Thursday, February 18

Inventory: Six Months in Peru

So folks--I've officially been in Peru for six months. What do I have to say for myself so far?

Let's take inventory:
  • 118 hours traveled by bus
  • 1,569 pieces of bread eaten
  • 2 friends made
  • 174 out of 180 days without rain
  • 40 days of traveler's diarrhea and 2 with food poisoning
  • 16 pirated movies bought and watched
  • 3 cases of altitude sickness (including one upchuck in the bus bathroom)
  • 53 hours spent hand-washing clothes
  • 50+ cups of maté de coca and 17 pisco sours drank
  • Approx. 10 (yes, 10) two-pointers sunk by yours truly on the courts of Arequipa
  • One million blessings counted; one million more questions about life
What can I check off the travel to-do list?

As my Spanish improves, I understand less and less of Peruvian culture. 

Culture is like an iceberg. There are facets of it you can see from the surface: language, food, dance, religion, music, celebrations, dress, etc... 

But there are vast layers below that aren't seen until you crash right into them: practices in punctuality, professionalism, gender relations and ideas about personal space, for example.

Some parts an outsider may only get a glimpse of, or miss completely: the influence of a culture's history on the individual; group-wide prides and embarrassments; perceptions about love, family, money, friendship, political life; and ethics and morality.  

How much of a people's beauty, ingenuity and diversity is hidden underwater? I think there's a lot more "lost in translation" than the phrase implies. 


  1. Laura,
    I've truly enjoyed reading your posts (have still only had the time to get back to New Year's Eve), but I find myself here daily to see what new information you've posted. I am anxious to hear about some of your thoughts in further detail... this morning being intrigued by some of the comments you made about some of the culture you have crashed into... personal space, gender relations, punctuality, etc. I love your analogy of the iceberg! Look forward to learning more from you! Hello to your mom and Sergio! Can't wait to see you in 4 months!! :)

  2. Oh... and I have to say, I chuckled on your inventory... except for the altitude sickness, traveler's diarrhea, food poisoning, and hand washing clothes! Funny how hand washing lands in the same ranks as being sick!

  3. You poor thing - so many days of outward fluids! But I'm sure that's just an indication of your adventurous spirit and willingness to take risks. At least we'll call it that. :)

    I'm so impressed with all you've done...and the fact that you were able to list it out! Are you sure you havent had 18 pisco sours? I know you pretty well.

    Congrats, I'm so proud of you, picking up and moving abroad to follow love and live. You're an inspiration!