Tuesday, March 1, 2011

La Huelga

Dude! I got tear gassed last night...I am not too happy about that! What happened was that crime has been on the rise in Cajabamba. My little town has seen a lot more people passing through in recent days, and with Carnaval happening, people have been drinking and dancing at all hours.

While I was walking to catch my bus at 4:30 a.m. yesterday (nope, still haven´t learned my lesson after the accident), I saw blood and police on the street. It turns out that a guy had gotten shot a few hours ago while the partying was going on. The townspeople are not happy about that, and with the other violence that´s been happening, they decided to strike in front of the police station...close to where I live. After I had just gotten home last night and was taking a shower, I heard a lot of people shouting and a woman screaming. So, dumb me (nope, still haven´t learned after my accident), decided to get out of the shower and poke my head out the door to see what was going on. Apparently, the police had just started throwing tear bombs at the crowd and I got a good whiff of it. Having never been gassed in my life, I can say truly that it was not the most pleasant experience. I quickly shut the door, bolted it, and ran upstairs to watch what was going on through a window. It felt very surreal to watch my little town in such chaos; things like this just don´t normally happen in Cajabamba, Peru. I later went to sleep with the sound of chanting and tear bombs being thrown.

This morning, I woke up and the sun was shining, everything felt normal again--vendors are selling on the streets, children are getting ready for back to school, and there are a good bit of people walking around. Fortunately, it look like things didn´t get too out of hand last night.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feliz Cumpleaños, Cuerpo de Paz!

Happy Birthday, Peace Corps, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary! We had a little party amongst the volunteers and a few of the staff members in Cajamarca. Check out my wicked new haircut that I got especially for the event...3 soles, which translates to USD $1! I had been cutting my own hair before, but I don´t think it turned out quite as well...Oops.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

¡Seré tía!

I should probably mention that I´m going to be an aunt to a baby girl!!! Can you tell that I´m super excited??! The hardest part about this whole Peace Corps thing is the homesickness...food, people, culture. By the time I go home in July after 2 years of service, both my sisters will have been married, I will be meeting my new niece/nephew for the first time, and almost everyone in my family will have switched out their cars. (What can I say? We, Huis, are bad drivers!)

The other day, I found a quarter, dime, and nickel by accident at the bottom of my bag. After not seeing something so simple for so long, it almost brought me to tears. Really, the joys that remind me of the USA are so simple. Sometimes, I sneak into my room just to eat a few pretzel M & Ms that I have stored away (Thank you, Christmas package, those little M & Ms rock!) and I swear, my day is so much brighter afterwards! (I know I should be sharing my US treats, but really it´s better this way. My host family won´t miss won´t they´ve never had. So I´m saving them from any future cravings that will not be satisfied by any Peruvian candy.)

So, now, it gets me thinking that when I go home to the states, I´ll miss so much from Peru! And that thought itself is even more heartbreaking, because I know that I probably won´t be back to Peru for quite some time. Yeesh, life is hard!

Friday, February 18, 2011

El traducir con la iglesia presbiteriana

Here I am looking all glamorous doing some hard labor and translation for a Christian missionary group who came from NYC. Check me out with my schnazzy bucket hat and ¨I Love Cajabamba¨ T-shirt! We´re going to help build the third floor of a church...Fun!
Here we go in my first heavy lifting!
Okay..maybe not!
Yay, success!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bloque de Escritora

That loosely translates to writer´s block and I have it--horrible, HORRIBLE writer´s block. And it came at the worst time. You see, a little over a month ago, just for the fun of it, I decided to submit to a few literary agents a book idea. (Although that ¨fun¨ cost me a day´s worth of work.) Well, lo and behold, a few weeks later, a literary agent in NY actually contacted me for the the first chapter of my book. (Mind you, this is just for review, so don´t get too excited.)

But I was really flattered, because I heard somewhere that the chances of a literary agent even contacting you for a manuscript are, like, 2 out of 1000. So then, I began writing my first chapter to become the 1st class bestselling author that I always knew I was meant to be. But wouldn´t you know it that for the first time in my life, words escape me. I am choking! So far, my ¨chapter¨ consists of two pages and, trust me, it ain´t anything to write home about. So, thanks, stupid writer´s block for disallowing me to string even 2 good sentences together.

I´m all ears if anyone can provide me with any ideas/motivation. I choke under pressure! If we were in battle together (hypothetically, of course, because we would be screwed if the fate of our country depended on me), I would be the last person you would want to stand next to. Case in point, the other day, I was hiking with another volunteer when a dog started barking at us. Barking dogs freak me out. I´ve even stopped walking alone in the campo. (See all blog entries regarding idiotic accident April 2010.) Anyways, when the dog started coming toward us, teeth baring and all, I did the most natural thing without thinking—I pushed my friend towards the dog while I scurried away. Oops.

I mean, crap, even I´m ashamed of myself. I always thought I was a generous and good-hearted person who put other´s needs first. Nope, apparently not. In times of danger, it´s every woman for herself, darn it! Anyways, fortunately, we both made it out alive and bite-free. But, afterwards, came the most awkward apology (ie, awkward silence followed by, ¨Sorry, for pushing you towards the dog while I walked away. He he.¨). Well, my friend is a better person than me and said, ¨I understand.¨ If the book thing does pan out, he´s being written in as a superhero with a really cool hairdo.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Buena Noticia y Mala Noticia

It´s rainy season here again and I thought I had bed bugs again since my body is covered in red-hive looking bumps everywhere. Attractive, right? So then I once again fumigated my bed, washed all the sheets, and pajamas. It turns out that it´s not bed bugs, after all, but I have become allergic to the bugs here. One bites me and that part of my body swells up with a bunch of other red bumps. It´s horrible! I itch all over and I look like I have some type of serious disease!! Add salt to injury, it´s Carnival here again in Peru, which means water balloon and water guns everywhere. Gees, I wonder who will be an easy target. I drugged myself with Benadryl yesterday hoping that it would reduce the bumps, but no go. All it did was put me in a drugged-up stupor. I walked around like the red bumpy zombie that I was.

PS Spanish mistake of the day: ¨Preservativo¨ does not mean preservatives found in food. Oye. I´ve been walking around the last year and a half saying the wrong word and, finally, someone corrected me this week!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Feliz Año Nuevo!

Happy New Year, everyone! I am happy to report that I survived another Christmas in Peru! You all know that I love my Peru and I will always be the first to gush about it, but December is a hard month for me. It´s generally when I´m the most homesick and longing for peking duck, steamed dumplings, and Coldstone ice-cream. (We are Chinese, y´ know!) Anyways, homesickness is the thing that I still struggle with the most. On those dreaded days, everything just feels so heavy. I always try to get out of it as quickly as I can by going to the Peruvian market or reading up on celebrity gossip, but sometimes, it´s really hard.

Anyways, I´m happy to report that a rebound is coming on again! I´m not going to lie, I had help. There is this amazing bread here called Pannetone that Peruvians eat every Christmas. It´s huge, sweet, fluffy, and fruity. I imagine that it´s probably a lot like fruit cake in the states, but I wouldn´t know as I have never tried it. (Please see previous paragraph about being Chinese.) Anyways, it´s hard to feel sad when you have a fat piece of Pannetone in one hand and a glass of Peruvian champagne in the other. (Pannetone should be branded as the next Prozac…I was cured after Christmas night!) We also killed two turkeys to eat and I made a cucumber mango salad to share.

Anyways, I´ve attached some pics so that you could see Christmas in Peru, part deux.

PS If you think that the fruit trimming around the turkey looks weirdly inappropriate, it´s not just you. I think so, too! In my champagne daze, I might have mentioned it over dinner and everyone just looked at me funny.