Month 1: A Day in the Life

During our first month in Lima, the students from Holy Cross took Spanish classes at a Spanish language school in Miraflores, called El Sol. During the afternoons, we had scheduled activities which have been coordinated and planned out by the EdOdyssey team. EdOdyssey is the program through which Holy Cross students do study abroad in Peru.

 

Here is a rundown of an “average” weekday during my first four weeks in Lima, that I wrote during the last week of Spanish classes:

 

Before I fall asleep each night, I go to the clock app on my phone and set three alarms: 6:23 AM, 6:30 AM, and 6:40 AM. The next morning, I wake up to the splendid sound of “apertura,” bright and early. I am usually slow to get out of bed, so I must rush to get ready for the day and attempt to be downstairs for breakfast by about 7:06 AM. What I love about breakfast at my host family’s house, is that it is consistent. Every day I have two pieces of bread, a small bowl of scrambled eggs, or occasionally a fried egg or omelet, and either a small bowl of mixed fruit, or a fresh fruit smoothie. My host dad makes the most delicious fruit smoothie. I’m not entirely sure of its ingredients but I think that it usually has strawberries, banana, passionfruit, orange, and pineapple.

 

Around 7:30, the other Holy Cross student living with my host family, and I walk to the bus stop. Depending on the day, we have to wait anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour for the bus. A common problem is that our bus will drive past but won’t stop because it is already filled to capacity. Similar to the T in Boston during rush hour, the bus we take to school is almost always PACKED. Most days, we have to stand for about two thirds of the ride to school. In total, the ride is usually approximately 50 minutes long. The bus passes by Parque Kennedy, which is the main central location in Miraflores, and usually a lot of people get off there.

 

Most days, we get to school by 8:30 and simply relax in the entrance room before classes begin at 9 AM. The first two hours of class are grammar. This has been very helpful because it is a quick, yet in-depth review of relevant and often-times difficult grammar concepts. After two hours, we have a 20 minutes break, and then classes resume for another two hours. These last two hours are “conversation”. For all four weeks that I have been at El Sol, I have had Jose as my teacher. He is the absolute best and not only helps with my Spanish, but also teaches the class about cultural aspects of Lima and so much more! There hasn’t been a single day this month in which I haven’t laughed during his class.

 

After classes, all the Holy Cross students eat the lunches which our host families have sent with us. Each day it is always a surprise to see what our host mom sent that day.

 

Around 1:30 PM, our awesome program coordinator, Patty, comes to El Sol to collect the Holy Cross students so we can go do whatever activity or small excursion is planned for the afternoon. These activities range from watching Peruvian movies, to going to museums, to visiting different areas in Lima.

 

On most days, we finish up the activity and make our way to Parque Kennedy. From there, I take the bus home. The bus ride home costs 1.5 soles and is usually less busy than on the way to school, making it is easier to get a seat. Each day I get off the bus near the fire station, and I always find it funny when the cobrador says “baja bomberos!” This phrase means that someone is getting off the bus at the fire station. A cobrador is the person who collects your money for the bus and who makes sure people get on and off of the bus.

 

Once I get home, I normally rest for a little while and then walk to the gym. The gym has become one of my favorite parts of the day. I always feel so accomplished when I finish a nice workout. The gym that I have a membership to is quite large and has lots of different machines and classes which I can utilize daily. After the gym, I walk home, take a shower, and have dinner. For dinner, we have various different meals, but there is always bread and butter. My host mom also always brings out hot water so I can make tea. I have truly become a tea girl down here. The main reason I drink so much tea is that I am constantly cold, due to it currently being winter here in Lima.

 

Once we have eaten dinner and washed our dishes, we go upstairs to our rooms. Before bed, I complete any homework I have due the next day. Luckily, the teachers at El Sol are muy chéveres and only assign a little bit of homework each night.

 

And to conclude, here is a fun fact about my daily routine this past month: My three favorite Peruvians that I see each day are Jose (my Spanish teacher), Pablo (my trainer friend at the gym), and the casino guard who always says “buenas noches” to me as I walk home from the gym.

The Adventure Begins

Thursday July 11, 2019

About 9 months ago I sat across from my parents at a local Bertucci’s Restaurant and told them that I wanted to study abroad for my entire junior year. Their first instinct was definitely to question my wild idea, but I was determined to go. So here I am, sophomore year of college in the books and ready to take on the adventure I was not willing to let pass by. In four hours, two other Holy Cross students, Sandra and Jennifer, and I will board our plane to Lima, Peru.

Quite frankly, it’s all very surreal. No matter how many informational packets, PowerPoints, and pre-departure meetings there are, there is really no way to feel fully prepared for such a new experience.

The fear of the unknown.

Will my Spanish be good enough? Will I fit in with my host family? What will the food be like? Did I pack all the essentials? The questions keep coming….

But just as with any new adventure one sets out on, the unknown is what makes it exciting; it is what gives it a thrill factor; it is the reason I so adamantly declared to my parents at Bertucci’s that I wanted to go abroad. In the months to come, I look forward to making the unknown a little more known and the known a little more unknown. I hope to expand my view of the world and learn more about both myself and others.

I’m looking forward to learning about and embracing the customs of my host family. For the first time, I am getting the opportunity to truly experience the power of integration into a different society. This is something that I’ve learned so much about during my first two years at Holy Cross, and which I have come to understand as vital when learning about and understanding others.

With my two STUFFED suitcases in hand and my backpack on my back, I head off on what the youngins may call the biggest YOLO of my life. Sometimes you have to jump and hope you don’t just land on your feet, but that you FLY.

Here’s to the adventure. Here’s to the unknown.