Ever since arriving in Peru, things are very different—and it all started with the airport. When I arrived, I got a little lost because I couldn’t really understand the Spanish signs telling me where to go. But the airport is definitely not an interesting thing about Peru; there are much better things.
My first day of school was awesome. I met so many new people and wandered around getting lost looking for the classes. Even though people would tell me where to go, I still got lost. It was kind of scary when we drove up to the school. There are huge fences that have wires on the top with certain entrances with security guards watching. It was kind of scary but after a while I got used to it. The school itself is very different from what I’m used to. Everything is outside; only the classrooms are inside. The lockers are like you see in movies, with the locks built into the lockers and set up outdoors. On my first day for some reason the benches around the school intrigued me. The benches are made out of big pieces of wood with a straw cover on top of them. It looks really cool.
The first weekend, Eloise, Camila (her exchange student), Matias (my exchange student) and I went to a friend’s beach house, which was also like the movies. We drove on a dirt road overlooking a big cliff and then arrived at this garage. We walked down stairs for five minutes and then we got to this amazing house, which was completely built into the rocks and looked awesome! The house had an amazing view of the bay with really awesome boats anchored in the middle with the desert in the background. I didn’t really understand why there was a desert behind but it was just huge mountains of sand. Spending the weekend at this home was a real luxury.
During the first real week at school I learned how to get around and made many friends. The kids are really nice here. The school day is a little different from my usual routine. I wake up at 6:00 am to make it to school by 7:00 am. Classes start at 7:30. We have 40 minutes for lunch and a 25-minute break at 9:30. School ends at 2:40 pm. It makes our daily schedule at LCC look so much better. The one thing I am excited for is to getting back to waking up late, or at least 7:00 am at home.
The fruit here is probably my favourite thing. They have awesome smoothies and I have one or a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice every morning. Sometimes I go to Wong’s, which you can’t compare to any grocery store because it is too awesome. They sell 1 litre of fresh squeezed orange juice for 6.50 solos, which is about $2.30 (CDN). I love just eating fruit, and the mango is awesome! The school sells food too. The price is reasonable and it’s great! Their juice boxes are better than our Tropicana!
The two other weekends that I have been here, I’ve gone to the host family’s beach house. It is also amazing and very relaxing. I tried windsurfing at the beach. One weekend the wind was very strong so I didn’t have much success and the second weekend there was not enough wind. On the way to the beach there is a shop that sells small little breads (I’m not really sure how to describe them). They are very good and cost 2 solos for 10; not even $1 (CDN). They’re made in wood burning pizza ovens and smell amazing. There are long lines for the bread because everyone stops even though it is in the middle of nowhere. The only thing they sell is the bread, Coca Cola, and Inca Kola. In my opinion, Inca Kola really isn’t that good. To me, it tastes a lot like very bad bubble gum.
Yesterday, I went on a community service activity after school to this building that I think Markham owns. They are going to send students there to teach the young kids after school and tutor them. The students are still painting the building. I went yesterday to help out and we ended up tutoring a 9-year-old child. I was with a friend from school and she was teaching him, but because I don’t really speak Spanish well, I couldn’t really talk with him. He was a very fun little kid though who loved playing soccer, or this game where you catch the ball and try to throw it at someone (very silly game).
Tomorrow all of the exchanges and some S5s (grade 11s) and also the P6s (grade 6s) are going to Lunahuana. It is a four-day trip that’s a lot like the LCC grade 7 Nominingue trip. I am going as a counselor, which will be fun. I am very excited to meet the kids. We will be going rafting, Incateering, climbing, horseback riding, and hiking. It should be great.
My Spanish has improved but I still can’t understand everything and can’t speak very well. I know a few important things to make sure I can get home or get food. It’s coming along slowly. Most of the time at the beach everyone speaks Spanish so I try my best to understand but they speak very fast so it’s a challenge.
About a week ago one of my friends from Canada, Kristen, was in Peru visiting friends and family because she used to go to school here. She took me to her old school which was an American international school called Roosevelt. I was surprised to find out that even the social life was in English. It was nice to have a break from all the Spanish and hear some American accents. It is very tough to not understand anything that most people are saying, I remember the first week; by the end of the day I needed a break and wanted to go to bed early because I was looking forward to dreaming in English.
I made some friends from the American school and hopefully before I leave I can get together with them. It was very nice to see Kristen because she gave me a great tour of the city and also took me to some places I never would have seen.
So far Peru has been one of the coolest trips of my life and I’m excited to see what happens next, or what happens at Lunahuana. –Malich Altman ’14