Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Training begins

Training has begun. We have left the bubble of the initial processing location and moved to the training town where we’ll be for the next 10 weeks. It is intense. We’re in school 8 to 5 and at home with our host families the rest of the time. Peru has leaned in close, invading my personal space. It is strange to be like a child again, being brought to school by my big sister Kenia, carrying my lunchbox prepared by my host mother, traveling in a group with the other Trainees who live in Yanacoto so nobody gets lost or run down by a bus, which is a real possibility here. My village is a 10-minute bus ride from the training center. The highway runs along the river, in the lowest level of the valley, just like at home in Durango. My house in Durango is up a little hill. My house in Peru is up a BIG hill, that I must climb every day down and every day back up. After being an invalid all winter while recovering from surgery, I was worried about the physical demands of Peace Corps. I was right to worry. I am so very sore from the sudden increase in activity. On the bright side, 10 weeks of this and I’ll be much better prepared for the next phase. We’re at about 3,000 feet in elevation here. Who knows where I’ll be for my service? Well, maybe Diego (my boss) knows, but Diego isn’t telling. The thing I like the best is that my teachers are excellent. The thing that I like the least is the lack of hot water. Will I get accustomed to cold showers or will they stay this unpleasant? The Peace Corps answer: be thankful that you have running water at all; you may not have that in site.
My brain is being stuffed with Spanish all day. It definitely has gotten the message that this is a survival issue and is tossing me globs of Spanish even when I’m trying to write or talk in English. I have placed at the intermediano-mediano level. I send sincere thanks to everyone who helped me study Spanish, from my co-workers at Repertorio Espanol to the many teachers at Fort Lewis College who let me into their classes to my tutor Leire. Muchas gracias a todos. I really mean that. There is an awful lot of Spanish lurking in my brain, ready to be coaxed out.
 This is my house: white with blue stripes. As is common in Peru, there is another floor in a constant state of very gradual construction above the part where we live. That's where our Great Dane, Kaiser, lives.
 This is the view from in front of my house, looking down the street.
 This is the view looking up the hill.


  1. Brrrrr! Cold showers bad. Total immersion good, however. I'm envious!

  2. Oh yeah, I remember the cold showers -- my 18-y/o self was totally unprepared for that. And the altitude, 10K ft in Huancayo...made for some huffin' and puffin'. You go, girl