Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Party!

This past weekend was the monthly TEFL party at Maximo. It's an open bar party to celebrate the graduation of all the TEFL students. It's super fun and this month we had a Halloween costume party. It was a grand old time. I went as a rose garden although most people thought I was Ivy from Batman. It was a fun and easy costume. My favorite was Becca's costume. She dressed up as a pregnant indigenous woman with a baby on her back. There were a lot of traditional dresses worn. They were super cute.

One more month of classes is over! We finish quizzes and exams today and after our morning meeting we have a 4 day weekend! Hallelujah! I am headed to Arequipa to do a two day trek to Colca Canyon. I can't wait. I am going alone but another teacher is going with his girlfriend and we may meet up and do the trek together. I'd definitely be down with that. I am looking forward to the solo travel though. I find it kind of fun and very freeing. I can do whatever I want to do. There is no one that I have to make plans with which allows for more spur of the moment type things. One of my students recommended some chocolate I should try and a bus I should take. The advice that I have gotten from my students for lots of things has been very helpful.

I am excited. I don't want to jinx myself but I am looking forward to my interview with Tucan Travel this month. Wish me luck! This could be the best job I get in a while.

I have some good news! I am typing this blog post from my computer! It is functioning somewhat normally again. At least the keyboard is not stuck in caps anymore and the programs are running faster. A few weird things are still not working such as the sound or camera or the edit option on photoshop. No idea. All that matters though is that I can connect to the internet and I can type. That's really all you need a computer for. Oh, and to store pictures too. I can't wait to get my hard drive of music and pictures from Dad. Thanks again dad for doing that.

Akhtiara, Erica, Whitney, and Becca as Peruvian women

Scooby Doo!

My rose garden costume

Helping out my Brother

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I promise to update soon. I want to send a shout out to my brother and try and help him with his music career. He and Sabrey, aka Good Hood has a song on and you can download it. It's called Beautiful Game and it's all about soccer. There is only one week to download so do it now and tell your friends! The artist with the most downloads will be featured by Heineken. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Check it out

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Few Things About Cusco

I don't have too much to update you all on so I figure I might as well talk about the differences I have noticed since living in Peru.

1. It is so dry here. My nose is in a perpetual state of crustiness. Gross right? All I need is a humidifier. I tend to wake up with a a dry mouth as well. My godsend is chapstick and lotion here. Hallelujah.

2. Two seasons are kind of lame. I miss the colors of the fall. Hell, I miss trees. There are none here. It has started raining a lot here and apparently it doesn't end until March. I chose the perfect time to come and work here. I get to spend the majority of my time here soaked and chilly. I might have to get back to camp next summer just to get some warmth and humidity. I never thought I would say that I miss humidity. Haha.

3. Bread stores or panaderias are not as common here as they were in Ecuador and it makes me kind of sad. Don't get me wrong, I can still find plenty of bread but it's not as readily available as it was there. At the same time, it is probably a good thing since I would usually eat the sweet bread products that make you fat eventually. :P

4. Usually companies that sell the same thing try to set up shop in different parts of town so as to get different clients. Here, it is the opposite. If you sell musical instruments, you sell them alongside everyone else who sells instruments/motorcycles/keys/plastic containers etc. It makes is very easy for the consumer but it can't be smart for the seller.

5. There is no such thing as a cinema here. It sucks. What's worse is I have no DVD player and my computer doesn't work so I am limited to watching what is on HBO or cinemax. I should be outside or reading more anyway.

6. I miss baths. I miss really hot water is more like it. My shower is warm at best. I guess I just need to travel to the hot springs nearby.

7. I don't know when I will wear shorts again. It's never quite warm enough for them.

That's about it for now. I am sure I will come up with more as time progresses. Things are good though. There is a Halloween party next weekend at Maximo and I have to come up with a costume. I am thinking about going as a crayon. It's pretty simple and I just need to find clothes of a similar color, make a cone hat and tape a crayola sign on my stomach.

Besos y Abrazos!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Unlikely Trio

I got together with Michael Thompson, the ex-pat that hosted me when I first got to Cusco, and a metal guitarist named Carlos on Thursday. A bit of an unlikely trio huh? Maybe that will be out band name. We jammed a bit and decided on some songs that we'd like to try covering. I am so excited!! I am singing again and it feels so good! We are hoping to get enough songs ready for performing by the end of the month of so. It would be so fun to play around Cusco. The hard part is that I have a ton of music on my iPod and even more on my computer at home but I have no way of ripping the music on a CD for the guys to listen to on their own time. My dad, being the amazing, wonderful, helpful person he is, is going to hook me up by getting a big enough USB flash drive and putting all my music from my comp onto it. Once I have that I can go to any computer, put the music I want to rip onto the computer and then make a CD. I just can't wait to perform again! I love being in front of people and sharing music. Here is the link to the song

In other news, I went to Pisac yesterday and spent the day hanging out writing, reading and pondering. The market was nice and Pisac is a nice little town. It's about an hour from Cusco and known for the ruins or citadel on the side of the mountain with lots of terracing. I didn't go up because you have to have a tourist ticket and it's something like 70 soles for access to about 14 different sites and it's only good for two weeks. No thanks. I can take pictures from afar. While it would be cool to see the terracing up close, I am more than happy to settle with some pictures from farther away.

I am working on lesson planning. Unfortunately, this month is shorter than the rest because we started on the 4th. That means we only have 16 days to teach 22 days worth of material. It kind of sucks because there is no room for fun and games. I just want to make sure my students get all the new information and have time to soak it in. I hate having to rush things, but alas, that is unavoidable sometimes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Painting and Biking

What a wonderful weekend!! I had the pleasure of traveling to Taray with the teachers of Maximo for a day of service. We painted a few houses bright colors such as Celeste and naranja! I didn't like the sandpapering so much but the painting was fun and it looked so nice afterward as you can see! We had a delicious lunch and gave chocolatada to the niƱos of the town. We topped it off with a little soccer in the small cement field they had. Unfortunately, Taray is suceptable to flooding and therefore no one wants to invest and money into it to build anything since most of it would crumble and be washed away. Our hope is that we bring at least a little bit of color to the town and lift some spirits. It poured for a little while after lunch but we were able to finish everything up in no time. It was nice working with Nicole and Alex who are coworkers I haven't had as much opportunity to hang out with. I like them both a lot. While we were sanding Alex wrote on the wall with the sandpaper Apoj which in Russian means "be inspired". He is half Russian half South African. It makes for quite the accent!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of mountain biking through 28 kilometers of the Peruvian countryside. Although it was a bit expensive for a day trip ($85) I had a blast and I am so glad that the rain from the morning didn't stay with us. It turned into a beautiful day and the three of us (Danielle, Marc, and I) made out way through the backroads to Moray which is an archeological site known to be a laboratory or sorts for the Inca. There are multiple whole dug into the earth with large tiers making their way up the sides. Supposedly different type of corn and potatoes were grown on different levels.

We had a nice lunch of sandwiches, juice, and cookies in Maray as we watched everyone set up for elections which took place today. (Cusco is more or less shut down today because of the elections. Also Peruvians are not allowed to buy alcohol the two days preceeding the elections. Everyone has to vote or else they get fined and no one could enjoy going out this weekend either. Bummer for Peruvians.) After lunch we continued on to the Maras salt mines which were awesome! There a tons of pools of salt water. The water, that comes from the mountainside, flows into pools and eventually evaporates leaving salt behind. There are three types of salt: white, the kind we eat, brown, the kind for animals, and dirty which is for fertilizer maybe? I forget what the dirty kind is used for. Most likely for animals as well. The last part of the trip was incredibly steep and full of sharp turns. I pride myself on the fact that I only had to legitimately get off my bike once to walk it. A few times I stopped and kind of hobbled my bike around a corner or two but for the most part I stayed on. Mountain biking might be my new favorite sport. The suspension on the bikes we used (Kona)was insane! My butt is very sore today but it was worth it. I missed riding my bike so much!

I had a wonderful weekend and I just got my schedule for the next month. I have 3 Bascio month 2 classes which is totally cool with me. I like Basico and having more classes at the same level makes lesson planning that much faster. I also have an Intermediate 1 month 2 and month 3 class as well as an advanced month 2 class. Most of the classes are continuing with me from last month which is great. I really liked my classes a lot so it will be nice to be with the same students and continue to help them!

Next week we have a three day weekend and I am thinking of taking a trip to Arequipa if I can. I'd really like to go with another person if I can find someone. Maybe Shane will go with me from the Family House. He is trying to travel more. As much as I love travelling alone, it's nice to have company some times. :)