One Month in!

Monday, July 25 - I've been in Peru for one month!

That means I'm 16.67% of the way through my practicum here (haha, not panicking ;) )
  1. I made my first Spanish phone call today! I was really nervous about talking on the phone in Spanish, because I thought it would be harder to understand the other person and that without hand signals and facial expressions we wouldn't communicate our points.  Last week, I answered a call from someone I work with and I was pleasantly surprised that I understood him very well. This morning, I obviously practiced the main points I wanted to get across first, but I called someone to set up plans for tomorrow! Yay, I'm proud of myself.
  2. IMG_7760
    These avocados are the best!
  3. Finally found some things I can cook for myself that involve nutrients!  I don't like cooking, I'm a vegetarian, and on top of that I'm kind of a picky eater.  My capacities in the apartment are limited to (1) a small fridge with a freezer about the size of a novel that isn't quite cold enough to call itself a freezer, (2) a camping stove top.  I also have a microwave, so I definitely have some potential to work with here, but because I hate cooking adapting to this kitchen has taken me longer than it should have. My most used ingredients are eggs and avocados right now.  Also featured are broccoli (if you know me at all), potatoes, spinach, noodles (I try to get the enriched ones), rice, split peas. You're wondering why I didn't say beans, since people associate both South America and vegetarianism with beans. Good question; I tried to cook dried beans but they were soo dry that after 3 days of soaking + cooking, they were still crunchy and I had to throw them out.  When I eat out, I try to get in a lot of nutrients since I know I'm not preparing that much variety at home. I usually order fish or something with multiple different vegetables, or order a veggie juice from my favorite cafe. 
  4. This weekend, we had lots of activities to do because Ben and Grace are leaving this week :( we had to get in all the things they wanted to do or see before heading home.  Friday night, we went to Al Frio y Al Fuego. This restaurant is FANCY and we felt real special walking into the sophisticated port entrance down to the boat.  The nicest boat any of us have been on in Peru took us to the center of the river where this restaurant floats! We had reservations for 8 pm so it was completely dark getting there but for the lights of the place. It looked really nice.  The restaurant has a bar and pool! I'm sure I'll be back some time over the next 5 months to sit by the pool, tan, and enjoy that sangria again.  We ordered some kind of ceviche to share, I had a fish with garlic sauce entree, and we shared a bottle of red wine.  Everything was delicious! The restaurant has a really special atmosphere, and though it's quite expensive by Peruvian standards, its worth the splurge, especially if you're in town for a long time ;) IMG_7756 
  5. On Saturday, Ben and I took the bus out to San Juan, where there's a handicraft market. I wanted to check it out since I hadn't been, but wasn't really planning to buy anything.  But, I ended up with something I'd be wanting for years now.  In Kenya, I fell in love with these intricate little wooden carved chess sets, where the pieces were customized to the area and therefore were different safari animals,etc.  But, it was too expensive and I went home without it.  I've found multiple other cool local handmade chess sets in countries since (really fancy ones in italy). Finally I came home with a handmade chess set this weekend! It's a Peru versus Spain set, perfectly fitting since this week we celebrate independence day. The Peruvian team (idk how to talk about chess but i do know how to play) has llamas! The grandma who sold it to me totally ripped me off, but I'm cool with it. IMG_7759
  6. Trying to plan trips out of Iquitos is a nightmare.  The only way out of Iquitos is a plane to Lima. You can't fly anywhere else but Lima, you can't take a bus, you could potentially take a boat somewhere but I'm not sure where/how?  The biggest expense in every trip ends up being that stupid 1.5 hour flight! I'm looking into several different long-weekend trip options, but with all the flights and buses needed, limited flight times, and long bus rides, its starting to look like its not worth the money :(  Let's hope I can figure out a good way to do this and see the country!
 

K

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