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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Disfrumingo in Barranco!

Scenes from a recent Sunday around Barranco...our first real breath of Peruvian summer here in Lima!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lima Living and Lima Leaving

Jorge and I arrived in Lima on July 15th, 2014. The idea was to 'give it a whirl' -- find a trendy neighborhood (Barranco), establish ourselves in a new home (the Temporary Shoebox), Jorge finds a job at a salon (or five), and Shannon finishes a novel (done).

Four months later, we're still in Lima. We've given it the general consensus whirl (which, in backpacker world, is roughly 3 months of living in a place) and the verdict is in: TIME TO MOVE ON.

Don't get me wrong: Lima is a really cool city. Barranco is one of my favorite big city neighborhoods in perhaps all of Latin America. There are trendy boutiques, there are jaw-droppingly gorgeous gardens, there is NATURE, there is a sparkling coastline, there are varied and exciting restaurant options. Who wouldn't want to live here??

View from walking around Barranco.

A sunset we caught on Sunday. Spring means less cloudy days,
which means we can finally see actual sunsets!

Well, we don't. Lima is just too damn big. Jorge has it worse than I do -- he has to commute almost two hours each day to reach his job that is just in the next neighborhood over (Miraflores). Let me repeat that -- almost two hours each day to reach a "really close job". Jorge has some particular horror stories of having to go to any other part of Lima for work courses or other tasks, and it taking up to two hours one way sometimes to get to a place.

Forget about getting anywhere quickly. Forget 'just wandering over to a friend's house' in Lima -- if they live anywhere other than your same neighborhood, you're looking at a minimum 45 minute taxi ride.

Rush Hour traffic in Lima. 
[photo credit:]

Maybe for some people this is normal, or just an expected part of the landscape. But for us, it's taxing. It's time-consuming. It's draining.

Lima, we've had some good times here, and we've enjoyed our time in the tiny shoebox. But overall, Jorge and I are very ready to move on. We're ready for more community-based living, like we had in Valparaiso. We're ready for a house that isn't pure white walls, cement floors and sputtering hose sinks; I'm particularly ready for an oven again. There are a number of CASSEROLES I'd like to make. I'm ready for some soil, a view, less traffic-clogged and chaotic street experiences.

The perfect city is more than just having access to things you like. I thought Barranco would be perfect because it seemed the ideal blend of big city and unique neighborhood. But just as important for me, I've learned, is the ease of moving about, accessibility of community, and whether or not it takes a Bachelor's degree to understand the goddamn bus system.

So here's the news: We're moving to Cuzco in a week!! I'm very excited for this next chapter of Life in Peru, and I think the Sacred Valley will have plenty of surprises and experiences for us when we arrive in November.

Chau, Lima, and thanks for all the ceviche! Onward to Cuzco!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Jaunt to the USA

Folks! I apologize for the lengthy and unexplained disappearance. While there were no mysterious fogs that consumed me, nor an unintentional overdose on ceviche, there WAS another trip to the United States of America.

And boy, was that joyous and action-packed!

It started with a harrowing all-the-worst-things American Airlines flight (two delays, flight switching, late boarding, engine failure, flight cancellation, hundreds of angry passengers and no way out of Lima, an inexplicably *closed* Lima airport???, passport stamp cancellations, long lines, sleepless night, to name just a few) that somehow managed to deliver me not to Baltimore as I originally scheduled but to D.C.-Reagan. I made it to my family by the hair on my neck, and we attended my cousin's wedding as planned. A great time was had by all.

After a few lovely days in D.C. visiting family and the headquarters of my day job for the first time EVER, I flew back to Ohio, which began a whirlwind explosion of friends, family, and fall! 

There were dinner parties, shopping sprees, cleaning sprees, art nights, family visits...

...and road trips...

excellent time with soul mate friends...

good quality OHIO moments...

reunion of best friends...

this dog...

and best of all, a surprise 60th Birthday Party for my beloved father!! And he didn't even suspect it! 

The time was, as always, a desperately fun and fast-moving, delightful whirlwind. By the time I felt settled in the USA once more, it was time to leave. The only thing that made my departure easier to bear was that a certain Argentinian was waiting (VERY patiently, I might add!) for me in Lima.

Experiencing fall in the USA again was, as suspected, almost too much for my fair Midwestern heart to bear. When I arrived to Baltimore in early September it was basically high summer still, though within a week or so it firmly switched to fall. I was able to drink apple cider, sometimes spiked and sometimes not, touch pumpkins, crunch leaves, and witness gorgeous tree transitions. The crisp fall airs at night, too, were appreciated.

And as though Ohio was making sure I left the country completely satisfied...the day of my departure, it felt exactly like spring.

Thank you, friends, family and homeland, for yet another delightful, inspiring, and nourishing visit!