A couple weeks ago a lot of us in the study abroad in Peru program individually and simultaneously had the revelation that we don´t have a lot of time left in Peru. We sat and counted weekends and days off and listed the things we wanted to do, and found out we could maybe squeeze them all in if we traveled almost every weekend and basically didn´t ever sleep.
I like sleep. So I´m not going to be able to do all the things I want to do, but I´ve started make some progress on the list. I finally managed to go paragliding a couple weeks ago, which was amazing. We just ran off a cliff and the wind lifted us up and up and up! (I say us because I went with a professional who was in charge of all the maneuvering and keeping us up there. I just sat and enjoyed the view.) It was incredibly peaceful and way less scary than I thought it would be. Also I could see my neighborhood and a lot of the rest of Lima from the air, which was fun.
Last weekend I went with the program to Canta, which is about 4 hours outside Lima. We went on a walk through a pretty farming area, ate lunch outside, and then went on a zip line they have set up there. Also, I got to ride on a horse for the first time since age 3, which was actually the most exciting part for me!
Other than those adventures, and a possible trip to Ica tomorrow, I´ve been exploring Lima itself a little bit more. First of all, it´s huge. I think there´s something like 9 million people that live here, and it´s not like they live in high rise apartment buildings: the city has a giant area. Even without traffic, I bet it would take 2 hours to cross, and the very idea of there not being traffic is ridiculous. So, clearly, I can´t get to know all of it, or even most of it. It has fairly well-defined districts, and I spend most of my time in about 3 of them: the one I live in, Miraflores; the one with the best nightspots and cafes, Barranco; and the one the university is in, San Miguel. Through working with an NGO for one of my classes, I´ve also gotten to know the less well-off districts of San Juan de Miraflores and Centro de Lima (the center of the city, where the government buildings and the main plaza are located).
I went to the Museo de la Nación last weekend also. It was partially closed, so they had one big room open that contained pottery and paintings and other exhibits from throughout Peru´s history (and of course, a whole little alcove dedicated to the potato, of which there are about 50 varieties. Peru is the home of the potato. Don´t even try to say it´s not.). That part was educational, but not mind-blowing. The only other part of the museum that we could go to was an exhibit of photos, videos, and information about the internal armed conflict with the terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso and MRTA during the 80´s and 90´s. It was a really powerful exhibit, and made me understand a little bit better the way Perú lived in fear for over 10 years. I´d learned about the conflict in class and seen photos and videos of the truth comission proceedings, but the exhibit put everything together in a really powerful way. It was difficult to read about all the atrocities and see some of the horrible pictures, but I´m very glad I went.
In other news, while I´m trying to take full advantage of everything here and really enjoy my last month and a half of the study in Peru program to the fullest, I also have to figure out what in the world I´m going to do with myself when it´s time to leave. As soon as I´m done with school here I´m done with college for good….real world, here I come! I had hoped being here might help me get a clearer idea of my future plans, but as of right now I´m still pretty clueless. I guess there´s still time for an epiphany!