A very bussy Easter weekend

Hi everyone, During my third weekend in Peru, it was Easter. The volunteers had a 4 day weekend, so I and most of the other volunteers had the opportunity to take a long vacation. I initially was going to go to Machu Picchu, but Marissa and Skylar got angry with me when I wanted to do my own thing, so I decided to nix Machu Picchu for that weekend and do it later (why I extended my trip a week) because I didn’t want to see one of the 7 wonders of the world being annoyed by 2 girls because I wanted to do my own thing.

So, bright and early Thursday morning I boarded the 8-hour bus up to Huaraz Peru. During that bus ride, I saw so many animals, from pigs to cows, to llamas. Not to mention the views were spectacular. As you soon as you leave Lima, the tall buildings and the hustle and bustle of the city turns to rolling plains, lush forests, and exotic birds. I stared out the window for almost the entire ride.

 

When I arrived in Huaraz, It was pretty late, so I took a taxi to my hostel, made arrangements for the rest of the weekend, and then passed out in bed.

The following morning I had to be up and ready at 7 because I was going on a bus tour of Huaraz and its surrounding area. I got into the bus we would be taking only to be told that I had to exit because there wasn’t enough room. I patiently waited for the next one to come, and then was told once again that I would have to get onto the next bus that was available because yet again, there still wasn’t enough room. At around 10 am, a man from a different tour company told my tour company that he had 8 open spaces. I, a couple, and a group of 5 jumped at that opportunity and finally were able to start our bus tour.

I was seated next to one of the people from the group of 5, whom I later learned his name was Che. He only spoke Spanish, but we were still able to communicate, with a few barriers, but we could still have a conversation or a few, which was nice.

We made a few stops during the day, the first being at a view point of a luscious mountain range. I was being a bit awkward as I didn’t know anyone yet, so I just took a few photos, walked around, and then hopped back on the bus.

Our bus next docked at a Plaza de Armas in Ancash where we enjoyed fresh sorbet, warm weather, and magnificent views. I sat in the plaza for a few minutes before hearing “AMERICAN TOURS” which was our groups signal for returning to the bus.

 

After a few more hours on the bus, we arrived at our final destination, Huascaran National Park. There we stopped for a little over an hour to look at the lakes, Llanganuco and Chinacocha, and snap a few pictures of the water, the animals, the foliage, and the waterfalls.

 

Once I’d taken my fair share of photos and touched an alpaca, I faintly heard “American TOURSS” from our tour guide, signifying the end of our time in Huascaran for the day. I trudged back to the tour bus, snapping a few photos as I exited. As I sat down in my unassigned assigned seat, Che took a seat next to me, and we discussed our time at the park.

 

Our guide, Bruce, asked if we wanted to make another stop to check out some ruins from a terremoto (earthquake) in 1970, and of course, we all obliged. Once there, Che paid my 10 sol entrance fee for me (how sweet) and we walked along all of the ruins, sharing stories of our times in school, home, and what we liked to do. I met his friends and we all talked as well until it was finally time to get back to Huaraz.

 

With sore feet, and droopy eyes, not a word was spoken on our way back to Huaraz that night.

The following morning, I was awake bright and early at 4 am, where I was picked up from my hostel, boarded another bus and made our way back to Huascaran National Park, but instead of stopping at the lakes where we’d stopped the day prior, we continued on for another hour, until we got to the start of the trek to Lagona 69.
From there, I, and my three gallons of water started trekking the mountain to Lagona 69. I met some nice girls from China, who took pictures and videos with me, and just shot the breeze until I marched a little bit ahead (I ended up meeting back with them towards the end).

 

Tired, and sweaty, I reached a lake. This lake was much less than I had expected, but it was still nice and had some snowy mountains in the background to spice it up a little bit. After taking pictures with it, and taking pictures of other people with the lake, I found out that this was not Lagona 69 and that we had another hour or 2 of hiking before reaching it. Disappointed and exhausted, I trudged on awaiting my final destination.

 

 

After another 90 or so minutes of hiking, I saw it. A lake of the bluest blue I had ever seen. A sight that made the long hike, the sunburn, and the frequent uses of my rescue inhaler worth it. I plopped down on the ground, gazed at the too good to be true lake, hydrated, fed myself, and just enjoyed my peaceful few minutes that I had.

 

I decided that even though the view and the rest were amazing, I should start making my way back down the mountain to avoid being late. I don’t remember much of the walk back down, just that I tripped a few times, and made far too many water stops, but I finally made it back to the bus, where I sat down, drank the rest of my water, and waited for the rest of my group members to pile in.

The bus ride back to Huaraz is about 3 hours from the bottom of the mountain. However, 30 or so minutes after departing, the bus broke down so the driver got out of the bus, messed with something under the bus, and we were off again. We broke down again at a small store where everyone restocked on water, Gatorade, and crackers and spoke of how our feet hurt and how we just wanted to goto bed until the bus had been fixed and we were on our way back to Huaraz.

The following morning was Pasqua (Easter). I witnessed part of a parade in Huaraz before driving back to Lima, where I watched Bridget Jones’ baby in Spanish (twice) and saw my very first bone sticking out of someone’s body (6 or 7-car car crash). All I wanted to do was return to Lima, meet all of the new people, and hit the sack.

 

Alicia

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Sand sand and more sand

Hi all, as I mentioned a few posts back, I would make one post about volunteering, and then make a collection about my adventures in Peru. I already discussed my first weekend in one of the two posts I actually wrote in Peru. The first weekend we spent exploring Lima, getting acquainted with Peru, and just enjoying a bunch of free time.

During our second weekend, we (Marissa, Skylar, Tresia, and I) took a 4-hour bus ride south to the city of Ica, Peru. We then taxied to Huacachina, a small oasis surrounded by miles and miles of sand. There we checked into our hostel, the Wild Olive, booked a dune buggy tour and settled in to our room.

 

When 330 approached, we made our way to the travel agency we booked through and found our dune buggy and buggy guide, where we buckled in and waited for the rest of our group to arrive.

I’d never been on a dune buggy, and I’d never seen so much sand in my life. Dune buggying is absolutely exhilarating and sand is nice until it gets into every nook and cranny on your body. Our very attractive Peruvian driver weaved in and out of dunes, going back and forth across the sand; it was like the best roller coaster I’d ever been on.

We made a stop at the top of a dune to take photos of the oasis before piling back into the buggy to continue our ride. After a few more minutes of riding the dunes, we made another stop at the top of an even higher dune. From there, our guide pulled 10 boards from the back of the buggy and told us we were going to sandboard. I’d never done any sort of boarding before, so to say I was terrified was an understatement, however, I mounted my board, kept my legs up, arms in, and cascaded down the dune with ease (and a mouthful of sand) along with the rest of my group.

After a few more dunes we made our way to the perfect sunset spot, where we were able to bask in all that the earth has to offer. Seeing the sunset in Ica was by far one of the most breathtaking moments of my life.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, so we boarded our buggy one final time and were dropped off at our hostel, where we were able to empty our clothes and shoes of sand and hop in the shower.

The following morning we enjoyed a yummy breakfast with the oasis as our view and then laid out by the pool until we had to catch the bus back to Lima. By the time we arrived home, we were all exhausted, sandy, and I was as red as a lobster.

Until tomorrow

Alicia

17 in 2017 update

Hi everyone. Last year, I posted my 17 goals for 2017, and since we are a little over halfway through the year, I figured I’d update it. Check out the original post here.

  1. Blog consistently: Before Peru I was on top of things, however upon returning… not so much. I’m doing better right now and I have some posts planned out for the next few months so let’s get back in the swing of things
  2. End the year with at least double the amount of posts I have now. I have written 56 posts this year (not including this one) so I have 87 more to go. I will be participating in #NaBloPoMo and Blogmas again so that is at least 55 posts, so as long as I can get 32 posts in by Halloween, I should be good to go.
  3. Connect with more Bloggers: Since I’ve visited wordpress maybe 10 times in the past 3 months, I can say I’ve struggled with this.
  4. Take quality pictures: I haven’t posted many posts involving pictures, but when I do, I will be budgeting my time and taking pictures before hand.
  5. Read: Being a single mother (my dog) I haven’t been reading as much as I would like, but I have been a bit.
  6. Learn something new: I’m taking Italian at school this fall so, I’m hoping to learn Italian.
  7. Move into the basement: This never happened and will not be happening
  8. Volunteer: I DID IT
  9. Create a budget for myself: I never made a set budget but I have been saving money for school and am trying to not spend money unless I have to.
  10. Choose a college: OU OH YEAH baby.
  11. Get a job: I have been nannying this summer, however, I need a real job at school.
  12. Clean: My room has stayed decently clean, except now because I’m in college and puppy world, but I make my bed most days, do my laundry, keep up with the dishes and living room most times.
  13. Get on a solid sleep schedule: I have to wake up every day from 6-7 for either work or my dog, so the latest I’ve gone to bed all summer is midnight.
  14. Exercise: I’ve been working out every day for the past month or so and my dorm is right next to the rec center so I’ll have no excuse not to get a workout in.
  15. Create a skincare routine: I use lush products for my face which is working pretty well (it’s also pretty expensive but I’m dealing)
  16. Be one of ‘those vegans’: This year I’ve learned balance is key. I have my spinach smoothies and beans and lentils, but I also eat Oreos and ice cream. I can be one of ‘those vegans’ and still indulge.
  17. Drink more water: I am still struggling with this. Some days I excel and some days I’ve had 2 glasses by 10 pm. How do you get all of your daily water in??

Alicia

Peru profiled

Hi all, as I continue with my long awaited Peru series, I wanted to discuss the house dynamic. Living in a house with up to 24 other people at one time can get a bit hectic, especially when everyone is so different, culturally, emotionally, and otherwise. I’ll start with the people who live in the house and then start with the volunteers in the order I met them. I have also decided to not put every volunteer in (it was over 4 pages long) so here are a few highlights.


Lidia- The owner of the home we stayed in. She also runs the volunteer program in Lima. We didn’t really see her too much. On our first day, last day, and whenever she left and returned to the house

Lidia’s husband- He was sort of creepy and always touched the girls in a friendly (?) way but I hate being touched so no no.

Abu- Lidia’s mother. She lived on the first floor and would open the door for people if they came home later. She loves talking to the volunteers but she only speaks Spanish so it was a struggle for some of the volunteers.

Sole- The house chef. Sole speaks only spanish and always wears fun patterns on her clothes. Was always very supportive of my vegan needs and always made sure I had enough to eat

Carla + Rudy- They took us to placement every day and they were always there to answer questions we had


Marissa- The first person I met because we had connected on facebook through the IVHQ page. We were also on the same flight from Panama to Lima (she is from New York). She was there for 6 weeks, her boyfriend came for a weekend (yes flew to Peru for literally 2 days) and she ended up being kind of a bitch. More on that later.

Martina- The one who opened the door for us when we arrived at the volunteer house, and who also became one of my favorite people I met while in Peru. She is from Italy and is one of the funniest people I had ever met. I wished I had stayed longer mainly to spend time with her. I’ve already told her that when I study abroad I will make sure to visit her for a weekend.

Clara- 18 year old Clara, from Maryland, was one of my roommates. She had been living in Nepal helping with hikers and was now volunteering in Peru. She was such a sweet girl and I obtained a Maryland sweatshirt from her that she couldn’t fit anywhere, and I actually met up with her in Cusco.

Skylar- Originally from Texas (oh yes politics were an interesting subject) she had been to 3 countries in her gap year before starting at UT Austin. She has a sweet exterior but she, just  like Marissa became pretty bitchy. But like I said, I’ll get to that later.

Annie- Annie was only here for a week, because that’s all she could get off from work. However, during her first week, Skylar, Marissa, Tresia, her and I spent most of our time together.  She is also from New York and works at a hotel. She was super sweet from the time I did get to know her.

Tresia- There is so much to say about Tresia. She is a 30 year old dietician from South Africa and is one of the sweetest, kindest, most hilarious people I have never encountered. She was by far one of my favorite people I met in Peru and I can’t wait to give her a visit.

Paola- Another one of my roommates. She is from Cancun and is like so beautiful ??? She turned 20 while in Peru so we had a cute party for her and another girl. She makes phenomenal videos of her travels, I could watch them all day.

The Canadians- Shaunna, Maxine, Kalen, Natalia, Brittney, Kelsee- The 6 of them were here for college credit during the last 2 weeks I was volunteering. Natalie annoyed the shit out of me and all she ever talked about was Brazil (she’s never been), Kalen was like very very attractive, and Kelsee was (in my opinion) the nicest of them.

Sylvia- My final roommate. Sylvia, was also from Italy, and works for Revlon. She lives in Milan and while her English isn’t tremendous, she tried so hard and really improved during her two weeks. She told me that when I study abroad, her and I can roadtrip down to visit Martina.

Kandi- One of the kindest ladies I’ve ever met. Kandi is from Jamaica and she loved her coloring books. Her and I helped Malley (next) try to get over a conflict with her roommate (Ana) and the three of us bonded because of that.

Malley- Malley is from Michigan and I literally love her. We both hate Donald Trump and conservative assholes and the education system in America. She had a lot going on medically and took like 12 pills (not an exaggeration) each day and people got mad at her for it (why ????) which caused quite a bit of unneeded conflict in the house. She is going to a school in Chicago in the fall so hopefully I can see her a few times when I’m home.

Ana- Ana was from Canada (not part of the Canadians) and all she did was bitch about Malley. I’m one who can be down to talk shit on occasion, however, when you devote all of your time talking about how much you hate one person, it gets really obnoxious.


Okay, that was still most of the people I met, but a lot of people left a mark on me and I wanted to share who they are with you all.

Alicia

Voluntaria en Peru

Buenos dias, like many of you may know I have been shitty at posting since returning home from Peru. I had gotten myself into such a routine of writing and coming up with ideas and when I came home, I had gotten out of that routine that I just didn;t write, at all. However, my 5 weeks in Peru were some of the best weeks of my life and I really do want to share what I did while I was there.

This post is going to be centered around the volunteer aspect of the trip (why I went) but since it was basically the same every day, I’m not going to make post after post about it. So, enjoy a brief intro into volunteer life in Lima

In Lima, there are 4 different volunteer programs; Child care, Teaching, Medical, Construction (summer only). I, and most of the others volunteering were part of the childcare program. I wasn’t really educated on the other 3 programs, however, within the childcare program, there are 5 different orphanages, Divinos Jesus (‘functioning’ children ages 0-9), Esperanza (special needs 0-9), San Migitas (special needs 9-18), Renacer (special needs 18-65), and Vidas (teen mothers and their babies).

At Divinos Jesus (my placement), Esperanza, and San Migitas, people are given some children to look after (at Divinos Jesus it is consistent but at the other two it can change depending on the needs that day). At Divinos Jesus, you play with the children, feed  them, put them to sleep, etc. I was in the room with babies ages 0-6 months, we were giving bottles, working on motor skills, and putting them down for naps. At Esperanza and San Migitas, there was quite a bit of physical and hydro therapies, along with feeding. At Vidas, it’s mainly talking to the mothers and then taking care of their children so they can have classes and try to be normal teenagers. And finally at Renacer; all of the childcare volunteers go there at the end of the month for a big fiesta to celebrate all of the birthdays from the month.

I love babies so being in that room was so much fun (yes even when I got thrown up all over). I loved all 6 of the babies and I give so much credit to moms of multiple children and moms in general. I definitely got too attached to the kids, one in particular, so I do miss Roberto, Fredy, Valentina, Estrella, and Galeska, but I miss Belen the most. I am not allowed to post photos of the babies or anyone at any of the orphanages because it is a government owned facility, but trust me, babies are SO CUTE.

We did that everyday from about 8-1, so most afternoons we had free. However, on Monday and Wednesday afternoons we would head out to La Punta to volunteer at a halfway house for girls from ages 12-17. We would do a daily game, english lesson, and craft. I loved seeing how the girls progressed from the time they got to La Punta to when I left and seeing the girls leave was bittersweet because I loved them and it was so nice getting to know them, but on the other hand it was amazing because they were making progress in their lives. Some of the girls were so funny, some more reserved, but all of them were genuine, sweet girls who just got mixed up in the wrong crowd. While I loved the babies, these girls were the highlight of volunteering and when I left, tears were shed from both the girls and I, and I really hope they all get out and make progress to live their best lives they can.

Alicia

Liebster Award

Hi everyone, look at me posting two days in a row. I’m working on planning out some more posts for July (life and some Peru since I suck) and then some back to school posts in August. Once I start school, I’m not going to guarantee too  many posts (especially in September) with getting acclimated to a new place and homework and I’m not going to clack off like I somewhat did in San Diego, but I am going to try.


Okay, enough for an intro, let’s get into this award.

A few weeks back Jewish Thoughts nominated me for this Liebster Award. Thank you so much for the nomination! I love doing these 🙂

Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs.
  5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
  6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

11 Answers

  1. When did you start blogging?

June 2012 I think

  1. Why do you write?

It’s my way of getting what I’m thinking out of my brain so I can process it

  1. What is your favourite holiday or festival?

Christmas

  1. What is your greatest ambition?

Graduate college

  1. If you could have any one thing what would it be?

A stable decently paying job

  1. What was the best day of your life?

The day I was able to see Machu Picchu

  1. What is your favourite season?

Fall

  1. Do you enjoy reading?

Yes!!

  1. What is your job?

Student/Nanny

  1. What is your favourite recipe?

Cinnamon roll pancakes (100% vegan of course)

  1. What makes you want to wake up each morning?

Work ($$)

11 Facts

  1. I miss Peru with every ounce of my being
  2. I cannot wait to go to Ohio
  3. I love back to school shopping
  4. I don’t want kids but I think I would have them just to take them back to school shopping
  5. I want to learn French, Italian, Japanese/ Swedish
  6. I dyed my hair again
  7. My dog is laying next to me and being adorable right now
  8. I don’t leave for Ohio for 4 weeks but I’ve already started packing
  9. Febreze and car heaters give me headaches
  10. I have always wanted a chameleon
  11. My only motivation for getting a job is so that I can travel and go to concerts

11 Blogs

Rosie Culture               Enette’s World             Experiences De Javu         Ciarra Lorren    Pirate Patty                  Simple Serenity            The Book Raven              Live Life Lightly                              Out N’ About                      BeaFree                 Our Little DIY Corner

11 Questions

  1. What is your favorite time of day?
  2. What show are you currently watching?
  3. Why did you start your blog?
  4. When are you the happiest?
  5. What one item can you not live without?
  6. Do you love what you do? Why/Why not?
  7. What is your favorite article of clothing?
  8. Do you have any pet peeves? What are they?
  9. What is your favorite scent?
  10. Do you have a favorite household chore? What is it?
  11. What is your least favorite movie?

That’s all, hope you enjoy this and that those nominated choose to do it!

Alicia

A new addition

No.. I’m not pregnant but my family did recently adopt a puppy! A little over two months ago, we adopted Kizzee (now Poppy), a one year old Border Collie Spaniel mix from Second City Kanine Rescue. She is the sweetest little pup who has taken my whole heart.

A little bit about this sweet baby; she is all black with some salt and pepper on her stomach and paws (the Border Collie) and has the fluffiest ears and tail in the world. She looks like a fox and she already has too many nicknames to mention. She’s got a bit of a barking problem but with some training and lots of cookies I’m sure that’ll be fixed in no time.

We adopted her from a rescue here in Illinois but she came up from Alabama, after spending over 6 months locked away in a kennel (wonder how that barking started), where she also contracted heartworm. For now, we have to restrict tiny dog’s activity (heartworm treatment) and we have a dog pharmacy on our counter(also heart worm treatment), but once she is heartworn negative this little dog will be bounding all over dog parks, beaches, and people.

Now, while Poppy and I sit here patiently waiting to get that dang blood test, please enjoy a plethora of pictures of this sweet, cute, and tiny pup.

Until next time

Alicia and Poppy🐾