Life getting easier…

An American in Peru

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here 20 days already.  I feel like I’m only beginning to adjust to life in Peru.  I’ve had a lot of comments and email responses to my blog and wanted to answer some commonly asked questions…

On Married Life…

Married life rocks.  I’m really enjoying it.  I can’t quite put my finger on what is different from being in a long term relationship, maybe it’s just the mentality.  Nevertheless, Charlie is a great husband.  He has put a lot of effort into making things comfortable for me down here.  The little things, like getting me a phone, coming home for his lunch breaks (when he’s working in Lima), inviting me to join his work’s running club, and buying everything we could possibly need for this apartment really add up.

On Friends…

Charlie knows that one of the most important things to me is having a social life.  Last week, he introduced me to one of his co-workers, Gaby, who has become my first friend here in Peru.  We get along very well.  She is Peruvian, but studied English translation in college and has spent time in the States.  When we are together we go back and forth between the two languages so that I can practice Spanish, but get my point across as well.  When Charlie was working at the mine, she took me out for an afternoon of shopping and another night to see a movie with her and her mom.  Gaby is one of those people who can figure out how to do just about anything, being a great resource for me here in Lima.  In fact, when I’m ready to start doing some work teaching English, she has some excellent resources to help me get started.

On the apartment…

One great thing about our apartment is that it came furnished with everything we could possibly need to start our life here right down to a citrus juicer and a sandwich griller.  We live in a perfect two bedroom, three bathroom, park-front apartment that reeks of modern deco.  The dining room and living room tables and shelves are made of glass and everything in the apartment that is not glass is either black, white, silver or blood red…kind of like a scene from American Psycho and definitely not our first choice in design.

Fortunately, a trip to Mercado Indios supplied us with everything we needed to brighten the place up for less than $75.  Mercado Indios, located in Miraflores Lima contains ridiculous amounts of colorful blankets, alpaca wool sweaters, and various other hand and machine made crafts.  One needs to be a very good negotiator to go shopping there because nothing has a set price.  The blonde hair alone gets me a gringo price wherever I go, and the poor Spanish finalizes the deal.  I went with Charlie to the market determined not to get taken advantage of and used my stubbornness to my advantage.  I bought table cloths to cover the glass, cozy blankets to warm up the couch, and bright colored fruits and flowers made from basket material to put on the glass shelves.  I am happy to say things are beginning to feel like home.

On learning Spanish….

I feel like it’s pretty hard not to learn Spanish living in Peru.  I haven’t encountered a lot of people who speak English in my daily travels and find need to use the language for most daily interactions.  Gloria (our maid) is a great Spanish teacher without even trying.  She is patient and when I don’t understand something and thinks of another way to say it.  She speaks slowly and clearly and lets me follower her around and talk to her while she cleans.  Gaby is an excellent teacher as well.  When we are speaking in Spanish, she gets the gist of what I’m trying to tell her, and helps me formulate my sentences correctly.

Beginning on February 2nd, I will be taking Spanish classes at Idomas Catolica, a language school less than a mile from my house.  The classes are five days a week, for two hours a day.  Although I learn a lot in my daily interactions, a class format will help me get the technicalities of the language down a little better.  At this point, I’m able to get by with what I know, but every conversation continues to be a struggle.  I find myself acting out words I don’t know, like “energy” or “power strip”, making conversations exhausting.  When I return to the States, I’ll be very good at charades.  I see the anticipation in other people’s faces when they are waiting for me to construct my sentence.  I want to speak more than I am able to right now and it drives me nuts!  Soon enough….

Posted by Danielle L. Krautmann, 27 January 2010

12 thoughts on “Life getting easier…”

  1. Danielle,

    Nice picture of Charlie. I’ll try to edit my own responses, but I am your father after all. I think it is cool that you are trying to learn all you can about the culture. The value of knowing what it feels like to be a minority is worthy although at times painful. I first experienced it when I was living with the Navajo Indians at the age of sixteen. I’ve never forgotten. Learning the language should really help and I know you are resilient enough to make it through the transition. How’s the fishing?

    1. I go fishing all the time. You know how much I love fishing. Remember when we were with Sheldon and I almost flipped the canoe because Sheldon dropped the fish in the bottom of the boat. That was funny. Would have been funnier if we flipped it. Yes, as you can see by reading my blog, much of my time has been occupied with this past time. I make bugs too….or as you refer to it….I tie flys.

      I don’t fish. It’s boring. I do eat a lot of fish and its really good. Specially Cebiche…we eat that a lot at restaurants but when i tried to cook it, it didn’t come out very good. I followed the recipe to a tee, but the taste of lime juice was too strong….maybe I let it marinate too long. I dunno. It really pissed me off because I spent a long time squeezing 30 key limes to make the juice. Can’t buy pre-made lime juice here. Grrrrrr.

    1. Yes, and a great view of the park. I love our terrace. Charlie and I eat every dinner there, overlooking the park and we get AWESOME sunsets. On clear days we can see the ocean from the terrace as well!

  2. Linda Hendrickson

    Love to read your updates. Please continue to send e-mails when you update just to remind me to look at your blog.

    We are getting a winter storm in Arkansas right now. No really, we already have 1/2 inch of sleet. My son lives in north Arkansas and he has 4 1/2 inches of snow. I know that’t nothing compared to Colorado or Peru but it is a Winter Storm in Arkansas!

    1. I think its an El Nino year which could be why weather has been so weird. El Nino means baby in Spanish and I don’t know why they relate weather to baby. I need to do some googling to research.

      Peru gets a lot of rain….none in Lima, ever. But the mountains get a lot. I’m not sure how much snow though. Charlie works at a mine that is 13,500 feet in elevation and they only get rain…no snow.

  3. Your apartment looks so nice – love all the colors you’ve added. I know exactly what you are saying about learning Spanish – or any other language I am sure – by the end of the day your brain feels so tired! It’s true that it will get easier, but I am always so impressed when I meet people who are fluent in more than one language.

    Please keep your journal going!

    1. Leslie,

      I love your comments and it sounds like you’ve done a fair share of traveling yourself. I would love to learn more about you. Do you have an email or Skype account? My email is DanielleLParker@gmail.com. Shoot me an email if you have a chance!

  4. I just have to say … I am very impressed with the size of the list you send your blog notice to. You certainly have a following! I just love reading about your life in Peru. Meanwhile, back in NH, did you hear Jen had a girl – Carmela Ladyslipper – almost 9 pounds and cute as a button! Nah, buttons aren’t that cute. Wendy, your Mom and I went to see her last Sunday, but you probably know that from talking with your Mom.

    1. I’ve been able to keep in touch with Jen on Skype! It’s awesome. We haven’t video chatted yet, but have chatted a bunch. Skype has been a really great way for me to keep in touch with people at home. I like Ladyslipper as a middle name. It makes me think of hiking in the White Mountains. Isn’t that flower endangered or rare or something? I thought I remembered reading that.

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