Friday, December 4, 2009
After abandoning my principles (mistaken and silly though they may have been), I am faced with the daunting task of actually writing a blog. My previous disapproval of blogs centered on the fact that it seemed the height of conceitedness to assume that the details of one’s daily life were worth of publication. My expert consultants assured me that 2 years in rural Peru were an exceptional case, but, now, sitting at my laptop, I realize that the details of daily life are really all I have to offer. As much as I would like to spend my days beginning sustainable projects and instigating healthy behavior change, I think I have more free time that I have since childhood.
Fortunately, goals 1 and 2 of Peace Corps (or, Cuerpo de Paz, as it is awkwardly translated into Spanish) are all about cultural integration, and sharing American culture. I take this to mean entertaining myself by whatever means available, and talking about it with whoever I encounter. My favorite pastime is taking walks—hikes in any other place, because you cannot head anywhere without heading uphill, often on windy paths that turn into creeks after rainshowers. My wanderings have taken me up mountains, through eucalyptis forests, across small rivers, but, above all, through farmland. At the most surprising moments, I find myself in the middle of somebody’s pasture, or trying to remember a quechwa greeting to say to a couple leading their donkey down to the pueblo (in this case the abuelita kissed my hand after hearing me stammer a few phrases. I immediately resolved to study more). Almost everyone is friendly to me and happy to chat (or attempt chatting). The most common questions are “¿donde vas?” (where are you going) and, after slight conversation “¿te acostumbras?” (are you getting used to things?) My answers are nearly always “Estoy paseando, no más” (Just going for a walk) and “Si, poco a poco, no?” (Yes, little by little). Sometimes it’s frustrating to have the conversation over and over, every day, but when an old quechwa woman (or, more likely, a young girl), calls me some derivative of Kaitlyn instead of “gringa,” it feels amazing.
It’s only a half-lie that “Me acostumbro.” Slowly, I am starting to get used to life here in site, but I don’t know that I will ever feel exactly at home. This is both positive and useful; I am here as an agent of change, not just another Mushino. Also, I hope that there is never a time in my two years when I take the view of Huascaran for granted—whether in the middle of the night, in moonlight, as I pick my way through the onion plants to the latrine, or in the moon, with sun reflecting off the glacier, or in the afternoon, when it suddenly surfaces from clouds. Perhaps after a time the strangeness of pigs tethered in the path, or tiny old women carrying massive loads wrapped in mantas (beautifully colored blanket/capes) will wear off, and that will be the day that my blog becomes completely mundane (at least on my end). For now, I hope to try and sort through everything that is happening to me and around me, and welcome any advice or updates from home. Thank you.