Months ago I thought to myself… Self, when you get a blog in Peru you’re going to have so much to write about. I realize now my err. It’s a little difficult picking out of all the things going on something to write home about… beside the interesting cultural differences. So, here I will try.
First, I’ll tell you about some things they do differently here.
- Everyone, everyone wears their shoes in the house… so it seems. I haven’t heard this explanations yet, but it was the same in Costa Rica, that if you walk around with no shoes on the cold will come up into your feet and make you sick.
- We do NOT throw toilet paper down the toilet. I don’t even think they call it toilet paper here… I believe the name is personal paper. That sounds much more modest, doesn’t it? But yes, they do not put toilet paper down the lou. There is, instead, a waste basket beside the toilet where you tirar (throw away) the paper. It makes for a confusing time in the bathroom.
- There is no such thing as ice cubes. I’m not sure if this is a hard fact, but I have been wanting a glass of ice cold water for a week now and it just doesn’t happen. The refrigerator at my house is too small to fit any kind of pitcher inside so the water sits on the counter. The coldest drink I had was a sip of a frozen lemonade at this wonderful restaurant in town called Capriccio.
- Garbage trucks are Peruvian Ice Cream trucks! They go around town playing… Barbie by Aqua. Ivan (the host I live with) told me that they used to make an awful sounds, so to not annoy the neighborhood they play this song. The reason they make any noise at all is because there is not set time they come and it just lets people know they are coming.
- Arequipa’s weather is 60-70 F. We wear sweaters and parka coats regardless… because it’s cold.
- Buses are built for 12 year olds. I’m too tall to fit in these things! I step on and have to bend my head down to stand on the combis, as they call them.
That’s all I can think of for now.
Two posts ago I spoke of having culture shock. I wanted to give it a couple days before I wrote anything about it, because I wanted to analyse what I was feeling and have an accurate grasp on the situation. I’m not sure how many of you know, but when I was in Costa Rica two years ago for school I was robbed at knife point. It wasn’t as horrible as I thought such an event would be, rather the after affect is what’s been the worst. There have been times that I’ll be walking in a parking lot at night and someone will be close behind me and my heart rate would go through the roof. The idea that they could rob me was all that I could take.
This is something that I knew I would have to deal with being in South America. The day I made my initial post about being in culture shock was a result of feeling extremely anxious about being in a place that reminded me a lot of Costa Rica… where it was a viable possibility I could be robbed, again. I think I confused the feelings of fear with culture shock. I was ready to go home on day three!
After I made the post we headed out to Kristen’s house, out in Zamacola… it’s out in the country. And I was unnerved because we were going to be out after dark. We were just getting on a combis and Krsten courageously went up to the cambiador (the guy who collects the bus fair) and asked him if the bus went to Zamacola. It just made me realize that I needed to be like that. I cannot live in fear! I talked to Kristen and Roy about it and their encouragement helped me so much. The next day I came to school and Kristen had done her devotions the night before and read a piece of scripture out of Joshua where God commanded him to be courageous.
I have never had a fear wiped away 100% so quickly. I believe with all of my heart that God intervined in this situation and took my worry from my heart. This whole situation just makes my faith in Him even stronger and I’m so thankful for that. Maybe this is the reason why God allowed me to get robbed… so that I would learn to put my trust in Him even more. Isn’t He amazing.
Anyway. I love you all. I thank you all for your prayers. I see His hand working in Peru. Ask me questions if you have any!!!! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org