Weekend in Ica!

After a super long stretch of staying in Lima, we finally escaped the city and took a little vacation to Ica, Perú. As part of the Holy Cross study abroad program in Lima, we have three trips which are planned out by and led by EdOdyssey (the program which Holy Cross does study abroad here through). Ica is the second trip that we get to go on.

Our wonderful program coordinator, Patty, runs a small hotel with her family in Ica and kindly welcomed us in for the weekend. During our brief two day stint in the area, we went sandboarding in the sand dunes, rode in a buggie (see pics!), had a barbecue in the sand dunes, cooked (well… prepared) our own Peruvian food, saw sea lions at the Islas Ballestas, and so much more! En route to Ica we also got the chance to learn a little about Afro Peruvian music and culture and even play a little bit ourselves!! After that, we stopped at the Hacienda San Jose for a tour of the hacienda and breakfast. It was definitely a strange experience to witness how a place where slaves were tortured and mistreated, has now been turned into a hotel and tourist attraction. Following this, we stopped at Tacama, a vineyard, for a tour and tasting. We sure love our wines and piscos 😉

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. T’was a wonderful weekend of laughter, Huawei phone jokes,  playing in sand, and enjoying el SOL!

Sarah, instructor, and kid are pictured. Sarah and the kid are playing the cajón.
This kid was a musical genius on the cajón!
A view of the field at Hacienda San Jose
Hacienda San Jose
Patty, and the Holy Cross students enjoying the sunset. A nice group photo
Patty and the HC kiddos 🙂
The girls of Holy Cross take a selfie with the sunset
Nothing like a sunset selfie amirighttt?!
The Holy Cross crew standing on the sand buggie
Our transportation for the evening! Like a rollercoaster… but in the sand! Also great because when we sandboarded down the dunes we didn’t have to walk back up hahaha
Sarah in the car and everyone else is asleep
On our way to the Islas Ballestas. Looks like the fam is a little tired!! Got to get the Z’s in whenever you can!
Sea lions on a rock at the Islas Ballestas
Sea lions at the Islas Ballestas!!
parcial bridge and the islands
After learning about the exploitation and history of guano in Peru during multiple of my classes at PUCP, it was nifty to put the history a little more into context.
Holy cross students sitting around a table preparing ceviche and learning from Patty's mom who is standing up and demonstrating.
Learning how to prepare Ceviche, a SUPER popular Peruvian dish consisting of raw fish (which get “cooked” by the lime juice), limes, onions, choclo, and whatever else you want to add to it! I’ve eaten about 5 bites of fish during my entire life so I was quite proud of myself for eating a substancial portion of the dish I made!!
Causa dish and Sandra
Second dish we prepared: Causa
This is one of Sandra (my housemate and pictured here) and I’s favorite dishes here in Perú. Definitely a must-try if you are visiting!!


Cena Internacional

This past Friday evening, Steve (another Holy Cros student) and I attended a potluck dinner with about 40 other international students and 20ish Peruvian students. The event took place at the house of our Peruvian friends and it was a great evening.

Steve made quesadillas and I made an American classic: Peanut Butter and Jelly! While I was making the PB&Js, I was surprised at the excitement which one of the Peruvian girls had for them! She had worked with Americans in the past and said that they brought PB&J for lunch every single day… which she said got tiring but now she really misses it! Others also knew about the sandwich and commented on how it is a TRUE AMERICAN FOOD!

The other participants brought delicious food from their home countries! Some of my favorites were a spicy Korean street food, Crepes, Spanish tortilla (potato dish), and Ratatouille! Two of my french friends made Ratatouille and it was absolutely delectable! One student from Sweden brought a variety of swedish gummies. I think this was my favorite “dish” because the Swedish candy, Billar, are my favorite gummies. You can only find them in Sweden and I have had so many funny memories with them while traveling around the world with my synchronized skating team. If you get the chance to go to Sweden, Billar are a MUST TRY!!

In addition to the abundance of delightful food from around the world, the evening was also a great chance to chat with friends and meet some new ones! The night was filled with conversations, dancing, eating, and FOOSBALL!

Steve and I make quite the foosball team…. We may not win too often but we sure try hard! We played two different sets of people and while playing against the second pair of students, I think we scored one point for their 20+ points… I asked the french student if he played foosball a lot and he goes “only while on vacation”…. based on his skills, he must go on a lot of vacations!

Unfortunately, I was having too much fun to take any pictures during the evening, but I’ll be sure to upload some pictures soon from other events!!!

Fun with the Fam and the Parroquia

La semana pasada… oh sorry! I forgot I have to write in english here!! #immersed

Last weekend Sandra and I went to an event with our host parents that was hosted by their church parish. When we left for the event we thought it would be a few hours, maybe a parade, some music and dancing, but we were sure in for a FULL DAY!

Here are a few highlights from the day:

  1. To go to the event, we somehow piled 5 people in my host brother’s tiny FIAT (host mom, host dad, host mom’s sister, host mom’s other sister’s husband)
  2. We ate SO MUCH FOOD!! For lunch Sandra and I got Causa (layers of mashed potatoes filled with chicken salad) and then we each had a dessert. I had Torta Hindu (a type of cake that is filled in the middle with what I believe is manjar blanco…aka dulce de leche… aka caramel). It was DELICIOUS! And thennn, we were sitting at the table and the husband of our host mom’s sister (she couldn’t come because she was sick) brought over a ton of Picarones for us to have. They were also DELICIOUS!! Picarones are a Peruvian street food which are basically fried dough rings that you eat covered with miel de chancaca (sugary syrup). Qué rico!
  3. various singing performances by groups and solo artists
  4. dance performances, including multiple awesome performances by a group that did traditional dances from the region of Puno
  5. dancing with our host family in front of hundreds of Peruvians from their parroquia (parish) . This was the first time dancing with our host family and it was so funny! Quite a blast! May have even picked up a few dance moves 😉
  6. The BIG ATTRACTION: BINGO!! Throughout the afternoon, there were multiple rounds of bingo that went on. During each round, it was completely silent, as everyone was focusing intently on trying to win the game. The prizes were various electric kitchen supplies (grill, juice maker, blender, rice cooker, etc.) as well as 4 monetary prizes! Sandra and I were aiming to win the “Masters” prize of 2,000 soles (about $650 dollars) but unfortunately we came up short 🙁

While I didn’t get any homework or studying done, this turned out to be an awesome day of bonding with my host family, eating lots of yummy foods, and making fools of ourselves on the dance floor! ((funny story: I went to the laundromat two days later and the lady there goes “I saw you at the parroquia on Sunday! You were dancing!!!” and I simply laughed and responded with “sí…”))