These past two weeks have made me feel very grateful to be studying abroad in Perú and with the other students within the IFSA group. Conveniently, I have a list of things I am grateful for! I try to remind myself of these if ever I’m having a bad day.
1. A space to call my own. My bedroom and bathroom are separate from the house, meaning I get more quiet time and privacy to myself, making studying and late-night Skype calls a breeze.
2. Food! I absolutely never go hungry because portions of food here are always ample and full of carbohydrates. The only need I have after a meal is desert
3. Exchange rate. Because the exchange rate is usually about $1 to 2.75 soles, I can get for bang for my buck, so to speak. I am surprised at how much I spend here…but it doesn’t add up the way it would in the states. For example, if I drop a 12/s. on a lunch, I’m actually only spending around $4.36 for an appetizer and main dish…for lunch!
4. The sun! Lima is a pretty cloudy city when it’s not summer, but the sun pokes its head out once every week or so. When it does, I make sure to take full advantage of it (while wearing sunblock, of course)! I will never take the sun for granted again…I didn’t realize how much it can drastically change my mood for the better!
5. Netflix. I am so so glad that my account works here because, let’s be honest, I need to indulge in English and U.S. media every once in a while. 😉
My birthday happened to fall on Tuesday, the 16th, of this past week. I was a little worried about turning the big 2-1 here, but I could not have asked for a better celebration! There is a Peruvian girl I am now friends with in my communication class whose 22nd birthday happens to be the day before mine. So, we decided to celebrate together the night of my birthday by going out to eat Arabian cuisine (my first time here) and afterwards get our fortunes told by a friend who claims to a spiritual medium and reads tarot cards. All of my questions about my future held positive answers, and the details the medium gave about my life as it is now were scarily accurate! Other than that night, I also celebrated my birthday three other separate times: with the IFSA students at the university (I bought myself a large chocolate/caramel cake from a nearby bakery), Thursday night at a bar in Barranco called “HELP” (more chocolate cake was present), and finally on Saturday night with my host family (again, food). I also felt all the love on my birthday from friends and family the states sent to me over social media outlets such as Facebook, Snapchat, and email.
In other news, I am REALLY excited about the IFSA trip to Cusco happening this coming week. our flight leaves Wednesday morning, and we arrive in Cusco by noon at the latest. We are spending 5 days there, returning home on the 6th (Monday). Although I will be missing a majority of my classes, it will definitely be worth it! There are a lot of things I have to consider before leaving that did not even enter my mind before our planning session yesterday:
– It is recommended to take a certain type of pill during the 2 days prior to the trip so that I can more easily adjust to immense altitude change from Lima (sea-level) to Cusco (11,200 ft. above sea level)
– I have to bring lots of sunscreen and insect repellant since Machu Picchu is technically located within the rainforest. I haven’t used either in Lima so far because the city is so cloudy and chilly during the winter! It’s amazing how different the climate is outside of Lima just two hours away.
– I need to pack both winter and summer clothes. The city if Cusco has a lot of sun, but is almost colder than Lima during winter nights. Machu Picchu, however, is t-shirt weather and has a strong summer type of climate (rainforest). Needless to say I will have a lot of laundry to do upon my return!
– The first activity on our agenda upon arrival in Cusco = SLEEP! At first our bodies won’t realize they are exhausted, but apparently the altitude change really will take a toll on our energy and and digestive systems.
– Fun fact: there are NO bathrooms on within the Machu Picchu site. Therefore, I must pay 1 sol to use the bathroom at the entrance before starting my trek. How strange is that?!
– Another fun fact: There are hot springs within Machu Picchu…which means I finally get to swim in warm water! Aha, I did bring my swimsuit for a reason!
Well, that’s all for now! You’ll be able to read the full details of my Cusco trip in my next “special” edition of blogging, if you will. Have a wonderful week/weekend until then! *The photo gallery below holds pictures from my previous trips to Mistura and Huaca Pucllana, as well as some random pictures of birthday cake, chicken foot soup, and birds!*[Gallery not found]