Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Stories Part 1

I woke up one Sunday morning and realized it was now the longest time I had ever lived abroad– one day over a month. I also realized that I had no idea where I was. Not that I was in a confused, half awake state (which is the norm for me in the mornings) but that I actually did not know where in Peru I might be located.

Let me back track - I was with my host sister and I knew that I was in a friend of a friend’s house where we had crashed for the night after being out late for birthday celebrations. But I had no idea where that house might actually be, and I knew I wasn’t in Lima anymore.

Let me back up yet again. I live for the weekend. It’s the weekend when I have adventures, true intercultural experiences and a lot of fun and sometimes a lot of awkward. And I do really learn a lot about the culture.

Waking up not knowing where you are is a shaky way to start the day. To follow that with a trek through the desert, an hour long micro ride on what felt like unpaved roads and a delicious but incredibly rich ceviche almuerzo was a lot to take. That weekend ended with going to bed at five in the afternoon. And it was still fantastic. Y todavía estaba chévere. Here are some weekend stories.

(I could put them all in one big weekend story post, but large blocks of text can be scary, so I’ll break them up.)

(Does anyone remember the show The Weekenders? It used to play on Saturday morning cartoons. I am the "American in Lima" version of that show.)

Telenovela: Una Noche de Melodrama

At one point in time I thought it was crazy when two boys wanted to sit with me on the couch at a party. That was before I met Peruvian men. One Saturday night I unwittingly found myself in the midst of a small telenovela as I attempted to keep the peace between two Peruvian chicos that both seemed determined to get to know this particular gringa. There were dramatic sighs, there were sudden turnings away, there was showing up around corners unexpectedly, there was leaving without (very pointedly) saying goodbye. Hands were clutched and questions whispered: “¿Te gusta de él?” (Do you like him?) There was even, at one point, a moment when one of the chicos pointed to my number in his phone and said (in Spanish) “This is your number. I’m deleting it.” The horror! He seemed shocked that I didn’t swoon. (Somehow though, he still managed to call me multiple times after this dramatic occasion.) It was all very traumatic and no matter how I attempted to still the waters, nothing worked. I should have slapped one, ran out of the room crying and then invented a secret lover that was actually cousin to both of them! Unfortunately, I tried the ridiculous solution of ignoring all of the intense gazes. Still, I got some really good salsa lessons out of the whole mess.

This is in the Parque del Amor. Yup, melodrama in a statue.

Fiesta de Cumpleaños

I was invited to a birthday party. I pictured an apartment, a bunch of Peruvians I didn’t know, and the Peruvian equivalent of beer pong. I ended up at an exclusive discotech with an absolutely insane dance floor and was immediately offered whiskey and then asked to dance by an incredibly energetic Limeño. No one ever mentioned a birthday to me and I am still not sure who the birthday girl was. Maybe it was a secret. I've given up trying to understand everything going on around me. All I know is that Peruvian men never cease to amaze me with their sly salsa dancing.

Fiesta de Cumpleaños part 2

The day after the raging discotech I attended an informal family gathering for a four year olds birthday. She showed me how to dance Shakira's Waka Waka dance and we ate cake and drank wine (she didn’t drink the wine, Peru’s lax drinking laws don’t extend that far.) It was adorable. For well over 37 seconds I just enjoyed being with a family, parents and siblings and cousins and nieces and nephews. There is such a different atmosphere when with family. The best parties are family parties. I just soaked in all the conversation about the upcoming elections, food, customs, and traveling. I mostly stayed quiet, but I was content to be so. It was nice to just sit in that atmosphere.

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