4 Jun

Off to school, off to school, to prove to Dad I´m not a fool!

First Day of School! Con mi buso escuela!

First Day of School! Con mi buso escuela!

Gina, Me, Lauren, and Jolyn in our lovely new shirts

Gina, Me, Lauren, and Jolyn in our lovely new shirts

The 15 of us are now estudiantes en Peru! We got our uniform today… some pretty sexy seafoam-green shirts that we will have to wear every. single. day. Class started at 9am and we didn´t get back to the hotel tonight until about 5:30pm, so needless to say it was a pretty long day! Between the bus rides, snack breaks, and full days of class it´s starting to feel like I´m back in elementary school! I´m always okay with snack breaks though.

We found out today that we will have virtually no “classroom work”, just a few readings and the rest is HANDS ON EXPERIENCE! I literally could not be more excited. After learning more about everyone this morning and enjoying some typical Peruvian snacks (my favorite was cacao -bitter chocolate- covered animal crackers), we went to a kind of outdoor mall sort of thing where we ate lunch. I tried arroz ala cubana, which is rice with a fried egg on top and fried bananas & some potatoes on the side. It was pretty good, but I´m still getting used to eating so many fried foods, carbohydrates, and rice. These people have rice at every single meal!

After lunch 2 of us Americano chicas paired up with 1 Peruvian chica in groups to tour a local food market. They have these markets every single day from about 5am to about 4pm, where vendors sell dried herbs, beans, fruit, vegetables, cheese, raw meat, etc. It´s basically a combination of a farmer´s market and a grocery store for cheaper prices than at the grocery store. It was really helpful having someone who spoke Spanish with us! I tried having a side conversation with one of the beef butchers about where I´m from but he kept confusing Iowa with Idaho and Ohio… we will always be the forgotten state!

They have all kinds of frutas y vegetales that I´ve never even heard of or seen before! I think I drove Mariana (the Peru student in my group) crazy with all my preguntas. I´m perfecting the art of Spanglish and it´s sooooooo nice to be at least somewhat communicating with locals.

Yesterday at the supermercado a little girl asked me the price of something on the top shelf because she was too short to see. “Cuanto cuesta” is “how much does it cost” and I got really excited because I actually knew what she was asking! $1.79 in Spanish is “una sol y setenta nueve” but of course what I actually said was nothing like that… you should´ve seen that poor little girl´s face. So confused. “Lo siento, habla pequeñito español!”

I´d like to say that in 3 days here I´ve only made myself look like an idiot that one time, but I´m the girl who always manages to spill something on herself the day she´s wearing white. SO last night I ALSO tried to have a conversation with the guys working at the front desk of the hotel because I wanted to turn the light off outside our bedroom so we could sleep in the dark. They had NO idea what I was talking about. After about 5 minutes of me trying to remember the Spanish words for light and off, one of them made me write down what I wanted (of course I remembered how to say “write in Spanish or English?”), and then went online to translate it. Thank goodness for Google. I looked even more inteligente when the light switch ended up being right next to my room.

The Struggle: White, American girls get attention in Peru everywhere they go. Planes, trains, scary taxi buses, grocery stores, malls, restaurants, bathrooms, parks — you name it, we´ve been stared at!

The Silver Lining: I´ve never gotten so many winks, whistles, air kisses, and “hello pretty girls” in my life! Got greasy hair? Sweating your ass off? No makeup? Raggedy clothes? Dude it doesn´t matter because you´re a WHITE FEMALE. American boys, take note.


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