Hello wonderful followers and anyone who might have stumbled upon this blog about my time in Cusco. I moved to Lima this year (2013) and I am continuing to blog about my adventures. The website has changed though. My new blog is:
The day has finally come! I am leaving Cusco tomorrow very early in the morning. Marco is running around doing last minute things like turning the keys in for the house we lived in as well as getting the safety check done for his car. We are going to be booking it to Lima in two days and heading directly to Acari tomorrow to visit his mother. It is going to be a long day of driving but we will get there and the weather will only get nicer and nicer. I can't wait!
I am super thankful to all of you who have followed me on this blog and have offered advice, congratulations or condolences. It is kind of cool how there is a little blog (well maybe not that little) community. I am also super thankful to all the wonderful amazing people I have met in Cusco over the past 2 and a half years. I met my husband and I started teaching violin, both of which are amazing wonderful things.
In the meantime, I am looking for a new name for a blog that I am going to start when I get to Lima. I think it should be broader than Adventures in Lima. I plan on being in Peru for many years to come. Please give me suggestions in the comment box.
In happy exciting news, I was accepted to OpenEnglish.com's certification process to become an English teacher for them. I am super excited and I hope a get a job with them. This is also great because I booked my flight to Madrid Spain for May 1st. I am going to travel with my cousin and I can't wait. It also means I need to work my butt off in the next three months so that I have some money for the trip itself. I also need to be saving for our wedding in October. This is a good start though!
I just read this incredibly terrifying blog entry about this couple and a sisters' experience getting attacked by a village called Pallcca outside of Ocongate on the way to Cusco. Now, while I am horrified by these people getting attacked by the villagers with rocks, whips and hands, I have to wonder why. Of course, they say that they weren't doing anything but drinking some beers on the side of the road because they didn't want to drive at night. The weird thing is that the villagers that first came to see what was up told them they could stay the night there but then more and more people came and they started asking for documents. The group felt uncomfortable so they decided to try and leave. That might have really started things off for the villagers. I don't know if I would have wanted to stay either given that they were demanding documents. Now, I think that it is very possible that the villagers saw what these travelers had. They had a camper and lots of equipment and I imagine, pretty nice clothing in comparison to what the villagers had. Does that mean they deserved to be attacked? Of course not, but when you are traveling from North America to South America via car, you have to be incredibly careful. Also, campers are unheard of here. We saw one in Cusco not too long ago and Marco was surprised by it. I don't know if he had ever seen one before. Needless to say, as a villager in the high sierra, seeing a camper would be a big deal.
Peru is not perfect by any means nor is any other country for that matter, but it has seen a lot of growth economically in the past 10 years and with the growth of capitalism, the richer become richer and the poorer become poorer. This is bound to cause a ton of resentment among the people who are most affected by lack of work and poverty, especially in the mountains. From what I have seen, the poorest people are the ones I have seen in the sierra. There have been more and more tourists flowing in and out of Peru and it keeps growing every year. A victim mentality is what many Peruvians have, especially those who are poor. This idea that things are happening to them because of others around them causes them to not take responsibility a lot of the time and in this case do something horrific and then try and pass it off as a car accident. It also makes it difficult for them to overcome poverty. It is amazing what a positive attitude can do for a person and everyone around them. Undoubtedly after years and years of feeling like the victims resentment forms and then anger. Emotions are scary things sometimes and given that the villagers from this event probably don't have a ton of interaction with tourists, they used this couple to unleash the wrath and anger that they had been feeling for quite some time. Granted, this is all my opinion but I feel like this is a logical possibility. I will never condone what they did but trying to understand it will only bring us one step close to finding a solution to the problem.
Unfortunately, I have read some really angry responses to this story and while it is understandable, it by no means should keep people from traveling to Peru. People just need to be aware of their surroundings and smart about how they carry themselves and what they carry. Being a victim of a pick-pocketing incident the other day reminded me that I need to be aware of my surroundings and do everything I can to eliminate unwanted situations. I think everyone has the right to feel safe but its not going to happen, especially when you are traveling or living in a place that is known to have petty crime and issues with stealing. What many people don't know is that Peruvians rob each other and every Peruvian I have asked about being robbed has had it happen at least once. Of course, gringos are targeted more than Peruvians but that doesn't mean they don't lose their stuff. Marco's wallet was stolen on a bus while he was in high school. It's infuriating. I know! Before we go about ranting that we shouldn't have to deal with this and it's unfair...etc. We (as gringos especially) have to remember that we are privileged. As much as we might have it rough in the States or be getting by from paycheck to paycheck, if you are traveling, you are privileged. There is no debating it. Others see that and feel resentment and jealousy. They want what we have and can you blame them? No one should have to deal with being robbed and especially not being mugged and beaten but we need to take a look at ourselves and decide, am I going to play the victim or am I going to get smart? There is no way to change the color of my skin, my eyes, or my hair, but I can change how I go about taking care of my possessions. If I play the victim I will become one of them and that is not what I want. The high road is my choice.
In the case of this couple and sister I completely agree with taking legal action and doing everything possible to get some justice because that is beyond just being pick-pocketed. Violence needs to be punished. My only worry is that if people from the village are charged and maybe put into jail, will it not just cause more resentment and violence from them in the future? Maybe, but this couple and their sister deserve some peace of mind.
Some other responses to Nightmare in Peru are here and here.
There is also an ongoing thread about it on the Expats in Peru facebook page. I highly recommend reading through it if you are interested. People have some very valid points. They also have some incredibly helpful tips for travelers!
In some poopy news today, my kindle was stolen while I was on the bus yesterday evening. Pickpocketing is so easily avoidable and yet I somehow keep letting myself be open to stupid loss. I had my bad behind me instead of in front of me. I was carrying a bag of groceries and my umbrella so I was taking up a lot of space. Anyway, two guys went by me and I felt one grab at my bag but I didn't think too much of of it since I forgot I had my kindle in there. I knew I had me laptop but it is giant and heavy and inside my bag so it would have been really hard to steal. My kindle, being in the front pocket and the main flap of my messenger bag was not securely closed. My bad!!!! But seriously, what a dummy. I didn't realize it was gone until after I got home. There was even a girl who was sitting in front of me who said that I needed to be careful with my stuff because the guy who passed me went through it. I told her I didn't have anything of value in my bag..wrong! I didn't think to look through my bag even after that. Probably for the better since I didn't have to deal with being on the bus for the rest of the ride kicking myself. I got to kick myself when I got home!
To give a happy side to this entry, I did get the most excellent service from a man named Rais Ibrahim from Amazon.com's customer service. I deregistered my kindle and the got into a chat with this fine gentleman who blacklisted my kindle with one click and told me I could access my books via a kindle application for my computer if I wanted to read my books while waiting for a new kindle. Fantastic! I was super happy. He made my night much better. The downside to the app is that I can't download it on my computer since I don't have the latest Mac OS program. Booo. I wonder if there is a way to get an older version of the reader. I just downloaded Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander and I really would like to read it. In the meantime, I have a few old school paper books that I could read. Fancy that!
Marco is going to get up super early tomorrow morning and check out the baratillo which is Cusco's black market. People say that if something was stolen and it was electronic, many times it will show up nice and early at the baratillo. You have to go early though because things go quickly. Marco is going to search for my kindle! What a man! He even offered to pay for half the new kindle if he doesn't find it. That is super sweet of him consider it was my dumbass that left it open for someone to steal. Just one of the millions of reasons I love him. I am not going to get my hopes up. If he does, by chance, find it, he is going to bargain with the person who is selling it. He will show that he has the serial number of the kindle and say he will pay no more than 50 soles for it. If they don't give it to him for that he will denounce the vendor and turn him or her in to the police to be charged with stealing. Wish him luck!
In other fun news, we are definitely moving to Lima on Monday! I am so excited! I can't wait to get to the nice warm weather. However, I can't complain about today's weather since it was nice and sunny and warm. Cusco summer and winter really aren't that bad. There is always some sun no matter what. I will definitely be making a trip back to Cusco to visit when there is nothing but gray skies in Lima and I am getting super depressed. I am going to be singing tonight at Monasterio and Marriott and tomorrow as well so I am getting the most out of my last days in Cusco by working some gigs! Can't complain about a little bit of extra cash for our trip!
Since a little after Christmas, Marco and I have been packing up our stuff. It only took us a few days to do it and now we are sitting and waiting for his order to come from Lima giving him the green light to move. That's all nice and dandy but the only problem is that we have no idea when this order is going to come. It could be tomorrow or it could be in another week. There is no guarantee at all. Meanwhile, I have lots of time to wander and use internet at various places (Starbucks right now and the Muse earlier) and have lunch with people (Emily and Claudio today and hopefully Elizabeth tomorrow). There are some soldiers working on fixing up the house right now such as painting the walls and cupboards and fixing the wood floor so that it is in tip top shape for the captain who is going to be moving in.
One fun thing about moving in Peru is that if you use a carrier that isn't a private car or truck you have to wrap all of your boxes up in seran wrap or else they won't take your boxes. What a waste of plastic right? It protects against rain I guess but hopefully the boxes won't be spending much time out in the rain. No need to worry about rain in Lima, just Cusco.
I am really hoping to leave for Lima by the weekend so that I can have some time to settle in a bit before I have to be at the Suzuki Festival on the 14th of January. Worst case scenario, I take a flight or a bus last minute to Lima so I can get to my class on time. The good thing is that we are already paying for the apartment so I will have a place to go.
Wish me luck and lots of patience. Hopefully, Claudio and I will be playing tonight and tomorrow night to make a bit more cash before heading out. He is also going to Lima and traveling this January and February.
Here are some pictures of the process....
Before plastic wrapping everything...Pepe is a huge help obviously.
After plastic wrapping and a few glasses of wine. Not bad!
First of all I would like to say Happy New Year 2013 to everyone in this wonderful new year of 2013! I am very happy that I was able to spend New Years Eve doing what I love, singing and playing my violin, and being with the man that I love. We played at Palacio Nazarenas, one of the nicest, if not the nicest hotel in Cusco. There were fire jugglers and dancers at the countdown (which I got to MC!) and we played til 1:30am. I got to see my girl Akhtiara later and at the end of the night (4:30am) Marco and I set off some fireworks. It was super fun!
So here we go. I am going to do a fun re-cap of 2012 like I did for 2011 with hyperlinks so you can read all about the even that happened if I blogged about it.
January: January started off with a trip to Lima for the Suzuki festival. I got certified in book 1 and book 2 for teaching violin and I made a lot of great friends and contacts. It was the first time I met Suzanne, my co-worker this year, and I also got to spend some time with Gabriel and Marco.
February: In February I took on around 8 students because it was still vacation and many of them were out of town. Marco and I celebrated out 1 year anniversary and we also celebrated Gabriel's birthday with ceviche and colored pencils. Oh, I also found a friend in Pepe's bedroom. I also moved in with Marco!
March: This was kind of a depressing month. While I got more students since it was the beginning of the semester at Qantu, Marco's visa was denied. I did, however, start singing and playing more frequently with Claudio and there was a great Suzuki group from Ohio that came to play in Cusco.
April: I spent this month making sure that classes were getting made up before my trip to the States. I did some cooking, sang a decent amount and taught. Not too much happened this month. I did record a fun video of Pepe playing with Marco.
May: This was a fun month. I met up with Ellen and Sarah who are both Camp Echo alums and Ellen, being the amazing person she is, brought me two bags of stuff that my mom packed up for me. I still can't thank her enough! I continued taking spinning classes a Pardo's Gym that I started in April. I was very proud to see some of my students graduate from books 1 and 3. I also made cookies with Suzanne which was super fun. At the end of this month I took a big trip home to Evanston where I was welcomed with big hugs and kisses from friends and family. The traveling ended when I got to camp Echo for family camp weekend.
June: This was a busy month but definitely a lot of fun. I was in charge of training the new trip guides and leading the training trip. I also got to go on an all new Girls Trailblazers trip due to the fire in the north of Michigan. I had a blast but I was more than ready to get home to Marco at the end of the month and a half trip. I had one blog entry this month due to being so busy with work but I did eventually get up entries about my trips.
July: I spent 4th of July on my bike riding around Evanston in 40 degree celsius weather with 98% humidity. It was fantastic! I soaked it all in because I knew I was going home to Cusco where the nights were very cold. We also had our final concerts this month at Qantu and everyone performed splendidly! I am very thankful Katie took over for me while I was gone. She is a friend of Suzanne's and she taught my students while I was in the States.
August: This was a big month for me because I got engaged to Marco and I couldn't have been more excited! We went to Lares and he popped the question. He, being the wonderful gentleman he is, asked my parents first. We also were able to get some down time in while he was on vacation studying for his Escuela de Guerra exam. I also celebrated Independence day in Peru by watching Marco parade in the Plaza de Armas. I also moved out of the house I was living in with Marco because technically I wasn't supposed to be there. I moved into an apartment in Zaguan del Cielo for a month.
September: Marco took his exam and got into la Escuela de Guerra which meant we were going to be moving to Lima in January of 2013! I also celebrated my violin teacher's wedding.
October: Marco and I had a civil wedding this month and we celebrated a little bit of a honeymoon by going to the jungle! It was hot but boy, was it fun!
November: I had some various entries that including ranting about combis and lack of personal face-to-face communication but it was a good month overall. We celebrated Flor's birthday (my director) by going to Huambutio and eating really tasty food. I celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner at Chicha and then going horseback riding on my birthday. It was fantastic and I am super thankful to my hubby who made it so wonderful! I worked on Thanksgiving but I was able to pop into a buffet that Elizabeth and Erik had at their house. I made pumpkin pie and it was all gone when I went by to pick up my pans the next day. I also took care of my old roommate's dog Warmi for a week. Also, I got into writing on a daily basis this month.
December: This month was super crazy and there was a week that was dedicated completely to Qantu concerts. Feel free to check them all out on the side bar if you are interested. I played a wedding reception in San Jeronimo this month which was quite an interesting experience and gave me some perspective and ideas for my own wedding next year. The ladies of Qantu, Flor, Melissa, Suzanne, and me, made some delicious food at Flor's one Sunday. After all the concerts were over we had a chocolatada at Qantu and I ate lots of paneton and hot chocolate. Finally, for Christmas, Marco and I headed to Larapa where we had a great feast with Claudio and his family including Emily. It was a really great night.
So that is my 2012 in a nutshell. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and lives up to their resolutions. Mine are to cook more, workout more, and read 30 books! I think I can do all of them pretty easily.
I don't have any photos for this entry but I wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone since I most likely will not have internet tomorrow. I have had an amazing 2012 and I promise to write a re-cap soon.
We are waiting to get the orders from the people in Lima telling us that we can move. Until we get it we have to wait. It could be as late at the 5th of January before we leave Cusco but in the mean time we are all packed up. Last night we wrapped all of our boxes in seran-wrap which is kind of ridiculous to me but apparently the moving company won't accept our boxes if they are not all wrapped up in plastic, including our luggage. It seems like a waste of plastic to me but this is Peru so what are you going to do? I guess the upside is that if it rains and our stuff is outside it won't get damaged.
I am going to be playing at the Hotel Palacio Nazarenas tonight from 8pm to 2am. I have various breaks in there but it is going to be a long night by all means. We are getting paid very nicely though and I am happy that Marco will be able to enter around 11:30pm and we can ring in the new year together! We plan on setting off fireworks when we get home later. Marco had a box full of them. The villa is the perfect place for them since we have a lot of open space.
I hope everyone have a very safe and fun New Year!