Back to the Grind with Platypi and Slot Machines

Since last posting, we have moved locations once again, but this time we'll stay put in Trujillo until we head for home in two weeks. It's crazy to think that we've been in this beautiful country for a week already! Time has flown, but at the same time it feels as though we've been here forever. Hard to remember the negative temperatures too, as the coldest it's been (other than the rain and clouds at Machu Picchu) is probably 60 degrees at night...warm wishes to all of you back in the Midwest, we'll try and send some of the heat up there!

So let’s backtrack to the weekend a little. On Saturday we left Cusco (at 4:30 in the morning...yuck) to start our long journey to Trujillo. We flew into Lima around 7:15 am and went to have coffee and kill some time before our noon bus ride to Trujillo. After coffee, we said our goodbyes to our amazing guide Janet, and hung out waiting for the bus. At the time, the thought of meeting our families for the first time was a distant concern, but the closer and closer we got to Trujillo, the more and more nerves surfaced. Nervous laughter, quietly spoken concerns, and overall jittery-ness appeared throughout the group, and when we finally arrived after nine hours, we couldn't believe the time had actually come. After meeting all of our families at the school (El Cultural), we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Every family is a little bit different, but I have a mom, a sister (11) and a brother (3). That night after being shown our apartment, my mom, sister, and I chatted about home, Luther, and the universal topic of food. They told me about all the different foods I have to try, so I definitely won't be going hungry while I'm here!

Sunday was a day to be completely with our families. Again, while every family is different, many of us ended up going to church, the beach, or the park; all the while trying to get accustomed to living under the roof of and conversing with strangers that we now called family. My day personally was amazing! My family and Kathy's (another student on the trip) family are very good friends, so we ended up going to the beach together. We didn't just go to the beach though, we got to take surf lessons, try local foods (Ceviche), and just see how Peruvians kick back and relax on a Sunday.

Monday was the first day of school. While it was a bit of a bummer to have to come back to the reality of actually doing school work, it was really exciting to be in a new place, with new teachers, and new material. Upon first arriving, we all were eager to share our experiences from the weekend, and the common concern from everyone was the ability to understand our families. Those especially who have young host siblings expressed this idea as children tend to slur their words and speak really quickly. But no doubt that with our classes and immersion, it will become easier over the next two weeks. Our school, called El Cultural, is a school known for their immersion programs for exchange students as well as teaching English. We split up into two classes and took our first Spanish class. While today we mostly reviewed concepts that we had learned in earlier classes back home, it was a nice transition back into the idea of school and using Spanish in the classroom. The teachers were both very nice and helpful, but also intentional about correcting us so that we use our Spanish correctly. We also learned some new vocab words, platypus (orintorrinco) and slot-machine (tragamonedas) being just a couple.

After a couple hours for lunch, we went on a walking tour of the Plaza de Armas in the center of Trujillo. There was so much history in just a few blocks! We saw La Municipalidad (city hall), the cathedral, the Freedom Monument, and other historical sites. So many facts and dates were thrown at us in such a short period of time, it was hard to keep everything straight! Regardless, it was incredible to be able to experience the history of Trujillo in only a couple hours. Overall, this weekend and today were a whirlwind of different experiences. Lots of travel, new people, and our first complete free day, and then back to the grind of school. While the majority of traveling is over, it's nice to be back in a routine, learning the language that brought us all here, together.

"El Cultural" is one of the taller buildings in Trujillo, standing seven stories high.