Monday, April 16, 2012

Exactly 2 weeks left...time to make every moment count!

In exactly 2 weeks from today I will be on a plane somewhere heading back home. I truly cannot believe my time here has dwindled so quickly! It feels like it was just yesterday I was getting ready and avoiding the topic of Peru because I was so scared to come! Every time someone would mention Peru or the fact I'd be gone for 4 months my stomach dropped! I cannot believe it! This experience has most definitely exceeded my expectations! I knew it would be fun but I didn't know something could be this awesome! I am going to miss so much about Peru when I come back home! Now that my time is limited I am just trying to live in the moment and enjoy every little thing once again. My first week here I remember looking out my bedroom window and I was like "What in the world am I doing here?!?!" Now everything just seems so normal! All the car alarms and honking are just background noise to my everyday life!

This week is the last week of our classes so a lot of people will be leaving by Friday which means last weekend was the final weekend for many of my classmates. We tried our darndest to make it the best for them. On Friday we made reservations at a nice restaurant in Barranco and took our professors out to eat. After the supper we had plans to go to a club in Larcomar to celebrate one of our Peruvian friends birthday. Emily, Mary, and I decided to get ready together at my house before hand and we figured since the timing of both events were so close there was no way anyone would return to Surco before the disco. We also heard that for this particular disco you needed to be dressed for the best. We decide to get to my house at 4:30 and we would be able to meet the group at UPC at 6. No such luck. Everyone arrived to my house at about 5 and stress mode was put into play. Mary hopped in the shower, and afterwards Fabricio and Nela transformed into hair dressers. They dried her hair and then they used my straightener and Nela's and were on each side of her goin at the hair. Emily had brought a dress over that I could borrow but Nela deemed it unacceptable for the club we were going to. She said it was more for a beach then a club so out comes dresses. Remember the style here is a bit..uhhh...well.....less conservative! Every dress she had me in was like she thought I was going out to work on the corners!! Ahhh! All the while Emily is also running around like a chicken with her head cut off and make up, jewelry, and clothes are just flying. (5:45 p.m.) We have to leave NOW in order to get to UPC on time but still I don't have a dress figured out, Em's makeup still isn't done and Mary is still has a head of half curly half straight hair. So we make the executive decision to get our own taxi and meet everyone at the restaurant. Finally, we left my house at about 6:30 and got to the restaurant just a tad late but we figured everyone would be dressed up already as well. We walked in and uhhh nope...we were the only ones! Owell!!! After supper, other people headed home to get ready and we met back up at the disco and a had a blasty-blast.

With my host family before leaving in a frenzy Friday
Jesus, Dr. Aviles, Christian, Roberto
My professors this semester have been soo awesome! Dr. Aviles is from Nebraska and without him here I am not sure everything would have gone so smoothly! He claims he didn't really feel like his role here was important but he was constantly going to the International office and getting things organized and figured out for us. My Literature teacher, Christian, is great. He knows almost no English so the "charades" we got to play every week in that class was awesome. When we didn't understand a part of the story he would either act it out or draw his little stick figures on the board. Also, he was just so excited about what he was teaching! He got so into it and while I thought it was rather dry at times, it was hilarious to look up there and see his expressions as he talked about the stories. My Conversation teacher, Jesus, was by far my favorite professor here. He was sooo chill and made us all feel really comfortable with our Spanish. He also has a knack for knowing what words would be hard so as he would talk he would just write some of the more difficult words he used on the board so we could write them down if we wanted. Also, we played some of the best games in that class. It was an awesome way to learn a new language. And Roberto, my grammar teacher is a good guy! He really got stuck with a tough subject to teach so I give him props.

The next night one of the students had put us all on a list to get into a disco for free. So we got dressed up again, met at my house, headed to Miraflores and danced the night away yet again. Sunday I stayed around the house with my family and we ate lunch at a little market near my house with the best Causa ever! It is soo delicious! Its like a potatoes, chicken, vegetable casserole. Probably my favorite dish here! Later that night, Fabricio and I ordered chicken in and had some supper "pollo a la brasa" (its just rotisserie chicken but they say it is a typical dish of Peru haha...but again...another one of my favorites!)

Las chicas on Saturday!
This week, I only have 2 classes because we finished up 2 last week. I have Peruvian Literature tomorrow where I need to go in and write an essay about a theme from some of the stories we read. On Thursday I have grammar and I have to take a huge-honkin test about Spanish grammar.

Next week I leave on Monday to go to Iquitos and explore the Amazon with some friends so that should be a schweet! I can't wait! Once I get back on Thursday I will just have a few days left here in Peru so I will try to make the best out of them!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Semana Santa in Peru

Easter here is celebrated just a tad differently than in the United States. Thursday and Friday are days off due to the holiday and people do nothing but party. Many stores and businesses shut down on Thursday and Friday and it’s weird because on Sunday everyone goes back to their normal life and everything is open. The beaches and clubs are def. poppin’ that’s for sure! How rare though, because in the U.S. Easter is a wholesome family holiday!

Nela has been in Trujillo for a little over a week now because she is staying with her family but Fabricio left on Thursday morning at 2 a.m. with some friends and partied hardy all weekend. So I had the apartment to myself from Thursday to Monday morning. PARTY!! Just kidding. On Thursday my friends Mary, Laura, and Emily came over in the morning and we swam and soaked up some rays in the pool on the roof of my apartment building. We reunited at about 4 that afternoon and went to Miraflores to the Indian market to continue with our souvenir shopping. That night we thought it would be a blasty-blast to make some French Toast. We all know if it’s French toast it won’t be a letdown! So while Mary and Laura went to mass, Emily and I went shopping for the ingredients and met back up at Derek’s house to do some cooking. We ate our feast, played some charades, and telephone in Spanish. Before I had left my apartment, the door man told me that there would be no electricity from 1 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Friday morning. While I was at Derek’s I looked down at my watch and it was a little after midnight!! So I raced home so that I could have some light to get ready for bed, securely lock the 9 locks (not an exaggeration) on my apartment door, and get to sleep. The lights went out at exactly 1:08 a.m. J I know this because I laid down in bed at 1:02 and I couldn’t help my curiosity. Every so often I would lean up and flick the switch and boop the light would turn on. But finally at 1:08 when I flicked the switch nothing happened.

On Friday I got up, made some eggs with cheese and Emily came over and we worked on our tans once again! For lunch we walked to this chicken place called Norky’s and it was quite delicious! We then dispersed and I spent my afternoon sleeping, doing laundry, and I took my 5th hot shower this semester. It was AWESOME! I’ve gotten used to cold showers and almost like them but still, nothing can beat a hot shower! That night Derek and I met at Vivanda’s (a grocery store about 10 min, walking, from my house). We took a cab to Miraflores and met up with Emily, her host sister, and her host sister’s boyfriend. We all walked around Parque Kennedy, got some churros, and some ice cream from Bembo’s.

The next morning, Saturday, Emily and Derek came over and we swam in my pool again. (Bring on the skin cancer) After we were done we decided to order a pizza for delivery from Papa John’s which is just up the street from me. I am so proud of myself for ordering that pizza in Spanish! Butttt I can’t say it was done perfectly! I have no idea what my cell number is or my home number so the first time I called he asked what my number was... I panicked and hung up on him. Hahaha Then I went to my room and got my little cheat sheet with all my phone numbers on it so I called back and it was a little more successful! That night Mary, Laura, Derek and I were invited by Hugo to go with him and some friends to a disco down South. We met up with Hugo in Miraflores at 10 p.m. and took a taxi. We were all a tad worried because “the south” is about 30 minutes in a taxi from our district and the last time we went there in January we did not have the best time getting home! But this time was way better and I didn’t feel my life was threatened…always a good thing!

On Sunday, I was still home alone so I slept in, made some Kraft mac n’ cheese, and cleaned the apartment. In the afternoon I became a skypin’ fool. I skyped my dad, Sam, and my whole family while they were all at my aunt’s house doin the usual Easter festivities. It made me a tad homesick but I just pretended it wasn’t really Easter and all was well!

This week is crazy busy with group projects because our semester is coming to an end. I had a group project for my class of Indigenous cultures, I have to act out a skit in conversation class with Derek, and I have to write a paper with a group for our grammar class.

Today, after class, Derek and I were talking to our friend Hugo. Hugo studies English at an institute of American English and often asks me to help him with his homework and correct his grammar. He does pretty good with English but there are a lot of phrases he doesn’t understand, which you can’t blame him…languages are tough to learn! Today as we were talking he said “how do you say aprovechar in English?” We replied “Take advantage of” So he said “Nicki, I am going to take advantage of you” Derek and I both burst out laughing and immediately Hugo knew he had said something inappropriate and was freaking out asking what it meant. All he really wanted to do was ask me to help him with his homework. Hahahaha 

The plate of bananas we used on our French Toast...DELICIOUS!!!!!

The whole feast

Playing charades

Playing charades

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Randomness: English, Food, Laundry, Family

Not a lot has happened since I last posted because I was so late with my last one so I will just write about some things in general! First, "yes Fabricio, I understand English!" In January during one of my first weeks here I was sitting in my room while Fabricio was in his and he called me in. He was watching a t.v. show that was in English with Spanish subtitles and he was like "Entiendes?" (Do you understand?) I was like "Yes!" and I thought this was just the weirdest thing! During the next few months he kept doing that alllll the TV shows, movies, radio, anything with English! When we went to Trujillo this last time we were sitting on the bus and the movie they were playing happened to be in Spanish with English subtitles so I asked him if he understood and at first he had the weirdest look on his face like "what in the heck?!" but then it clicked and he started laughing. Now this is just a joke and every time the TV is in English he always asks me if I can understand what it is saying!

The 6 Empanadas and juice
I still amaze myself at some of the things I have been able to eat here without completely vomiting and I think this story may just take the cake as one of the grossest. On Sunday I went with Fabricio to this new Empanada (like a runza) place in Miraflores for lunch. We got 6 Empanadas to share and some Maricuya juice. Each Empanada was a different kind like chicken, beef, lomo saltado, etc. Welll I was eating this one and it was a deep red, blackish, brownish color of goo with rice, and carrots and maybe beef I'm really not sure. And Fabio was like "It tastes weird huh?" And I said "yea, what is it" then he was like "first, you should eat it." UHOH. you know its bad news bears when someone won't tell you what you are eating till after its in the irretrievable zone! Soo I was like ooo gosh! But when I had about one bite left he was like "como se dice sangre en ingles?" (How do you say "sangre" in English) SANGRE=BLOOD!!! I couldn't believe it!! I was eating some freaking curdled blood mixed with rice in some bread. MMMMMMM. I still had about a bite left so I just smothered that thing in sauce and gulped it down while thinking about rainbows and butterflies.

Hmmm this blog really is just going to be a bunch of randomness! But, next on the list is laundry! I'm not sure I have ever blogged about my laundry yet. I have quite the process to get my clothes cleaned! However, I don't have it the of my friends has to do her laundry by hand! Anywhoo, we have a machine but its like one side is a big empty vat with a little motor on the bottom and the other side is a little container with holes on it that spins. Below are the steps I must follow:
1. Fill side 1 of machine with water, clothes, and soap then let the clothes churn for 15 minutes.
2. Take clothes out, drain water, and repeat step #1.
3. Take clothes out, drain water, fill water, put clothes back in and let churn in just water to rinse them for 10 minutes.
4. Take clothes out, drain water, refill water and put this liquidy soap stuff in and let clothes soak for 5 min.
5. Drain water and put clothes in side 2 of machine and let them spin for 2-3 cycles of 5 minutes
6. Hang clothes all over my room (On my closet doors, on hangers, on my drawers, etc.) and open my window and let my clothes dry.

I don't really have any other basic things to talk about so I guess I will just end with saying that I am soo happy I got placed with the family I did! Before I came here I sent Fabricio an e-mail and he had a picture of himself on his google account and so I was able to see what he looked like and while I shouldn't have judged by looks I really thought he looked like quite the creeper so I was a tad worried! Come to find out, it was just an "artsy" photo of him and for the record he really does NOT look like a creeper in real life! Anyway, as I'm sure I've mentioned before I live with Fabio (25) and Nela (25) and they are both just friends and they are both AWESOME! Nela is probably one of the funniest girls I have ever met! She knows absolutely no English but even when I couldn't communicate very well with my Spanish we were havin' a blast. Recently she has been asking me to teach her little phrases in English and we currently have a sticky note on the kitchen door that says "What do you want to eat?" She also acts like my little mom sometimes. When I travel she will call me like 4 times to make sure I'm okay, and one time after an earthquake she thought I was home alone so not even 20 seconds after it finished my phone was ringing. Fabricio is also awesome! He has been the one who has really helped me with my Spanish. When I'm talking and I say a verb wrong or a word isn't right or whatever he just says it to correct me and its awesome because he doesn't do it soo much or so over the top that I lose my train of thought. He also knows a little English which was really helpful in January and is nice now because if I don't know a word I usually say it in English to see if he knows it or not and sometimes he does! Its always nice when I can get the easy way out and not have to describe it! Also, he is really into showing me the ropes on this whole living in Peru thing. He always makes sure I try new foods (not every time is disgusting!) and is always informing me on the history and stuff like that. Overall he's pretty chillax. And I'd have to say I think I truly lucked out on my family because they are awesome!

Nela and Fabricio

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Arequipa, tests, high schools, and a dinner I won't forget!

Last weekend a group of 13 students from UNK went on a trip to Arequipa together. After class on Thursday I went to Emily's house, we picked up her bags, and came to my house for the night because our plane was to leave at 5 a.m. which meant we would have to leave Surco at 2 a.m. We did this because we thought this way we would actually get some sleep. Welll next thing you know, its midnight. I was putting the last few things in my bag and I asked Emily if she remembered to bring her immigration card. She looked at me with wide eyes and was like "I didn't even bring my passport, let alone my immigration card!!!" Sooo we put some shoes on and headed to her house. We got back to my house at like 12:30, I showered and we laid down at about 1:30 to catch some shut eye. In just 30 minutes I heard the buzzer of my apartment go off and Emily and I were still laying in bed. I figured surely that couldn't be the taxi driver Nela had called for us because he was to arrive at 2:15 a.m. and we are in Peru where absolutely no one is early!!! But then Fabricio called my name from his room so we both jumped up, grabbed our bags, and headed out the door. We then directed the taxi driver to my friends Mary and Laura's houses and headed to the airport. We were all chillaxed until we realized we didn't recognize any of the roads we were on and we didn't think he was taking the correct route to the airport. He took a weird turn and we were on an empty road, near the beach, and it was 2 am. Panic struck in for us all! I asked the man where we were going and he said we were headed to the airport but this was a better way to go because it was faster. Then being paranoid we started noticing every little thing. The driver put his hand up to his mirror and right after he did that we noticed that another taxi had pulled up behind us. This taxi then happened to flash his lights. "They're communicating!!!!!!!" Buttt....luckily the other taxi passed us and we were alone on the road again. I started to look around some more and I realized we were entering the district that we had passed through to get to the zoo in January. I then remembered that our friends had told us that the airport was near this district. After about 5 more minutes, Laura had spotted a sign that said Airport and we all took a sigh of relief!!!

Once we landed in Arequipa we were soooo tired (imagine that! After just 30 minutes of sleep and a little on the plane!) so right when we got to the hostel we all took about a 2 hour snoozer. There were still 2 ladies in our 8 person room so there was obviously a shortage of beds. To solve this problem many of us paired up and Mary, Laura, and I tripled up to a single bed. It was quite cozy if I do say so myself! As soon as we woke up we headed to La Plaza de Armas and found some grub. Then, a lady approached us and offered us a 4 hour tour of the whole city in a double decker bus for just 15 soles a piece which is like $6. What a deal!!! It was so awesome! We got to see the city, the outskirts of the city, ride horses, and try queso helado. After the tour we went to some tour companies and set up the rest of our weekend. 

On Saturday we got up and the hostel served us some amazing pancakes that were filled with bananas and had drizzle on top! Can you believe we got pancakes for breakfast, hot water, comfy beds, and computers with internet for just $9 a night!!! I can't either! And the best/ most surprising part was it wasn't even sketch! It was a nice part of town, I didn't feel like I would get a freaky disease from the bed sheets, and there weren't any goons lurking outside!! Anyways....after breakfast we put on our suits and headed to the tour company where  a bus took us all to the Chile River to go white water rafting. On the way there we stopped at this little place and put on wet suits, water shorts, rain jacket, a huge life jacket, and a helmet! At this point I knew it would be legit! Once we got to the river we split up into groups for the rafts and they began to explain the commands to us. One was like "Get inside the boat!!!!!" Another was "Everyone to the left/right side of the raft!!" I've been rafting before but have never had to do anything like this. Now I really knew it would be legit!!! We all got in the water and the adventure began. There were sooo many huge boulders and we kept getting stuck and our raft would almost tip! At one point I looked back and one of the rafts had hit a boulder and completely flipped! Not too long after we were going down this part where it was really narrow with huge rapids and before I could even think about what was going on, I looked up and woop! there goes Emily! seconds later, there goes Derek! They were floppin in the water and both of them managed to hold on to the side of the raft so we were able to pull them back in. Once we got to the bottom of this part we stopped to let the other rafts catch up to us and all of a sudden I heard Mary yell, "look! that raft only has 3 Nebraskanssss!!!!! Where's the other!?!?!?" We looked back to the narrow passage way and Andrei was just sitting on a huge rock because he had also fallen out of his raft. All 3 guides got out of the rafts and threw him a rope to pull him to shore. Later we were going through another area of the river like this but there were huge trees and we had to put our heads on our knees so that the branches would just smack our helmets and not rip our faces up. Once we got to the end of the rafting trip where it was calm they let us out of the raft and we were able to swim a little. It was soo much fun! That night we ate at a Peruvian restaurant and I ordered Arroz con Pollo which is just green rice with some chicken. But, the girl I was sitting next to had guinea pig so I decided to try a bite sized piece the size of my thumb nail. It took me about 3 minutes to get the courage to do it. I'm sooo sorry Norma!!!!! (my old pet guinea pig) We then went back to the hostal and got some sleep because a bus would pick us up at 2 a.m. for our tour of Colca Canyon.

Boy did 2 a.m. come fast!  At 6 a.m. we arrived to a little town where we were able to eat some breakfast and then we drove up to Colca Canyon where our guide let us walk around a little and we were able to take it all in. It was soo pretty! Once our tour of Colca was over we headed to some hot springs and swam for about 45 minutes. After that we headed back to Arequipa, ate some dinner, walked around the city some more, and went to sleep. The next morning we flew out at 7:30 a.m. and I walked in the door of my house at 11:30 a.m. 

This week has been sooo busy! On Monday I had a quiz for my Indigenous Cultures class, on Wednesday I had an oral exam for my Conversation class, and on Thursday I had an exam in my grammar class. I feel like all my exams went well! I hate to say it but I actually enjoyed one of them! I enjoy taking my Conversation oral exams because we go in and read an article about a random topic then talk one on one with our professor about the article and we usually get off on another topic. This time he asked me all about religions and politics in Nebraska so it was kind of an interesting conversation! However, I'm just really hating my Grammar class! It is so dry and boring like grammar is in any language! Also, there are so many verb forms that don't exist in English! Come on Spanish!!!...English functions just fine without all of these verbs! Also, on Wednesday I went with a group to a high school to help them with their English. It was a lot of fun! We just sat in groups and had conversations with the students. They prepared questions for us and we talked and told them stories. 

And now about the dinner that I will never forget! On Tuesday night when Fabricio got home he asked me if I was hungry and he was glad to hear that I was because he said he was dying of starvation. So he put some pjs on and said we were going to cook. I was sooo excited because the last time he cooked it was absolutely delicious!! He got out some noodles and started to boil them! Woooo!!!!! pasta!!! But then he got out a can of sardines and I was thinking....ooooo noooo!!!! It was literally the whole fish bodies, silver scales, and the heads were chopped off. He then pounded them so they were just slime balls and put them in a mixture of like ketchup, oil, and some other seasonings. Soooo for dinner that night I had a mixture of fish guts with ketchup over noodles. MMMMM!!!!! While I was eating I could see the stringy guts and the silver scales sticking to my noodles. I told him I liked it and all but somehow he has learned my true food feelings I think! He was like "nooo I know you Nicki!" hahahaha soooo luckily I only had to finish about half of my bowl and I was able to throw the rest out!
On our bus tour in Arequipa

La Plaza de Armas of Arequipa

Horse back riding in Arequipa!

Colca Canyon!

Colca Canyon!

sharing the bed for a little snooze on the first day

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A weekend in Trujillo

This weekend I went to Trujillo with Fabricio to meet his family and I invited my friends Kathy and Emily to come along. We left on Thursday night at 10:45 p.m. and arrived to Trujillo at about 8:30 in the morning on Friday. First thing was first…showers! After we showered we had some breakfast and headed to the center of Trujillo where Fabio got us set up for 8 hours of tours. We went through some buildings in the center of Trujillo and also got tours of some ruins near the outskirts of town. After our tours were over we headed back to Fabricio’s house and his mom had prepared lunch. Since there were “guests” at the house she prepared her best, most Peruvian dish…ceviche (raw fish) O gosh…after this trip, let me tell you…I am a pro at gagging the most disgusting things down! I’m sure his mom is a wonderful cook but I am just not the right taste tester for her. Fabricio knows I really do not like Ceviche so once his mom left the room and I had finished my acts of “Si, senora me gusta mucho! Que rico!!” He took my plate and snarfed it down. Thank you Fabio! The next dish was just the usual of Peru which is, you got it…rice and chicken. I cannot remember a Peruvian meal that I have not eaten with rice.

The next day we got up and had some breakfast and headed to the beach with Fabricio’s girlfriend while Fabricio stayed home and helped his mom prepare duck for lunch. ALllll day I was thinking about how I was going to have to eat duck and keep a smile on my face. I pulled it off though! When we got home the dining room table was all set and there on my plate waiting for me was a nice big piece of duck, rice, and beans. It was actually good! I am so shocked! But, boy let me tell you, I couldn’t get away with a whole meal being good this weekend. For dessert, we had a big hard, freaky textured piece of cheese with honey drizzled on it and when I chewed it, it squeaked. I was having some issues getting this bad boy down! But thankfully, this is Fabio’s favorite dessert, so he finished mine for me. That night we went to a huge party in Trujillo because on Sunday they were going to have a bull fight so this was like a pre-party. It was pretty fun!

Sunday morning we got up, ate some breakfast and headed out to the country. It was so pretty out there! We ate some lunch and walked down to the river. There were sooo many bugs though! They ate us all alive! These bites are so crazy though! They itch more than any bug bite I’ve ever had and they all had weird red, bloody dots in them! Blek! Then, we went back to the house, packed our stuff and had some crackers with jelly on them for supper. (we did a lot of eating this weekend) Our bus left at 10:45 p.m. so Fabricio and his parents dropped Kathy, Emily, and I off. Fabricio was not traveling back to Lima this night because he was going to stay one extra day in Trujillo so it was just us 3 and this is when the adventure truly began!

I went to sleep right away because I was pretty tired and at about 12:45 a.m. I woke up and noticed that our bus was stopped so I looked out my window and we were just sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. I could tell that our hazard lights were flashing and I heard our driver was yelling at some guy but I couldn’t see him because he was behind a curtain. My first thought was of course the worst but I stayed calm and just sat there for a little bit. Then our bus turned on and we started moving so I was like “Phew!! All is well” buttttt then our bus stopped again and our driver was silent. So I woke up Kathy and Emily. At first they were just peachy and calm but then we heard more yelling so we looked out the window and there was a police officer and some guy getting in each other’s faces and about ready to throw punches. At this time Emily was like “I’m with you Nicki, something isn’t right”. At this moment the stewardess came in and told us that there was a protest of illegal miners and they were blocking the highway so no buses or cars could get across and that the police should have it under control in about 1 hour and we’d be on our way. Soo hearing the wonderful news of just one hour, I went back to sleep. Next thing I know I wake up and it is 6 a.m. and we are still sitting on the side of the road but we are completely surrounded by buses and people, and cars and it is was a madhouse. They told us again that the police were going to come and get it under control by 8 am. They said if we weren’t on our way by 8 a.m. we would head back to Trujillo. Wellll 8 came around and no such luck..we were still just sittin’ there. So at about 9 a few of us got off the bus and walked to a store and bought some ice cream because there was no food left.  There were soooo many buses. I would honestly say there were probably about 400-500 buses and people were just in every nook and cranny of this little town of Casma.  At this time people were starting to tell us that there was also a protest going on that was blocking the road back to Trujillo and that we could potentially be stuck there for 3 days. We started to freak a little but everyone was relatively calm. As the morning went on people started to ditch their buses and if you looked out of your window you would see herds of people walking with their suitcases and they had plans to try to get across the protesters themselves and catch some form of transportation on the other side. At about noon I got a call from Nela and she was freakin a leak! She told me how scared she was for me and worried and told me I had to stay with a Peruvian no matter what, I could not get off that bus alone. At about 2 Emily went with some Peruvian ladies and bought us a huge thing of water to share and some crackers to munch on while we watched more movies in the bus. Then people started to get a little more antsy. This one lady came up and sat next to me and I don’t always understand people’s Spanish when I first meet them but o goodness I understood absolutely everything this lady was telling me and boy did she stress me out!!! She was telling me how dangerous it was going to be if we stayed there when it got dark, and that people would die, and us 3 were especially in danger, and how the buses would get ransacked and women would get assaulted. Her main point was we needed to go back to Trujillo. A lot of the people on the bus wanted to go back to Trujillo but the bus driver didn’t because his boss wouldn’t let him. If we went back, they had to pay us ½ of our ticket and the boss didn’t want to do that. I was like “What in the world?!?!? He needs to think about all these people’s safety, not the money!” Then, some guy got on the bus and told us how there had been assault just up the road. That one sent me through the roof! I wanted to go to Trujillo!!! At 4 p.m. they turned the bus around and we were headed back. Just as I sighed my sigh of relief the bus stopped and turned around AGAIN. I asked the lady next to me what in the world we were doing and she said that they had heard the protest was over and we were going to Lima. LIES!! We sat there until 5:30. At about 6 it started to get dark so everyone came up to where we were and started yelling at the driver and finally we headed back for Trujillo at 6:30. I waited until I was sure we were really going back and I gave Fabricio a call. He told me he had talked to our professor about us missing class, and that he would be at the bus station in 3 hours when we were to arrive. When we got there it was such a relief! After 24 hours on that darn bus, I was soo ready to get off! We went back to his house, showered, and went to Pardo’s chicken at midnight. 

This is a link to a video that shows the protest that was holding my bus and hundreds of other buses up. 

The next day we hung out at the beach and that afternoon we got news that the protest was over so we called the bus company and it was true! So we bought our tickets and came home that night. Fabricio was with us this time too which made all of our nerves just a tad calmer I think!

Wednesday, when I got home I headed to campus and did some homework because I am so behind from missing 2 of my classes. Thursday I have grammar class and on Friday morning at 6 a.m. a group of us are flying to Arequipa. I sure hope this trip goes a little smoother than the last!

The Plaza de Armas of Trujillo

At the beach 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My names Nicki but you can call me Gordita

Here in Peru I am known as Gordita and I'd have to say I have earned this nickname! It all started one night when we decided to cook our good friends the best food in the world...French Toast. That night I ate 5 slices and like 3 scoops of eggs. The next day I had 2 bowls of cereal and then for lunch, which was 2 hours later, I had 5 scrambled eggs and 4 pieces of bread. I'm always eating! After class we have been going to this little store by the University because I cannot get enough of the passion fruit popsicles! They are sooo delish! O how I will miss them when I come home! I knew that this name caught on when one night I was eating with Nela and I went to grab some more and she said "Nickiiiii!!! que gordita eres!!!!!!!!" and now the name has just stuck...I am GORDITA! (for the record I'm downing some chocolate while writing this :p) 

This last Friday we had class in the morning (such a drag! I'm loving this whole no class on Friday thing!) but then at 4:00 22 of us headed to a beach. It was so legit because since there were so many of us we would have to take like 5 taxis and what a nuisance that'd be so we literally bought off a city bus! We each paid 10 soles and hopped on the bus. It was only us and he didn't stop at any bus stops and just drove us the whole 45 minutes to the beach. When we went through a checkpoint we all crossed our fingers that they'd just ignore the fact that the bus wasn't on the correct route and what do you know? It's Peru so they ignored it! Woohoo!! When we got to the beach we took pictures (well the girls did), played some sand volleyball, and had a bonfire. Some people stayed the night but I went with a group that came back around 1 am to Surco and I slept in my own bed :) 

Saturday was a rather chill day till the nightime. During the day I just hung out with Nela and we got some delicious food at our favorite little market. That night however was an experience I will NEVER forget!!!!! My friend Emily invited a few of us to go to a soccer game in the big stadium (about the same size as the Husker stadium) here in Lima with her host sister and her host sisters boyfriend. We met at Emily's house and caught a taxi and off we went. All the tickets had been sold out so we had to buy from someone on the street so we were just walking through a park and asking around for some tickets. All of a sudden literally about 300 crazed fans came running around the corner. At first it looked like a harmless mob of excited fans so Emily was like "OO I want a picture!" As her and I started reaching for our cameras her host sister and boyfriend were like "NOOOOO THIS IS REALLY DANGEROUS"  Then the craze began. They were filling the park and just running and going wild! Emily and her host sister linked arms and were able to get to the outside of the mob, but Derek, the host boyfriend, and I were stuck in the center. I felt someone yank on my purse so I quickly pulled it to the front of me but before I could even think some guy comes up and is yanking on it again but really, really hard...I'm surprised my neck didn't get a little mark! Luckily the strap of my purse is super strong so the little thief lost! That's right!!! Emily's "host boyfriend" saw what was happening so he ran  up behind me and like bear hugged me and Derek was to my side. We stood there silent and motionless for like 3 minutes while the crazies ran by. I truly cannot explain the emotion I was having during those 3 minutes. It was pure terror but somehow I was completely calm during it! Once there was a teeny gap in the locos...we ran to where Emily and her host sister were. Emily told us that some guy had slapped her butt and another was running backwards and staring at her. We stood on the sidewalk for awhile just to catch our breath. It was soo scary! Emily's hands and my hands were literally shaking. ahhhh! I had my debit card with me because right before I went to Emily's house I had drawn out a little money for our trip to Ica this week. How dumb was that?! So I had everyone shield me and I put my debit card and house keys in my front jeans pockets where no grimy thief hand could reach. We quickly bought some tickets and headed to the stadium. As we got closer there were tons of police with HUGE shields that were just flinging these batons around and that in itself was a little unsettling! Finally! we reached the stadium and were "safe". The game was legit! We bought little headbands for one team and cheered for em the whole time! The game was a tie though so that was a little sad. It was strange though because throughout the whole game you could just see huge brawls break out between people in the crowd. How crazyyyy they are about their soccer!!! After the game, Emily and I were just a wee bit scared to leave the stadium because it was dark out at this point.  When we left, the host boyfriend and sister were leading and they turned around and were like "fast...we have to walk fast!" Its always just soo comforting when Peruvians tell me we have to walk fast for our safety! Not...But it sure gets my blood goin and I walk with some purpose! People were noticing us and they were yelling "Gringo!!!" and kissin and whistling and pretty much anything to make us feel uncomfortable. But, we finally caught a bus and made it out alive with all of our belongings...what a relief! I'm really glad I got to experience a soccer game here though because its such a big part of their culture! 

The next morning I got up early and met some friends at 6:30 a.m. to take a taxi to the bus station for our trip to Ica. We arrived to Ica a little before noon and checked into our resort. It was super sweet cuz it had like tons of rooms and activities and a restaurant and stuff! The food there was ridiculously expensive so about 15 of us decided to walk around to find a restaurant. Well, as it turned out our hotel was near absolutely nothing so we called a friend who was from Ica and asked where a good place to eat would be. He suggested Plaza del Sol. So we took 3 taxis. Wellllll someone had arranged the taxi I was in and no one in my group knew where we were going. When the guy was like "plaza de blah blah right?" We just said yes because we knew we were goin to some plaza. (How dumb are we?!) When we got there I called a girl from one of the other taxis and told her we were waiting by the monument in the center of the plaza. She was like "uhhh I don't see a monument. We are at a shopping mall" So we asked some guy where we were and yep...def not Plaza del Sol! So we just decided to eat by ourselves and meet everyone else back at the resort in an hour. We found this little chifa (Chinese food) place and sat down to eat. We ordered our food and in literally 3 minutes the waitress brought us our plates. It was some sketch food though let me tell you! None of us ate the supposed chicken because it was realllll freaky. We then finished eating and found a grocery store to buy some bread because we didn't want to eat out for the rest of the trip. diet this weekend was bread, peanut butter, and yogurt. Not that bad really! When we got back to the hotel we had a good game of water polo in the pool, played some soccer, and went sand boarding. Sand boarding was soo sweet! It was just snow boarding but on a sand mountain. That night we went to the karaoke place at the hotel and owned it! We danced and sang (poorly) and had a gay oolllddd time!

The next day we got up and went to Paracas, which is a little city about 45 min from Ica and we got on a boat to go see an island with sea lions, penguins, and birds. The sight of it was super awesome! the smell....ehh not so much! Later that day some friends of mine and I went on some sand duggies. It is just a go-kart on steroids basically. Super awesome! We were strapped in this little cart and trusted some guy with our lives ans he drove like a mad man all over these huge sand doons. I thought I just might die a few times...which means it was legit! Wooo! Then we went swimming and just chilaxed for the rest of the night. 

Tuesday morning some of us went to the Huacachina lagoon and took some boats around. Then, our bus left at about 2 pm and I got home to my house in Lima at 7 pm. I ordered pizza with my family and now here I sit writing this blog.
This week I will get a haircut (wish me luck everyone!) And this weekend I am going to Trujillo with my family. We will stay at Fabricio's house and go to a bull festival that is there this weekend.  
on the beach "Punta Rocas" 

At the soccer game


Huacachina lagoon

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hi, I'm not from here...Can I have a photo with you?

I only have 2 months left...this makes me soo sad! Two months sounds like so much but in all reality I've already been here 2 months and it feels like its just been 2 days! Anyway enough about my feelings and more about this last week and weekend!!! 
Last week was mid-terms...AHHHH!!! I was freaking a leak every day because I either had a paper due or an exam to study for. For the most part, I think they went okay but I will find out my grades this week. After class on Thursday (I don't have class Friday) we all went to play some soccer to take out the stress of our week on the ball. Boy did I ever! I made a goal! Woooo! Always exciting when I do something good on the court because o man do those Peruvians put us to shame! After I got home that night I went with Fabricio and Nela to one of Fabricio's friends houses and we sat and talked until 2 am! The next morning I had to get up at the crack of dawn because I was going to the beach with a few friends. We got to the beach at about 9 am and spent all day there. It was soo much fun! I have never been in stronger waves...they were crazy! The waves took me, threw me back, flipped me, slammed me on the bottom, and I couldn't do a think about it! At one point when I was under water flipping like I was in a dryer I thought "I am literally going to diiiieeee!" But, obviously...all is well, I survived! Later, a friend of mine and I made a deal that if I spoke in English I would have to go up to a random guy and ask for a picture. Well, what do you know..I forgot and accidentally said one little sentence in English. Soooo I had to go up to some random guy and say "Hi, I'm not from here...Can I have a photo with you?" The guy was really confused but complied and took a photo. Then, his friend was all excited and wanted to take a picture with me too and they were whippin out their cameras! That night I had pizza with my family.  At supper Fabricio told me he is going to cry when I leave in April, talk about making my day!!!!!! After supper, I headed to a friends house for movies and grilled cheese. The next day I slept in and then went to get a pedicure with a few girls. That night 3 friends came to my house and we danced American dances with Nela. We then headed to a disco in Miraflores and came back around 3 am. On Sunday I slept in (clearly) and then had lunch with Nela around 2. That night, after Fabio got off work, we went to the center of Lima and ate some snacks at a really nice restaraunt in a beautiful hotel down there. At 11 pm we all decided we were hungry so we ordered burritos from our favorite resteraunt. The catch to these so called burritos is they don't use salsa. The first time I went to the resteraunt with Fabio he asked me what sauce I wanted and I was confused because when I read the list it said things like mayo, ketchup, tarter sauce, mustard, etc. So he told me his favorite is ketchup and tartar sauce. Sunday night marks the 4th "burrito" I have eaten with ketchup and tartar sauce instead of salsa. I must say it is growing on me!!! This week will be rather calm because we had midterms last week which means I have almost no homework due this week! wooo!! On Sunday we will leave for 3 days to Ica and I am soo excited! 
The beach "Santa Maria"

The random guy I took a picture