Sunday, August 26, 2012

And the Adventure Begins!

It didn't take long before we had to look for a place to live due to Marco's house not legally belonging to him anymore since he isn't married nor does he have kids living with him. The general sent a letter of eviction so we found a place in Zaguan del Cielo the neighborhood I lived in for 8 months before living with Marco. It is furnished and comfortable but $150 out of each of our pockets for the month. Fortunately, Marco extended his eviction until the 10th of October which will give us time to get legally married in Lima in September and have the house again.

Of course, there is the issue of all the moving of officials happening in October instead of January due to the border line in the ocean coming out that will divide Chile and Peru's water and some beach territory. There is a slight chance Chile could invade if it doesn't work out in their favor. Because of that everyone is moving in advance so everyone is in place and ready if Chile decides to be idiots. Anyway, this means that Marco may be leaving for Lima at the end of October which means I will need a place to live for two months before moving to Lima. I can't leave before the end of the year because I promised to work til the end of the year, I don't want to leave my students, I make decent money, I wouldn't have a job in Lima, and I will be moving there in January anyway. Unfortunately, it means living alone for two months but fortunately, we will have a house in Lima on the villa when I get to Lima because there are tons of people moving to the border and cities such as Puno and Cusco so there will be lots of houses available in Lima.

All of this is contingent upon Marco passing the War School exam and getting in. If he doesn't pass then we will have our house again back on the villa in Cusco and live in Cusco for another year. We will just have to wait and see. Whatever happens it will be an adventure. It already has been! For now, I am alone in an apartment with Pepe for the next three weeks. :(

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


What a marvelous weekend I had! Marco and I went to a really fun birthday party for our friend Emily and she told us all about how she and her boyfriend went to Lares, hot springs, for her actual birthday and that it was wonderful, relaxing and super romantic. I love hot springs so there was no hesitation from me. Marco and I decided that since he was on vacation still and Monday I have no students we could spend the night. I didn't remember my camera but I will tell you all about the experience!

We headed out on Monday afternoon at 1pm and after a few bus rides and crossing a ton of mountain sides we made a 15 minute walk up to the hot springs. It was 4 soles to enter and 40 soles to spend the night in a nice little room that looked out on the springs. We found out that there was not dinner served at the springs so we bought a can of tuna, some soda crackers, an avocado, bananas, and peach juice and made ourselves a dinner. Haha! It was great. After eating we headed down to the pools and enjoyed incredibly hot water. It was WONDERFUL! We didn't get to see any stars but Marco had something in his pocket that shone nice and bright that night. We took a walk around the springs and headed up to a lookout spot. I thought he might propose there but he waited until we got back down to our room and were on the balcony with a bottle of wine. He said (in Spanish) "Before I take any drink of alcohol I want to tell you that I love you with all my heart and I have a one questions for you" He got down on one knee and pulled out a pretty rose red box. "Amy Royse Brown, will you marry me?"

Claro que SI!!!!

I couldn't be happier to say yes to such a wonderful person. He is everything I want in a man and I know that we are going to have a happy and fulfilling life together (with children too!). He gave me a beautiful ring with an 18 karat gold band and we chatted about how he went about everything. He asked both of my parents for my hand and both of them responded to his email with extremely sweet and loving letters. I have amazing parents.

I couldn't wait to share the news and the first person I called was my brother and then my cousin Emy. I also talked to my dad and mom all on skype of course. They were all thrilled and happy to be receiving a phone call. Everyone else got to find out on facebook.
Speaking of facebook, I have never seen more comments or likes on anything I have every put up. It is super fun to see who writes comments and how happy people are. I know I get excited when I see that people are engaged and right now there are tons of people my age getting engaged and married. I guess everyone wants to share the love and I am all for it!!! 

I am currently without a ring because it is being re-sized to fit my finger perfectly. It was a bit big but that's better than being too small. All in all, I am EXTREMELY happy and am already excited to be living with my man and loving life. :)

There will be pictures to come on this post but my internet is super slow right now so it will have to wait til later. Check out my facebook page if you are friends with me to see a pic of the ring if you are interested.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Paseo en el Valle Sagrado

What a great Sunday! Marco and I took the entire day to cruise the Sacred Valley starting with Lucre, a little town next to a lagoon known for it's delicious postres (desserts) as well as arroz con pato (rice with duck). We tried both but backwards. We went into the pasteleria to find ourselves surrounded by cow knick knacks (cachivaches is what I would call it in Spanish.) The first thing that came to mind was my second cousin Maggie who I remember loved cows and had tons of cow stuff. One must be very careful when declaring his or her love for an animal because everyone will remember and said person will soon have a room or house full of said animal. Haha, anyway I was thinking about getting something for Marco's mother because she likes cows (she has a real one!). We asked about the stuff and the guy working told us that it was a private collection. Bummer!! Oh well, it was still fun being in there. You would never guess that a little town near Cusco would have a pastry shop filled with cow stuff like you might see in the country in the States. I have a feeling a lot of the stuff is from the states since a lot of it is in English.

The arroz con pato was delicious. We ate at a place called El Tambo and it was beautiful. We ate in the garden and enjoyed the wonderful weather and flora around us while chowing down on a huge plate of duck and rice.

On the topic of things you wouldn't imagine seeing in a pastry shop in Lucre, Peru is a cake called Obama. No joke. It was an Obama cake. Check out the picture. I had to indulge and try out my president in cake form. I have to say I was quite satisfied. It was light and fluffy on one end and I think it had coffee chips in it. Mmm delicious. Who'd a thunk?

After Lucre we made our way to Señor de Huanca to pay our respects and our final stop was in Pisac. We wanted to get some chompas (sweaters) in Pisac because they are cheaper there and there is a ton of variety. I gave my green one to my cousin so I had to get another one. This time it was orange and yellow but the same style with llamas in the middle and a zipper up the middle. Marco wanted a gray one with llamas but ended up getting one that was very swank and looks fantastic on him. It is gray with designs on the collar and wrists. It is a 1/4 zip at the top.

We had to go to the pool. Who goes to Pisac to relax and doesn't go to the pool? I remember the last time we were there they said they were closing for a month or so to renovate and heat the pool. I don't think that the pool is heated but they raised the floor that means the water in general stays warmer from the sun. I did notice some panels on the ceiling though and that might offset the heating of the little Jacuzzi pool in the back. Either way it is nice to have an olympic sized pool that is 4 feet everywhere. Honestly, since there are no diving boards (other than the blocks) there is no reason to have a super deep pool. I helped Marco perfect his freestyle technique. It's not bad but his head could be a bit lower when he lifts it to breath. Swimming for the military means keeping your head above the water most of the time I believe so I don't blame him for wanting to have his head higher than it should be for a good freestyle stroke.

On our way back we stopped for a moment at Christo Blanco to admire the kite flyers. Apparently right now is the time for kites. I think it is cool how kites are popular in so many cultures. It doesn't seem all that entertaining but it is .When we got back to the house we watched American Reunion and shared a Pizza from Chez Maggy. It was a great Sunday.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fiestas Patrias

Felices Fiestas Patrias was written all over everything last weekend. July 28th marked the 191st anniversary of the independence of Perú from Spain. People get pretty rowdy but I can only imagine how the 200th anniversary is going to be. I will most likely be here to celebrate too!

Anyway, independence day is celebrated much like it is in the States in that there is a parade and people have barbeques and family gatherings. However, the parade happened the day before in Cusco and included all the civil sectors of Cusco meaning police (can't forget the ever necessary transit and tourist police), military, firefighters, water and high mountain rescue teams, ambulances etc. It was a great day and Marco did a wonderful job in the military portion. There is no such thing as a parade like the one in Evanston I saw for the 4th in Peru. It just doesn't happen. See for yourself below.

There is a message from the president on the 28th and that is pretty much it in terms of official celebrations on the actual day of independence. It 2 hours long and is essentially like the president of the United States State of the Union address. The following day, the 29th, there is a huge military parade in which every section of the armed services and police take part. It is pretty cool watching all of them march together. Representatives from Chile and Ecuador militaries  joined as well which is kind of funny to me considering it's not their country but, hey, it's nice to see some friendly gestures especially since Chile and Peru aren't exactly best of friends. Marco and I relaxed as he pointed out the different people he knew. Next year he will definitely be in that parade when we are Lima.

Military marching in Cusco            


A man dressed as a butterfly in Evanston      

I made sure to celebrate in my own way by dressing up in white and red and singing with the Guardians at Ice in the evening of the 28th. It was super fun and the place filled up as soon as we started singing. It was the first time we played with Gabe on his full drum set and while my violin could barely be heard over everything, I was told by my friend Cindy that I sang well. It was a fun night. I was happy that I had the energy because the night before Marco and I went out dancing and to karaoke with friends til the wee hours of the morning. Overall, it was a fantastic fiestas patrias!