Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Te Amo Peru

Sometimes, changes happen so gradually that one hardly notices.  Sometimes, changes happen almost instantly.  Like everything else in Peru, the changes I have recently begun to notice, have happened slowly.  After practically a year down here, I have started to take notice of how different things seem now as compared to last September.  So, in order to give you a little taste of just a handful of the things that I feel have changed over the past eleven months, I made this handy-dandy little comparison table.

Last September Now
Joked about taking showers only once or twice a week but in reality showered a good three to four times a week. Jokes about taking a shower once or twice a week and is actually serious (lately, its been closer to once a week…).  I’d like to see you take a ice cold shower when its 50 degrees outside!
Crossed at crosswalks, waited for the streetlight to change, waited for cars to completely pass before crossing the street. Crosses the street like a super-human!
Got nervous about knocking on doors in Cambio Puente to gather simple census data. Does home visits and nutritional workshops without blinking an eye.
Was just that “gringa” in Cambio Puente. Has kids yelling “Caty!!” down the streets and even had one little cutie tell his mom that “his gringita just drove by!”.
Struggled with conversations in Spanish. Has been asked multiple times where I am from in Peru.
Sat like a deer in the headlights when my host family made jokes. Can hold my own and make my host family proud of what they have taught me.
Fell in love with ceviche and combinado at first bite. Knows all of the best places to eat said ceviche and combinado.
Got woken up at 4am when the roosters crowed. Doesn’t even use earplugs and can sleep until 9am without ever hearing the roosters (on those rare days where I actually can sleep until 9am).
Could not understand anything that was said to me (in Spanish) on the telephone. Has entire conversations with people on the phone in Spanish.  Except my host grandma, even Peruvians can’t understand her.
Was not sure how I would survive in a city that smelled of fish for a year. What fish smell?
Walked out of the house empty-pocketed. Always has pockets full of toilet paper and spare change, but, like every good Peruvian, never a pen when needed.
Got laughed at by my co-workers when I tried to spell Peruvian names. No longer even have to think about how all those crazy names are spelled.
Read English words in English. Reads English words as if they were Spanish.
Introduced myself to Peruvians with the English pronunciation of my name. Introduce myself to English speakers with the Spanish pronunciation of my name.
Thought there were only big bananas and small bananas. Can tell the difference between all nine different kinds of bananas.


If life is about progress, then I think my life in Peru throughout this year has been pretty grand.


1 comment:

  1. I just had to read this a second time, because I laughed a lot the first time :)