Arriving in Lima this time was different than last. My aunt got the times mixed up so I had to wait about an hour till she got there. I didn’t mind too much though. Sitting at the airport gave me a chance to take in the fact that I was actually back in Peru. I don’t like Lima, though. I don’t prefer cities, in general. And that city especially is very dirty, not well-kept and just overall, not very inviting or fun (the Miraflores district is the nicest, in my opinion). But every time I found myself about to complain or look at the negative side of something, I reminded myself why I was in Peru. To see the boys.
That always kept me on track.
The first few days in Lima were spent seeing family, mostly. I had arrived the morning of the 23rd. And the next day, Christmas Eve, I went to my uncle’s house (just a few blocks from my grandparents’, where I was staying) and got to experience a full-throttle, all out Peruvian Christmas. It was very different. I experienced a bit of a culture shock, honestly. But not in a necessarily bad way. I’ve just always had very cold weather for the holidays, filled with wreaths, the smell of pine, hot chocolate to warm my hands, and lots of red and green and white. In Peru, it was all about food, champagne, and fireworks. See? Not too bad of a culture difference. Just...a very big difference. Also the temperature was 80 degrees.
At midnight, we all went up to the balcony and there was a perfect view of Lima in an arc right before us. The whole city let off huge fireworks. I had never seen so many all at once before in my whole life. I saw more that night than any 4th of July here in the States. It was crazy fun. They lasted long into the night and early morning hours. After watching them for a while, we all went downstairs and opened gifts. And several of my cousins revised a song they’d written last Christmas (it’s an annual tradition). They’ll name a different someone in each verse and sing something related to them - either literally or in a humorous, roundabout way. They added me in this time! I felt really special.
I didn’t go to sleep till about 3 a.m. on Christmas morning. I walked home with my cousin and her family, then went around the corner, back to my grandparents’ house...
The rest of the week was spent touring the city with my aunt, and meeting/visiting relatives, and spending time with one of my favorite cousins, Giacomo.
My aunt is visiting down there from California. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and it was strange but neat to see her again outside our country. We had a lot of fun.
I also got to see an uncle who I hadn’t seen since I was 5 years old. He was busy traveling for work last time I was in Peru, but he made it a point to come see me one of the days I was there. And I later went to his house for dinner - which my favorite cousin, who is an amazing chef, and I cooked together.
Giacomo, my aunt and I went to one of the best farmer’s market that weekend.
A friend from Oregon (Cody) got to Lima on the 28th. We’ve been planning, all autumn, for him to go to the boys’ home with me. But he got there a day before the rest of the team did, so he got to meet some of my family, and my aunt and I showed him around Lima.
We had to meet up with the team at a hotel the evening of the 29th...and on the 30th, we set out for Yungay.
Part 2 coming soon.
Search #RaquelinPeruTake2 on Instagram to see more pics.