As you know by now, I am a big proponent of travel. Not just travel though, living and sharing in a new place. Travel can be done in many different ways. Traditional tourism barely touches local cities, towns, or people. But living abroad forces you to experience life in a new life. You must learn to use local transportation, eat local foods, speak the language. You must understand the political influence, the colonial influence, the past and the present of the country or region. There are so many things to learn when you live in a new country that you will never stop learning something new!
Living in the Peruvian Amazon has been incredible for me because I've learned a lot more skills than I have living in other international locations.
New skills I've developed living in the Amazon jungle:
- How to peel the outside of an orange in a spiral technique with a huge knife
Very useful skill, especially during rainy season! There are mosquitos everywhere and biting away!
- How to distinguish a dog that might bite you from a dog that won't
Important skill to have in a place with tons of dogs and some of which will bite
- How to befriend stray cats
Haha! The secret is patience! Don't bother them or shoosh them, and then one day just go in slowly (but not too slowly) for the pet on the head
- Eating fruits with seeds in them and spitting out the seeds
This is a skill I never wanted to learn since I hate eating fruits with seeds in them; but that's the only option here! So you need to learn to eat seeded fruit
- Moto-taxi bargaining (i'm the best)
My confidence and patience in getting a moto make me a tough bargainer. As a female foreigner, any available moto taxi driver will try to get me to go with them, giving me the upper hand. But otherwise, the secret is knowing the price. If you know how much the fare should be or how much you are willing to pay, just say that price and stick to it. If they don't budge, just say no thanks and call the next driver over.
Now this one is fun! Obviously you need to be careful with this one so as to not get yourself into too much trouble or get hurt. But, cursing can help you make your point and show people that are trying to mess with you that you know what's going on. People are generally very surprised to hear me curse and almost everytime I've done it in a situation where a man was messing with me in some way I've gotten props from a woman who overheard the conversation.
- Rowing a boat full of 25 children using only one row
This is a skill you never thought I would need, huh!? But during the rainy season we need to pick up all the children for our activity groups in a boat! They live in the floating communities and therefore the only way to get to the community center when the river is full is swimming or a boat. Rowing gently and slowing is way more important with 25 kids on board!