(Above image from my first trip to Lima. It’s hard to believe that two years later I am back at the same house staying with my awesome host family!)
It’s hard to believe that I am back in Lima, Peru after two years! Actually it’s even harder to believe that I ever left. After 24 hours of travel and layovers, I finally arrived at the Lima airport. As expected, as soon as I walked out of the airport, I was bombarded by taxi drivers all trying to rip me off. The first driver offered me the generous price of $40 for the ten minute drive. After some less ridiculous but still unreasonable offers, I finally said “this is not my first time in Lima.” At that point most of the drivers walked away from me and raced to the next closest gringo. Finally, one of the drivers agreed to take me for 30 soles, or around $10. Still overpaying, but at least I was finally going to get myself into a real bed.
Well the real bed did not come for a while. As soon as I arrived at the same house where I lived for two months during the summer after my sophomore year at Ohio State, I was sitting down with my two host brothers and host mom catching up. After 10 quick minutes of trying to decipher whether or not I was really back, I had completely forgotten that I ever left. I was also pleasantly surprised that not only is my Spanish as good as it has ever been, I am probably the most confident that I’ve ever been with it!
The next morning, after staying up until I could no longer keep my eyes open, I woke up early and energized to the alarm of James, with whom I am sharing a room while I stay here. I was awaited by a plate of one of my favorite Peruvian breakfasts, a fried egg, soft pan-fried plaintain, and a smoothie made with fresh papaya from the garden. Unfortunately, I am still getting back into this blogging thing, so I did not think about taking a picture of the food until it had already found a new home deep in my stomach. Nor did I remember to do this for my lunch or dinner. P.S. I love Peruvian food.
After breakfast came the hardest part of the day, THE SHOWER! I laughed it off when my host grandma warned me that their hot water heater wasn’t working as I walked upstairs to the shower, but getting in was anything but a laughing matter. It is winter time in Lima right now, and although that means something vastly different than winter in Ohio, lows in the 50s plus a cold shower on the roof that is practically outside is a daunting combination. Nontheless, I conquered the chill and came out a better man. I don’t know if I can remember a single warm, or for that matter, room temperature shower the whole time that I was in Peru before, so I’ll try not to be dramatic about it for too many more posts.
After lunch and some good conversation with my youngest host brother (11 years), and one of their family friends that now lives with them (16 years old, I’m not sure why she lives here now but it seems like it’s a touchy subject), I headed out to brave the sketchy transportation system so that I could see a good friend that I used to volunteer with and meet her 3 sons.
The transportation system here in Lima is about as impossible for me to figure out as why anybody would ever think that it would be a good idea to elect Donald Trump as president of the U.S. (had to throw that in somewhere!). But figuring out how to get to Carmen’s apartment and back today gave me a small taste of the rush of freedom that is my addiction and what is fueling this entire trip.
I had an amazing time meeting Carmen’s sons and catching up with her, and made some plans to see her again and to have lunch with her family! Tomorrow (Thursday), I will be going to the hospital where I volunteered my time tutoring and playing with children with illnesses that force them to stay there long-term. Although many of the same people with whom I volunteered then still volunteer there daily, Carmen is the only one that even knows that I am in Peru! I am ecstatic about going in there and surprising everybody and then getting to be a part of the great work that they do! It has been almost a month since I stopped working at my job of two and a half years at a special needs preschool, and I have to say that after a week of being away I was already missing working with kids so much, so tomorrow is going to be a blast!
In short, it is both unbelieveable that I am back and unbelieveable that I ever left! I am so tremendously lucky and grateful to be here, and even luckier to be able to spend the first couple weeks of my trip living and eating for free in a house full of people that I love so much and that love me. I hugely recommend staying with locals in your travels whenever you get a chance. It is so rewarding to live so deeply in the culture and to create international families. Resources like couch surfing and wwoof are great places to start and are two things that I plan to do and review on this trip!
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share the blog if you liked it! It would be a real dream for me to grow this thing into a business!