SOo much has changed since I last was able to talk to you...
First of all, I moved in with a new host family. Something happened with the other family that I had been staying with that made me realize that we were not a good fit.
Second of all, I made some friends. Kansas and Colorado are wonderful girls, something that is made even better by the fact that they also live with this new host family.
Third, and probably the most bittersweet part of the whole thing is that I reached the middle part of my time in Peru and switched projects. I'm not really sure whether or not I ever talked about how much I loved the kids at the orphanage, but I really and truly do ADORE them (if anyone wants to know, this is a reference to my current favorite drag queen, who is amazingly talented). The whole thing is bittersweet because I began my new project this past Monday at a school, which was pretty rad, I'll admit.
I guess I should be honest and say that I also went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago as part of my Spanish class and that it was awesome. They had all kinds of different monkeys and I got to both feed and pet a deer for the first time ever. That whole day was amazing and I am so grateful to have gotten opportunities like these, even if they seem kind of lame at first glance :) I dragged Colorado along on the zoo trip (this was before Kansas arrived), and it was really wonderful. Now Kansas is jealous and wants to go as well...
This last weekend, we had a pretty incredible time with Italy. All four of us traveled on an overnight bus to Puno last Friday. We arrived Saturday morning at around 5. Then, we had a meager "continental" breakfast; which consisted of a strange juice, hot chocolate (that we had to fight to receive) and "toast". The toast was the most disappointing part. It was essentially half- stale bread that someone had drawn almost perfect diagonal lines on using a light saber.
Everything went up from there. We got to visit one of the man-made Uros islands in Lake Titikaka later that day. The Uros islands are this interesting combination of sadness covered in over- enthusiasm. The islands are made out of this particular kind of reed, which apparently they eat and we got to taste it. The plant was surprisingly salty. The reason that the islands seem sad is because it is very apparent that they feel uncomfortable that their only means of survival is exploiting their own culture to silly tourists.
Then, after quite a hike, we made it to the top of the island where we would be staying, Taquile. The highlight of the hike was not being able to breathe. Wait, just kidding! The true high light was the strange older lady in the floral leggings who decided that she needed to pull enough of the wild mint we were told to help us with the altitude from the ground to have an entire bush in her hands... We laughed harder than we should have, if I'm being honest.
Taquile was beautiful. the food was delicious, our guide was amazingly kind, and there were lots of sheep. The only downside was how cold it was at night, but even having to sleep in our clothes and the absence of a shower or any running hot water at all was not enough to take away from the powerful beauty of Taquile. The best part was that there were not very many tourists, meaning we got to see more of a glimpse into what their more traditional way of life is like. (If you hit me up, I can hook you up so you can have an amazing island getaway of your own. Trust me, it is totally worth it!)
We got to learn about the three types of hats worn by the men. Single men wear a red or deep fuchsia hat. Married men wear a hat that is half pure white and half the same patterned reddish shade as the singles. Then, the important men wear a brightly colored knit hat with ear flaps. Our sweet guide told us that parents have their very small children wear the same type of hat as the important men as a sort of hopeful wish for the future. Then, we were also schooled on the topic of the wedding belt. The front is all the hopes the woman has for their relationship, and the back is the most amazing part. The back is partially made out of the woman's hair, so a part of her is literally supporting the man's back while he works in the fields.
I think that's everything for now, lovelies!
Everyday Acts of Activism