Today is slightly significant. It’s a glaring reminder that in exactly two months, I’ll be slumped down in an airplane seat, ear buds jammed into my head, hoping that the passenger squeezed up against me won’t be in the mood to converse at any point during my flight back home. Every time I manage to get absorbed into one of those wretched dialogue quandaries, I end up painting some wild portrait of my life, just so I can watch my flight mate reel back into their seat, dazed and confused over every bizarre detail— it’s my actual life, just more a little more pronounced; a little more deranged.
However, if I happen to fall into a conversation loop while on this particular flight home, my savage story will have a brand new act, never before heard by anyone.
It has been seven months since I stumbled into the stunning “land of the Incas” with a burning desire to shove myself into the front seat of what can only be described as a wild ride to self-identification, frequently halting for anyone, or anything, that reeks of adventure and outlandish opportunity. My journey is still powering ever forward; each step more electric than the last.
Along the way, I have had the chance to befriend an unusual assortment of truly fantastic individuals- Peruvians, Europeans, Americans, etc.- and I couldn’t be more grateful for their endearing efforts to make this country feel like home.
Needless to say, these streets can seem cold. There are times when the entire breadth of my move down south- detaching myself from the excessive luxuries of my home country; diving headfirst into an unexplored realm of the social wild- can seem overwhelming, almost unbearable, but through the unyielding curiosity of a unique group of fellow adventurers, and the warm hospitality felt from a colorful palette of professional relationships, I have been able to stay anchored. And that’s more than I could ever ask for.
My students, many of whom I now consider friends, in combination with a growing collection of hospitable people who call this country home, have exposed me to a handful of the customs and traditions that make this country so vibrant. I find myself incessantly intrigued by the rich history that has shaped this land; the glorious triumphs, the oppressive lows, and all the moments in between.
However, this chapter in the colorful story of Peru is one that has truly caught my eye. It’s an era of development- a period bursting at the seams with opportunity. And people are ready to buy in.
It wasn’t long ago that the lights seemed dim on the horizon for Peru. Civil wars, terrorism, political catastrophes, and a withering exchange rate were creating a dire predicament, but the people under the new sun proudly stayed afloat, confident that the tides would bring winds of change.
In this new millennium, Peru continues to gain momentum; fixing past mistakes while keeping an eye on the brilliant future, and Lima is where the pulse of the action is. I will never forget the first night I stepped foot onto the Miraflores Ovalo; my jaw dropped at the aesthetics of the mini-metropolitan—the sidewalks are so clean that there is a slight shine to them, and Kennedy Parque resonates brilliantly amidst the luminosity of the varying storefronts that run parallel with its sides. It was a spectacular sight, and I still find myself smiling whenever I walk through the park and see one of the many cats that call it home lying peacefully by the side of a kissing couple, or playing along with a laughing child as if it was host to a myriad of frequently changing guests.
Kennedy is a popular meeting point in Miraflores (Photo: Hannah Vickers)
Even more astounding was my initial experience on La Costa Verde; my flat mate brought me there my second or third night. We walked from Parque del Amour all the way down to Larcomar, and despite the many clouds, you could still pick up on a fading sunset, which made the ocean sparkle ever so slightly under its white crests. Breathtaking is an understatement.
Since then, I have created a cozy, yet slightly mad, life for myself down here. The faces that populate the streets of my neighborhood have become familiar with my bizarre presence, and many greet me with warmth and kindness. I feel that, despite the obvious “not from here” vibe, people have come to accept me as their humble neighbor—a fellow participant in the never-ending journey to survive.
The next two months are going to be packed full of frantic adventures and feral moments, I can guarantee that. Not to mention, there are numerous places I have yet to visit, and so many gorgeous sights I can’t wait to see.
This country still has quite a few crazy moments left for me to experience, and for a wild-at-heart wanderer like myself, that’s more than enough to keep the fire burning. Social wild, we may be nearing the end, but we’re not done yet.
Zach Davis is a musician and writer from the coast of Massachusetts. You can see more of his work on his blog.