Thursday, September 3, 2015

Oxapampa and Pozuzo

It's a liiiitle late for this blog since I took this trip over a month ago. I actually was talking to Mervi (my travel buddy for this trip) while we were in Oxapampa about how ridiculously busy we would be immediately after getting back from this trip. Aaand we were right.

We opened our kids' center in the first week of July, and as with any new project we've been occupied with working out the kinks, and then being a little short of volunteers in August didn't help much either.

But now things are settling down and here's the blog post!

Wooden church in the Oxapampa main square (plaza de armas)

Inside the wooden church

The municipality building looking kinda like a Southern mansion

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Finding Japan in Perú

Japan and Peru have a hidden but deeply entwined relationship. Although it appears to be mostly one sided in that Japan does not harbor as many obvious links to Peru as Peru does to Japan, both countries reveal their connections.

If I were to spend more time in Japan now, I would love to explore Peruvian culture on Japanese soil. But there are a couple of instances that I recall even from before I had ever been to Peru.

I will always remember that the first time I learned the famous Peruvian song "Cariño" was from a Peruvian street performer in Nagoya, where a Peruvian one-man band was alternately playing the zampoña, quena, and singing to a pre-made soundtrack. My host mother loved him and bought his CD, which I added to my laptop music library. I loved that CD, and my favorite song was "愛人", meaning loved one. The lyrics were in Spanish, and I memorized the song. After my arrival, I realized you heard this song ALL OVER the country, and was very proud of my ability to sing it along with my Peruvian friends and acquaintances.

Besides the one-man band, I had run into several Peruvians throughout Nagoya, mostly who were selling goods at flea markets. I tried to make conversation with them in my then very halting Spanish, but I remember them being fairly reticent (maybe because of the language barrier?). Throughout my time on Honshu, I met a lot of South Americans who were working for car factories (mostly Honda, which is located in Nagoya). My university had a スペイン語クラブ, Spanish club, that I briefly attended that even had a Peruvian llama half my height that they brought out during the university festival, Nanzan-kai. Not sure how they got that llama :/

Giving the llama some love with Nanzan friends

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Road to Santiago

I found this cool song by Heather Dale called The Road to Santiago while starting this blog, check it out here :)

I fell in love with Santiago the moment I met Santiago.

The first aspects that hooked me were the immense wall of Andes mountains surrounding the city and the beautiful, art-filled, and clean downtown Santiago. But what made me truly enamored with the city was the wonderfully sweet and charming people, consistently excellent food and drinks, and depth of expression of culture (impromptu opera in the main plaza and the wealth of free and immensely creative art museums, galleries, and markets only scratch the surface). I was consistently surprised by Santiago, as I feel like I've gotten to the point where going to new places just reminds me of places I have already been. Santiago was an amalgamation of it's own culture and that of others I had never encountered before, which was ineffably refreshing. 

Santiago is a city of many cultures through which the Chilean culture still finds room to shine brightly; it is a city of people who have immense strength from having endured a dictatorship and torture while still being among the warmest and welcoming I have ever met.

On top of all of this, I felt very at home here as a Coloradan, with the mountains close to the city, the chilly fall air, and people dressed in sporty outfits, looking ready take a stroll in the mountains at any time.

I only spent 1 week in Santiago, but I immediately ranked it near the top of places I want to live someday. 

Here are my photos from the week in Santiago and its surrounding areas, just so you can see how beautiful Santiago is:

The beautiful, forested walkway - Parque Forestal - next to the river. It was fall :)
The river Mapocho running through Santiago
Chris & I at the overlook on top of St. Lucia hill with the Andes in the background

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pala Qu'ala

I'm on the theme of Lima day trips to the Andes lately.

Probably because the Andes are so pretty! And surprisingly close to Lima are beautiful, lesser known, verdant areas full of farmland and waterfalls. I love the fact that I live on the East side of Lima so close to the pretty part of the Limeñan Andes. 

This past weekend we went with a group of volunteers to San Jerónimo de Surco - also just called Surco - in the Huarochirí province to hike to the waterfall Pala Qu'ala (also spelled Palakala). The trip was pretty painless - go to Chosica (I describe the process of how to arrive there in my Markahuasi blog here) to Parque Echenique. At the Parque, you get off and immediately take a right on the road behind the plaza, which is where the buses going to Surco are located. These buses have a final destination at Matucana (also a pretty hiking spot), so they will have Matucana written on the side. It's S/3.50 one way to get to Surco.

When you get off at Surco, it's pretty apparent how to find the trail to Palakala. You walk straight down the road from where the bus drops you, and there should be a hut with tourist information where you pay an entrance fee next to the Municipalidad building. No one was manning the hut, so we went without paying the fee :/ but I believe it's super minimal, maybe S/2. The trail was easy to find, you just walk to the end of the road where the bus drops you off, hang a right, and keep walking till you see the sign pointing you to Palakala. From there, just follow the red arrows, they're pretty clear. 

Follow me!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Little Peru trips (Ayacucho)

Since I last wrote in February, I've mostly been working and hanging out in Lima, exploring various nooks & crannies of the city. But I've taken a few smaller trips to other parts of Peru too. 

The rest of February was mostly working and hanging out with Peruvian friends & volunteers, seeing parts of Lima like Huaca Pucllana (some pretty ruins in Miraflores) and going to a friend's birthday party.

Posing outside Erico's (which we lovingly call Carmen's for the woman who always takes our order) in Chaclacayo 

 Outside Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores

With some of the kiddos I teach library class to in Zone Z Los Alamos, Huaycán 

With some more of my kiddos after art class in Zone S - Linda (a participant) made this adorable piece of art with drawings of myself and one of the volunteers, Zach (whose name she adorably spells as "Isac") saying "The Light and Leadership Family" 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nearly 4 months in

Hello everyone :)

My lovely friend Thomas just reminded me that I have not blogged in a while, so let me give you a quick update on life here in Huaycán....