the day with breakfast at the hotel, which included coffee (SO strong), eggs, toast, and fruit, and then left at 9 am to start our tour of Cusco, where the Incas had many settlements that are now tourist sites. We went to Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Q’enquo, y Saqsayhuamán (which when pronounced, sounds almost like “sexy woman”), and finally, el Convento de Santo Domingo del Cusco. To give any details of these places would be probably boring to read, and quite honestly, I don’t remember a lot of it at this point anyway. Our tour guide spoke in Spanish all morning, and my brain seriously hurt after 7 straight hours of it. I did, however, get some good stuff for my scrapbook :)

After a 3pm lunch in our hotel (I have never been hungrier), all of the girls on the trip went shopping in the markets in Cusco. I started the souvenir shopping early and got a few people knocked out already. With some bargaining help from Lisa (another student here from UGA), I got some really good things for so cheap.

We walked past a high school on our trip, and the front doors were open, so we decided to go inside to check it out – SO cool to see a school here compared to ones in the United States. Some of the girls in one of the classrooms saw us and were so happy, waving and smiling and asking us how we were doing. After that, we went to a little cafe near our hotel; it was very nice inside and the workers were polite, so I’ll probably go back a few times before we leave.

Following dinner tonight were some hilarious conversations and making up secret phrases for if we didn’t like a club we went to, and then we left for salsa lessons and a night of dancing. I learned to salsa and danced with someone from Germany – it’s so difficult being in a tourist town like Cusco, because you have no idea what language to speak to anybody.

Tomorrow we leave for Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, so I’m not sure if we’ll have Internet there. If I don’t update for a few days, that’s why.

the beginning

Estoy aquí! The internet right now is a little sketchy, but I wanted to go ahead and give the update on my past two days before going to sleep for the night – and a much-needed sleep it will be. In short, the past two days have been full of travel and lacking much rest – but it’s completely worth it. I am in love with Peru already and it has barely been a day.

So, a brief overview of yesterday: mini-road trip to Atlanta with Catherine, Megan, and Sarah to drop me off at the airport, complete with Starbucks, lunch, and car prayers (my favorite thing on earth). Aside from that, Wednesday was pretty boring and absolutely full of travel – Atlanta to Miami, 5-hour layover in Miami; flight from Miami to Lima (which felt like it lasted an eternity), and then Lima to Cusco, where we’re staying for the next few days.

Today was a pretty relaxed day of attempting to catch up on sleep, lunch in our hotel, then exploring the city a little. I love it in a way I can’t explain. I was a little overwhelmed at first being surrounded only by Spanish, but now I’m finding myself getting more comfortable speaking, and I’m thinking half in Spanish, half in English.

As we were landing in Lima at 5 am, I looked out my window and saw a building with “Emmanuel” in huge letters on the side, which is Hebrew for “God is with us.” I think it was kind of an awesome first thing to see upon landing in a foreign country, and a wonderful reminder that even though my friends and family may not be here, God is definitely ever-present.

Since the internet isn’t great right now, I’ll wait until tomorrow to post any pictures. For now, I’m getting a good night’s sleep in my nice warm bed here in Amerinka.

How are you spending your summer?

Summer is here. It’s a time of renewal for me, and the season that I am always the happiest. I’ll always choose hot weather over snow, even if that means burning my legs on my leather seats every time I get in my car. Something about summertime just makes me overjoyed to be alive. I can’t really explain it.

Last June, I went on a week-long mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Long story short, it was an absolutely life-changing trip for me (ask me about it, and I’ll talk your ear off for a week). Leaving the country though sort of instilled in me this dire need to travel. So when I got back, I immediately started looking for study abroad information on UGA’s website. All of fall semester I said, “I’m going to study abroad next summer. I will.”

And with that determination, I found a program that suited me, applied, and got accepted to UGA’s Medical Maymester in Peru. From May 23-June 24, I’ll be in Peru with 10 other UGA students. We are interning in a hospital, taking a medical terminology class en la Universidad de César Vallejo, and living with host families in Trujillo, Peru.

I think part of me didn’t actually believe it was going to happen…and part of me is still a bit in disbelief. One week from tomorrow, I leave for Peru. I’m more excited than I could possibly explain, but it also hasn’t fully hit me (and probably won’t until I land in Lima next Thursday). I’ll be using this blog to keep friends and family filled in on my life while I’m away, so I hope you all enjoy and feel free to ask any questions. I love to talk about the trip :)

And to close, I’ll answer a question I (understandably) get a lot: “Do you know Spanish?” I’m minoring in Spanish at UGA and have taken classes over the past two years there. I am by no means fluent, but I can communicate. My biggest goal in going to Peru is to become more confident in my Spanish-speaking and to not be intimidated to speak in front of people here in the States.