A Travellerspoint blog

September 2015

When an apple a day doesn't keep the doctor away...

overcast 68 °F


I'm still sick. My fever lasted about 3.5 days. It's since passed, but I still have a nasty cold and some chest congestion. Yesterday morning I woke up croaky and was fine by the end of the day but this morning I woke up without a voice. It's coming back though, slowly. Mamí made me some honey and "unknown" spice tea. It was pretty good and I think helped my throat a lot.

I'm gonna be real for a second....prepare yourself.

I AM HAVING SUCH A HARD TIME TYPING THIS BLOG POST BECAUSE I NEVER USE ENGLISH ANYMORE. I'm not even kidding! I mean I use English, but not enough compared to the amount of Spanish I use everyday. That's kind of the goal though. Let me give you a good example...

Both of my Rotary districts (6690 and 4455) require a monthly report to allow us to update everyone about our condition, experiences, concerns, etc. I have been provided with a template from both districts and oddly enough, they're strangely similar. There are a couple of questions that are a little bit different, but for the most part, it was the same material. I wrote the monthly report for Peru first because it was due sooner. I was so proud of myself because I could actually type fast in Spanish and had no problems and when I got it "proof-read", it was all right. Now, mind you- these weren't just basic yes/no questions. The report is more like a list of prompts that I have to answer specifically and thoroughly. So, anyway- I finished the Peru monthly report and when I went to finish my Ohio districts report, I HAD A ELECTRONIC STUTTERING PROBLEM. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I HAD problems because I wanted to use Spanish words in my report and the English equivalents just slipped my mind. Nonetheless, I finished the report and I submitted both early.

I posted a video on my Youtube Channel. It's a little lengthy (about 15 min), but it was good to be able to speak an update versus typing one. I'm usually more thorough in my blog though. It's quicker to be thorough writing than it is to speak it. Plus, when I speak I have a tendency to stutter (because I have a little speech impediment) and go on and on about something and I don't have that problem here on my blog.

Currently in my host household, family is over to visit Pelita. Pelita is the nickname we have for my host grandmother, but I'm not really sure why and don't think I would be able to understand if anyone explained to me in Spanish ANYWAY so I am just gonna go with it. Not gonna lie though, I was surprised when I woke up because I woke up to "My heart will go on" by Celine Dion???????????????????????????? Someone was blasting it and I was trying to use my 2 remaining brain cells to recognize the language of the song (A) and (B) that I was actually hearing this in a household where no one speaks English. Sometimes, the weirdest things happen in this house that I don't even know how to relay in writing on my blog. Exchange tip: most of the time I would encourage you to ask questions always but in situations like waking up at 9:00 to hear 90s Celine Dion playing, don't ask anything.

In my freetime here (freetime just autocorrected to fertile on my Mac and that would be really bad). IN MY F R E E T I M E here I have been applying for various scholarships for college. I haven't really started to apply for colleges yet because when I go to apply for colleges, it says I have to be applying to enroll for fall of 2016 (and I'm not). I'm only a junior in high school right now, and it seems like I have to wait until next summer, next fall to apply. But as far as scholarships go, I have come across some more studying abroad scholarships that I would like to take advantage of (and I think I will). I'm only applying and if I was given the scholarship, then I would inform my family back home. (((My family back home is reading this right now- you have been warned that I am going to probably leave the country again.)))

I wanted to do another exchange right after coming back from Peru. There's only been one other kid from my district that has done that. I would like to go to Italy or some European country. I would have already learned Spanish by the end of my exchange here, so I would like to learn another language and culture and lifestyle before going to college. I heard about a scholarship opportunity to go to Queen's University for all undergrad, fully paid by the university. I would love love loveee to go there. The Queen's University in question is Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland. So, if you're religious and you pray and you like me, I would ask that you pray that I get this scholarship and opportunity to go there for university. Plus, I am drawn to Ireland because I want to be a surgeon and Ireland has some of the best medicine in the world, but also one of the best surgical programs in the world. Go big or go home, right?

I'm starting to miss my school here in Peru. My mom has kept me home because of my condition (which is best that I stay home to be honest), but I miss my friends.

No real culture shock yet!


Posted by alexandrang98 08:03 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

I have Lima Fever! (And also an actual fever)

overcast 63 °F


HI guys! Tomorrow I hit my 3 week mark for my exchange! It's been an eventful 3 weeks and they have gone by fast, but I feel like I have been here for longer than that. My host family does such a good job of making me feel at home that it hasn't been hard for me to get acclimated and life in Lima feels normal for me and not so "exchange-y" most of the time. I would prefer to live like this than live like a tourist to be perfectly honest.

Today has been a slow and restful day. I had 100/101 (F) fever last night and this morning wasn't feeling so much better and so I stayed home from school. Mamí (my name for my host mom- for future reference) went out and bought me some medicine to reduce the fever and help with my congestion that I have. My nose has cleared up some and I can breathe a little bit better. Thank god for moms :)

I'm going to work backwards through the week while also glancing through my photos on my phone to remember what has happened since I last posted.

I'm under the impression that I contracted something yesterday while I was volunteering (which isn't really a bad thing). Early in the morning, Mamí and I left and joined some of the other Rotarians and exchange students from San Borja Sur Rotary (my club), to go volunteer in Ventanilla at a clinic. The clinic is free and prescribes free medicine for the patients and has about almost every kind of doctor there. It was a humbling experience and I feel grateful for the health care and general standards that I have at home in the US. For the exchange students that were interested, me being one of the interested, we were given the opportunity to shadow some of the doctors and be their assistants. I shadowed a medical intern. The entire time I was with her, we saw many people who were complaining of Tuberculosis-like symptoms and some other miscellaneous cases. The doctor was explaining to me that the water quality in the area that we were in was one of the worst in Lima and that it's not uncommon for a bunch of people to come in with the same illnesses or symptoms. She explained that all over the clinic, the majority of cases were directly linked back to the consumption of contaminated water. On that note, Rotary clubs all around the world are working to provide clean water to several countries around the world. Rotary has done an unspeakably amazing job on eradicating polio, and now that it's almost completely gone, their new project is providing clean, safe, and accessible water to people everywhere.

After the clinic, we were taken to a sort of orphange/foster home for girls. We were given a tour of the facility and it was damaged and run down in a lot of areas. A lot of the girls, we were told, were either orphans or were taken out of their homes because they were raped or abused by their families. The home works to provide these girls with an education and basic necessities as well as love. We spent some time there with the girls and a couple of the exchange students read to them and acted out the stories which the girls thoroughly enjoyed. One story that touched almost everyone was about one small girl who was in the home. She was found at age 3 and she could not walk or speak and was still in a diaper and in really unsafe conditions. A representative for the home found her and took her and now she has improved in communication and can walk. All the other girls look out for her and she was so sweet.

Every time someone takes a picture of me I look sad but I promise I am not!
Everyone who visited the home for the girls and the girls!

On Friday I proved to the History teacher that I actually know world history and got an A on a test that I just took without prior preparation. He was impressed and so was I. Some of the girls in my class were also very amused with my American calculator! I have a TI-84 calculator but its Pink and they were so amused by it.

On Thursday we had an earthquake drill at school (which scared me regardless if it was a drill or not). The previous day, Chile experienced a 8 point earthquake and since Peru is a bordering country, we had to practice the procedures we would take if it happened.

On Wednesday, I was allowed to miss school because I was the only exchange student "accepted" to attend some of the day's activities with the Rotary D4455 District Governor and his wife. Also in attendance were Henry and his wife Charo and Mamí. We started the day off at the military hospital in Lima where Rotary donated 20 wheelchairs to some of the patients in need. The patients were very appreciative of that. After the military hospital, we went to the police hospital and donated a couple of more wheelchairs and after that we had lunch at a country club. Later on at the Rotary meeting, the District Governor was in attendance and almost all the exchange students in Lima (or a big majority) attended and we were asked to wear our blazers. We were given this year's Rotary theme pins by Ana Cecila (the District Governer's wife). Earlier in the day when we were together, she gave me one because I presented her and her husband a pin from my club and one from my district. I also have a theme pin from my sponsoring club in Ohio, so I kind of have 3 of the same kind of pin- but they're all special in their own way (for the record).

The food I had for lunch :)
(Most all of San Borja Sur Rotary)

Last Sunday (13.Sept.2015), I went to Mistura with an exchange friend. It was a really crazy day. I said in my last post that I was going to Mistura the Saturday before, but with conflicting schedules and a last minute appearance at my school (which I will mention a little bit later in my post), it was better to go on Sunday which also happened to be the last day. Mamí had previously explained to me that calling 3-555-555 for a taxi is safer than pulling a taxi off the street. She has used it in the past for her previous exchange students when they needed to go somewhere and everything has been fine. On Sunday, when the taxi got to the house to pick Karolin and I up, the driver had asked my mom if I had the exact money (25 soles), for the ride, but what I understood was "Does she have money to pay for the ride?". I said yes because I did have money, but I only had 100s in soles and Karolin only had 50s. So we drove and finally got to Costa Verde and then we went to pay for the ride, and when I handed the driver the 100, he got so angry and he shoved it back to me and started yelling and hitting the steering wheel and punching the window and getting really aggressive, which is really scary for 2 underage exchange students who are without a native or without an English speaking driver. Listen, my Spanish is good, but it all kind of escaped when I thought I was going to die, to be honest. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but it was horrible. Karolin gave him her 50 and he found the change somehow to give us back, but short 5. So instead of paying 25 soles, we paid 30.

Anyway, we got out of the taxi, and got into Mistura after buying tickets and tried a couple of different foods. If you find yourself going to Mistura ever in your life, please please please take this advice: For every 2 people, get 1 plate! If you want to try a lot of different foods, this is the way to go, plus if the food is not your favorite, you're not wasting, and it's less expensive. Karolin and I had planned on being at Mistura for about 6 hours (10-4) but we ended up being there for 2. There was lot that didn't seem appealing to us and we were worn out after the taxi experience. We went to the mall after Mistura and got some things we needed for a project and I also bought "The Fault in our Stars" in Spanish to practice reading and expanding my vocabulary. But the title in Spanish translates to "Under the same star". I started reading it, but don't really know what's going on word for word, but I kind of remember the sequence of events from when I read the book in English.

Salchipapa y Inca Kola (MY FAVE DRINKKKK)
Be warned: This is not ice-cream. It's colored mash potatoes, drizzled in chocolate sauce, filled with chicken cream sauce. It's about as appetizing as it sounds (Hopefully not at all).
These are picarones. They're basically like funnel cake, but in circle form.
Me with a frozen chocolate ice-cream/bar thing on a stick :)

Last Saturday (12.Sept.2015), the exchange students at my school were asked to participate in the .... walking of the flags? We were asked to participate in "Talent Dance" which is a dane showcase for different groups and singles and grades at my school and features dances from many countries and genres. The talents were superb and I enjoyed it a lot. The ceremony opened with a march/walk of the flags of countries represented at my school. Stephen was already using The US flag that the school had, so I ended up using Australia. Close enough right?


Tomorrow (Tuesday Sept 22), my class in school has a field trip to a home/center for mentally disabled children. We are going to cook for them and some of the students in my class are going to perform.

1 thing I really like about Peru, is that there are so many opportunities to serve the people!


Until next time!

Posted by alexandrang98 13:10 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Long time no post!

overcast 70 °F

It's been over a week since I have gotten to Lima! It went SO fast and taught me that while 10 months may seem like an incredible amount of time, it really isn't! These 10 months of my life will fly by and eventually I'll be on a plane back to Columbus to go back to being mediocre (lol).

This past Sunday, the Lima exchange students had a little get together at our exchange president's house. It was fun and we were all asked to bring a dish to share with everyone else. There was a lot of Spaghetti and I, as an exchange student/carb lover, will never complain about the amount of spaghetti available to me.

I guess there was a memo to wear comfortable shoes/walking shoes/MOUNTAIN CLIMBING SHOES?????????????????? (Please take the hint that I didn't know we were going to climb a mountain that day and I chose to wear UGGS TO THE PARTY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I walked miles to the base of the mountain with the rest of the group (In Uggs) and thought I would lose a lung (while wearing Uggs), and proceeded to climb up the steep roads on a hot day (in Uggs), and climbed the rocky mountainy-dirt surface (in Uggs) and did it all again when we went back down (in Uggs). So, if you ever feel unprepared, think of me when I wore Uggs climbing a mountain and nearly slipped and fell to my death 99 and 1/2 times. :)

I will definitely be more prepared for Macchu Picchu in October.

There are pictures in this post about my adventures that day. It was a fun day once I got to the top, but I looked and felt like an idiot and it was so much easier going back down.

The group of people that I was in got lost on the way back home and I stopped and bought a churro with caramel filling (<33333) and asked for directions and got the group back home and I am proud of my exchange student skills.

Something I notice is that I really don't eat that much, and when I do, it's usually rice. I have coffee for dinner and usually don't eat anything in the morning. For lunch, it's something amazing that my host mom makes me, but there isn't that much eating and there is definitely a lot of walking. I walk 20 minutes (exactly) to school everyday, so there and back is 40 minutes. Sometimes I go on a walk with my host mom after school in the afternoon. She said we need to train for the walking required for Macchu Picchu. I don't argue with her. It's going to be difficult, because in the US I am not used to being this active, but I like getting off my butt and doing something for once. Plus, there's so much I have yet to see just in the proximity of my house, not including the districts around where I live, so there's always something to see and do and enjoy. Plus, my host mom told me that once I get used to the area and can find my way around the city better, I will be able to go out more with my friends. She also said there is a shortcut to my school that I have yet to find.


I had my third day of school today. Nothing major has happened since Friday when I last posted except today it finally dawned on me that I am not a good artist. We were in art class and I had to draw a vase with a pentagonal prism and a mini-pumpkin in 3D. That was difficult and finished that and drew an abstract of flowers and vines and a butterfly and I drew that really well.

I also learned that I am VERY good with directions, especially when they're given to me in another language? I walk the 15-20 minute route to school by myself to and from school everyday. I did the route with my host mom once which was on the morning on my way to school on Friday. Because of some miscommunication between my host mother and I, I ended up walking home (halfway) and she was on her way to get me. Yesterday, I walked the whole way back and forth by myself and today, the same.

The walk really isn't that difficult and I have picked up on the behaviors of the people that I normally see and of the drivers. I know what streets are dangerous and which streets are safe or safer. I allow myself enough time to find new and quicker routes to school and still get there promptly.

I was tardy to school today because I fell asleep getting ready this morning. I was putting on my makeup and fell asleep somehow and slept for 20 minutes until my host mom came and found me and I had to rush and finish getting ready (and still looked like crap when I left the house).

I had to stop and by Tuna (the fruit not the fish) for Spanish class. We tried all kinds of Peruvian fruits in Spanish today and some I have had before (Strawberries, Kiwi), but I tried two types of passion fruit, but there was one that I tried that I preferred to the other. I am having a hard time remembering the name of the good one.

School seemed like it dragged on forever and ever today. I start school at 7:30 and end around 3:45 (Monday-Thursday). On Friday I get out at 3:05 which is super nice.

I have Rotary again tomorrow and I am hoping that I will get my stipend.

UPDATE: I stopped writing this on Tuesday, and it is now going on Friday. I have a tendency to start a blog post and then finish it days later.

Wednesday night's Rotary was pretty slow. Nothing special happened. A couple of the exchange students at my club presented and so did some of the Rotexs. I can't wait to present to my club back home about my exchange and talk about my experiences. I was inspired by the rebounds to try and experience as much as possible during my exchange and really soak it all in. These kids had great exchanges and I would like to make the same impact on someone else.

I will not be receiving my stipend until the end of the month.

I just finished my homework for school. My best exchange friend, Karolin, and I are working on a human trafficking project for World History. School is fun when I understand what's going on. A lot of the time I do understand what's going on, but the material that they cover has a level of difficulty that's out of this world.

On Wednesday afternoon, Karolin came over after school and I learned Surquillo a little bit more. I wanted to take Karolin to Las Tinajas which is a restaurant about 2 blocks from my house. It's amazing and really inexpensive. I could remember the things around Las Tinajas but couldn't remember it's location because I had gone there by taxi with my host mom. I eventually found it and converted some money at the same time and I am learning my way around the city better. We ate pollo a la bars (which is the best at Las Tinajas) and went home to work on our project. We work well together because our strengths mesh. (Or maybe its because we have exchange student witch-y powers)

(Probably the latter)

On Saturday I will be going to Mistura with some of the other exchange students. My host mom told me I needed to experience that and I want to go! Everyone talks so highly about the annual Peruvian event and I do NOT want to miss out. I will post pictures and write about the foods I taste on Sunday during my free-time.

Exchange student life is the best. I just wish I was offered as many cool experiences when I get back from exchange.

Until after Mistura!


PS (above there are pictures of my school and the views I have from my school and other pictures I wanted to share)
PPS (In the flag picture, that is the Ohio flag, but everyone thought it was Puerto Rico [Google the PR flag and compare])

Posted by alexandrang98 19:48 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

First day of school!

Today was probably the best first day of school that I have ever had (or remember, presently). Like I mentioned in my last post, I had to go to school in normal clothes because my sister's uniform didn't fit me. Tomorrow, my mom and I will go to Miraflores to go buy my uniform for school (which is a tracksuit). ****Note: Peruvians love track suits.****

I'm not going to lie, in the beginning of the day I felt like a piece of dust. No one ever looked at me and it felt like I wasn't even there. The other 6 exchange students spoke to me and we stay together all the time, but other than that, a normal student didn't acknowledge my existence until the end of the day.

My school in Ohio is giving me credit for my schooling here in Peru, so unlike some of the other exchange students, I have to actually work and do homework and projects and tests and study, which I think will help my Spanish improve and make me smarter. I had advised the teachers I saw today that I would be needing to do normal work and be included in the "schooling" in the classroom because my school was giving me credit. I am fortunate because most exchange students either have to do summer school or re-do the school year before/after their exchange year.

My first 2 classes of the day were in English. 1 being English class and the other being World History. I was happy about that. I think it's necessary for the kids to be fluent in English for them to graduate, but I am not entirely sure. I am doing a project for world history with my other exchange friend, Karolin (from Germany), and we will both get a grade, even though I am the only one getting actual academic credit. We have to research and present on a current conflict of any kind in the world and Karolin and I are researching sex trafficking.

Physics was entirely in Spanish. However, my teacher said I could go back and read all the powerpoints and take tests in order to catch up with the rest of the class, so I am very happy about that. I LIKE learning. I actually LOVE learning sometimes and it gives me something to do after school and on the weekends.

After physics we have dance and it's only for the exchange students. However, our teacher never showed so we had about 1.5 hour of freetime and we talked and messed around. We were then able to go to lunch/recess #2 early. After lunch and recess we had tutorship and that's when I had the opportunity to present myself.

Tutorship isn't really a period of study nor does it have mentoring capabilities, but it's a time for the teacher and the class to talk about things going on in school and other various things. It's a good period for unwinding. I only have two periods of tutorship on Fridays and ALSO on Fridays, we get out of school at 3:05 instead of 3:45 like Monday-Thursday. I have morning tutorship where we pray and do whatever else everyday. I'm happy with my schedule. I have different classes everyday.

So anyway, during tutorship the teacher asked me if I wanted to present myself to the class (and she also gave this opportunity to the other 2 exchange students). I talked about myself a little bit and ended with giving everyone my WhatsApp information. Some texted me right away and I have been in communication with them. I think that had I not presented myself, no one would've communicated with me. Like I said before, I felt like a piece of dust until tutorship.

It's the students last year before going to university, so it's natural that they would stay close and not be as social as they might have been in younger years. Now, however, I have invitations to go out on the weekends and after school, and that makes me feel better about my exchange here in Peru.

I don't have a phone yet. I have a phone with my American number, but since I never purchased an international plan, my phone only works with wifi. I will go tomorrow to buy one, because after what happened today, I will need one.

So. School got out and I couldn't find my host mom anywhere so I called her via Facebook messenger and she told me she was still in the house. Apparently, she told me earlier that I should wait until she got there because she would need to bring my host grandma with her since my host aunt, Reyna, isn't in the house. I don't really remember that because there was a lot of information being given to me at once.

I called her and the call dropped, but I decided to start walking home because she told me she was still at home, so I thought this meant "you walk alone". Amazingly, I remembered the way and she met me halfway and hugged me tight because she didn't understand what I had said on the phone and she thought something bad happened to me.

I think that on Monday I will walk alone both ways. I remembered the majority of my route, which is good.

In about an hour, I will be going with my host mom to the movies. I like spending time with her because I feel like her kid most of the time and not like a guest or "an exchange student" whatever that means.

Until my next adventures in Wonderland!

Posted by alexandrang98 16:10 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

My first 3 days!

72 °F

I had started writing something very lengthy and wonderful and it never saved, so that is why this is my first post since I have arrived in Lima. I was very frustrated and have since calmed down.

My journey to Lima was ... emotional. When I was going through security in Columbus, I didn't cry as much as I thought that I would. My send off team consisted of my grandma, my mom, my sister, my YEO and his wife, Oana (the best French exchange student in 6690 that I have ever met who I love dearly and is amazing and hi Oana I miss you very much make sure you don't leave without me coming home first so I can see you again), and the past YEO for my club. My mom cried a little, my grandma got teary eyed, my sister seemed a little down, but everyone else was cheerful and positive and I was somewhere in between. I was excited to get through the gate, because that signified that I had initially started my exchange and there was no going back.

The first thing I did when I got through security was go to Starbucks and get myself a Venti Hot Chocolate and 2 liters of Fiji water. I have flown before, but not for more than 3 hours, and I was told to stay hydrated because I will dry out at 37,000 feet. My flight from Columbus to Dallas was really quick and pleasant. I sat next to a really nice guy who was on his way to Seattle to return to base. He was young, not some creepy old man. He let me have his window seat and I thought that was really nice.

My flight to Dallas was not so pleasant. Initially, everything was going well. We got on the plane and everything was settled, we were on the tarmac ready to take off and then the pilot came over the speaker and told us that a fuel pump was out and while there are certain fuel pumps we could safely fly without, this happened to be an important one (of course), and we would have to return to the gate and have it repaired. So, we returned to the gate, but the repair couldn't happen and so we ended up having to get off the plane and waited for a replacement plane (which was supposed to be the same model-but wasn't). I flew to Lima in a 767 and had a whole section of 3 seats to myself. So, I was supposed to take off at 10:15 PM on Monday, but we didn't leave until 1:30 AM on Tuesday morning which means....

I got to Lima around 7:45 AM! I had been in contact with my host mom every time I was updated on my flight status. Neglecting to tell my host mom about my flight status would have subjected her to sitting at the airport from 5:00 AM (because my original arrival was at 5:22) until around 8:00 when I got there, and that would not have been a good first impression, plus that would have been really inconsiderate.

The last actual meal I had before flying was around 1:00 PM on Monday. Dinner on my flight to Lima was served at like 2:00 AM, maybe 3:00 (I had to wake myself up if I wanted to be served food so I don't remember), and it was disgusting. Breakfast or "Breakfast" was a fruit cup and 2 crackers and I was too nervous/too excited about my exchange to eat that, so I just gave it back. It wasn't until Tuesday afternoon after my nap that I would have A) my first Peruvian meal and B) food and C) real food (take notes American Airlines).

The Youth Exchange President of Peru and my host mom picked me up from the airport. Once I landed, customs and immigration were really fast and easy and my bags were already ready at baggage claim so there was practically no wait time for anything.

Henry (the youth exchange president), drove my mom and me to the house and bid us goodbye. My mom devoted Tuesday to some "R&R" (rest and relaxation). I tried to convince myself that I wasn't tired and that I wanted to go out and do everything and anything, but as soon as I got into my room, I fell asleep for hours. 180_IMG_6742.jpg

The picture is of my first Peruvian meal that my wonderful host mamí served me on my first day.

That night I went to the mall with her, mainly the grocery store (but I had to change some money). She bought me an empanada (which was amazing) and Inca Kola because I had been waiting to try the coveted Latin American drink and I was definitely pleased.

While at the grocery store, I forced myself to buy shampoo and conditioner and also "splurged" and bought an exfoliating sponge because I wanted to practice using money. While I knew before coming to Lima that 1 USD = about 3 soles, it took me a while to remember when I saw that Pantene was 17 soles. I kept thinking it said 17 USD (which it didn't), and I thought Peru was going to make me broke. For all 3 items I think it was around 19 USD. So not incredibly bad.

Also, on my first night, I took a shower. In the US, depending on in which direction you turn the knob, you can change the temperature of the water. I thought it was the same way here too. It's not. It's so so so so so not.

In my house at least, there's this switch on the wall that you use to choose hot or cold water. At the time of my shower, I thought there was only cold water and it was not fun and probably the quickest shower I have ever had. Needless to say, when I got out, I was happy to get into my warm jammies and snuggle up with.... myself.

Yesterday (which was day 2 sorta/kinda), I went to my school to do some paperwork and went to Miraflores with my mom to buy a flat iron (which I got for around $18 USD and it works really well) and also stumbled upon one of the many very very very VERY touristy Inca markets and bought a scarf. If you're American and in Peru and looking for other Americans, go to the nearest Incan market- they're all there. The Americans I saw leaving the market I went to were a relief to me, honestly. It was the first English I had heard in about 24 hours.


The above photo is of me wearing the scarf I bought for like $5 USD.

Something really helpful for me is that at a lot of major/established places here in Lima, you can pay with Soles or with USD. A lot of billboards show the price for something in USD and in soles and when you're purchasing something at the store, the total comes up in both currencies as well. It's helpful to compare so I know how much I am spending.

Also, if any future exchange student is reading this (to Peru or anywhere else), a good idea is to track your finances. It helps you know what you're spending (obviously), but so that you don't overspend or are suddenly confused as to where all your money went. I really have to be careful with my money, so I am going to start tracking the things I have paid for in the past 3 days.

I also had my first Rotary meeting last night which was VERY VERY different from my Rotary meetings back home. Not only are there more people, but there is a lot more going on at one time than there is at Gahanna Rotary. All the exchange students being hosted by my club were sworn into Interact and our host parents put our Interact pins on our blazers. After, most people linger around to eat and talk. I think we were there for about 2.5-3 in total from start to finish.

Something I have started doing here in Peru, which I never saw coming, is drinking coffee. In the states, I am not a coffee person, but for whatever reason here, I drink black coffee with a lot of sugar. I always thought I was weird for not being a coffee person. Then again, American coffee is also like brown dishwater soo.....

Today, day 3, I went to the beach (very very early), with my mom. It's winter here, so there was no swimming, but we had breakfast on the beach and walked around for a little bit. Since it is winter, there was absolutely no one there. I told my biological mom it was like you could've seen tumbleweed. She then promptly reminded me that tumbleweed is in the desert so I corrected myself and said tumbleSEAweed.

We took several types of public transportation to get to Santa Rosa and by the time we got back to Surquillo, my mom and I were so ready to just sleep. We stopped for lunch somewhere around the house and I finally had pollo a la brasa which is amazing (it's chicken and french fries) and I had Inca Kola of course. No matter how tired she is, my host mom always makes sure I am fed and well. That's something I really appreciate about her. She is absolutely amazing.

I went home, took a "warm-ER" shower (still trying to figure the shower out), and slept. I drank some coffee with my mom for dinner (dinner isn't really that big here, lunch is the main meal), and here I am, writing about my adventures.

Tomorrow, I start school. I am nervous and excited. My host sister (who is studying in Atlanta, Georgia right now), went to my school and her uniform, unfortunately, doesn't fit me. Tomorrow, I will go to school in normal clothes and really stick out and that will be... interesting. I'll have a uniform to wear on Monday so I fit in a little bit better.

My district (6690) has a policy that we are required to follow which is that, for the first 30 days, we go "dark". We are not supposed to communicate with our families or our friends back home or go on social media for the first 30 days of our exchange. Doing so helps us get assimilated and prevents us from staying on our phones the whole time. I have wanted to post pictures to Instagram and I can't, so I am relying on my blog for picture sharing.

I'm interested to see how school goes tomorrow. I'll share my experiences in another post either tomorrow or this weekend.

Also, some of you know I have a channel on Youtube where I vlog about my experiences, too. The material there will be a little different so I am not repetitive. I will be making and posting a video within the week about my exchange.

Until next time!

Posted by alexandrang98 19:52 Archived in Peru Tagged landscapes mountains beaches buildings people children sky planes peru lima san youth exchange rotary borja Comments (1)

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