Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PUCP - La Católica

The university I attended in Lima was awesome.

I attended Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) or simply "La Católica" which is easily one of the best universities in Peru. I didn't actually know much about my university until I got to Peru; I was too excited about speaking Spanish, traveling, making friends, and adventure. Regardless, it was incredible.

Thus, I have to give a shout out post to "la Cato" because I am so thankful for the education I received there. I took three classes: a Peruvian history class, a contemporary Hispanic literature class, and a linguistic analysis class. Linguistic analysis blew my mind. My professor was too cool for class formality or for assignments. Class time and homework consisted of "chewing on" problematic sentences and the abstract concept of language. Furthermore, all he did outside of class was stroll around campus and think up new linguistic theories. That is my theory. He wrote his thesis under Noam Chomsky at MIT (but of course he never said anything about it, my friends and I looked him up on Wikapedia – we were a little obsessed) and once took a week off to present at Harvard. Beyond all that, he was simply a really cool dude and he taught me to think more about language: fascinating, living, and powerful.

PUCP breakdown (what's it like?):
- 20,000 students
- 50 areas of study.
- Big beautiful campus
- Enclosed by a security wall with security at the entrances (common for most universities).
- Deer live on campus - a signature of La Catolica
- Class grades come from quizzes on reading (there was a lot of reading but little homework) and the midterm and final tests which were pure essay, like a "blue book" test in the USA.
- Students don't live on campus, residence halls don't exist
- Universities are very academic driven, there aren't many clubs or organizations to join
- I totally knew where all the good snack/pastry stands were on campus and lunch food was cheap, plentiful, healthy, and delicious in comparison to ours.


So that is my shout out to La Católica. I L-O-V-E-D it, and I hope to go back someday /// Maybe I'll be the one teaching then...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Senior Year Experience

Here's to the winds that blow
And the ships that go
And the girl who fears no danger.
- Catherine Campbell

I am in a class this semester called "Senior Year Experience."

The class is funny, extremely relevant with a funny name.

But the name helps me title this blog entry.

For the present, I am "experiencing" one of the best semesters of my life, which made living here again way easier – Srsly. All my friends are visionaries, or maybe just a bunch of college kids with alive hearts who actually do something about their convictions. And they pray with passion. I dig.

Even still, this blog is dedicated to Peru, and it always will be because going there was the end, the middle, and the beginning of me and my destiny. Ask me about it, I will tell you a story...

Every day I think about Peru, that has never changed since the day I left. But the way I have been remembering has. Recently it has been small thoughts and triggered memories. The moments play in my head like a film or a picture fades in and out. These are what I want to record, because moments make up our life–

and because there were some cross-cultural experiences that are too
to be forgotten. Even now there are things that happened that I couldn't explain, I don't understand them myself, but I can record them. Muhahaha...

Experiences/Moments/Thoughts that have run through my head lately:

1. Piropos: A piropo is kind of like a pick up line, but at the same time it is entirely different, because it doesn't really exist in the U.S.A, not like in Peru. A piropo is a flirtatious remark, usually made about appearance, and almost always said by a male to a female. It can be defined anywhere on the scale from cat calling by a driver to a woman on the street to good friends telling you your eyes are so beautiful. I was sitting in class last week and my professor said the author was making a piropo towards a woman that he thought was beautiful. "Amalia, there was no comparison to this woman, this book is for her..." She asked the class if we knew what a piropo was, and I began to smile and laugh on the inside. When I first went to Peru, I was annoyed by the cat calls when walking down the street, and I definitely wasn't used to my friends commenting on my appearance frequently. I didn't like it. I didn't know their intentions, and I was like, that's inappropriate, but eventually I knew my friends hearts and really appreciated their encouragements. They genuinely wanted us to know our hair looked nice, or we had pretty eyes, etc. And beyond that, it is a cultural activity that has history and all kinds of implications behind it. To think about it now, r to explain it here would be difficult. But there you have it: piropo. "You look like Uma Thurman..."

2. Dogs and their doo: Today I was walking to my car (more like sloshing to my car) and there was dog poo right on the sidewalk. "Gross," I thought as I walked around it. Then an image of my daily walk to the bus in Lima flashed in my mind. There was always dog shiz on the sidewalk. I never really figured out why either, besides the fact that it's an urban city, and there aren't many grass patches. Maybe other metropolises like NYC are the same way, I am not sure, but dogs just went where they deemed worthy in my neighborhood.

3. Stuff: We have excessive amounts of stuff in the USA. I am reminded all the time. For example, in our kitchen in Lima there was a small, very small (like smaller than a Target bag small) garbage bag. That was all that was necessary, because they don't buy all the packaged processed stuff that we do, nor in the amount that we do. They buy more frequently, and everything is more fresh. Here we have a huge garbage can that needs to be changed at least twice a week. That is just an example of the difference of stuff in the kitchen. We have too much stuff in the U.S.A.

4. Mangos: Every time I see a mango here I am like, daaaaaaang. I think of Kody eating a mango in my sister's boyfriend's grandma's beach house south of Lima and me watching him, excited for his first bite of heaven. on. earth. Mangos are so delicious, juicy, and sweet in Peru. I will never be able to eat a mango the same way, in fact I am nervous to try up here in the states :S

5. The sea: I remember the sea a lot because I have this sea fetish going for me right now, I blame, Stephen Crane, and the Psalms for continuously fueling it... and my new thing with looking at all ocean related art and dreaming dreamy things about the sea and the wind. The image that comes to mind frequently is a day at the beach in Chorillos sitting with my friend Willy and letting sand pass through my fingers as the waves crashed in crashed in crashed in. Why? That day, the Lima fog had returned and the ocean was wild and gray and white and dark and deep. I feel as if the ocean, in all its swirling and crashing, embodied the word "depth" and all its meaning in those last few days and beyond to eternity. This image of the dark ocean always comes back because everything before, during, and after Peru seems to be a grandeur adventure, and the ocean beckons such thoughts. That is how I remember the sea.

6. Back to sidewalks... I also thought of this today. The sidewalks of Lima are so shiny and slippery. Sidewalks here are gritty and full of traction, which I am thankful for because I would lie if I said I hadn't embarrassed myself more than once on the slippery garúa sidewalks there.

7. Please, can I just have rice and fresh fruit juice with every meal again, ready and waiting for me? Srsly. On the other hand, I am thankful for an abundance of milk and green vegetables again, both rare in Lima.

8. My hair: It was curlier in Lima, why? Humidity all year round.

9. Facebook: I think social networking is so interesting, if you haven't realized it yet, our world will never be the same because of it. I have been thinking about this because I am in Ethics in the Information Age, and because I just finished watching the Social Network (great movie). But the main thought for me right now is the idea of lives: First of all, Peruvians are really into their Facebook. I am not sure who would win out between the U.S or Peru with Facebook usage and the importance it plays in one's social life. Second of all, when I returned I realized I could live my life of Peru through Facebook. It's kind of strange, it became slightly unhealthy after a month or so, then it balanced out. This brings me to my third thought: one can live, create, or relive a life, any life, online. Odd, yet addicting. What are the consequences of this? Sorry to be doomsday, I love the internet, but I am reading the book Devices of the Soul by Steve Talbott. It's a good read and asks questions we should be asking.

10. Sidewalks again: So one time, Haley, Shelly, and I were walking to the bus for school and we encountered a man face down in the grass. He seemed to be dead, I mean he was totally passed out and I wouldn't say that was uncommon, but the funny-now-but-not-so-funny-at-the-time part is that he was laying on top of a huge sword. So, to sum up the situation, we strolled by a very drunk man with a massive sword beneath him at 9:15am on a Thursday morning. Haley and I told the neighborhood security around the corner and kept going for class.

11. Simpático(/a): For all of you Spanish majors out there - "simpático/a" does not mean nice in Peru, it means good looking. Watch how you use it.

12. Aaaaand sidewalks again before I fall asleep... I loved running along Avenida Salaverry. It was always an adventure. There was a running path with trees around it that ran in the middle of the major avenue. If I ran west it took me right to the malecon that overlooked the ocean. Traffic and cat-calling sometimes made me nervous, but I never had a boring run. The smog of the city made it hard to breath, but once I was running along the coast, everything was beautiful and free.

There are so many more "pictures" and "thoughts" rolling in. My goal is to record them as they come...

Hablamos luego!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Part of My Heart

The best part of Peru were the beautiful people I met. They were part of everything, and now, they make up a whole new part of my heart. This post is dedicated to them.

It is something totally different, to come back from studying abroad. In the words of a friend, "it's like a part of you is missing." She told me that when I first got back to the states; I couldn't have agreed more (the first 2 weeks were awful). It is a whole other world, a whole new part of my heart, and it is difficult to explain.

But now I have been home for over 2 weeks. I have started to feel happy again, remembering why I love being here. My love for the USA and for everyone here goes so deep, but that is for a different post.

Every day I feel Peru, some aspect of it, deeply. Every day the Peruvian part of my heart is felt in so many ways: I feel the warmth of the people, I feel joy to remember and I smile, I feel longing, I feel sadness, I feel the tears at night when I think of the children in the jungle, I laugh, I feel gratitude- a THANK YOU! to God, I feel family there, I have questions. I feel all these things because I am not where I have just been. To have lived deeply in one place and then to leave it suddenly, I feel this and it is a worthwhile challenge. Above all, it is because I experienced it. My time there – though it was for but a moment – touched me, created a new world inside of me, and will be in me always. This is part of my story. It happened, and it is part of me now. My life was so enriched by everything and everyone there in Peru.

I want to dedicate some words and pictures to my Peruvian family and friends in this post. These people opened up their hearts to strangers like us, knowing that we would eventually leave. Warm hearted and relational, they always wanted to help us and wanted us to be happy. Peru has unparalleled beauty in its make, but even more so in its people. I believe that nations have destinies, hence I believe Peru has great destiny in regards to herslef, South America, and the world. I believe in her and I pray for her.

So here is to you, Peru. Here are my words to the people that are Peru.

Mi familia:
While in Lima, I lived with a family in a beautiful neighborhood. I had a housemate from CO named Haley. She will be one of my lifelong friends. We shared so many great experiences with our family. They showed us the culture through food and language, opened up their family to us, and they were the ones who shared the most about the Terrorism Age of the late 80's early 90's in Peru. They were so good to me and so I want to write a little bit about each one.

My mom Nancy is a beauty, I mean literally, she could be a model! She encompassed the gentleness of motherhood with her kind and nurturing ways. While we were there, her first grandchild was born and she loved being with him and holding him. I remember I was crying in the kitchen once, and she just embraced me, using the words that a mother knows to comfort me. Also, Nancy loved to give to those in need. Finally, she is such an amazing COOK! I loved her fresh strawberry juices and food from her garden on the roof. My favorite memories with her were simply sitting at the kitchen table at night, talking and laughing after supper was over and going parasailing with her - I love seeing the wild streak in people! That was fun. She is one incredible mother.

My dad Carlos Miguel is hilarious. I felt that we had a special bond, like a real daughter and father. He would always joke with me and teased me about my LOVE of picarones (a delicious Peruvian postre). Sometimes at the supper table he would go on rants about his thoughts and philosophies on life. I think he should be a professor, and Nancy told me he would have loved to be one. My favorite memories with him were simply joking around the house, I loved that.

My sister Ketty is super cool. She is in her later 20's and has an awesome boyfriend. She always had a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye, was so friendly and chatty, and was always up for a good time. My favorite memory with her was spending a night in her boyfriend's family's cabin on the beach. Kody, me, Haley, Cesar, Ketty, and Alfredo (her bf) stayed there talking and laughing. We also walked along the beautiful beach at night. It was so much fun.

My sister Karla is so beautiful. She is also in her late 20's and is very smart. She is multilingual and has a killer job doing smart things with a huge company and computer science. She is a very sweet and gentle soul. She reminds me so much of Nancy :)

The Arimborgos: This is the family I met in Iquitos, and it feels like we are family now. I stayed with Israel and Jennifer and their kids, it's like they're family now. Tammy, their sister, took me all around Iquitos and down the river just for fun. We had some great talks. The Arimborgo's are such beautiful people and they are doing so much for God, Love, children, youth, and adults out in the jungle through their lives, two schools, and church. The weekend I spent with them Iquitos is easily one of the best weekends I had during my time in Peru. Shout out to them!

Mis amigos: Peruvians are such fun loving people. They are quick to tease and laugh. They are also hard working (the ones I know). I made some good friends down there and I want to give a shout out to Hugo (such a sweetheart), Pablo (crazy and fun loving), Christian (fun!), Martin (my beloved cousin!) and so many others. Also, I wanted to dedicate some blog to some of these people who touched my heart for always:

Joel: Joel was like the dad of our PUCP - ISA group (PUCP- my university ISA- my study abroad program) He is one of the most gregarious and kind people I have ever met. He took us around town multiple times and genuinely cared for each one of us. I have three memories that stick out the most when I think of Joel.
  1. I was having a bad day when I ran into Joel on campus. Just his persona made me smile, but later he saw me sitting on a bench with 2 ISA friends and gave me a chocolate candy and ran off. It made my day.
  2. This one also involves food: One day I ran into Joel on campus and immediately he asked me where I was going and told me he would accompany me even though he had 20 things to do (like always). He told me to go to the café on campus and he would meet me there. He came and chatted with me, so genuine as always, and then left me to study for my big test. He had bought a cookie to eat but then gave it to me, telling me to save it for after the exam and text him when I was done so he could celebrate with me in spirit (which I did, it was awesome).
  3. Of the many memories, I will not forget chicken dancing, singing, and doing other silly things with him in all parts of Lima. He has such a great voice and is such a fun person. I loved sharing those moments with him!
Carlos (and Bart): I also met Carlos and Bart at PUCP, and I have so much love for these two goofballs. Carlos was like my brother, always teasing me. He also was a kind of ISA dad to all of us. I would miss him on the days when I didn't eat lunch with him and Bart (other amigo). Bart is a really kind hearted guy. We would always talk about faith. When I did eat lunch with them, they would usually drive me crazy, (especially Carlos and he knew it), but all the more, I love them! Here are my three favorite memories with Carlos and the gang:
  1. Carlos, Bart, and another friend came to watch us all run the 10K in Lima. They made us a sign and hung out with us after. I remember being dead tired, almost at the finish, and hearing "VAMOS MEGAN y LINDSEY!" only to look over and see CARLOS and BART! That is exactly something my real brother would do. Loved it.
  2. Going to Bart's soccer games with Carlos, David, and the girls. Laughter and teasing always ensued.
  3. Carlos and Bart came to see me off at the airport, Carlos being dad-like and Bart being his kind self. They came to bring me a gift and say goodbye. It was hard but their teasing made the night. Good times amigos, good times.
Cesar: Cesar was always at our house because him and Haley, my house mate, were super close. Us three had a special bond, and we experienced a lot together. Cesar is really laid back and goofy, at times a little reckless. He has a heart of gold and was always watching out for Haley and me. I have so many good memories with him but here are my top three:
  1. Spending the day with Cesar, Haley, and Kody traveling to 3 different beaches south of Lima. We hit the road, not exactly sure what we were doing, and had ceviche, Inka Cola, photos, laughter, and great memories at the end of it all. Cesar was so welcoming to Kody, they became good friends.
  2. Traveling to and from Mancora with Cesar and Haley. This was one huge adventure because again we had to wing it, but Cesar was always tranquilo/calm. He loved the adventure of not always knowing what would happen, him and I shared that (poor Haley) He always had a crazy idea or something funny to say, even after Haley and I got our ipods stolen (hahahaha its funny to me now)
  3. Spending my last days with him and Haley, going to the zoo then Help at night. I just LOVE these two people. They both have hearts of gold, and are very dear to me.
Willy: To put it simply, Willy is "lo maximo" – he was my adventure buddy and best Peruvian friend; I am forever grateful for everything he showed me while I was there and he holds a very special place in my heart. Also, I feel I need to write it, but I think he is going to do something really special for his country. Just a bit about Wilfred: he is very proud of his country, a visionary, smart, super competitive, super helpful, and wanted to show us the best Lima had to offer. He always answered my extensive questions about Peruvian culture and always made me laugh in the process. I understand much more because of him. Here are my top three memories with Willy:
  1. Shelly, Willy and I had plans to chill out on a Monday night and it ended up being a huge adventure (normal para nosotros). We went to Pascuale Hnos, which is a delicious sandwich place owned by the famous Peruvian chef, Gaston. Of course we had to be silly and dare each other to eat ahí (spicy sauce). After we began walking all over Miraflores where again, another competition started like this: If I drank from a nasty fountain, Willy had to too, and Shelly would document (kind of like a referee). We spent the night doing dares, laughing, taking pictures, and all the while having mini lessons about Peru. It was the first night that I felt like my true self, doing dumb things and experiencing Lima in a very special way.
  2. Jam Session Night: Cesar, Haley, Shelly, Willy, and I spent the night jamming, singing, and recording music. This was 3 nights before I left. All of our inside jokes were in full swing, all the memories in the music were being saved for all of time, and it was so special and perfect to do it with my closest friends. Willy and I recorded "Good Riddance" and it is something I will always carry with me. Music is the best way to spend time and end time with good friends.
  3. Help: The second to last day in Lima was a beautiful day. Willy showed me the end of Lima's coastline in Chorillos. The day was foggy and the ocean subtly raged. There is a cross high up on a hill at the end of the city's coastline, a trademark of Lima, and I wanted to see it before I left. Beyond and behind that final visible frontier of the coast is a small bay, if you will. There is a restaurant that sits on broken up cliffs in which the ocean crashes up against. We explored the area and then walked the Chorillos coastline. It was like the exclamation point to the adventure of Lima, and perfectly so with Willy because he was my adventure buddy. I had finally seen the whole coastline, and I felt like I knew Lima (meaning there was a fullness to that journey, a knowing of Lima in a more intimate sense, seeing its beauty and everything it is and could be and knowing it from the heart. This is what I mean. There is a whole side of Lima, the outskirts, squatter villages, and certain neighborhoods that I don't know at all, in fact its an entire world I have never experienced.) I returned home and got ready for that final night. All of us (everyone- ISA kids, Peruvian friends, EVERYONE) met up at a venue called Help! It was a tribute to the Beatles night so a band was playing all Beatles covers. I can't explain the feelings that flowed that night, but I got to tell everyone how much I loved them. It was like writing the whole story on my heart with each person I talked to. It was such a profound night. Willy was the last person I talked too, and it was really special as we talked about the whole experience in Peru. I will never forget that night.
In the end, I still have more to blog about, but this one is very dear to me. I am back in the States, but there are still so many things I would like to say, but these people will always live on in my heart. And I thank God for putting them in my path. I look forward to seeing them all again someday. (yay for skype!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mi Poesía :)

Que puedo decir?
Que cosa?
Peru, hay posibilidades en todos lados.
La historia es escrita en las almas, pequeñas y simples, y es escondida en los sueños, luces que iluminan el paisaje para ti.
Pero para mi, hay 2 sueños.
Y para mi, donde esta el sueño?
Peru, mi hermano, no voy a olvidarte.
Tu historia, tu canción.
Estas a dentro, has sido así del principio.
Que todo pasa por una razón.
Y así es la despedida
Hasta Luego, Solo Hasta Luego.

So I have and haven't forsaken this blog. I have big plans to have a massive blogging party and post pictures of two trips, my thoughts on Peru now, and my life in LIMA!

I would like to share some leeeetle nuggets of some things that I love as well as some things I have been up too in and around this big, crazy, problematic, lovely, profound, historical, full of memories city, that is Lima that I love.

Fotos: Inka Cola (my life blood and the most refreshing soda EVER), went parasailing with my family of the coast of Lima, Kody came and visited and we went to the beaches south, I always go on random city adventures with Haley (my lovely roommate) and we found this random military war hero park with that cue little fountain, and finally, PICARONES, my favorite desert here: fried dough with syrup piping hot off the street (kind of like fritters)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Call of the Secret Place

This is something I was going to post in my facebook status. But it was too long, and it is personal to me, and so I want it to be documented here:

Ps 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I have enjoyed, experienced, been pierced by, fought with, struggled in, at times avoided, been disarmed in, been freed in, given enlightenment in, and been swept away once again by saying "yes" to God in the secret place: in my personal times of prayer with the God of the Universe, Jesus the lover of our souls and friend, and Holy Spirit, the comforter, helper, and guide. It is the place where man can be disarmed from inner battles or offense of any kind and receive and just be held in the intimate place of God. It is the place where man can gaze on the face of the One who dreamt about us, created us, loves us, and enjoys us. It is a very special place for me, and for many, now and throughout history.

I just want to post this, because even though there is so much I have gotten to see and do here, this still remains the most important activity and place to me, even when I feel I neglect it, it still is always in my heart and my mind. My heart is pierced by this calling of intimacy with God and I thank God for that, because the Secret Place always calls me back, it always finds me, and when I sit in my room and sit, pray, and wait, I find it too, because I find Him.

Anyone can find Him, when they seek Him with all their heart.

Blessings on you and your day

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Junín Trip - Day 3 & 4 - Tirol Waterfall in San Ramon & La Florida in Tarma

The 3rd day and the 4th day (just the morning) in Junín were spent in many places of the region doing many things. These two days were my favorite of the trip.

Top 5 reasons why they rocked:

  1. We went to las cataratas Tirol (Tirol waterfall) in the selva (rainforest). Junín includes the most western part of the jungle. Deep ravines with rich green vegetation and heat characterize this area. While we hiked to the waterfall, I ate the most delicious freezy pop of my life. It was made from fresh pineapple! When we got to the waterfall we played at the base and ran under the pouring water to stand behind the waterfall. It was so much fun.

  1. I had the best jungle lunch of my life. It was fried chicken, but in long strips (I am not sure which part of the chicken it was.) Completing the dish was rice and a whole fried banana. Fried bananas are delicious.

  1. I felt hot summer weather again complete with sunshine. Lima is in its winter time, and there is always a “London Fog” over the city. Enough said.

  1. The last two nights and the last morning were spent in Tarma, “The Pearl of the Andes,” with its eternal spring weather.

  1. We stayed at “La Florida” in Tarma, a 200+ year old hacienda converted into a ecolodge/hotel complete with cows to be milked, barn yard animals to be fed, three friendly dogs, and a secret garden. The rustic Spanish styled rooms and the beautiful German family that owns the place won my heart over. It also won my stomach over because for breakfast I had the most delicious homemade bread, honey, and jam of my life.

All of my pictures are from “La Florida”, the 200-year-old hacienda converted into an ecolodge mentioned above. The place was rustic and charming. I arose early before we left Monday morning to explore the gardens. It was as if they were straight from a Jane Austin novel; one garden was for leisure and the other grew all the fruits and vegetables used to make breakfast, lunch, and supper. The last morning at sunrise, it was just me and the three farm dogs in that enchanting place. Afterwards, I milked a cow (very cool) and fed a horse. I highly recommend “La Florida” to anyone who visits Tarma! I tried to narrow down my pictures of the beautiful place but still had many to show!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Junín Trip - Day 2 - Huataypallana

The second day of the Junín trip was spent on the mountain of Huatyapallana.

I am going to try to describe this experience with the best descriptive vocabulary the English language has to offer, because it was a very colorful experience, like a bowl of potpourri-sentiments that together make the aroma that was Huatyapallana.

We arose early, at 5am, to take a bus ride up the mountain to Huatyapallana. The ride up was very jerky because of all the rocks. Dust creeped in on all sides, so much so that I had to use my scarf to cover my mouth. When we reached the site where the buses park and the hike starts, I had to use the bathroom. It was a wooden stall, in public view with merely a hole in the ground. That was alright; I had my kleenex and anti-bacterial hand gel ready to go! ***Note to those who travel: always bring these two items everywhere. Toilet paper is often a luxury in public restrooms, as is soap and sometimes running water.***

We began the trail, which was a beautiful walk with slight rises and falls. Soon, a waterfall from one of the many glacier lakes came into view. The first part of the hike was breath taking, the kind of sights reserved for post cards. I saw at least four glacier lakes on the way up, each one more blue than the one before. I was ready for prancing Bambi’s to show up everywhere. But that was the furthest thing from what came next (if you really want to know I saw one cow the whole time, but back to the story).

The whole hike took about 6 hours for me, here is the beginning of my journal entry of that day:

“Yesterday was hilarious, and this is the story” (at the time is was far from funny, but here is the story of the last 3.5 hours of the hike)

I began to feel the strange sensation of quickening heart beats, short and shallow breaths, and lead filled legs. It only meant one thing in the rugged Andes: altitude sickness. The steep inclines that were after the glacier lakes began just as altitude sickness was taking out people in my group one by one, kind of like an Agatha Christie book. Anyways, I took my sweet time up the mountain, taking pictures and joking with my friends. I was in no hurry, especially when I could see the glacier top in front of me the whole time. It didn’t seem far, nevertheless, I began to use cookies to motivate myself and some other girls up the mountain. “If we make it to the third rock up, yes the giant one that looks like an old man, then we can all have a cookie break...” In this manner we slowly crawled up the mountain.

The issue with the hike was that the guides never really guided us, and we never really knew where we were at, how far we had to go, or how strenuous the hike would become after each phase. I was in one of the last groups, and when I saw the glacier, with little specs on top (other climbers) I thought it only was a little further. The guide then told us it was another hour to even get to the glacier, much less the top. My group was very exhausted with many sick, so we took a nap on the side of the mountain. I was very down about that fact that I wasn’t physically able to make it to the top, but in retrospect, I fully enjoyed my time resting under the face of that majestic glacier peak. I wouldn’t trade my time enjoying the beautiful surroundings with great people.

The descent down was the most rugged part of the trail, something we were not warned about. It was down hill, up hill, and sideways with loose stones and dirt. As I was slowly making my way down, just waiting for SOME sight of the end, I heard a stampede coming from behind. I really thought it was a pack of animals, but nope!, it was just the Andean children on a field trip. They hiked the whole mountain in half the time and ran (I am not joking) down the whole descent like little gazelles. I figured if they could do it, I would try, against my better judgement. It went surprisingly well, you just can’t stop until you reach a landing or else you’ll die.

The happiest point was when I saw the buses (a far way away). Then, to add a cherry on top of being done with the exhausting hike, there was a pack of llamas grazing at the end of the trail. Oh, how we bonded! I just love llamas.

The ride down was silent because everyone was wiped out, sick, or angry. It was such a funny experience after it had happened, because of the lack of communication, the insane trail that we had to climb, and the intense altitude. It was like the mountain and the guides played one giant joke on us. In the end though, I really did enjoy that beautiful mountain, (I have never seen anything like it) and I took away some great pictures as well.

That night, we rode bus a long way to a different city, Tarma, which is now one of my favorite places in all of Peru. But that is for the next entry :D