I thought I'd do a little throw back to my writings from one year ago when we were truly deer in the headlights here. Enjoy and happy Jueves! PS Check out Dante thinking out loud: Wait, this isn't Chicago?!
Lima Transition- Week 1 is in the books. I went back and forth over what to title this entry. Here were some of my fave candidates for titles:
Do I really need to learn Spanish. It's really hard.
Lima: Waiting for Other People to Do Things.
I'll start with Lima Time: it's not what I'm used to. I'm used to Monday meaning Monday. Here, if someone says they'll do something on Monday, that means one day soon apparently, but hardly ever does it mean Monday. Frustrating. We spend a lot of time waiting for other people to do things. So far, everyone seems to come through... eventually, but it requires patience on my part. I'm used to being self-sufficient. Hmm, note to self: need to work on patience.
Next up: SPANISH IS HARD- For us, we vacillate between feeling like tourists on vacation and then reality shouts at us loud and clear that we are here to become residents. I'm learning that what comes with moving to another country is that EVERYTHING, every little thing, is new. You are constantly stimulated by new sounds, sights, interactions, tastes, appliances and ways of every day life. It is exciting and stimulating in a way that our every day life at home was not... yet also it is challenging and tiring in a way that our every day life at home was not. By the end of each day, we are strangely mentally exhausted even though neither of us were working the first week. I guess our brain is working overtime, from trying to take it all in, from trying to speak and understand the language, and from the pure stimulation of all senses that come with being a "traveller". At home, when you get used to a place, you get desensitized and stop noticing every little thing. I guess it's the only way our pea brains could survive or else we'd all drop from sheer exhaustion.
Here are some examples of how even the most basic thing, we take for granted at home, becomes hard:
- washer/dryer: Yes, that's one machine not two in our temporary apartment. The instructions on the front of the machine are all in Spanish. What should take 10 seconds to load and start, took a good long while to figure out, not to mention our first load was probably the equivalent of some sacrificial offering (ie, we didn't set it right, hence, and may have ruined a few things). You feel stupid. Fail.
- people in the park smile and talk to your dogs, then turn to you and ask you a question about your dog. You cannot answer. You feel stupid. Fail.
-how to dial a peruvian phone number FROM A PERUVIAN CELL PHONE.... okay, People, am I wrong here to assume that would be simple. It was not. It took several tries and several texts to Mark's boss to ask: how. to. dial. a. phone. You feel stupid. Fail.
- ordering chinese delivery: you got the short version in a prior post. The longer version goes somewhat like this. Go to lobby bc no wifi yet in apartment. Research chifas. Then research menu items in spanish, go to google translate to see what they mean. Write down order in spanish. Take 15-20 minutes to figure out how to dial phone, aka see above. Then get nerve up to call after research how to say relevant sentences in spanish. They answer and say: they don't deliver. Repeat steps with another restaurant. Just choose the "Dos Personas" promocion with a pre-set menu, you know, to keep it simple. I actually successfully communicate my food order in Spanish only to be stumped when they ask for my phone number and I can't explain in Spanish that we don't know the number of our new Peruvian phone yet. So, I just try to say my US phone number in Spanish. But Spanish is possibly her second language as well, so she can't understand me. I try a few times. Then just hang up. Mark who knows even less Spanish than me goes out to find some food for us. He tries to explain he wants eggrolls, by using the word "frito" aka fried. We end up with a giant plastic bag of fried wonton chips and two orders or 10lbs of chicken fried rice. At least we ate. And we had wine already in the house to wash it down. You feel stupid. Fail.
--dropping off dry cleaning: I think it will be delivered to us when done on Saturday. Or else, I just gave some strangers our clothes and we're getting pizza delivered Saturday.
Do you sense a pattern here? If anything, the best we can do is just laugh at ourselves and move on. Did I mention Spanish is hard?
The bright side is there is a certain freedom in being an outsider. It sort of gives you permission to be different and weird because that is what we are here. We don't have to conform because we can't. We don't have the same expectations or obligations (yet) that we will I'm sure eventually. It's a really interesting feeling I've never experiened before