Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peru 2012

 Seeing one of my favorite mission companions was priceless.  I absolutely LOVE this girl. She was my first trainee in the mission and is one of the most humble, meek, tender hearted people I have ever met.
I had to fly to LA then it was an 8 hour flight to Lima.  I researched in depth (ONLINE) to find the perfect apartment for us to stay while in Lima.  I found an awesome, clean, and comfortable apartment in Miraflores that was really close to everything (except, y'know, where wedding was - but that's a whole other story).  It had a full kitchen so I could cook without worrying about spending too much money or getting food poisoning.  Despite my amazing kitchen amenities I ended up surviving off bread and cheese and bottled water the whole time. Being pregnant while traveling isn't the best, I have decided.  Everyone says that the food in Peru is so delicious but it made me want to gag on sight.  I blamed it on pregnancy, not on pickiness or fear of food-borne illness, when explaining to the locals.
The original plan was for us to stay in Lima for the whole week but plans changed and my darling companion ended up getting married in Bagua.  We took advantage of the time that we had in Lima to visit some neat places. First we went to this ancient temple. It was built around 200 A.D.

 They shaped the stones in triangle blocks so the structure wouldn't fall when earthquakes hit.

 view from the top of the temple (I feel like a false Moroni)

When the important people were buried they were wrapped up in the fetal position, because they believed that they would be reborn. They often were buried with someone else or a whole family, the family was generally sacrificed so the important person wouldn't be alone when they got to the next life.  I'm looking at you, Jesse and Calvin.  Pray that you die first.

Workers still uncovering the other half of the temple. It's crazy that they are still mysterious pieces of history to discover.  The internet makes everything seem like old news but there are still lots of things to find out.

A break from walking to eat our Nutella sandwiches

This was at Lima center. We got to know this place well. We came back here for 3 days straight because of a mix up with the wedding rings and by mixup I mean the sales lady lied to us multiple times and wasted our time and what little energy I had for walking. From our apartment it was a 3 hour round trip including bus rides and copious amounts of walking for a preggo American girl.

There is 
about a 30 square block flea market at the center of Lima. It's crazy busy all of the time and smells like unwashed bodies, dead animals. You can't move without touching someone else and, while I'm not too much of a germophobe, it made me very uncomfortable. It was very overwhelming and very very easy to get lost.
 The drivers in Peru are crazy! All traffic laws are more like suggestions, really. You want to run a red light? Get any part of your car or body in front of another car you're good to go.  It was kind of scary sometimes but it's easy to get used to.
Maria and her new hubby Juve. This was at El Parque del Amor, or Park of Love. It was beautiful - overlooking the beach and surrounded by romantic quotes written on mosaic tiles. My favorite part was the huge statue of a couple making out.  Not just a little smooch but about to bring out the special "mom and dad" type of hugs *WINK, WINK*

There were dozens of para-gliders going on rides off the cliff near the park. 

 A lot of my time in Peru was spent waiting.  Let me preface by saying that I love structure. I love having plans. I love following through with those plans, especially when I'm in an unfamiliar place; I like to know what's going on and when and who will be there, and whether or not their parents will be home, and other such important things.  Peruvian culture runs counter to all of these things I love. "Yeah I'll be back in 30 minutes" most often means "I'll be back in 3 to 4 hours." Pretty much any plan (even the ones I didn't make) went out the window as soon as they were agreed upon. Most of the time I was waiting in the apartment but sometimes I even got to wait other places, which was nice for a change. For example, the first night I arrived she did get lost and was gone for 5 hours after saying she'd only be gone for 1-2! I was soooo worried! I had no phone or any way of getting a hold of her and I didn't want to go out at night to try to find her because, let's face it, I was a white girl in a country full of overly-affectionate brown men who would like to get to know me better. Also, I wasn't even sure I could find my way back after I found her.  I was soooo relieved when she got back.
Maria LOVES sweets! I swear if she had it her way she would live off chocolate and cookies. 

I brought my wedding dress for her to have, but what she didn't tell me was that her fiance had already purchased her one! So we took some pictures with my wedding dress and then for the wedding she used hers.

This is at Larcomar. It is a mall, with similar stores to the US, but it is cool because it is right on the cliffs .  That is the only cool thing about it.

These stairs were sooo daunting! It doesn't look like it in the picture but there are a billion steps and I'm sure they were covered in glue since it was such a pain to go up them. Especially after walking for a couple miles.

I needed a break
 After a few days in Lima I took a plane to Chiclayo (the big city nearest to Bagua) and then we took an eight hour bus ride to complete the trip. To be honest, I was not looking forward to the bus ride portion of the my little jaunt to Peru.  I get extremely sick even when riding in the car at home where the roads are mostly nice and traffic laws are followed by pretty much everyone. So I brought a couple extra plastic bags and some breath mints just to be prepared.
I got pretty nauseous but I never threw up! Yay! Juve's brother Rojellio was also travelling with us from Chiclayo to Bagua and Maria had told me that he was married. So I disregarded his lingering looks, his overt gestures of friendliness, and overly talkative ways.  I passed it off as him being nice. Yeah... he wasn't married...more to come on that later. So the bus ride wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I survived the trip without losing my recent meal of bread and cheese.  Yay cheese!  

This was a beautiful green lagoon that we passed on our way

  I didn't catch a picture of this but the most eventful thing that happened on our way to Bagua was that one of the bridges was out of order so what did we do? Drive right through the river. Through the water. Over the rocks. I was a nervous wreck.

Rice fields?

I love these kids! I was teaching them some English words and they kept asking me to dance with them at the wedding. I told them that people with white skin like mine don't know how to dance ;) I made a deal that if they would teach me how to dance I would teach them more English. We had a fun dance party that night where I showcased my booty-shaking skills. We were dancing Reggaeton and, sadly, I really have no rhythm. Most of the adults came in and started laughing and recording my stupendous dance moves. All of the laughing and pointing meant they were just jealous :)
 All the time, every day, for what seemed like forever (1.5 days),  Rojelio (who will now be referred to as "The Creeper") and I were left alone while everyone else was doing wedding stuff.  I didn't want to be alone with him because there was something in that look that he would give me that was just... creepy! He would ask me why I got married so young and that he was sure I missed my kid but probably not my husband so much... right? What? Jesse and Calvin were all that I talked about! It was weird. Then at night we were staying at the same hotel so we headed back and on the way back to the hotel there is a little park. He asked me if I wanted to sit at the park for a while so we could talk. YEAH RIGHT. I politely told him I was too tired and was anxious to talk to my husband, who was muy sexy.  You think the guy could take a hint but no!!  The next morning he knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to go get breakfast. Maria had gone out of town somewhere and wouldn't be back for another hour (remember, that means anywhere from 3-8 hours in Peru time!).  I again declined and said I was fine eating my bread and cheese alone. I saw him later that day and he was just as amorously inclined as he had been before.

Jesse told me to place him firmly in the "friend zone" by doing gross things like farting and belching in front of him.  I had accidentally passed gas in front of him earlier (which I fully blame on pregnancy-there's just not enough room for toots and a fetus at the same time) but it didn't seem to have any effect and I didn't have the social grace to recover from any more public displays of my bodily functions.
Morning of my birthday! 
The hotel room in Bagua was...not lovely.  It was about 6x8 ft with a bed and nightstand and a fan.  No air conditioning and about as hot as Arizona too - like I said, lovely. Then the bathroom...ooooohh the bathroom.  Boasting a generous 15 sq. feet of real estate, its spaciousness was rivaled only by it's convenience.  Let me paint a picture for you:  if you are pregnant, recently took an 8 hour bus ride through bumpy countryside and a RIVER, and have been subsisting solely on bread and cheese for 4 days, you are going to throw up and also have to go to the bathroom at the same time. "Oh drat" you may think, "if only the sink was right next to your mouth when you are sitting on the toilet."  Well, this hotel bathroom got it right (see pictures below).  I was very relieved by my sudden change in fortune.

Really, the only downside was the caulk in the bathroom: black from bacteria and when you shower it doesn't drain much at all, so it's kind of like standing in a septic tank comprised of all the impurities your body collected earlier that day.  If left on too long, the shower would overflow and dampen the sleeping area so you had to wash quickly.

Oh also because it was very hot I slept with the window open, which had a lovely view into another room which, by chance, their window was open all the time. What a good way to get to know the neighbors! Which I did. He was another one of those persistent fellows whom, after I informed him I was in fact married with a kid and pregnant, still wanted to get my number and hang out later.  I guess he didn't know about the whole "sink+toilet" incident.

Oh, I can't forget about my little friends, the spiders. I'm grateful I wasn't alone at night and that even though they probably wanted to suck my blood, at least their intentions were pure and weren't based on my skin color or cup size.

view outside from my hotel

It was time to get ready for the wedding! We were on a tight schedule.  There I was thinking that everything was going to go according to plan. LoL at me and my plans.

 We just got done doing her hair at the beauty parlor. I did her make up and was going to do some minor changes on her hair after we got the dress on.

 She was so beautiful! I am soo happy I was able to be there to celebrate this wonderful day with her!

In Bagua there aren't a lot of cars but everyone rides around in these buggy/motorcycles.  They were everywhere! I want one.

 The wedding was supposed to start at 7 PM (that means anywhere from 8-10 PM FYI, but I kept forgetting).  Around 7 PM, her parents went into town to go shopping for their clothes that they wanted to wear for the wedding.  That was said to start at 7 PM.  THAT SAME NIGHT. They got back around 8 PM (Only one hour?  Maybe this plan will work!) and Maria changed into her wedding dress and so we were ready for the wedding.  Or so I thought. In Peruvian tradition (at least in Bagua), the bride, maid of honor, and flower girl will be paraded around the city in a decorated car until everyone gets to the church. In Maria's case, we were driving around for about an hour and a half. I got extremely car sick and wasn't having much fun but Maria and I got to talk and she told me how much of an honor it was for me to come and how she hopes to come visit me here in the States sometime. I think that was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. Just having that sweet moment with her made everything worth it. 

 When we got to the reception hall the bishop informed me that I was to give a speech. Wonderful. Normally I would not think twice about it but when I am sick it's really hard for me to speak and understand English let alone Spanish! 

Rojelio and Juve

The wedding finally got started at 9:30 PM. My bus was scheduled to leave at 10 PM. It was the last bus of the night so I couldn't push it back any longer. Usually the maid of honor would give her speech after the ceremony but because I had to leave "early" (which I previously and foolishly thought would be plenty of time if the wedding had started at 7) the bishop had me go first. 
It was a bit awkward because the bishop gave me like a five minute introduction and was gushing about how I had come from so far and how I had sacrificed so much to be here for Maria. So after being sufficiently embarrassed by my introduction I gave a very short and (presumably) sweet speech and then they continued with the ceremony. 

 The Creeper and I were scheduled to catch the last bus of the night at 10 PM. Everyone told me that the buses were very punctual and they wouldn't wait for their passengers, even if they had sacrified soooo much to come soooo far (I kind of like that bishop).  So, according to everything I had learned up to this point we needed to be at the bus station on time. So, 9:50 PM rolls around and I advise The Creeper that we need to leave.  He doesn't even move, not even to touch my arm in a weird way or stare at me without blinking.

Okay, I can deal with this - I start gathering my things to get ready to go and Maria's mom comes over and gives me the biggest hug ever and starts crying!  She is such a sweetheart.  We both start crying as she tells me how grateful she was that I was able to come.  So nice!

It's now 9:55 PM I'm like "Hey, The Creeper, we seriously need to leave."  Two minutes later (9:57 PM for you mathletes) I'm really nervous!  I like to think that I used to be more adventurous but I most definitely did not want to stay in that hotel one more night (despite the bathroom amenities). I wanted to get home or at least back to Miraflores where I was more comfortable.

Well, The Creeper was finally ready to go we tried to just quietly slip out the back. The ceremony was still going and I didn't want to interrupt but as I was leaving the bishop, in the middle of the ceremony, says "Oh look! The maid of honor is leaving! Everyone stand up and give her a round of applause!!!" There goes trying to be invisible. Ugh.

So after all of the warnings about the punctuality of the buses and the need to be at the station NO LATER than 10 PM I find that we didn't need to go to the bus station but we could go instead to a travel agency place and the bus would stop for us there.  I was confused and very hesitant at this point; I would have rather just left five minutes earlier and gone to the bus station so I had more control of what was happening but that wasn't an option now so we went to the travel agency.

We arrived at 10:05PM and it was closed.  I was a bundle of nerves. We asked around and everyone said that the bus hadn't come yet. Then at 10:10PM my heart lifted! The bus! It came! It stopped! And we got on! And it was the wrong bus. :( They wouldn't let us on. I was about to cry.  I don't know when the last time was I prayed for something so hard over and over again as I did in that stupid bus to come.  Okay - you may be thinking that I'm a huge whiner and such but I know I  have a really good life if this is what I was praying hardest for.  I prayed, maybe without a ton of hope or faith, but sure enough at 10:15 PM another bus came! It was late (Peru gets me again!!  When will I learn?) and I couldn't have been more grateful!

It was supposed to be a nice bus (at least nicer than the others I had seen/ridden on) so it cost a bit more. It was a fancy two story bus and we got lucky and were on the top deck. Yeah, lucky...that's it.  Also lucky, The Creeper was not assigned a seat next to me (he was across the aisle and one row ahead) but instead there was a man who took all my leg room and some of my seat as well.  I then realized I should have prayed for the bus to come AND lots of leg room earlier.  I'll remember for next time.  It's not that I can't share or just mind my own business - I just don't like to touch strangers. It's not that I think that they are dirty or anything I just would rather have my own space. That was not a luxury I was not afforded on the bus ride.

Because we were on the top deck the bus seemed to sway a whole lot more than the one before and the bus driver was going super fast! It only took us 6 hours to get back to Chiclayo when it took us 8 hours to get to Bagua.  There were so many twists and turns and dips and going throw river beds and I was feeling it.

Despite our seating arrangements, The Creeper hadn't let up and was still staring at me like I stare at a fresh piece of homemade bread with some Philadelphia cream cheese on it.   Unfortunately, or fortunately I'm still not sure, I started getting really sick.  I knew that my dinner was going to make another appearance soon, but I didn't pack any bags with me because I did just fine on the bus ride there.  So I tapped The Creeper on the shoulder and I asked him if he could find me a bag because I was going to throw up. He quickly found me a bag and I proceeded to fill it. He was very gentlemanly he stood in front of me to block me so no one would see that I was throwing up. He handed me a tissue when I was finished and asked if he could take the bag full of vomit and dispose of it. I looked up at him and asked if he was joking. He wasn't so I handed it to him and watched him try to open the window to try to throw it out. The windows wouldn't open so he had to walk my half digested bread and cheese up to the front where there was a garbage. Lovely.

That pretty much did the trick. No more longing lingering looks.  No more requests to sit and chat alone, in the dark. No more awkward questions.  If I knew this trick when I was single I could have had a lot more free weekends! After the whole vomit incident I started to feel a good amount better but, I still couldn't sleep because every time we went through a dip I felt like I was falling and a would grab onto the seat in front of me. That was about every 10 minutes, so I was pretty exhausted after the trip. The Creeper and I parted ways quickly at the bus station in Chiclayo and I still have not received a friend request via facebook.

 My flight to Lima wasn't for three more hours and the airport didn't even open for another hour. I just hung out in the bus station in Chiclayo passing the time. This lady sat down next to me and we started talking. The culture is so different over there.  People we just start up conversations with whoever they are sitting next to. I found that refreshing a lot of times, but sometimes I just wanted to be left alone with my thoughts and not try to make small talk.  This time it was really nice, the lady was really sweet and when it was time for me to leave she went and caught a cab for me and as I was getting into the cab she calls out, "now you give me a call as soon as you get to the airport!" then gives me a wink.  I love how people over there have a concern for others. This lady didn't know me but she wanted the driver to know that someone was expecting me somewhere so hopefully nothing would happen to me. It was sweet.

I got to the airport just fine and I was happy that I made my flight to go back to Lima.

 I had just enough time on Saturday to catch a session at the temple. I had been looking forward to going to the temple in Lima for the whole trip! I couldn't imagine a better way to end a vacation. I knew exactly where it was because I looked it up on Google maps, and Google maps NEVER lies. Right? Right? Wrong!? I took two buses and got off where I thought the temple should be, but I looked at the address and it seemed like it should be just a little ways down the road so I started walking. I walked and walked and walked and the numbers were inching toward where logically I thought the temple should be. After walking a few miles I got too tired and hopped on another bus until I saw the temple. It was beautiful and completely worth the trek to get there!
The sessions were very small and I was so grateful that I had time to go to the temple. The spirit was so sweet and peaceful. No matter where you go in the world, the feeling at the temple is the same. I'm so grateful that we have the restored gospel on the earth, that we have a place where all of the cares of the world just melt away.
My trip really wasn't how I imagined it would be, but going to the temple made it worth it.

Goodbye Lima! 
When I got home my husband asked if it was worth it.  I would say it was, but I'll never, ever go on another vacation without Jesse again.  I thought I would miss Jesse and Calvin equally, maybe Calvin even more because I spend so much time with him and he is my world. I think about Calvin in almost every decision I make! But spending time away from Jesse was almost unbearable.  I missed him so much and even though we were able to talk and see each other through Skype, it wasn't the same.

I couldn't be happier to be home.  The entire day after I got home I kept thinking "oh I missed you soft bed, I missed you clean water, I missed you soft clean carpet that I don't have to wear shoes with, oh and I missed you Calvin and Jesse too."


  1. What a trip! I'm so glad you were able to be there with your comp. Sounds like those are creepy amorous men over there--who don't care if you're married or not. (I hope your comp got one who doesn't look at married women. Or at least who won't now that he's married.) And how interesting to see how weddings work in other cultures. I love the barf on the bus story. At least you know what to do next time some creepy guy is making advances...

  2. I'm confused... was this BEFORE you had Calvin? Or are you saying you are pregnant with your second baby??

    1. No, this was last week. I'm pregnant with our second :)

  3. Aww!!!! Congratulations! That is so exciting!!!