A Craving for Sweets and Experiences
Today’s blog is about how I discovered my self-awareness of independence as a 20 year old college student while studying abroad in Peru. This discovery was all thanks to my tremendous sweet tooth.
Its 9:23 p.m. and I am craving a donut. Luckily, there is a Dunkin’ Donuts stand less than 5 minutes away from my house. Even though my host family’s house is near a busy street with loud noises from the constant traffic, living here has some perks. There is a super market with a Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds stand, two pizza places, a gas station, a cute, always crowded bakery, a pharmacy (which I’ve already had to visit twice), and a Scotia Bank (thank God). I basically have everything I could possible need a few blocks away.
This particular day, I threw on my shoes and grabbed my house key. Out the door I went. As I locked the door I grew more anxious. I started to envision all the donut options. A chocolate covered donut, or maybe filled, ah but I like my sprinkled one…Sure it wasn’t the healthiest of things to eat at 9 at night, but when my sweet tooth kicks in, there is little I can do. I walked down my street and turned a right corner. I waited on a car to pass and after looking one way (it was a one way street. Don’t worry Mom!) I crossed. I passed the Tele Pizza restaurant and the gas station. The light posts were glowing, and the zooming street cars illuminated the street. I felt so happy and care free. As I walked on my own, I enjoyed the feeling of independence. I thought to myself look at me go, I’m just doing my thing with zero worry in the world. Better yet I’m surviving and I’m sure I could pass for a local Peruvian. Never would I have imagined I’d ever be here…I finally reached the traffic light and I patiently waited for the red pedestrian traffic light to turn green. I crossed the street accompanied by several rushing people. I walked straight to the Wong supermarket and made my way to the Dunkin’ Donuts stand. It was decision time. For the most part they had the same donut choices as the U.S.; however, they had their own “patriotic Peruvian” red and white donut. They even had a pistachio donut! I love pistachio, but I opted for my strawberry frosted rainbow sprinkled donut. It’s my favorite, and at that particular moment it reminded me of home. I don’t make it a routine to get donuts, but if I’m ever with my boyfriend and we pass a Krispy Kreme donut sign, we tend to stop. I think he’s found how to keep me happy. I’m not complaining…
So, as I stood there, I couldn’t help myself from having a big toothy smile on my face. I think the cashier knew he was about to make a complete stranger absolutely happy. I said “gracias” and I took the white paper bag from him and was on my way. I waited until I got home to the comfort of my room to take out the delicious treat. As I ate it and enjoyed the kind of stale, but still satisfying donut, a realization hit me. I’m a 20 year old woman thousands of miles away from absolutely everything I love. Yes, I’m fairly young, and people may think I have no idea what life is made of, but as a 20 year old, I’ve experienced a bit. Some experiences where not of my choosing, but I have accepted that that is how life works.
So here I am, Analhi Lizarraga, a pretty adaptable and independent 20 year old woman having a great time in a South American, Spanish speaking country away from my family, my boyfriend, my friends, and my beloved sweet tea. My little walk to find a donut made me more aware that this study abroad experience is an experience that is specialty made for me. It’s up to me whether or not I will enjoy my experience, and it is up to me if I’ll make the most of what is in front of me. Even though I might feel alone from time to time away from everyone I love, so far, being in Peru has been a great time for me to do things on my own. Going solo for 6 months in a place that is not exactly my own (yet) is a bit scary. It’s always a “fun” adventure trying to hop on public transportation wondering whether or not anything looks familiar. Additionally, it has been a delightful experience for my taste buds. Before coming to Peru, I had never had anything Peruvian, and let me just inform ya’ll, someday later in life, I’m going to have to come back to Peru, specifically for the food. It’s absolutely a great experience. In Lima, Peru the sun may not come out at all, and gloomy grey skies overlook the city, but this mini adventure abroad has really made a difference. I have 4 more months left and I can’t wait to see what more I can experience, what more I will learn, and what more will change my outlook in life. Change and the unknown or the unfamiliar is scary, but all I can do is try to embrace what is in front of me. If you have the opportunity to experience new things, please do! I highly encourage it. Life is about what you can do within the counted number of days of your life. This is what makes life a big adventure waiting to be experienced. Always try to make the most of it!