I have lived in Peru for only four short weeks but already I am in love.
I came with virtually no preconceived notions, but I’ll admit I’m still amazed by the sheer diversity of the country. Everything from the Andes to the Amazon can be discovered here. In my new home of Lima the ocean laps at the the parched desert. Towards the East, cloud forests spill into the Amazon Basin. Inland, dry forest and scrub-land rise to the snow capped Andes Mountains. Everything you could ever want to try, paragliding, fishing for piranhas, or riding the sand dunes, are all less than a cab or plane ride away. It is a country filled with warm people, rich history, delicious food, and gorgeous architecture. Bored is a nonexistent word here in this sprawling, vibrant country full of surprises.
“Having the time of my life and whatnot” was the caption on one of the many photos I shared on social media and at the time I meant it in a lighthearted way, but honestly I’ve never written truer words. The phrase feels a bit heavier now that I’ve reflected on it.
My first month abroad has been a month of firsts. I went fishing for piranhas on the Amazon River. I learned how to surf in the Pacific Ocean. I’ve strolled along the coast in Miraflores. I hiked to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu. I climbed a palm tree in the Amazon Rain Forest. Without stepping a foot outside of Peru, I’ve met people everywhere from France to Fiji, from all over the United States, from every culture and walk of life. Most days I still can’t believe I’m here and that this is my life now. I am so thankful for every inch of this beautiful country I’ve been able to see and everything I’ve experienced.
So while I continue to use silly captions on social media and lightheartedly speak of my adventures abroad, more seriously I truly am having the time of my life. I have learned more about geography, history, food, culture, world politics, and surprisingly, myself, than I would have ever thought possible in four weeks. I’m grateful I have another three months to be able to fully immerse myself in the culture here. The coming days and weeks are going to be full of unreal adventures, unbelievable moments, and (yes, mom) maybe even some studying for my classes.