Archive for January, 2010

Poco a poco

January 24, 2010

Hey everybody

I have had a more quiet week and weekend this time. I started my week in bed unfortunately. Monday,  I had to stay home due to a nasty nasty cold, which I am almost completely over now. But my healing went quite fast thanks to Maria, my host mother. She kept on feeding me lemon and garlic, and put vaseline in my nostrils : o Not pleasant, but it worked. So tuesday I was back in business, or at least I was teaching. My class is doing well, Henry and I have had to realise however that repetition and going forward very s l o w is necessary, so next week we will repeat things to death. In South America, patience is a virtue and a necesity, with public transport, with your students (and their ringing cellphones and lateness), with people trying to screw you over, especially taxi drivers etc. 🙂 Friday, the organisation had organised salsa dancing for all the volunteers which was incredibly fun. The instructor was of course uber gay, and very entertaining. For example, he kept on saying to us girls: Chicas -be sexyyy! Btw, the large majority are girls,  the gender ratio is like 1:8, haha. After dancing, we all had pizza and then Irene and I went to a bar/lounge/night club where we know the owner (its always about the connections!) and here we watched a movie and sipped daiquiries, it was goood. In Cusco, there are no cinemas so people can go to the big cafes, which have a dvd collection and you basically just choose one and buy a drink. I like it, I like it alot 🙂 Afterwards, we went to a cafe in San Blas and had dinner while we had a beautiful overview of Cusco, and we ended our night playing pool with some of the other volunteers.  Saturday, I stayed in bed til noon..great, and in the afternoon Irene, Sylvanna and I went to a handicraft market, where I went a bit crazy and bought two alpaca scarfs, and a sweater and alpaca slippers. It was great! In the evening, Irene and I chilled out: read books, got takeaway cake and listened to the rain. This weekend has been crazy weather-wise, it has rained probably 14 out 24 hours a day, the streets turn into rivers at night, and in the Sacred Valley the river has overflooded. It better fix itself till next weekend, as we plan to go to Machupicchu!

Besos

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What a weekend!

January 17, 2010

Hola chicos!

I have had an amazing weekend. We have every Friday off, which is a real treat, as I get to have awesome long weekends. This Friday did start out with 3 and a half hour of Spanish grammar, but after my class I met up with the teaching team(we are now 6 people: 2 danes, 2 english, an italian and an american -wicked) and Sylvanna, another cusquean volunteer. Together, we went to some hot thermal baths outside Cusco for the staggering for 3 soles, less than a euro. The baths are natual hot springs, which have been put under a roof, added some changing rooms, and voila..lovely lovely 30 degree water and a great view of the mountains. I had not had a warm shower for 10 days at that point, so imagine my excitement! Sylvanna, Irene and I then stayed at a hostel in Pisac(town in the Sacred Valley) overnight. We got up at 5.30 in the morning (and this is not a typo, 5.30 yes) to climb the Pisac ruins, which are the best in the country after Machupicchu of course. If one enters the national park before 7.00 you get in for free, so yes, there was a purpose for the early rise 🙂 We then spend the next 6-7 hours hiking in the mountains and looking at the most increbible ruins I have ever seen. It was very magical in the morning, when the mist was still laying on the mountains, and you could feel the clouds fly across your face, and then once in while an Incan citadel would appear or a stunning view of the Sacred Valley – photos will follow soonish! At around lunch, we came back in to Pisac, and devoured delicous pizzas. We were absolutely starving after having climbed around for 6 hours(I have to add that I this weekend managed to get a healthy tan, yay!). We spent the afternnon in the cafe, where we played domino and other fun games. Late afternoon, we went into Cusco and met up with more volunteers for a fun night out.  Our night ended with a weak moment, and we attacked the only Macdonalds in Cusco, haha. This morning, Irene and I went to Sylvannas house, as she turned 20 today, for the great mixture of layer cake, nachos, hot chocolate, peach juice and marshmallows, haha.  We than met up with the others, again, and had a proper Western breakfast, as Sylvanna who is homesick has been craving exactly this.  On the flip side, I have been battling a cold and in this moment have no real voice. I blame it on the cold and damp houses, but I will get over it.Teaching is going really well! My class now counts 13 people, more or less, as attendance is still a problem, haha. Henry and I have been going through very basic stuff, as we deal with people who are supposed to be English teachers, but cannot master the verb “to-be”,  its quite shocking really. So “poco a poco” ( little by little) has become the motto.

Hope you are all well, and surving wintry Europe/US.

lots of love

Teaching, language confusion and hard work

January 13, 2010

Hola!

Today I had my first proper day of teaching, and it was great! There was supposed to be 13 people in my class, but only 5 showed up – Welcome to South America, haha. But the few that showed up were very keen and my teaching partner Henry( english boy, very sweet and great at spanish) and I fought our way through language barriers and had alot fun watching the students getting competitive over a game with the verb “to-be”. But man, do I need to brush up on my grammar, one thing is to be able to speak English, teaching it is a whole different thing! We spent our afternoon today and yesterday at the Cusco office, where we prepare lessons, easier said than done, but equipped with scissors, paper and pens we have been creating drawings, worksheets and beautiful drawings(you know how skilled I am -not) we are having fun creating lessons. Since my last post, I had an incredible night out in Cusco – let me tell you: South Americans know how to party, we were only home at like 6.30 🙂 However Irene, Silvanna and I made the mistake of getting up two hours later to go to a famous handicraft market outside Cusco. Let me tell you, you do not enjoy the many turns and going up and down mountain sides when you have a massive hangover 🙂 But anyway, it was a great market, I will have to return though, could not enjoy it properly. Today I had great fun handwashing my clothes with my host mother Maria, who would have thought that dirty underwear and cold water would have been an awesome and fun bonding-experience. Tomorrow evening all the voluteers are meeting up at a pub in Urabamba (in the Sacred valley) for a home-made pub quiz. I have a feeling it is going to be hilarious.

besos

btw, I am uploading photos on facebook at this exact moment, so have a look!

Birthday and other adventures

January 9, 2010

Hello my people 🙂 Thank you for all the birthday wishes, so far i am having a great one. This morning I woke up to cake, homemade chocolate, singing and merriness. The best wayto wake up, and a great breakfast, haha. After devouring cake etc. Irene (housemate) and went around Cusco with a fellow volunteer, and discovered the magnificent San Blas with steep stairs, massive Inca walls  and a magnificent overview of Cusco. Tonight, we (the volunteers) are going out to explore the Cusco nightlife, and maybe I will even pick up some salsa steps, yeah! In the other days since i last wrote, I have been busy with teaching workshops, learning how to make lesson plans, looking at material and making an exam which will divide our “students” into levels. I will be teaching the beginners, so that will test my Spanish for sure, even though it is coming along really nicely..especially after my intense weekly spanish lesson which are one-on-one and last min. 3 hours.

Besos,

La gringa

First real day

January 7, 2010

Today was my first real day. I woke up at 5.30 – stupid jet lag. At 7.00 my lovely host parents took my to the bus, to go to a village called Urubamba where alot of the other volunteers are staying. The ride was one of the most beautiful I have even taken. The Andes were all around me, and everything is so green, because its rainy season. I will upload some photos. After waiting an hour at the bus terminal (my anxious parents had made sure I was there in good time), the rest of the volunteers came..only girls of course, haha, ad we ventured off to Ollantaytambo, a small mountain village where we saw traditional dancing, bull fighting etc. The pictures I took look like something out of a turist catalogue. The other voluteers were really nice, everybody is from different countries (australia, canada, holland, france etc.) So I definetly see lots of opportunity for a great social life here, and it seems that everybody comes into Cusco on the weekends. my housemate Irene also arrived today, she is italian and seems great, and is super good at spanish which is kind of intimidating, but super cool.

The only unfortunate thing is that the strong andean sun caught me by surprise and now Im have a bad sunburn and look even more like a gringo.

Besos y abrazos

Here I am!

January 6, 2010

So, I´m  in Peru now.  Its increbibly overwhelming, but pretty amazing so far. My host family is wonderful, my “mom” calls me mami all the time and is very sweetly concerned with my security and well being.She speaks Spanish to me all the time andvery fast, so my limited skills are being put to test, but in a few days I think it will have flown back, until then a lot of  smiling and nodding, haha.

 Cusco is situated 3300 meters above sea level, and so far I have evaded altitude sickness, but anything up-tempo or just getting out of bed makes my heart pound like crazy and  short of breath. Luckily, Coca leaf tea seems to cure it so ihave been drinking it constantly. I have met one other volunteer here, who is American and we went into town togther and walked around. Cusco is very southamerican in its appearance with small colourful house on the hill-sides and colonial style house and plenty of old churches. I can´t wait to explore more. Tomorrow, I am off to a local celebration/festival called Bajada de los Reyes with a few other volunteers, so that should be interesting.  Hope you are all well in the cold and snow(sorry couldnt help myself, haha) xxxx

Before I go

January 2, 2010

Hi guys

I am now leaving Denmark in less than 48 hours. My bag is not packed yet, I’ll get to it somewhere down the line. I’m arriving in Cusco on Tuesday, and I will attempt to keep you updated during the next 3 months. Happy New Year. Opfoer jer ordentligt. Smell you later!