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3 posts categorized "Danielle Gehman"


Leaving and Taking


Packing can be exciting, but it also can be stressful. This is me when I was packing to leave Lima in December.  Impressive, right?

I thought maybe, for fun, you all might like to hear some of the things I'm planning on packing and not packing for Lima this time around.

Two catches:

1) I am only me. (A female, FYI.) You may get there and be like "What was that crazy girl talking about?" I don't want any hate mail.

2) I have much more room in my suitcases than you, seeing as I left a bunch of things back in Lima. So, ya know, you should prioritize. Underwear first, kiddos.


White shoes. The sidewalks of Lima will pounce on anything that so much as looks white-ish. Don't do it.

Me-packing advice-white Beth's mid semester.

Extra dresses.  For some reason I seem to wear dresses a lot more in New England, where I go to school, but I really only had a couple semi-formal occassions that I wore them for in Lima.

Books.  I like to read, but PUCP has quite a few really good libraries which even have many English books.

That's my short list of "leaves." Most of the rest of what I packed the first time for my everyday life at home I used in my everyday life in Lima too.


Brown sugar. Had to be #1 on  the list. I love to bake (you may benefit from this) American baked goods, and this simply does not exist.

Chocolate chips and chocolate bars.  I'm a huge dark chocolate fan, and while I've heard opinions to the contrary, I'm just not sold on Peruvian chocolate.

Peanut butter. (Are there a lot of foods on this list?) This does exist, but it's decidedly in the "expensive foreign imports" category, from which my new host family may or may not buy. I'm not taking any chances.

Boots and Converse. For some reason, in the winter and spring these were the footwear of choice for like 8/10 students on campus. It will get cold again.

Polvos azules converse Taken at the black market

Beauty and skin care products.  These are a bit pricey down there, especially as compared to the outrageously inexpensive food.  Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, makeup...I'm stocked for 5 months.

Folders. Regular cardboard with two pockets? A peruvian friend claims they have them, but I have yet to find them.

Contact solution and contacts. This one. Really, take my advice. I just bought a bottle in the Walmart Vision center that cost me 3 or 4 times as much in Peru. And out of necessity, I bought the exact same brand of contacts down there that I buy here, and they just bugged my eyes for some reason.

So that's my list, some of which I've heard echoed by other students. Especially the PB. It's more American than apple pie, apparently.

Happy packing!




You're not alone

I don't know about you, but before I came to Lima I was a little over-confident about my ability to live in a foreign country by myself.  My college requires students to use programs like CIEE for study abroad; we can't just decide to plop ourselves down at Any Old University in Your Country of Choice and expect those credits to transfer. 

And I recall wishing this was not the case, because I wanted a super full-immersion experience in which I never interacted with other Americans and almost transformed into a native myself.

Ho ho ho, Dani-of-8-months-ago, have you even met yourself?


It was during our first month or so in Lima, and while I had met many Peruvians, I had yet to make any friends that I felt like I could hang out with. Enter Amelia, one of the other girls from the CIEE program, who had been in Lima a full semester longer than I had, had already made many friends, and just so happened to have a birthday coming up.

It was my first party in Peru, and needless to say, I was nervous. Would I be able to talk in a birthday party context to Peruvians my age? So I did what I often do when I want to make a good impression: I baked something and put on my "I do this all the time!" face.

And then that face turned into my "I'm genuinely having a fantastic time" face. Because the party was great. Great. I sat next to two Peruvian girls while we played some kind of hilarious pass-the-picture game...two girls who are still two of my best friends in Lima, and who I hang out with regularly.  And who I probably (ok, definitely) would not have met had it not been for Amelia...

So it turned out that I did indeed need other people from my culture to help me adapt and process and vent.  It is, as they tell me, about balance. I'm glad that a lot of the time I pushed myself to be with just Peruvians. But honestly, I don't know what I would have done, or would do next semester, without my fellow exchange students and Marion and Melvin. (Brownie points for me?)

We’re lucky, very lucky.  

Me- program llama feeding

 Peruvian daily chore: feeding llamas. Didn't you know?


We spelunked...for 30 seconds.

Me-program-boys in windows

The guys. (Melvin 2nd from right.)


Elizabeth rocking the fourwheeler in Luanahuana.

Me-program-boat with Mar
Elizabeth and Marion rocking the lifevest in Callao.

 Link to my blog:  You'll have to delve back into December and November to find things about Lima.


Bienvenidos (and c'mon back)

Relaxing above Cusco
Hello there all students bound for or interested in the CIEE program in Lima, Peru!

And of course, any other persons who have dropped by this blog for a visit. Although, I must warn that latter category that there’s a group of students getting ready to go over there soon, and until they do these little entries will be primarily devoted to them.  Blanket apology for that, mates.  All are welcome.  (Except spammers. I unwelcome you.)

I’m ahead of myself.  Introductions: My name is Dani, and I was a student for the fall CIEE liberal arts semester and will be returning for the spring.   Don’t worry, I won’t be the only one writing here, but I will be kind of organizing and filling in the gaps. Marion, one of the program directors, just twisted my arm and begged and pleaded until I finally gave in.

Ok ok, that’s a bold-faced lie. I volunteered. Partly because I enjoy blogging and always look better in print than person, and partly because I thought it’d be kind of fun to tell you guys a couple things I would’ve liked to know myself before I came the first time. You know, like, “Bring the brown sugar, leave the coffee.” But of course I’m recruiting the other students from last semester too, because you’d get bored with me.

So if I promise you ancient ruins and pisco sours and packing advice (all virtual of course), will you come back?  I also promise to exclude long, laborious descriptions and include personal photos.

Chévere. (Common Peruvian word for “cool,” which translation makes me sound a little lame for using it.  And I am.)

We may also include links to personal blogs that were kept during the last semester in Lima, so you can read more if you fancy.

 We’ll see you all here again pues.



P.S. I realize there’s a kind of universal love of anonymity when blog-reading, but I'd love for you all to introduce yourselves in the comments.

Some of my random pics from last semester (the above is overlooking Cusco):

Beach-surfers By the sea in Lima

Movie stars- lwide Who's that there in the center and on the left?

Sharing at Amelias2
Good friends

Christmas pucp bulletin
Christmas on campus

Home sweet home