Christmas Time

December 31, 2007 at 10:11 pm | Posted in family, food, friends, party | Leave a comment

I experienced some firsts over the last few weeks of December. At the beginning of the month I helped my family put up Christmas decorations in front of their house; it helped being ‘tall’. Back in August I committed to a Lima visit over the holidays, so headed down there on an overnight bus on the 23rd and arrived at my old Yanacoto haunts on the 24th. It was really great to see my old family and all my old neighbors. Other volunteers went back as well, so I killed a few birds with one 12 hour bus ride and got to see a bunch of people all at once.

We prepared a turkey (using a medical needle to inject white wine – hopefully it was unused) and took it over to the local panaderia to bake in their oven. At midnight everyone shoots off fireworks and other assorted noisy goods, which was really amazing because the place I lived in Lima was up on the side of this huge chain of mountains and it made for some beautiful fireworks. Then we ate dinner, which typically consists of turkey, and then panettone and hot chocolate. Panettone, I suppose, is the Peruvian equivalent to fruitcake, but it tastes better because it is Italian. They are all over the place during the holidays. Afterwards a bunch of people came over to the house and we danced and drank ( just a little) like the old times. I don’t really ever drink in site, so it was fun to have a few beers with friends and family down in Lima. I adore my first family and it was great to see Alfredo and my Lima Mom.

On the 25th, people are pretty chillaxed because they usually stay up until 5/6/7am dancing and drinking. I made it until 4. Around midday I headed over to another family’s house where my friends, their families, and I prepared Pachamanca. This is an interesting dish, Pachamanca translates to: don’t fill up on soda beforehand. First you heat up rocks over an open fire in the ground for a few hours. You then clean away the fire, lay some leaves to avoid the dirt and soot, replace the rocks, and overlay the heated rocks with all kinds of foods: marinated chicken, pig, guinea pig, apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, pineapple, and ground up corn wrapped in banana leaves called humitas. Okay, whatever else you want to throw in. You cover it all with more leaves, then dirt, and let it sit and steam and cook for a few hours. Then you dig it all up and eat it. IT. IS. DELICIOUS. Here’s a shot of us digging up the food.


The last time I made this dish I think we put a cross on top, but I don’t remember whether or not they did that this time. Pagans.


Hail to the Redskins

December 30, 2007 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I am so happy the Redskins won. I have been busy busy busy on my travels to and from Lima, celebrating my first Christmas, and getting ready for New Years. Lots to report, but now is the time to sit back, relax, and be grateful for Clinton Portis. More to come, but check out pictures for a preview.

Happy Anniversary

December 18, 2007 at 7:34 pm | Posted in dancing, food, friends, horses, micronegocios, travel | 3 Comments

So, I know the world is dying to know; I found the pigeon soup to be truly gross. It was not honey brown like a chicken’s skin, but black and sad-looking. The meat was really soft and almost creamy. Yuck. I hope to never again see two little pigeons looking up at me from the yellow bucket in the kitchen. A little over a week ago I hit my six month mark here in Peru. Six months! Six months is a long time, and… a very short time. Last week I went out to visit a friend – another volunteer – who has a year and change under her belt. She has an awesome site right on the beach. We went on a short hike to get to this beautiful secluded beach where there were lots of pebbles and tons of pelicans and no people. Even though I have an irrational fear of birds, pelicans up close are amazing looking creatures. It was a great afternoon for me.

My friend and I have similar approaches, similar attitudes when it comes to site and work and Peace Corps, and it was good to see how happy and settled in she was. While I’d consider myself content, I can’t say that I don’t look to August 2009 with some…yearning. She put it well when she said: ‘you eventually start to feel like this is actually your life’, which may sound odd to the interested reader, but at times it does feel like I’m in some weird transitory state and I’m going to wake up tomorrow and jump back into wherever I left off back home. I don’t feel like I’ve established a life, a routine, or real friendships here in site and it was good to hear that all comes with more time, because I don’t feel like I’m real part of this community yet, but still an outside observer who occasionally gets invited to birthday parties.

I went to a two day workshop with one of the artisans last week as well, which I really enjoyed. These workshops usually touch upon stuff I already know about, but its great for me to see the activities they use, because I can then turn around and use them with the artisans or kids I’m working with. I’ve had the same experience several times with workshops I’ve been to, where we all get there on the first day and people are like, ‘who the heck is this gringa?’, and by the end we are all working together on projects or activities or whatnot and I no longer feel like the weird white girl.

To change gears a bit, when I was in Lima for my first three months, I had a ‘cousin’ who lived down the street (the nephew of the lady I was living with) and it turns out he is from Tucume. He came back here to visit his family this week and took me out on one of their horses to get to know more of Tucume. I live in the pueblo – or main town – but Tucume has 26 casarios in the surrounding area (smaller, poorer ‘villages’) dispersed throughout the campo, and I rarely get the opportunity to visit because I don’t feel safe going alone. The one exception is Los Riojas, where I teach once a week, but I go out there with another teacher, never alone. I love getting out of town and out into the middle of nowhere, and I’m really starting to like riding horses, so it was a really great afternoon. Three hours on horseback exploring the countryside is nothing but good for the soul (though quite bad for the unaccustomed butt).


I’m starting English classes in January with the artisans out at the museum. The artisans initially had requested nine hours a week, but we knocked that down to two, at least until the big February festival is over. I’ve also committed to six workshops over the course of the next six months starting in January with leadership and team building. I sort of feel like I’m running my own little business school down here, but I guess that is sort of the point, since I’m a business volunteer. Hopefully I’ll have a good set of lectures filed away by mid-year. Then I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m guessing I’ll have time to figure it out. I’ve also arranged to trade english classes for salsa classes with one guy in town, so I won’t have to do the only two steps I know every time a salsa song comes on.

I’m leaving for Xmas in Lima with the first family on Sunday and then will be back on the 27th. I hope everyone who is reading has a great holiday season, and if I don’t get around to posting until then, a very happy new year. Be safe!

Chanukah Gift #2

December 5, 2007 at 11:58 am | Posted in food, sick | 1 Comment

When I was getting my coffee this morning in the kitchen, I looked down and saw in a big yellow bucket what I thought to be a live potato.  After a double take I realized, much to my dismay, that the live potato turned out to be two pigeons. I have between now and 2pm to come up with some reason why I cannot eat lunch today.

My Chanukah Gift

December 5, 2007 at 11:53 am | Posted in bugs, family, food | Leave a comment

Yesterday my life took an entertaining new turn, my brother Christian (9) has taken to killing flies, which are in abundance now that it is summer, with his hand on a table or wall and then trying to wipe them on me. Though, I suppose finding one smeared across my pant-leg is infinitely better than finding one in my soup.

Come Visit Me, A Howard Original

December 2, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Posted in dogs, family, food, friends, horses, language, music, party, Peru, sick, tourism, travel | 4 Comments

(sung to the tune of Rod Stewart’s ‘If You Think I’m Sexy’…play the video, then follow along with the new and improved lyrics)


azucar, oooh


ooh ooh ooh


You sit alone, reading my weblog
Peru sounds nice, except the trash and stray dog(s)
The climate is dry, the food cheap and delicious
The culture abounds, for you Peru is waiting


If you want to visit me
And don’t fear diarrhea
Come on azucar let me know

The flight will be expensive
But then once you get here
Everything will be dirt cheap


To Machu Picchu, I cannot escort you
It’s far away, and I’m basically penniless
Northern Peru, to you has lots to offer
Pyramids, Ceviche, and a cute jewish curly haired spanish speaking guide

So hop a plane to this third world country
At last! you can watch me dance the festejo


If you want to visit me
And like eating rice
Come on bebe let me know

We’ll go horseback riding
And we’ll hike the pyramids
We can go surfing if you are paying!


There is ancient stuff here too
Not quite as famous as the south
Come on friend/relative/complete stranger
You might want to pack some diapers


(saxaphone solo)

(time to break it down)

We will pick fruit and eat it off the tree
Guanabana, Chirimoya, and other stuff you’ve never heard of
If it’s not rainy season, we’ll go to the mountains
Ride around on donkeys, and do lots of cartwheels

One other thing, you’ll have to remember
Carry around some TP because they don’t have it available in public restrooms

IIIIIFFF you want to visit me
And like being relatively tall
Come on azucar let me know

As a special bonus
You might get to feel a tremor
Ah, I see you are booking your ticket right now!


shuu gar

if you really need TP
i’ll carry around some extra
come on sugar let me know

really really really need TP! just let me know

(whispers): TP TP TP TP TP TP

(2x) I’ll bring the TP, you’ll bring the TP


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