Day 35

5 Jul

Hello and goodbye to our beloved Lima and friends ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Day 34

3 Jul

Another lazy day in Cusco ๐Ÿ™‚ we’re planning on touring an Inca museum and some other historical sites.

Despite being gone from the Lima fog, I seem to still have a haze over myself. I keep waking up on the wrong side of the bed and having dreams of family and friends back home, so I guess that means I’m getting pretty homesick. I will enjoy the rest of our time here but I’m getting antsy to return to something “normal” and stop constantly travelling and living out of a bag. The people we’ve met and the things we’ve seen along the way have all been beautiful, and I’ve loved it all. I keep thinking about the life I will return to when I get back though and I think that’s why I’m getting anxious. I have so many things to do and people to see when I’m home! I guess it’s a good thing that I have so much love to come back to ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m writing this in the morning, so I’m sure I’ll have more to tell later on. Last night was fun but surprisingly nobody really wanted to go out on a tuesday night! We had fun in the bar at our hostel and met some people from around the world. The beer is so cheap! 2 beers for less than 3 American dollars! I am about that life. I love peru.

The Struggle: Still sore from hiking around Machu Picchu.

The Silver Lining: I’ve kinda missed the feeling of sore muscles! Can’t wait to get back up on my workout grind when I get back.

Day 33

2 Jul

Machu Picchu was amazing yesterday! Here are some peeectures. I’m feeling a little high from the blood sugar spike after eating more white bread and jam for breakfast, so I’m restless and antsy right now and not in the mood to blog. More info later!


I’m very filled with love right now. I am so completely happy, and for no particular reason. The girls and I slept in this morning, enjoyed free breakfast in our quirky little hostel, then just started walking. We saw a riot for workers rights in the Plaza de Armas where they burned a few tires, marched around with signs, and chanted a lot of things in Spanish I couldn’t understand.

We made our way to the Incan Ruins, but were stopped at the gate because it cost 70 soles while we had thought it was free! Two nice gentlemen told us their company could show us some of the ruins while we rode on horseback! For only 45 soles! So of course we did it. And it was a BLAST!
I’ve missed being on a horse and it was nice to be back on one even though Bandito was a typical trail horse and didn’t listen to instructions, just went wherever he pleased at whatever pace he pleased. The other girls didn’t have much experience on horses, Gina had never been on one at all! So it was a lot of fun watching their reactions the whole time. Our guide didn’t speak much english but we got the basic jist of things. We rode for 2 hours and then walked back to the center of town to eat the most amazing lunch I’ve had in this country! It was soooooooooooooo so so good and I had approximately 4 food babies when we left.

Tonight we are heading to some of the local bars, decked out of course in all our adorable llama apparel. Heyyyy sexy ladies!

The Struggle: My suitcase is getting preeeetty big. Like, I have to sit on it to zip it closed.

The Silver Lining: I have enough llama souvenirs to last me and the fam & friends the rest of our lives! Hooray for Peru!

Day 31

30 Jun

Made it to Aguas Calientes a little after noon. Our hostel’s internet isn’t working and the whole town is a tourist trap trying to suck us dry of all our money.
Needless to say we aren’t really enjoying it here, at least not as much as Cusco and Lima. BUT we are headed to the beautiful Machu Picchu in the morning and are very excited for that! ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve been warned that food is very expensive and it costs 50 centimos to use the bathroom. So in other words, we’re planning on not eating or drinking much tomorrow!

Excited to see one of the 7 wonders of the world tomorrow but honestly I’m just ready to get back to Cusco! The atmosohere there was more welcoming and you didn’t constantly have to be worried about someone trying to scam you.

3 days in Cusco, then back to our hometown of Lima for one last night with some of the girls from the program before heading home! I’m so happy to be here and to have this amazing experience to travel! I feel very fortunate. I would be lying, however, if I said I wasn’t a little anxious to get home.

Our train ride today was gorgeous with a river on one side and mountains on the other. Bret would have loved the train, even as a grumpy 16 year old. If my momma had been there she would have been so excited about the views. And if my dad had been with us when the mountain people in their traditional clothing did a dance for the crowd, he would have leaned over and whispered, “You know their buddy is walking around pickpocketing everyone right now.” And if Robert had been with me he would have wanted to take every single stray dog home with us. I miss home and everyone that comes with that word. I just hope you know that all of you have been with me for this journey.

The Struggle: After falling for a tourist scam over lunch, we are alarmingly low on cash.

The Silver Lining: We’re learning what it’s like to be a real life hippie… and it’s kinda fun.

Day 30

29 Jun

We made it to Cusco!! I. Am. Lovinggggg it! This town is touristy, but the architecture of the buildings, cobblestone roads, and quirky little shops have officially made me fall in love. I don’t want to leave!

Tomorrow we are waking up at the asscrack of dawn once more to make our way to Aguas Calientes via train, where we’re just going to walk around and explore. Early Monday morning we ride on a bus to Machu Picchu to see the sunrise!! Veryyyy excited even though it’s a tourist trap and will be expensive.

Then Monday,ย  Tuesday,ย  and Wednesday nights we will be in my beloved Cusco ๐Ÿ™‚ definitely planning on enjoying numerous pisco sours and Peruvian beers.

We went to a market today and bartered with all the senoras selling scarves and stuff. I was able to talk them down and get some pretty good deals! The savings! The worst part of our mini vacation this week is we have to spend so much money on food since we’ll constantly be eating out.

Our hostel here is THE BOMB. It’s very artsy and full of people our own age from around the world! Gina, Jolyn, Lauren, and I are sharing bunks with an older woman from Australia who I guess just decided to travel around South America for a few months, and a guy our age from somewhere latin… he is apparently a lawyer and is here to drive in a go-cart race because he is hoping to become a professional racecar driver. The hostel hosts all kinds of cool events everyday, from discount horseback riding, to museum tours, to ping pong tournaments currently going on in the center patio outside right now. Tonight there is a going away party for someone named Carlos and everyone will be drinking at the bar here. It’s so colorful and alive here and I love it! It’s a great place for all us 20-somethings to call home for a little bit.

It’s pretty warm here during the day, and we have SUN instead of the haze of Lima, but it gets coldddd at night just like it did in the mountains of Huaraz. I still haven’t bought an alpaca sweater, but I just might have to!

The Struggle: Currently experiencing a splitting headache that’s been hanging around for the last 4 hours. Whaddup, altitude sickness.

The Silver Lining: This is why man made ibuprofen, altitude sickness pills, and bottled water. We’re besties tonight.

Day 29

29 Jun

We said our goodbyes at the Institute today and now 3 girls have just left for the airport ๐Ÿ˜ฆ We are so excited they get to go home to their families but I am going to miss this little group soooo much! My trip home will definitely be a little tear-filled.

We have all had the absolute time of our lives here, and although there have been struggles, we all agree we will miss this place. Kaitlyn and I were just discussing how the whole time we`ve been here we knew it was our lives and our bodies that were here, but it feels like a filter has been put on and this couldn`t really be our lives. I know I`ve been thinking about things back home and the daily life I have to pick back up when I get home have kind of kept me from fully enjoying myself here. This week Lauren, Jolyn, Gina, and I are going to Cusco to travel before coming home and I think I`m just going to completely immerse myself in this country. I will have wifi while we travel but I`m not sure yet if I will blog. It`s been a great experience, and all of the people involved are absolutely beautiful.

It`s crazy how much people can impact your life in such a small amount of time. I didn`t realize how much I loved the people and this place until we had to say goodbye today. I am going to miss it all.

One last night in our quirky little hotel, then off to Cusco bright and early tomorrow morning. Most of the girls are leaving tonight and tomorrow, only 8 are staying for awhile after. We are all meeting up for one last night in Lima with our Peruvian girls for one of their birthdays on the 4th of July. There probably won`t be any fireworks, but it will still be gorgeous.

The Struggle: I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.
The Silver Lining: I`ve got these memories forever.

Day 28

27 Jun

Our last full night together! Ahhhhh! This is so surreal. We are going to a nice restaurant tonight and then possibly meeting up with some of the Peruvian fellas we met last weekend. We are all dressing up in skirts and whatnot, and we are all going to freeze our patooties off in this 58 degree weather. I can’t wait to get back to an Iowa summer!

Presentations and a goodbye feast at school tomorrow, then packing and getting lots of sleep before leaving around 6am Saturday for our plane to Cusco! It will be nice to have an entire weekend of vacation and no more school!!!

The Struggle: Mostly white carbs + plus limited exercise + Peru’s winter = one pale, pudgy Karlee.

The Silver Lining: Cusco is supoosedly much warmer, and we get a whole week of the warmer temps before heading home ๐Ÿ™‚ maybe I’ll get a little bit of a tan at least!

Day 27

27 Jun

Today was our last visit to Manchay ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
We saw our Manchay Momma and daughter Areli one last time and talked about what she had learned and how she could incorporate it into her life. We also gave her a cookbook and some presents for her baby. Towards the end of our talk she asked why Aimee and I weren’t talking very much and we had to explain that we could understand a lot of what she was saying, but couldn’t really speak spanish. She thought this was funny, and started asking questions about where we were from and what we did. She asked me if I wanted to be Areli’s godmother! Cutet moment ever ๐Ÿ™‚ She told us to come back and visit her, which was kind of heartbreaking because we never will again.


Tonight we went to an amazing chicken place with a really horrible waiter, but the chicken and cooked salad were so delicious it was worth it. Not much else to report besides we are all getting sad that this adventure is almost over. It’s definitely bittersweet.

The Struggle: Only 2 more days left with our group!

The Silver Lining: We lived in and experienced everything we could in a foreign country together and got to know each other more than you can imagine in just 4 weeks.

Day 25

25 Jun

Last week of school! It feels surreal.

Today, our groups went back to Manchay to visit our mothers and tell them ways they could improve their child`s nutrition. If you recall, we had to switch to a different mother and baby last week because our first pair didn`t show up for our second visit. Well, when we arrived in Manchay today our second pair was nowhere to be found! It was very frustrating because we couldn`t fully experience our module because the mothers kept leaving! It was also frustrating because we have to go back again on Wednesday, and with no data or pair to work with, we had nothing to do for the rest of the week. We waited for over an hour for the mom to show up, and she didn`t. However, there was a silver lining: while we waited her sister in law let us come into the house they shared… her 4 year old son was so entertaining! He was so nice and shared his treats with us (we fake ate them, who knows where they or his hands have been), and then put some stickers on us and made us play with him and help him count to 10. I loved it!

After an hour of waiting, we found our professora and told her our momma was a no-show, and she insisted we wait another half hour while the other groups got to go home. Needless to say we were a bit frustrated! But then our mom came walking around the corner! She had been at a friend`s house… next door. The miscommunication was frustrating, but we gave her our shpeel about keeping her baby healthy and went our on merry way. Our intervention was to give the child a small meal before bed so that she would sleep through the night and be fuller longer… as it turns out the mother thought that also would be a good idea and had done so by herself in the last 4 days since we`d been there, so by the time we told her about our awesome idea she had already been doing it and the baby wasn`t waking up in the middle of the night hungry anymore! So, again, our child is perfect. Great for the family, not so great learning experience for us haha.


The Struggle: I`m trying to figure out a talent for the Croat Campout`s Talent Show the weekend after I get home… and it appears as though I am talentless.

The Silver Lining:ย I am GREAT at making myself look like an idiot while speaking Spanish in this country… does that count?

Day 24

24 Jun

I`m sorry, but I am so pooped! I will try and blog tomorrow evening and get all caught up on what`s been happening!ย 

I can`t believe we only have this one last week of class before everyone starts going home and back to their normal lives ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ย I am going to miss these girls! My travelling group still has 2 weeks left here so it doesn`t seem like we`re leaving soon, but it`s weird to think how fast this 5 weeks has been going by! I feel like I will be culture shocked by my own culture when I come back home!


The Struggle: I spent way too much money today and now don`t ย want to spend any more on paying for dinner.

The Silver Lining:ย Ramen conveniently also happens to be popular in Peru!