arisha: (Default)
Man I still miss Peru so bad, but I guess today I should be glad that my trip ended four months ago: Ecuador declares state of emergency amid 'coup attempt' and Peru has closed their part of the border! I had such good luck with my South American trip that I keep forgetting how unstable the situations in some of these countries are.
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
So some of you may recall how, upon my return from Japan, my co-workers all bombarded me with questions about my trip to China. I have not had quite so many people mistake my trip to Peru for a trip to somewhere else (and one of my co-workers has even come up with quite the epic story about how I spent some time in a Peruvian flute band), but I do have a manager who has yet to get it right. Before my trip, she believed I was heading to Chile (to do some post-earthquake work that I would've in no way been qualified for); the other night, she came up with this:

"What do you mean you haven't done anything summery? What about those two months you spent in Brasil?"

Oh yes, I remember now. The summer I spent in Brasil. Was that before or after the winter I spent in Peru?

Man, even convincing my co-workers that South American countries have winters has been an uphill battle. I know it goes against every depiction we ever see of these places, but is it really that hard to believe? Sorry I didn't come back all tanned, maybe you would be less dismayed if you actually believed me when I told you Lima is one of the cloudiest cities ever!

Oh, oh, I forgot to post about this one:

Co-worker: "So when you were in Peru, did you miss being able to go to the store?"
Sarah: "... Peru has stores."
Co-worker: "Yeah, but did you miss going to stores that had actual brand names?"

FOR THE LAST TIME, I WAS NOT LIVING IN THE BUSH!!!

I even ate Kraft Dinner while in Lima. Seriously. :|
arisha: (dlr space mountain)
So right now I am using my laptop for the first time after two months of using nothing but my dad's netbook, and I feel like oh my god this is the hugest computer I have ever used in my life.

Seriously was this thing built in the seventies I mean really. Why is it so HUGE!!!

Also, after two months I totally feel like that netbook is MINE, but after five months I still occasionally forget I even have a laptop. What do I have to do to attach myself to this thing!!!
arisha: (escaflowne merle)
Guys, the South American address systems I have encountered so far totally blow ours out of the water. From here:

Feeling a little bewildered by Quito's street-address system? ... Introduced in 1998, the capital's newer street-numbering system is prefixed by one of the following letters: N, indicating that the street is situated north (norte) of Calle Rocafuerte in Old Town; S, meaning south (sur) of Old Town; or E, indicating east (este) and OE, meaning west (oeste), depending on which side of 10 de Agosto the street is located. A hyphenated number follows, and then the name of the nearest cross-street or avenue. The first of these hyphenated numbers is actually the building number, while the second number indicates the number of meters the house or building is from the cross-street. For example, González Suárez N27-142 and 12 de Octubre. The building would be found on González Suárez street, north of Calle Rocafuerte. The building number is "27," and it is roughly 142m (466 ft.) from Avenida 12 de Octubre.

Neat!

I also like how in Lima, every block of every street is numbered, and the address of every building on that street will start with the same number. Like if your house is on block two of Arequipa, your address will start with "2." Seriously, what is up with our willy-nilly way of doing things?
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
Continuing the music meme from yesterday ...

Day 03 - A song that makes you sad

I tend not to listen to slower songs. I also tend to find songs much more emotional when the lyrics are sad but the music is cheerful. I know I've said this a million times, but I just love that sort of juxtaposition. So don't be surprised when you hit play on this track and are greeted by quite the danceable little tune - my choice for this entry is Shakira's "Timor."



I know the lyrics are more heavy-handed than they are clever, but this song still manages to mess with me. The chorus -

If we forget about them, don't worry
If they forget about us, then hurry
How about a people who don't matter anymore?


- just makes me think of how so many people in wealthier countries might know that there's poverty around them and there's poverty and tremendous issues going on in other countries, and yet they never seem to give any of that more than the briefest thought. And the way Shakira puts herself in the song ("'cause I'll keep selling records") makes me feel like everyone is a part of the problem, even if they're trying to help fix things. And it makes me think of how ubiquitous American media is, almost to the exclusion of local media, to the point where I can go to a twelve-screen movie theatre in Peru and every single movie they're playing will be in English. And I dunno, it just weirds me out so much. Plus the fact that this song is about East Timor - did I even know anything about East Timor before I loaded the Wikipedia page for this song?? I don't like that countries can go so completely unheard of, it just seems wrong.

... yep. That's my vague and incoherent rambling to end a very moodswingy and culture shocky day. :)
arisha: (reina tanaka heart)
Guys!!!

On May 21st!

I will be in Quito, Ecuador!

Visiting my sponsored child Michelle!! :D

I just decided I was doing this like, three days ago. xD I am nervous but excited!

Now back to stressing out about how this means I only have one weekend left in Lima and also should I fly back on the Sunday morning or risk it and fly back on the Monday morning and stress stress stress etc.!! xD

My housemates are being super supportive about this which is awesomesauce! But they also won't stop trying to convince me to accompany them on their trip to Huacachina this weekend. Huacachina seems nice and all, but I need one last weekend in Lima so that I can watch all the plays I haven't seen yet!! First up: "El Rapto de Perséfone"!!! Looking at the photo on that page I really feel like I have no idea what to expect, but man am I stoked!

(Also up this weekend is "Homenaje a Michael Jackson," which I put in parentheses because I understand it even less than the Persephone one. It's a play about a murder ... performed on a moving bus ... in Lima's crazy traffic ... and at the end there's an MJ tribute. I shall have to let you know how it goes.)
arisha: (potc2 lulz)
Oh man why don't I hang out in the Plaza de Armas more often - I was totally in Lima during a Backstreet Boys flashmob (well, okay, technically I don't think that that's a flashmob, but it's still awesome!) and I totally missed it!!
arisha: (koharu kusumi)
So today is day one of sharing my room, and I think it is going to be An Adjustment. Not helped any by the fact that I currently have a cold. Who goes to South America and gets a cold?!?!
arisha: (koharu kusumi)
So Versailles, a visual kei band, is performing in Lima in June, and this almost makes me wish I was staying longer! I don't think I've ever even heard any of their music, but who doesn't want to watch a J-rock concert in South America?? Seriously, how awesome is this!
arisha: (escaflowne merle freak out)
So yesterday I took a bag of dirty clothes to the local lavanderia to get them all nice and machine-washed, and this afternoon I went to pick them up and they were given back to me in a see-through bag. And that's the story of how everyone I passed on the way home saw my underwear.

Also, oh man I am way too excited to have machine-washed clothes once more. I am way too spoiled and incapable to wash my clothes by hand, let's get real here. ~_~

Also also, oh my god I can't believe I've been here for four weeks now. This week went by so fast (probably due to the fact that I spent half of it just lazing about), I really feel like I should still be telling people I've been here for three weeks. Aaaaugh, time, slow dooooown!!
arisha: (al is confused)
I am trying to decide whether I should do my best to save the money I currently have (which is pretty much only made up of my income tax refund, I confess I'm pretty broke), or blow it all on something that would be totally ridiculous but that I would totally love (and then try to hurriedly make it all back upon returning home, perhaps but hopefully not at the job I have no desire to return to, sigh).

In news of the TMI variety, I think my stomach has finally and all of a sudden figured out where it's been living for the past three weeks. For dinner tonight I think I shall have bread. Maybe two pieces, if I'm feeling bold. :|

Longer letter later!
arisha: (reina tanaka kanashiki koi)
So I have noticed something in this house that I think is very odd. I'm apparently the only person in recent memory whose Spanish has been good enough to go right into volunteering - most people arrive with no knowledge of Spanish, which is absurd to me because I mean, you're going to be living and working for two months in a Spanish-speaking country, and you didn't bother to learn anything before leaving home?? Anyway, so as a result of my skipping a grade, everyone praises my Spanish all the time. :| If they're talking about my reading/writing/listening, then I appreciate the compliment; if they're talking about my speaking, I disagree quite strongly!

To me, the weirdest thing about all this is that I get praised for my Spanish level, and then asked confused questions any time I am seen to be studying. I can be sitting at the dining room table writing out verb conjugations and everyone who lives here will walk by and say, "I don't know why you're studying, you already know everything!" One, I don't know everything; two, how do you think one comes to know everything? Once I was sitting there studying and one of my housemates, who is constantly frustrated with her Spanish, sat down with her textbook, flipped through it a bit, and then went off to do something else. Um, kay.

ALSO! Last night my coordinator and I decided to go to the movies. I said I wanted to see How to Train Your Dragon, and she replied with, "They're only showing it dubbed here," in a tone that implied I wouldn't want to see it if it wasn't in English. What the heck! Watching dubbed movies is my favourite way to study, and why would I come to a Spanish-speaking country if I only wanted to watch movies in English, and-- and-- I don't understand you people. :|
arisha: (escaflowne merle freak out)
Traffic in Lima is crazy, as I may have mentioned before, and, as a result, I've been stuck in more traffic jams in my two weeks here than I have been in the past two years in Victoria. Today at lunch we heard sirens and shouting coming from outside, and we all ran to the door to see an ambulance stuck in traffic, with no other cars moving to get out of its way, to the point where the men in the ambulance had actually started shouting at people to move for them. So that was kind of the least awesome thing ever.

In better news, I successfully took the bus by myself today! I shall have to write a post just about the buses here - they're crazy, too.
arisha: (escaflowne merle freak out)
After today there will be two days left in my orientation week and I am so excited for it to be over! I want to be able to DO stuff in the afternoons. Right now I'm sitting here waiting for my volunteer coordinator to finish her conference call so that we can do more orientation, aughhhh. I knew that being in Lima for a week already would mess up my orientation a bit, but I didn't know it would make me so bored~~~ ;_; I've already done most of the stuff that orientation week usually includes, so pretty much it's been "Okay let's go for a random walk!" which is cool but not for an entire week! D:

Also, one of my housemates just got home from his placement, ran to the bathroom, and emerged ten minutes later with the announcement, "I have to stop eating sandwiches I buy on the street!" This is so TMI that I am sharing it with you and you can thank me for it later.

Also I have the SNIFFLES and I woke up too late to take a shower and so all in all today has not been my favourite day in Peru. :| Although lunch today was some noodle thing which was really good. And also "salad," because Peruvian salad is apparently radish slices in a lemon and vinegar sauce, wut.

Okay I guess I'll go get my bar of laundry soap and do some laundry while I wait, sigh.

ALSO I wasn't paying attention this morning and totally ran my toothbrush under tap water, adhlghdajghakhgd;ajgh;lahaw;lkg!!!
arisha: (koharu kusumi)
So on Saturday night one of the other volunteers and I were sharing our favourite J-pop songs with each other (thanks to him I woke up the next morning with "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana" stuck in my head, ugh), and almost by accident I had him listen to "Energetic," off BoA's English album, and anyway I am currently sitting up here in my room studying Spanish and guess what song I can hear playing at top volume downstairs. xD

SEE I TOLD YOU GUYS IT'S AN AWESOME ALBUM~~~~!!!

Edit: So last night we had Easter dinner, which I wasn't too terribly involved in, but as I understand it was a big production requiring the purchase of several new utensils, including a potato masher. However, the volunteer who went to fetch it didn't realize he didn't have the necessary vocabulary until after he arrived at the store. So he found himself in conversation with a store employee, saying: "I need something that can transform potatoes from a solid state to a liquid state."

"What, you mean like potato juice?"

"Um, no, more solid than that ..."

In typing this out I realize it doesn't really work as a written story, but oh my god when he was telling us about this last night we were crying. >xD
arisha: (yurina looks down on you)
Spanish teacher: [talking about the time she slipped on the front steps] "Yeah, that happened on the day when it rained."

Volunteer coordinator: "Did you guys hear that? She just referred to a day in January as 'the day when it rained.'"

Oh Lima, you and your crazy rainless weather. xD

I was going to take some time today to do a big recap-of-the-last-ten-days post, but then today was so full I didn't have time! I didn't even leave the house but there was still plenty to keep me occupied, including the Spanish teacher's son, who is the most energetic four-year-old I have ever met in my life. It kind of pains me that when I was little I was always frustrated by the way adults just sat around talking instead of playing with me ... and now I have become one of those adults. But after an hour of chasing this kid around the kitchen table / hiding toys so he could hunt for them / turning the shapes he drew on the whiteboard into robots / asking where places were on the map (and being told that Brazil is where penguins live, omg adorable) / lifting him up because that is apparently the most hilarious thing ever, ET CETERA, oh my goodness I was tired. He managed to tire all of us volunteers out, to the point where we were being a bit mean just so that he'd let us sit for a few minutes. "I'm sorry," said one of the volunteers, "but we only play with kids who speak English." Harsh! But as a result, said four-year-old sat down, thought very seriously for a moment, announced, "'Niño' is 'boy.' 'Niña' is 'girl.' That's all!" then jumped up and ran off again. omg adorable!! And he gave us each a big kiss when he left. <3 <3 As you might be able to tell, this was pretty much the highlight of my trip so far, lol. I love kids, I hope he comes to visit lots although it might test my sanity a bit. xD

Anyway, I have Spanish class bright and early in the morning, so - bed!

Also the sunburn on my neck is peeling and I have several bug bites on my legs. Fun!
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
How rude of me to not update for so long, especially when my last entry was "omg why am I doing this"! xD I admit I have not been paying any attention at all to LJ or my friendlist, so feel free to direct my attention to posts you'd like me to see. (lol, I think I'm flattering myself. x) )

Anyway! Come midnight tonight I will have been in Lima, Peru for one whole week! There have been some ups and downs of course but overall I am enjoying it. :) I got used to the crazy noisy traffic after the first day, same with not drinking the water (although it is a bit of a pain), but not throwing any paper in the toilet is taking a bit longer, TMI~. I shall have to do a longer letter later that recaps my trip so far a bit better than all this. So far I've just been seeing the sights with my dad; he left about an hour ago to kill some time before his flight home, and now I'm sitting in the volunteer house, glad I don't have to share a computer anymore! lol x) I really have no idea what I'm going to be doing this weekend, especially with it being Easter weekend and everything being closed, but bright and early Monday morning I begin my month of (much needed :| ) Spanish lessons, and then after that I get my month of volunteering. I'm feeling a little awkward right now but hopefully I'll adjust soon and all will be well.

This is a totally useless entry, apologies! I'll try to update more regularly from here on.

OH, ALSO: One of the volunteers here is from Ontario, but he went to the same university I did, graduated the same year I did, and even took Japanese classes there, although as far as we can figure we were never in the same ones. CRAZY!!
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
We leave at five in the morning tomorrow, making today my last day in Canada. I opened my bedroom door this morning to find a box of Timbits sitting in the hall. <3 I was hoping to do/eat something distinctly Canadian before I left, I guess this will do. xD

I also kind of feel right now like I have no idea why I'm leaving my awesomesauce country to live for two months in a country where I don't know anybody and you can't even drink the water, etc. Hopefully this feeling goes away soon or the next couple days are going to be pretty heinous.
arisha: (myrna loy is awesome)
So my dad sometimes goes on this local TV show where a host and several guests (usually people in the media) sit around talking about issues in the news. Having noticed that women are only invited onto the show about 10% of the time, and the only non-white guest is invited on maybe once a year, my dad developed a habit of looking around at the others just before filming begins and announcing, "Well, I'm glad we're representing the full diversity of the community - from middle-aged white male to middle-aged white male." So he thinks it's his fault that they recently hired a second host, who is younger than middle-aged (although he's still white and male) ... and of course my dad hates him. haha! Apparently this new host comes from the Stephen Colbert school of interviewers, twisting your words around in a desperate attempt to make it sound like you're arguing in favour of something horrible. Keep trying, Dad! ^^;

I realize that lately I haven't been posting at all about what's actually going on in my life, lol. Yesterday my manager asked me how many shifts I want in the upcoming weeks and I had to remind him that I'm leaving in eight days! (Those of you who remember the fiasco surrounding my JLPT weekend may come to the conclusion that this is kind of in-character for him, haha. I really like him when he's not making a mess of my schedule!) I'm nervous of course, and still kind of panicked about getting everything done before I go, but I've also started getting really excited. :) I've just returned from one last doctor's appointment, I'm done all my shots and oral vaccines, I guess now I mainly just have to finish packing and finish writing our itinerary for the first week. I got my volunteer placement a little while ago - I'm going to be working in a daycare that's run by SOS Children's Villages, which is actually a child sponsorship organization! (You might have seen their TV commercials starring Mike Holmes.) So that should be interesting, and hopefully enjoyable. I always wish I could hang out with kids more often so I guess here's my chance! :) [livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron told me last night that she thinks I'm going to return home speaking little kid Spanish, lol! Maybe! xD

Anyway, I'm off to bombard my volunteer coordinator with some more annoying questions. xD
arisha: (tdr mount prometheus)
We interrupt this program to bring you THE PERU POST! )

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July 2015

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