I arrived here in LIMAperú 5 months ago to the day. It has been an amazing, cultural and beautiful experience so far.
I came here to Lima to study abroad and to live with my best friend, Daniel, and his amazing Peruvian family. This travel has been like nothing I have experienced before. Not only just visiting a different country and getting a taste of the culture and life, I’ve had the opportunity to live in the experience. Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined -or in any class- and seen amazing views and attractions. With my study abroad, I am attending la Universidad Ricardo Palma for a class on the culture and history of Peru and I am a student of ICPNA [Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano] for classes in intermediate Spanish. Needless to say, I’ve learned so much in the classes already and honestly, I believe that my Spanish and knowledge of Lima has progressed tremendously since I arrived.
I remember the first few weeks, and even months here, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t experienced enough to hold a conversation in Spanish and even that I was too embarrassed to get a word wrong or to make a fool of myself. Well since my classes and warming up to people here, I’ve learned that I will learn nothing if I don’t put yourself in the experience. I began to speak to my family and classmates, and I really believe that I’ve learned more than I would have in any American Spanish class. On a side note, you are never really taught the basics of a language when you are actually studying. You never learn what “Que rico” means or other very common sayings that you hear hundreds of times a day. Nevertheless, I’ve learned now some extra basics and I just need to put my fears aside, don’t think, and just talk!
My family here in Peru has been everything but strangers to me. The moment I arrived at the airport I was welcomed with big, embracing hugs and immediately felt like a part of the family. I’m sure I’ve caused some minor problems, especially with the amount of food needed to buy or the lack of comfortable space in the family car, but it seems as if they’ve dealt with small changes in order for a strange gringo to live with them for 8 months. I am very appreciative for the amount of love I’ve felt and for making me feel as if I have a second family. It also wouldn’t be a complete without the extended family! Getting together every Sunday really shows the respect and the love this family has for each other. We all laugh and eat and talk about things happening—sometimes it even reminds me of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ except Peruvian-style. Also, I believe that I’ve viewed my own family in a different light. I’ve grown up more independent than most but I still feel as if I need my family with me always and I love them beyond belief!
Since the very first week of arriving in LIMAperú, I’ve visited a lot of different, very interesting places. For my 21st birthday I was taken to La Punta, which is where the navy base is located and it was an amazing view from the restaurant El Mirador. I’ve also visited el Centro de Lima, Costa Verde, the ruins of Pachacamac, the Circuito Magico del Agua fountain park, El Parque de Las Leyendas Zoo, and so many other amazing places! It’s hard to put into words the feelings I’ve had at each of the place, but pictures help to get feel of the experience. I still have a couple more months in Peru, but I am not counting down one day at all. I want to enjoy this paradise and soak up all that I can [I’m already dreading the day that I have to return back to the States].