An Update from Peru

Hola Chicos!!

It has been so long!! I thought I would be blogging a lot here but I honestly just do not have the time any more. I spend my weeks working at a Spanish school called ASI, I am the marketing manager and manage the social events as well as the website, it has been a great and very challenging project so far. My first three months was spent writing texts and helping to build and design a new website for them, which you can see here (don’t forget to book a course while your browsing haha). It’s a great school where you can combine travel and learning Spanish by taking courses at our other schools in Ecuador and Cusco in Peru. You can even go travelling with a teacher to the Jungle, Andes or Galapagos islands where you can combine adventure with Spanish Classes. I really enjoy my work here, planning the social events is really fun too and our school is notorious for the BBQ’s. The students and employees all get involved and it feels like I have an ASI family here, you can find pictures of the crazy events on our Facebook page.

I really am so disconnected from what was once my reality, I feel like I have fully embraced life in Peru and I’m really enjoying it. I speak Basic Spanish now, I went travelling to Ecuador alone and managed fine which was a pleasant surprise. I say a lot of stuff wrong but I realised if I pretend I’m right people understand me haha. I am very much living in the now, I tend not to think about the future too much and just try to enjoy everyday. I live in a small seaside village, there really isn’t much to do here other then surf and go to restaurants. I spend most week-nights in my residence. I live with the most awesome people, I never thought it was possible to live in a house with 7 people who all really get on but they really are the perfect house-mates. We sit and talk every night on the rooftop or terrace and we just laugh the whole time. I had a friend come to visit me that I met in Ecuador who felt that it was just so much fun living in this house, he’s actually coming back for a month!

Weekends are always fun, usually we go out in the city or go travelling for the weekend. You can normally get overnight buses here for pretty cheap and there are great places nearby to see. You will see them in my pictures, I’ve compiled some of my highlights above for you.

On reflection, I learned to never underestimate people and living here just reaffirmed my beliefs, you don’t need a lot, you just need people who care in your life and the more you give the more you receive. Things are so clear here, they’re so simple because you don’t owe anybody anything, they are all strangers and for that reason everything you do for each other is so pure. I love that about travelling and its the reason I enjoy travelling alone. There are also times where I have been to places where I don’t connect with people but you learn to enjoy your own company and I think that is just as important. I was in the Andes for 4 days where I didn’t meet a single person but I loved it. I had time to just reflect and appreciate everything around me and of course many of you know my camera is my favourite companion haha. I think the key is to just appreciate everything, to never dwell on what you don’t have and to just embrace every experience.

Speaking of dwelling on what I don’t have…I’m gonna dwell for a second…I really miss my family and friends, yes I’m happy here but there isn’t a day where I don’t think of you guys or wish you were here. It really feels like you are all in another world and although I could easily spend another year or so in South America, I am sooooooo excited to see you all again! My Londoners, Dutch crew and my Dubaians, I love you and miss you all sooo much! I Skyped my mum the other day and all my family were having dinner together and I wished I could be there, and then I saw my beautiful grandma and it made me want to come home.

I suppose life is always a balance and as much as I feel really fulfilled here, I feel that something is missing and I suppose unless I can charter a plane for you guys it will always be that way…c’est la vie!

Sending you love and hugs

Zohra x

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Peruvian Patterns

I’ve been here in Peru for a month and have gone gaga over Peruvian stripes and prints. I really love the vibrant summery colours and contrasts. I went to an artisanal market in Monsefu and couldn’t get over how cheap it was. I got this weekend bag and coin purse which has a white leather back for less then £10!

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 The textures and colours are really interesting, even the sweetcorn has amazing colours and patterns. Here are some Peruvian textiles, prints and stones
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Peru So Far…

I arrived at 5am in Lima and rushed to get a taxi to the bus station (Taxi Green are recommended), as I sat in the taxi, the driver asked me to hide my bag under the seat in front. He said it was the law as there are many car-jacking’s and it prevents us from being targets. I quickly removed my earrings from the night before in Miami and I looked pretty rough from the flight so I wasn’t really worried  about anyone targeting me. I was offered an emergency exit seat on the plane before I knew the plane was like a hundred years old so I took it. Unbeknown to little old me, a freezing cold draught comes through the rickety door for the entire flight.

Anyways, I was greeted by beautiful warm Peruvian weather and I was SO happy to be warm. The driver asked me where I’m from and was very excited to know I was from London and proceeded to play me the Oliver Twist audio book which was strange but somehow comforting. “What is ‘Getcha!’ he always says I’m gonna Getcha, what is this word Getcha! Getcha!” I explained and he pulled the taxi over for me to write it down for him “I’m going to get you” I tried to tell him it’s an accent and not really a word but he insisted it be part of his growing English vocabulary which I thought would be pretty fun for the next Brits who took his cab! “Hello! I’m gonna GETCHA!”. Then he started talking about the movie and I had to tell him my bus was leaving soon so I couldn’t stay and chat even though he was lovely and very entertaining. Had I known I wouldn’t get to speak English for another 24 hours maybe I would have stayed to chat a couple more minutes as he was a cute old man but hey…you live and you learn.

I boarded the double-decker bus with blacked out windows, reclining seats and footrests which  was a dream after that plane journey. Cruz Del Sur was the name of the company, they made National Express look crappy and they are known to be the best bus company in Peru, I would highly recommend them. The stewardess on duty handed out blankets and pillows and as I unpacked mine I could smell baby powder, wow, scented blankets! I noticed there was Wi-Fi on board so I suppose the 13 and a half hour journey could have been worse. I Skyped friends and family on the way showing them my first glimpses of Peru and it was really cool! The driver for some reason chose not to drive over 50km per hour although he was allowed to do 90 so in fact it was a 15 hour journey. I watched Spanish films and took pictures of the beautiful changing landscapes. I thought it would feel really foreign but every new landscape seemed familiar, the coastal scenes looked like Cape Town, the desert looked like the UAE, the mountains and luscious green vegetation brought flashbacks of Uganda. Although I don’t speak a word of Spanish the lady next to me insisted on talking to me in Spanish every hour for the first 10 hours and then resorted to talking to herself. I just nodded and smiled and then pretended to sleep a lot, the stewardess didn’t speak a word of English either. I soon learned that nobody did. I was met by a driver in Chiclayo who was supposed to take me to my place of residence.

Around 11pm, we showed up at this house somewhere close to the beach and I could hear the waves. I was met by Alex, another local who didn’t speak English, he showed me to a room. I wasn’t sure at that point where I was as he couldn’t answer any questions. The room had an unusual number of mosquitoes so I asked if he had a spray but unfortunately he didn’t. It also had someone else’s things in it, I later learned a girl was moving out when I moved in and it was in fact my room.

I asked him for a key, pulled out my sleeping bag and fell asleep pretty much instantly but awoke every few minutes to the sound of mosquitoes screaming in my ears…I’m not kidding they were SO annoying. I woke up the next morning looking like Quasimodo. I’m allergic to mosquito bites, I slept with my sleeping bag over my head but I guess one of those little s**ts got in there with me and feasted on my face. I literally looked like I had been beaten up, bites on my eyelid, forehead, one under the other eye and a couple on my cheeks. I had about 30 bites on my body but at this point they were the least of my worries.

I had my first day of Spanish class and then first day of work in the afternoon…great first impression. I think everyone wants to be the cool kid on their first day, well I just looked stupid, I went in with massive sunglasses on and eventually took them off and apologized for my face to which everyone was like “oh I can’t see anything”. I wasn’t sure whether they were being polite or whether it was because they hadn’t seen me before so they just thought I looked like that but anyways, they said I could take the day off and rest if I wanted to. I met a girl called Robin who offered to come with me to Chiclayo and showed me where to get a mosquito net and I got every kind of mosquito killer available. Sprays, coils, plug-ins, swats and plenty of repellent, I was on a mission and I succeeded. My room has since been a mosquito free zone, I burn those coils like incense and do a daily spray before I leave for work. I cleaned every surface and wall with a mixture of bleach and Raid mosquito killer so they know not to chill on my walls and I purposely left one of their deceased friends on the windowsill to make them aware that they are not welcome here.

So far I am really enjoying my experience here, I am in a seaside town in the North of Peru completely untouched by tourists other than the students who come to the school. More then anything I love living by the water and the amazing sunsets everyday. You just live the Peruvian way which is pretty chilled, timing doesn’t mean a thing and there are little restaurants which are actually in people’s houses all over town. You get a really authentic homemade food experience and grub here is to die for. So far I haven’t had a single thing I don’t like, the chef at the school has this magic touch when she cooks and makes everything delicious. We have BBQ’s every fortnight which she prepares and no exaggeration it was the best BBQ I have ever had! I am learning Spanish for four hours every day and I guess because nobody speaks English outside of work you are forced to practice. I was really proud of myself yesterday, I took a trip to a market and managed to bargain in Spanish, obviously I learnt the necessities first lol (will blog about the little treasures I bought in the fashion section later).

I have so much more to tell you but you will have to wait till the next blog …

Ciao for now! xx