The seamstress was a little late getting Maggie’s dress finished. It made me nervous, and to tell you the truth, I considered asking for my deposit back. But we had planned on a slumber party with Cora and Shaye, and I thought it would be fun to save the dress to give it to her for the slumber party. She was thrilled, and I think the seamstress did a great job. It is a little too big, but extra room to grow means that she can be Elsa for Halloween this year and next. 🙂
So… presenting the $125 Elsa dress turned into a $25 dress (made in Peru):
seeing it for the first time. She squealed with delight.
the back (I love the sparkly sheer fabric that she used). It definitely has a “snowflake look” to it.
One day I let the kids color pictures from Frozen. Is it any surprise that Maggie chose this one? For the record, Ana chose Olaf, and Cohen chose Marshmallow. It really does show their personalities. 😉
Maggie Kate, you are our beautiful Peruana. Your life pretty much marks our timeline here in Peru. It is hard to believe that this is your last birthday to spend in Peru for this chapter of our lives. You are a lovely, sassy, big blue-eyed, princess-lovin’ Kindergartener. We wouldn’t change anything about you.
This year we didn’t celebrate your birthday with a party. We celebrated with a birthday extravaganza! You have been talking for 6 months about the Frozen party that you wanted. Well, you got your wish… plus more.
Step 1: Go with Momma to look for Frozen party decor in the center. The party stores were ready for us.
Step 2: Have a school party (something that your daddy and I despise, but I thought that it would be a nice gesture since it is your last year in Peru).
3. Step 3: Family party on the actual day. Maggie requested her favorite for lunch, Tortellini Soup. She wanted cinnamon rolls for her birthday dessert. She’s got good taste if you ask her parents.
Step 4: Mustaches in the park. One of our interns from last summer brought the girls fake mustaches (Thanks again, Lisette!). I had put them away, and Mags found them a few months ago. She got it in her head that on her birthday she wanted to go to the park and take pics with the mustaches on. Her dreams came true. Ha!
Step 5: Slumber party with Cora. Pictures to come…
Whew. We are done celebrating. chica. And I am sorry to say it, but I am all Frozened out. You got an Elsa dress (previous post), and we invited the Smith girls over for a good time. Cora and Shaye spent the night, but Aria was in on all the fun. She even wanted to stay the night with you (the last pics). You asked for cheeseburger sliders for dinner, and we made another birthday dessert. Your Gram had sent a princess party pack with Daddy back when he went to the states. We were able to use it along with our Frozen items.
You loved the princess birthday banner. You and your siblings added the extra Frozen pictures by coloring free pages off the internet.
We made blue jello again, served the left-ver galletas from your school party, and put out the cake. That is your Elsa dress hanging in the background.
Tia Areli gave you a gift of these Frozen characters. I couldn’t believe that she could find something from Frozen! I looked. What is funny is that they are generic, and they still don’t have Elsa in the grouping. Luckily, we found a funny-looking Elsa candle in the party store downtown, and she ended up being the same size as the rest of the characters. Your sister hand drew a little Olaf and attached him to a long toothpick. Isn’t he cute?!
Edible pearls and sprinkles are my new favorite cake decorating tools. 🙂
waiting for the guests. It was like waiting for Christmas.
the crew. Ana and Shaye (7), Maggie (5), Cora (4), Cohen (3), and Aria (2)
silly face pic
Aria is not picking her nose here, but it looks like it. See the cute cheeseburger sliders?
I mentioned the Elsa candle coming from the party store. The wick fell down and it looked like Elsa had a torch sticking out of her back. Ha!
Cora insisted that I take a picture of her blue mouth. It was much bluer before I got this shot.
This little stinker wasn’t hungry for her cheeseburger, but she ate every bite of her piece of cake. 🙂 She also drank lots of “leemohdada” (limonada).
It is absolutely ridonkulous how much people are making off this Frozen craze. I tried to get my mom to buy an Elsa dollhouse figure, and she was told by the stores that they sell out within 15 minutes of getting a new shipment. Maggie’s birthday is coming up, and she requested a Frozen slumber party with her best friend, Cora.
Back in April, I went downtown to the area that rents costumes. Peru is a rental culture. I am talking everything… school plays, Halloween, what to wear to a wedding (they are super formal here), wedding dresses, graduations, promotions, etc. I personally love it. Why did I pay over 100 dollars for a prom dress that I knew I would only wear once? See my point? Well, in April, I decided to ask who made the costumes, and I got a lady to make Cohen a fireman and Zorro costume for under 30 bucks.
Since Maggie wants a Frozen party, is in love with the character Elsa, and adores playing dress-up, she is going to get a Frozen dress for her birthday. This morning, I went down to Siglo XX, I found the lady that makes princess dresses, and for $25 she is going to duplicate this picture that I found on Pinterest…
and just like that… a $120 handmade dress just turned into $25. 🙂 I can’t wait to see the finished product.
It is hard to believe that you have gotten to be such a big boy. We are planning your 3rd birthday (a bombero party–pictures to come) party, but the 19th is THE DAY. We will have a mini-celebration with our teammates on your special day. I made sugar cookies and peanut butter bars to celebrate.
Here are some of the pics I have taken of you recently…
Cohen Timothy, we adore you, little one. You have matured so much in the last few months—starting school was a big part of that. You are go-with-the-flow most of the time. You love being outside on the patio riding your bike or out in the sandbox getting dirty.
We really need to set you up with play-doh. We don’t have any currently, and you have found some of the play-doh toys to play with. You tell us, “I am playing ‘adobo.'” Adobo is a famous Arequipan dish. 🙂
You love cee-wee-ul (cereal). You could eat it for every breakfast and every dinner I believe. You are usually the first to wake up in the morning. I will find you playing with your cars in your room or in the playroom, and the first words out of your mouth are, “I want some ceeweeul, please.”
You call most everyone by name correctly. But one of my favorite names that you mispronounce is Areli’s name. You call her “Ah-lah-lee.”
If you get to choose a show to watch, you ask for “Thomas the Train,” “Go Gabba Gabba,” or “Monster’s Inko” (Monster’s Inc.!).
You sleep super well at night, and you no longer take afternoon naps. We find you to be pretty cranky on school days, so it is no surprise that your napless afternoon leads to a 7 pm bedtime.
I have plenty of pictures to blackmail you one day. Most of them involve princess dresses, tutus, and purses. You might be receiving some costumes for YOU so that you don’t have to only use your sister’s stuff to play with. 😉
You have shown your stubborn streak and your defiance in the last few months. You are learning to test the waters. These occurrences have gotten less and less. When you are mad, you like to show you are super mad. But when you are loving, you are super loving. I guess that makes you a passionate little boy. I prefer sweet Cohen, though.
Cohen, we love you. This is your last birthday in Arequipa. You were born here, and we will never forget the first 3 years of your life spent in this beautiful country. You may not have many memories because you are so young, but we pray that the memories are kept alive in these photos. To our little Arequipeño, el príncipe de la casa, ¡Felíz Cumpleaños!
I am a social butterfly, and if I have an excuse to host a party or schedule an outing, I jump on it. That is usually the case with my birthday, but this year it just didn’t work out that way. With Granny’s passing and new teammates coming in, life was pretty much a whirlwind during this time.
What happened instead? I was greatly blessed to see the fruit of beautiful Peruvian friendships in action. This will be a mish-mash of photos, but that is the most perfect way for me to document my last birthday here in my home of Arequipa. I remember Greg and me talking about moving to Peru. At the time we were talking, we were planning to move here with two of his best friends in tow. It may sound selfish, but I felt that it was so unfair to not be moving here with a best friend as well. I will never forget Greg mentioning to me in this moment, “maybe you will meet a Peruvian that will become a best friend.” Almost 6 years later, I have been abundantly blessed by friendships that have cultivated in this time. I couldn’t see it six years ago, but I know that my heart will ache for these dear friends that I shared this chapter of my life with in Arequipa.
I give thanks to God for beautiful friendships, and I give him all glory for providing a circle of people that have loved and cared for me in our time here like sisters and brothers.
January 15… my actual birthday.
Greg usually teaches his theology class at the cafe in the early afternoon. He walked in the house a little early with a huge bouquet of flowers, my favorite chocolates, and a new wallet (I had lost my wallet in a taxi earlier in the week). What a guy!
I went to a Bible study in Sandra’s home that afternoon. I always meet up with Etelvina and Bethany to walk over to her home. Etelvina not only surprised me with a wonderful “snack” of Papa a la Huancaina, but Areli showed up (in the pouring down rain) with my most favorite cake in the city, La Tradicional (from Capriccios), chocolate cake with manjar and chocolate icing. What fun!
I need to mention that in the middle of reading a chapter in Mark, my phone rang twice. I decided to take the call, and what was on the other end? Emilia’s sweet voice singing “Happy Beerthday to you” all in English. I loved it.
The next day, Emilia called me and gave me strict orders to not make plans for Friday lunch. Areli, Paty, and Emilia were scheming behind my back.
Friday came, and the girls took me to eat ceviche (a favorite of Peruvians and a favorite of mine). I missed Paty (family emergency). With Ana in tow, I enjoyed a lovely lunch with my two Peruvian besties: we shared an appetizer, ceviche, and crab empanadas. It was out-of-this-world-good.
Manuela loves to make us a lunch for our birthday present. One week after the 15th, she brought Adobo to the house. It was perfect planning considering I had delayed my plans to make my birthday dessert for this day.
Chase and Briana were sweet to offer and make me a birthday cake. I quickly responded with a “no,” and explained to them that baking is a hobby of mine. I love nothing more than to try a new recipe for my birthday. This year, it was Bakeorbreak’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake that caught my eye. I couldn’t resist… (pretzel crust, peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate syrup and toffee crumbled on top). I will save my review for a later blog post, but I had a ball making the cheesecake, and I was blessed to share it with Manuela, my family, and my new teammates. (I missed sharing with Kyle and Larissa and their family. Thanks Sissa for the cheese cake pan!) Oh… and CUDA employees might have benefitted from the left-overs the next day as well. 🙂
See what I mean by mish-mash? 🙂 Greg always laughs at me when I refer to celebrating my “Birth Month.” It actually felt like such a celebration this year! Bring it on Year 33…
April 19 is your birthday. I am writing your post late, and I plan to write your big sister’s birthday post after this (her’s will be more than one month late!). And that, my son, is a sign that life is just a bit more full with three little people instead of two and most definitely one. I have quite a few pictures to post here. I hope to shed light on you as a two-year-old by describing what is going on in these pictures…
It is hard to believe that you have gone from this little face on Day 1…
to this cute little 2-year-old face this month…
Here is a little bit about you:
1. You LOVE anything that has wheels, and you especially love the sounds they make. You ask every day if you can “Play” (draw out the “ehhhh” in that word) which means the sandbox. You will spend hours out on our little patio shoveling sand and moving your dump trucks around (your Xmas present). It was very appropriate that you had a “transportation” theme for your birthday party.
2. You are showing the true colors of a “Terrible Two” here lately. Neither of your sisters ever threw fits so this is a new arena for us. You tend to throw punches when you don’t get your way, scream out when you don’t get what you want, and you are a pro at body contortion so that it is hard to hold you. We are working on that. You spend way more time “in your room” because of this, and I have a feeling you will be having more “stern talks” from your daddy and momma than your sisters needed. You look really cute in this little shopping buggy, but I have come to despise them. You throw a fit going into the store if I don’t put you in one (they don’t hold very many groceries), and the one time I put you in one (here), you r.e.f.u.s.e.d. to get out when it was time. Let’s just say we have had our share of times when I was “that mom” in the grocery store and Plaza Vea. You are VERY passionate about your wheels.
3. You are my little buddy. I have chosen to grocery shop on Sunday mornings so that you can stay at the house with big sisters and Daddy. But you are my shopping buddy on Monday mornings, Wednesday mornings, and Friday mornings when I stroll you to the café. Ana isn’t usually with us, but this is your get-up: the stroller and your little sombrero (the hat Ana wore at her very first jardín).
4. You are the stereotype for “boy.” Nature definitely wins the argument, because we have not encouraged the things you tend to like. As your Daddy reflected the other day, not only do you love things with wheels, you prefer “chucks” (trucks) to “carrrrrrz” (cars) and you prefer “chactoors” (tractors) to trucks. No one has taught you these things. You just know. But having two big sisters still gives you a sweet, gentle side. It is a common scene to see you pushing the stroller around, cooking in the play kitchen and bringing me something “Hahhhhhhhttt” (hot), or pretending you are going to the market with your purse and cellphone.
5. You annunciate the ends of words so well. If a word ends in a consonant, you pronounce it very clearly. I know your Aunt Katy (the speech path) would enjoy listening to your speech development. You are talking more and more. My favorite short phrases that you say right now are “Ahh-own-no” (I don’t know) and “Top itt!” (Stop it). Our favorite word that you say is milk. You sound a little bit like a cow and ask for “Mee-ehhllll-kkk.” Ha! You also speak a lot more Spanish than your sisters did at your age. You are home every Thursday by yourself with Manuela. She has taught you so many words, and you respond correctly in your actions when she asks you to do something in Spanish. One word you act on very quickly is “baile” (dance). You shake it like a real latino. Manuela takes credit and is very proud of you. You have also just recently come up with a breakdance move where you spin on the floor off of your hands. 🙂
6. You love “bahhls” (balls) and to “tump” (jump). You have just recently been getting some air on your jumping, but it has to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Your mother can be heard giggling a mile away when you are showing off your “tumping” skills.
7. You are still taking a mid-day nap (around 2 hours) and you sleep from 7 pm to 7 am. You are a fantastic sleeper and every baby-sitter that puts you to bed tells us that you are super easy to lie down. Your routine is still paci, blanket, and monkey, but you have started going to bed with a few trucks lately. We have not transitioned you to the big bed (your sisters were sleeping in big beds months before turning two) because you are too good of a climber and you just won’t stay in the bed (we tried one night). I am happy with you being in the pack-n-play for now. You can reach the plug to your fan and the switch to the lamp, so there are many late nights that I come in after you have fallen asleep to plug the fan back in and turn the lamp off.
8. You have this thing right now where you act like a cat. If we say the word “cat” you transform. You get down on all fours, meow, and answer in a high-pitched cat voice. Many mornings I come in to get you out of bed and I pick up a cat instead. It is very helpful when you desire for me to chase you. All I say is “hey there little kitty-cat” and you transform and crawl over to me. Ha!
9. You treat Ana like a second mom. You go to her when you are sad or want to be comforted. You ask her for help. You treat Maggie like your twin sister. You guys fight, hit, and bicker with the best of them. But you also love chasing each other around in laughter.
10. You love getting a hold of “lellows.” I am not sure why you call “markers” that, but you throw a fit when I catch you with one that your sisters leave out. You think you are so big when you get to color with markers.
11. You are affectionate. You have no problem with the Peruvian greeting and good-bye of kissing someone and hugging them. You say so many of the Peruvian names. Your favorites are “Dita” (Anita), “Vina” (Etelvina), and of course, “Lela” (Manuela).
12. You LOVE Manuela. You run down the stairs when you think you hear her coming in. You show her all of your trucks, lining them up in the kitchen for her, and you always want to eat breakfast with her (even if you have already eaten). You prefer “pan” (the Spanish word for bread) like a true Peruvian. Again, she takes great pride in teaching you these things. She planned to come to your birthday party (which is huge because she usually won’t come to activities I invite her to on her day off), but she ended up being sick. But the next day she worked, she brought you a complete set of tractors with a trailer. You love them, but not as much as she loves you. 🙂
Here are some pics from your birthday party. We invited all the boys from the church, but the Peruvians couldn’t make it. You had an all kids-gringo party…
Cohen Timothy, what a joy you are. You are not our little baby boy anymore. We love you, and I want you to know that your momma treasure all of these things in her heart.
This year Ana requested a slumber party with her two friends, Shaye and Baylee (her swim class amigas). Baylee was unable to come, but Shaye is here. They have had a wonderful time this evening. I cannot believe how much these girls have grown. I am typing while they watch the movie.
They are currently watching _Mulan_ (Ana’s choice). Blueberry pancakes are on the menu for breakfast. My girl knows how to pick a delicious birthday menu!
This month, I turned 31 years old. It was my 5th birthday to celebrate in Arequipa. I decided this year that I wanted a “night out” with some girlfriends on my big day. I wanted to share a picture from that night, and tell you why each of these relationships are special to me during this time.
Nadia is my neighbor, and if you have kept up with our story here you know that Nadia was baptized last year. She is such a dear friend to me. We both share the same profession. She has volunteered with me in the library program at times, and I love having a Peruvian friend to talk to about cultural differences in the school system. Also, we started our friendship right at a time when I needed someone just like her. She came requesting English classes (I desperately needed those conversations in my native tongue). Our English class turned into a Bible study. Nadia was the first person with whom I shared the story of Jesus. I will never forget that. During furlough, I found a Willow Tree Angel holding a book. I bought it for Nadia and gave it to her for her birthday in November. I told her that she would always remember me when she saw that little figurine on her table. For my birthday, she gave me a little figurine that she bought in the market here. You can bet that wherever I am living in 50 years that little figurine will be in a place that I can see.
Sitting next to Nadia is Areli. What a beautiful personality that girl has! She is Etelvina's daughter. (Etelvina is a dear sister in the church who we absolutely love to pieces.) The thing I love about my relationship to Areli is that we are kindred spirits in laughter. If you know me, you know that I love to laugh. Sometimes, when crossing cultures, it is hard to feel like you understand jokes or are able to be funny around those from a culture different than yours. That is not the case with this amiga. I find such joy in hearing her laughter, and it is contagious. We don't need to sit together in a meeting where no noise is allowed. Ha! Areli and I have been studying the book of Mark together. She is such a good person, and she is earnestly seeking something deeper for her life. It is my prayer that she decides to follow Christ whole-heartedly in the near future. God has blessed me with a friend to laugh with, and I am so blessed by her friendship.
That gringa you might not recognize is named Katie Daggett. Katie and her husband, Jeremy, are part of the team moving to Arequipa in 2014. They decided to come to Arequipa and take 2 months of language classes to better prepare themselves for the field. What is really special about the two of them is that they are where Greg and I were 7 years ago. Jeremy is studying at Harding School of Theology in Memphis, and the two of them are about to work with the same Hispanic church where Greg and I worked during our time in Memphis. It has been such a blessing to get to know them better, to share dreams about the future work here in Arequipa, and to answer the many questions they have about moving here. For me, Katie symbolizes the things to come in Arequipa. I am excited that my family's remaining time will overlap some with her family, but I am even more excited to see what God will do through them and the rest of their team in the years to come. Pray for Team Arequipa 2.0. We are so excited about them joining the work here.
Next to Katie is Emilia. Oh how I love Emilia. She has been a Christian for many years, and she recently moved to Arequipa from Lima. Her joy and fervor for the Lord are contagious, and she has such a passion to work in children's ministry. Larissa and I know that Emilia was a God-send to our church in the realm of working with the children. It is wonderful to see a Peruvian that is mature in faith. She has blood family in the city, but she thrives on spending as much time with her brothers and sisters in Christ as she can. She knows a little bit of English, and we get such a kick out of her practicing and asking questions. She is so much fun to be around. My children love “Bible class with Emilia,” and I thank God for a Christian sister that is equipped to help teach them when the church is together.
You should recognize that other gringa. I told Larissa the other day that it will be so hard to know life without her family in our lives (as in the same city) when the day of our departure comes. We shared our time in Memphis with the Smiths to prepare for our mission work. We shared in the joy of having our first children in Memphis (there is only a 3 month difference between Ana and Shaye). We moved together to live for 6 months in Tyler and 6 months in Arequipa. We have not known this work without the Smiths. We love them dearly, and we have been through so much together in our time here. Larissa knows a part of me that no one else can understand. We have lived, grieved, rejoiced, waited, misunderstood, been confused, and celebrated as missionary wives in Arequipa, Peru. There just aren't too many people that I share that with. I love her dearly, and it will sadden me greatly when the day comes that we separate. But I am so grateful for her service to the kingdom in this city. I am grateful for how she strives to be a good wife and mother. And I am grateful for her friendship as a friend, but much more so as a sister in Christ.
It was a very special group of people that night. It is hard to imagine that I only have one more birthday left to celebrate in Arequipa. But God has certainly given me a reason to celebrate life here.
Yep. I am 31 years old today. “Happy getting older!” my husband encouraged me with this morning. (He is five months younger, and he will hold it over my head the rest of my life.) That is less than 10 years away from turning 40. That is 10 years away from getting used to the idea that my oldest daughter is 16.
But… that is 8 years of marriage, almost 6 years of being a mom, and five times that I have celebrated my birthday in a foreign country.
I am a fan of lists. I decided that this year, I would make a list of “31 things living in Arequipa has taught me.” Some are more serious, some are trivial. But I have to say, living in this beautiful city has taught me a lot. It is hard to believe that 2 years from this birthday, our family will be making the next big transition in our lives. I am going to savor these two years, and I am sure I will have many more points to add when all is said and done. So, Year #33, don't come too quickly…
31 Things that Living in Arequipa, Peru Has Taught Me
When you live so far away from family and friends, you are forced to make your family unit (spouse and children) the closest things to you. It seems that my marriage to Greg has matured at a faster rate because of this factor.
When you celebrate holidays far away from family, it is easier to create new family traditions for your own little family unit.
I knew what having no electricity was like before moving here (ice storms, lightning storms), but I had never experienced my water being cut for long periods of time. It is disgusting. But you know what, you can survive without a shower for multiple days. 🙂
In some places the “ice cream truck music” is only played by trash trucks. (I have heard nursery rhymes, “The Little Mermaid,” and the “Harry Potter” theme song played by the trash truck here!)
When you buy the imported canned cherries to make a Valentine cherry pie, always make sure you check for the pits. (We had a great-spittin' time that V-Day, didn't we Greg? Ha!)
The first Thanksgiving that you prepare sweet potato casserole, your brown sugar topping might be a little crunchy if you didn't realize that packaged pecans still contain the hulls. (hehehe)
So many U.S. recipes call for a can of stewed tomatoes. It really isn't hard to make your own and freeze them in plastic bags, and it is much cheaper in the long run.
Radiated milk is gross. But you get used to it after awhile. It helps that the Oreos taste good here also.
The people smile really big at you if you tell them that your child is an Arequipeño(a). Tourists can't say things like that.
Sometimes it is important as a missionary to do things as the foreign culture suggests. Sometimes it is okay to go against the culture. (Birthday parties really shouldn't cost that much.) Even though many cultural differences exist, there is a Christ culture that Christians share anywhere in the world.
Sometimes a five-year-old daughter can speak Spanish better than her thirty-one-year-old mother. But it is pretty neat to see your kids speak a second language fluently.
It doesn't matter how many years you live here, if you have white skin and blue eyes, you will always be “the freak show” walking down the sidewalk. Mini-gringos make it even worse. And the people here are not afraid to touch your child's face or hair out of curiosity.
Living in a high altitude makes baking interesting.
Even though jalapeños are hard to come by (sometimes they are imported through Lima), you can still pull off a pretty good Tex-Mex meal using aji límo. My husband has a pretty killer salso recipe using all fresh ingredients here.
Salchicha francés and chorizo argentino are pretty good substitutes for recipes that call for Italian sausage.
When you live in a place with petite people, it is hard to find larger shoe sizes and long pants.
One of the greatest blessings for missionaries is seeing the generosity of God's church in action.
Llamas is pronounced “yamas.”
The guinea pig is seen as a delicacy on a restaurant menu and not as a pet.
To compete with other stores that sell the same product, you must find a spot on the same street as them and offer lower prices. When you ask, “Where can I buy a lamp?” there will be an entire street with lamp stores.
Crab empanadas are super delicious… as well as parmesan-crusted scallops. Come to think of it, seafood is delicious when you live an hour and a half from the coast. Greg makes some killer gumbo on Christmas Eve every year with fresh crab and shrimp.
The open market of fresh fruits and vegetables is beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Super markets just don't compare.
“Tacos” here are not something you eat; they are high heels. It sounds really weird to say that you have a craving for high heels.
Skype is a wonderful blessing for relationships that reside countries apart.
I have a deep sense of empathy for foreigners that cannot speak English well in the U.S. I have an even greater sense of empathy for foreign parents with children in the U.S. public school system. I have been in their shoes in this place, and it is not fun to feel like you are the “stupid” mom.
Feta cheese is delicious, and nothing really serves as a substitute for it. It is a shame that they can't import Feta, but I am thankful for the Bleu cheese we buy here.
Real Tex-Mex tastes absolutely wonderful when you haven't eaten it in over a year's time. (Praise for furlough!)
There is such thing as perfect weather day after day after day. It is called Arequipa. But there is also such thing as perfect weather getting old. (I have missed seasonal changes.)
It is very easy to get frustrated with people who are late or things not getting done quickly. It is especially easy to grow impatient with people not showing up to meetings in the rainy season. But anytime you feel like criticizing the people here, spend a day on their public transportation (the combis), and then do it again on a day in the rain. Or see what happens to their homes when the rains come. It is all about perspective.
Flapping your hand violently in the air as if there is no bone in it is the proper act to call a taxi or communicate to the combi driver that you want to get on.
It is possible to bawl your eyes out when moving to a foreign country because you know how much you will miss your family, friends, and home. It is also possible to not want to think about the day you will move back because you know you will bawl your eyes out over missing your Peruvian family, friends, and home. After five birthdays in Arequipa, it feels like home.