Monday, February 28, 2011

Request denied

Dear nink2030,

I don't know you. I'm guessing you don't know me either. So I'm a little lost on why I've had to see your friend request from yahoo email on my school account every stinkin' time I've logged in for the past three weeks. THREE WEEKS.

Are you sitting around waiting until I reject you so you can request me again? Are you someone I met once? A computer virus? An ax-murderer? What will you do with your life once you no longer have me to bug? Can I pay you leave me alone? Or to yahoo-friend-request-torture my enemies?

Your hostile and irritated victim (seemingly forever),

Sunday, February 27, 2011

thank goodness I'm already orientated

I've been helping out with the CIEE orientation over these past couple days (by which I of course mean eating their food and insisting they hang out with me) and it's really reminded me how far I've come in this country. I can feel at ease in the streets, I can carry on a great conversation with my host family in which I understand 90- 100% of what's being said, I can go to a new place in Lima by myself. I don't think I fully appreciated those accomplishments at the end of last semester, but I have to admit that it was great to be reminded.

You may have noticed, due to my last post, that this experience is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Sit tight.

Chocolate chip cookies and Oscar party with my lovely friend Francesca tonight. I don't even know the nominees, but I'm really excited to see the pretty lights and colors. What can I say?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On going home again

I was imagining, last night, what it might be like if I was going to call Peru home forever. But more in an abstract sense. I told myself I had a family with little kids and we had moved here to find them a better life. I imagine that we didn't know anyone and they didn't know us. Housing, jobs, schooling, taxes; everything works differently than it did at home. Every time I step out the door I feel the slight unease of stepping into a place that I cannot feel is really mine. My husband was a doctor or a lawyer at home, respected and known. Here he is still studying to get his certification, and must endure what feels like to him the demotion of working as a school janitor. My kids are quickly surpassing me in their language skills, forgetting their former country, and looking down on their mother who's still attached to the land where she was born. Not only them, but I hear news of many people who not only do not hope we succeed, but are angry at us for being here. But I cannot go home again. I came for my family, and I stay for them.

That is not, of course, my situation at all. But I felt a little lonely last night, having not talked to anyone in English for four days straight, and felt a vague wave of gladness that this situation wasn't permanent. In six months I will go back to the US, where it is familiar and comfortable.

And then I reminded myself that to many thousands of immigrants to the United States, their situation is permanent. My heart goes out to them. And I can't wait to dedicate my life to helping them learn English and adjust and maybe... feel like they have a new home in which they are respected and belong.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Girl avoiding boys

Tell me if this is weird:

Girl, clearly very white and American, is standing looking up her books on the library computer. Boy, shorter than her (which is hard to do) clearly very Peruvian uses a computer next to her. They move to the desk to ask for their books and he asks her about them and they start chatting a little.

Upon discovering that she very adeptly went to the wrong library, Girl heads to the next. He follows. She thinks Boy needs to get books out of that library too. He doesn't.

She heads towards the exit of the University, he does too. Boy says he needs to take a micro; Girl says she's going to walk. He follows. He hints at taking her places several times. She dodges. The conversation is running out. It's awkward.

Finally she tells him they need to part because she needs to go in the Metro. Boy, perhaps being more sensitive than he's demonstrated thus far, does not ask for any information about her, and Girl doesn't give it.

Girl thinks she needs to stop making conversation with random boys on campus.

On the upside, girl has done/seen these exciting things in the last few days:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tips for your flight to Peru

It's imminent, I'm sure.

1. Meet a nice Peruvian family with rambunctious children whom you can save from traumatizing loss and/or electrocution in in an international airport, thus practicing your Spanish and feeling like a superhero all at the same time.

2. Remember the time difference between your place of departure and your layover city so you don't run through the airport in a panic.

3. Sit next to a nice Puerto Rican guy on the plane with whom you should definitely watch The King's Speech. It's excellent.

4. Know your host parents' address so if your plane is slightly delayed you don't have to worry they won't be there and start to imagine how you might apologize to the program director when you wake her in the middle of the night.

5. Sleeeep afterward. But wake up for the earthquake, cause that was cool.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh how things have changed since the first time...

...I shipped out to this gorgeous place. (Or at least, can we just pretend I'm wiser?)

Have I ever told you all that I also occasionally blog here?

No? See how mysterious I am? I could have 13 fingers and work in a traveling circus for all you know! "Which would have to mean that you're cleverly good at using photoshop all those times you included you're hands, and backgrounds from Peru, and pictures from home.... and that you made up all those stories about being at Nazca, when we know you're not really that creative..." You're getting awfully critical mister!

CIEE in Lima, which is the study abroad program I'm in, has recently started a blog, the main organizer and often writer being none other than yours truly. Which might also account for some waning on the number of blogs here, you may or may not have noticed.

But anywho, the point of all that being, if you're still with me, that right now we're writing to the students who are soon to come to Lima for the first time. I thought recently that they might like to know the things that are different that I'm taking and leaving this time as oppose to last.'

Maybe you would too?


Extra dresses.
For some reason I seem to wear dresses a lot more in New England, where I go to school, but I really only had a couple semi-formal occassions that I wore them for in Lima.

Books. I like to read, but PUCP has quite a few really good libraries which even have many English books.

That's my short list of "leaves." I ain't exactly a light packer. If it fits and I'll use it, it comes along.


Brown sugar. Had to be #1 on the list. I love to bake (you may benefit from this) American baked goods, and this simply does not exist.

Chocolate chips and chocolate bars. I'm a huge dark chocolate fan, and while I've heard opinions to the contrary, I'm just not sold on Peruvian chocolate.

Peanut butter. (Are there a lot of foods on this list?) This does exist, but it's decidedly in the "expensive foreign imports" category, from which my new host family may or may not buy. I'm not taking any chances.

Boots and Converse. For some reason, in the winter and spring these were the footwear of choice for like 8/10 students on campus. It will get cold again.

Beauty and skin care products. These are a bit pricey down there, especially as compared to the outrageously inexpensive food. Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, makeup...I'm stocked for 5 months.

Folders. Regular cardboard with two pockets? A peruvian friend claims they have them, but I have yet to find them.

Contact solution and contacts. This one. Really, take my advice. I just bought a bottle in the Walmart Vision center that cost me 3 or 4 times as much in Peru. And out of necessity, I bought the exact same brand of contacts down there that I buy here, and they just bugged my eyes for some reason.

That's some of my list anyway. There are other various things that I didn't tell them, (I know what you're thinking, but I swear there's nothing illegal) cause they seemed unimportant, relatively, and I try to keep my word count down over there. Here, of course, you just have to listen to me rant on and on and on....

The next time you see me, I'll be there once again. I love you all! If the plane crashes, I bequeath you this brilliantly written account of the last four months of my life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My less than lofty goals for Peru take 2

Two days till plane time. Let the packing commence.

I'm ready to be back in Peru again. And not even half as nervous as I was. I think this semester might be even better than last, partly because I don't have a bunch of pie in the sky goals: understand everything, fully adjust to surroundings, hardly ever speak English. Ha! What was I thinking?

You know those speeches they give you in high school about how hard you have to work because this will affect you for the rest of your life? It's my firm belief that they should have made another room for the overachievers in which they told us to calm the heck down and enjoy life.

In fact just about my biggest goal this time around is to make my connecting flight. I didn't last time, and so ensued a long evening involving missed shuttles, heart-shaped tubs, and Kahlua. That may sound much worse than it actually was.

Alright, alright, I probably will make a few small goals when I'm there. It's what I do. But seriously, I really just want to enjoy it this time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The more Valentines the merrier

Yay Valentine's Day! I know that according to every TV show and movie I've ever watched, if you're single on Valentine's you're either supposed to be belligerently defiant to the holiday's commercialism or alone and depressingly overeating to compensate for your lack of partner.

But honestly, I've never much thought of Valentine's Day as strictly a couple's holiday. Maybe it was the sort of unspoken policy we had in elementary school about giving Valentines even to the weird kid, or maybe it's the way my Mom always puts on a big color-specific dinner, complete with little gift bags (which I was present for for the first time in a few years!)

But, whatever it is, I was more than happy to eat red-colored food and make Valentines for my family this year. Even my weird brother, who just kind of glanced at the poem I wrote in his.

"Did you read that?" Bashful you-caught-me smile from him. "I spent a lot of time writing that so you're going to read it all!"

He loves me.

The cards:
The brother:
Oh wait, that's his hand stopping me from taking our picture.

Friday, February 11, 2011

You should buy me this

The hat, man, the hat!

$13 at Target.

Do I look like I'm joking? Or maybe the better question is, how good of a friend are you?

I didn't buy it, but I couldn't stop myself from taking this pic so I could picture myself wearing it on the beach instead of in the store in my winter coat.

I'll be on the beach soon enough, but not in this baby.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Improvising perfect vision

I stepped on my glasses yesterday morning, and they broke right down the middle.

I have THE WORST track record with glasses. Seriously, don't challenge me chickadee. These lasted about a year and a half, and if you know me personally you're congratulating me right now that I made it that long.

On the upside, I lost a contact for a few minutes this morning, so the situation was really ideal:

Ah! Just like the day I was born.

Also, you may remember my best friend Mel, who has appeared many times already in this blog:
Snowy day, trip to NYC, her own 20th B-day.

She now has her own delightful blog, which I hesitate to put a link to in fear that you will all discover that she is prettier, funnier, cleverer (more clever?), and hipper than me:

The Fruit Bowl.

Oh well. Maybe I'll still see you over there sometime.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thwarted environmentalism

I try to be a shopper who is environmentally conscious. I try to use the non-disposable bags with my purchases.

I forget more often than not, but I try.

Today I was proud of myself for remembering to bring the bag in, tote it around with me and drop my items in there after hemming and hawing about the increased prices of skin care products.

But as I dropped them onto the checkout counter, my attention turned to the shiny gum wrappers and magazines in the aisle, and I didn't notice that the woman was dropping my stuff into a plastic bag.

I only picked up on it after she had them all packed away, and I then cried, "Oh, I meant to use this! Can we put these things in here? I'm sorry, I should have been on that."

"Of course, no problem." And she takes them out of the plastic bag, crumbles it up, and throws the bag in the garbage under her counter!

I wanted to scream, "Lady, why do you think I use this bag? That's gonna go sit in a landfill when you could have with a little extra effort used it for your next customer!"

But I didn't. I thanked her and moved on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Like adults in a candy store

That should be the saying, really.

My friend Shirley and I went to Hershey World's Create Your Own Candy Bar over the weekend. It. Was. Awesome. We were ridiculously enthusiastic the entire time, not being exactly the "oh, how droll that all these adults are having fun, but put on a bored face so that they all think we're very mature" types. We personally thought the real sign of maturity was that we didn't buy anything in the gift shop after.

We wish we had beards so we could be so cool.
Lindsey orientates us. Okay, we just thought she looked like a Lindsey. She didn't introduce herself.

Picking my poison.

My baby going down the assembly line, waiting to be covered in chocolate.
That's right, I put chocolate chips in a chocolate bar. Good decision.

I was maybe a little too excited about how the machine acknowledged me personally every time my bar passed a station.

The machine was excited too! Or maybe, someone's last name. I'm not sure which is more likely.

Shirley making her candy wrapper. It's serious business.

I tried...but I forgot to unwrap it first.

Finished product. Mine was the same...but much more boring. Due to machine malfunction...or possibly, my pressing the finished button before I was really finished. Ahem.

You should all go!!

Happy Monday.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fake, self-conscious sexiness

Have you ever worn fake eyelashes? I haven't. Never. Ever. I don't even wear black mascara For the simple reason that I was pretty sure really dark eyelashes would make me look like I could hang out with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

Turns out I was right.

This is my new sexy face. It's a keeper, huh?

My friend convinced me to put these cheap beauties on and then promised to pay for my dinner if I went out with them. It was pretty much like: Oh my gosh. Everyone's staring at me! Where's the corner? Sit in the corner! I can't believe you talked me into this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Boring practicality vs. misdirected ingenuity

Another thrift store trip tonight, (I'm just crazy fun, right?) to a different one this time that was less of the sweater-with-the psychedelic-colors shop and more of the salmon-colored-chair-with-worn-edges-and-suspicious-stains variety.

Went in looking for: brown sweater, some kind of piece of furniture to replace ugly gray cabinet in my room.

Came out with: Ecru tatting thread, kettle, coffee grinder

But hey, those are all practical, right? AND great deals too. It's all win here.

There were, however, a bunch of things that I could not understand.

Exhibit A:

Keeps your butter at room temperature. Never again will you have to set your butter out in a room to keep it at room temperature.

You're just jealous cause you didn't think of it first.

But yo, I chuckled when it was 8 dollars. It's currently 60 bucks on the website of ButterWizard, where I got this photo. So get in line, ducklings.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Tonight we watched The Pianist, a movie about the Jewish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman who struggled to survive in Warsaw through World War II. It was not a fun movie, and I did not enjoy it.
But it was good.

And tonight I am praying that I will always have the courage and conviction to confront images and ideas that are difficult.