February 1st: Day 3
New Friends/ New Place/ New Life
What a whirlwind of a day. First of all: I woke up (still alone in a strange house and strange place) then rushed to the bathroom where I threw up. I believe it was due to thealtitude sickness- but who knows? I have felt fine since then! Although the altitude does get to me at times with quick exhaustion and some nausea, my body
is slowly but surely adjusting. FINALLY: there is evidence of other humans here!!! The other volunteers who were gone in Arequipa for the weekend arrived this morning and welcomed me with open arms. I have never been happier to see human beings who speak English. They were so open and kind and even apologetic that I had to arrive when they were gone. They gave me lots of information about where my orientation was for the day and explained the living situation to me. Then, two girls arrived during breakfast from Colorado! Once again, I was so thankful to have new people as they would be able to walk with me to orientation (and I wouldn’t have to navigate the city alone).
The rest of the day consisted of unpacking, hanging out, blogging, skyping, and settling in to the house until 1:00 when we walked to orientation. Orientation was at the “Maximo Nivel” international house which is a partner with IVHQ (International Volunteer Headquarters). We got a rundown of the program and the do’s and don’t and got a tour of the city. Within the city, our guide showed us where to eat, and where to avoid (unsanitary places, places that don’t boil their water first, or cocaine alley….lots to avoid!). She showed us the best places for a slice of home, best price alpaca sweaters, and the best vegan restaurant (one of the few places where there are vegetables here). There’s so much culture everywhere (especially in the house itself) I’m just completely in awe that this is my new home.
1st top one is the view from my room (not to shabby eh?).
2nd picture is of the Plaza de Armas (city center).
3rd picture is of the Peruvian flag (right), and the Cusco flag (left), not to be confused with the gay rights flag where the colors run purple to red (which is strongly discouraged here).
4th picture is from a festival of the saints which was a week or two ago
5th picture: an awesome view from the outskirts of the city, in the more traditional sector of classic Peruvian culture. (Fun fact: I saw the famous stone with 12 edges by the Incas which (decided by the Spanish) represents the 12 apostols) which we were strongly not allowed to touch!