Its been quite a while since my last blog post but so much has happened! However, because I haven’t been keeping track of it, I’m sure I will leave lots out.
First of all, the change in seasons here, coupled with a run in the cold and the ever present smog has made me sick. I have had some sort of respiratory infection or cold for the past week despite taking medicine and drinking enough anti-gripal (anti-cold) tea to fill the Atlantic Ocean. I signed up for the Avon Breast Cancer 5k and then decided that if I was going to survive, I absolutely HAD to start running. This thought occurred one week before the race and if you know anything about health and working out you know that me starting to “train” for the race one week before was going to make no difference no matter what. So one Sunday afternoon I convinced myself that I could go for a 35 minute run and I’d be fine.
No no no no no. I picked the worst day possible, when the fog was so bad I didn’t even need water, it was cold, and the wind was pretty strong. I went in shorts and just a long sleeve shirt and I quickly realized I’m way more out of shape than previously thought. I woke up the next morning feeling terrible and thus decided to venture to the health center on campus to try and get some meds. This visit will not go down on my “favorite memories” list because the nurse was rude and the doctor hardly even checked my symptoms before giving me ibuprofen and a medicine for allergies. I’ve took the medicine for a week before deciding that it wasn’t curing me and now I’m hoping my immune system kicks it into high gear. The good news is i’m feeling better. The bad news is I was sick for the 5k and I’m still in terrible shape.
I ran the race with my friend Becky and we were really excited that it supported breast cancer because that meant we got to wear lots of pink! We got to the park where we’d be running and everything was pink; balloons, hats, shirts, booths, musicians, it was all decked in pretty pink. We walked around oohing and ahhing at everything before making our way to the starting gate. We were basically in the back of the pack (apparently Peruvian perpetual lateness/disregard for time does not apply to organized races?) A man on a balcony of sorts led us in some stretches before the countdown started. And we were off!….kind of. Due to our “lateness” it took us around 45 seconds (which we watched slowly tick down, making us feel very slow) to even reach the starting line. Obviously we noted this so we could later subtract it from our overall time. The race went by without any real problems, except my inability to correctly pop this water baggie thing they gave us to hydrate and cool down our bodies. Instead of popping it flawlessly like EVERY single other runner, I managed to explode it all over my feet while I was running. And instead of pouring the rest over my head like a running supermodel, prepared to shake it off in an obviously attractive way, it dribbled all the way down my arm and made me cold. But 29 minutes later I finished the race! (stuffy nose/headache and all). Not my best showing, but not too shabby for not having worked out in almost 3 months and for being sick.
The month of October in Lima (and perhaps throughout all of Peru) is devoted to el Senor de los Milagros (Man of miracles) or to the best of my understanding–Jesus! So there is this church in Lima called La Iglesia de las Nazarenas and here a gigantic painted picture of Jesus on the cross, mounted on a huge silver/gold platform is kept throughout the entire year…until October. Then they hold processions on different days of the month where people carry the picture and they “process” through the city streets. Thousands of people follow the Jesus picture singing/chanting/praying/etc. I’m still not sure I understand the full meaning behind the holiday but it is a very serious event for Limenos–namely the Catholic ones. So this past Monday my host mom took me to a mass service at the church so I could see how a service in Peru is and so I could see the beautiful church and the Jesus “float”, for lack of a better word. The church was awe-inspiring, especially all the intricate work done on the inside. The pictures below simply won’t do it justice. The Jesus thing was pretty cool too and it was interesting to see the deep meaning it had to the people. Many had lined up hours prior to the mass service to get the chance to touch something to it, for it is believed to bless whatever touches it. Some brought pictures, bibles, babies, rosaries, you name it and it was rubbed on the statue. I even saw a few blind people and one severely disabled boy. It was such a neat experience and my host mom is officially the sweetest woman in Peru!!
Afterwards she took me to a place she knew to get what’s called a Turrón. Turrones are the official (but probably unofficially) dessert of Senor de los Milagros. In this case, of the holiday, not necessarily the official/unofficial dessert of Jesus. But i’m sure he would LOVE them! Its an interesting mixture of cookies, anis, honey, and any colorful candy the baker wants to throw on top. I’ve seen all different kinds of candies but the most common and plain are like the one in the picture below! Its so good but unfortunately it weighs a ton which makes me think of how terrible it must be for you to eat. Hasn’t stopped me yet though.
Halloween is coming up, as well as Day of the Dead on November 1st and I’m going out of town from the 2nd-5th so its shaping up to be a busy couple of weeks! I am done with all my midterms, and I did well on all of them so that is a huge relief. It has also just hit me that I am now over halfway done with my program and that in less than 8 weeks I will be back on US soil. I am panicked and excited all at the same time. I feel like I have so much left to do here in Lima, so much more to see/eat/experience. My friends and I are in the process of making a bucket list of things we have to do before we leave and I could not be more excited for the next 7 1/2 weeks. I know I’m leaving out things from the past 10 days or so but I can’t remember them at this moment. Until next time…