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The first of winter's gloom in Peru
By Kay Kemmet
April 18, 2012
The bus drove above the clouds, but I could still smell the ocean and feel its cool breeze. The hills were filled of sand, and above the fog of Peru’s coast, I saw things more clearly, and began to appreciate the life I left behind much more.
The mystic fog of Peru’s coast set in this weekend, and with it the chill of South American winter. I was returning from one of the more interesting experiences of my Peru adventure, and I couldn’t stop thinking of home.
So far, I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding homesickness well, soaking up the South American sun, but now that the clouds have taken over the sky, I’m feeling the gloom of not even being halfway through the semester and with no family reunion for reprieve.
I thought studying in Peru would be quite similar to going to school 10 hours away from my home. But it’s finally hitting me that there is no option to jump in my car and after a day’s drive, be back in my mother’s house. I miss that comfort.
Instead, I hoped a weekend trip to the beach north of Lima and the promise of yoga would serve, but after only a few hours, I was dancing around in a circle with sweaty old men praying to a God I don’t believe in. It was supposed to be a break from the stress of school. I was supposed to relax after my whirlwind trip to the Sacred Valley, but the vacation was much less tranquil than I had hoped. How could I have known? The place is called Eco Truly Park, not Hare Krishna.
The yoga I was promised turned out to be misguided poses that my back is now paying for and more about hailing Krishna, an Indian God, than relaxing introspection. The Chacra y Mar beach was covered with garbage and flee-infested stray dogs. Then there was the constant reminder that I’m apparently unclean and unworthy. By religious standards, I suppose that’s true, with my strong aversion to organized religion of any kind.
There also were some very good parts to this weekend like cooking all-vegetarian food with locally grown food and a sweet little Peruvian woman named Mari Santo. She taught me to make delicious homemade tomato sauce, a Peruvian and vegetarian version of Indian Saag, aji hot sauce and sopa de minuto. I also got the recipe for the best alfajores I’ve had — hint: they are covered in chocolate — and passion fruit cake.
As I moved into a tree-balance pose, Peruvian tourists walked by to take photos, and I understood how it feels to be on the other side of the tourism trade. It really does feel like being in a fishbowl, and I definitely want to stick to the other side of the glass from now on.
While two days at the Krishna community was more than enough for me, it did help me see things more clearly and remember how good I have it back home. The fog and winter chill made the longevity of my trip real, and making me remember all the blessings of summer I will miss this year.
Waking up early to browse the local farmer’s market with my boyfriend, and then making a lunch much too large for just the two of us. Sleeping all day because it’s too hot to go outside. Watching my nephews shoot off fireworks past their bedtime or sitting around a fire toasting marshmallows.
Eating plump hamburgers, potatoes and corn fresh from my father’s farm. Picking raspberries until my hands look like they are bleeding. Swimming in a landlocked lake where the largest waves will only push me towards shore.
Instead I’m pulling out my wool scarves and looking for extra pairs of socks, as my friends and family enter summertime. After my weekend at Eco Truly, I might not feel like my life has this great higher purpose, but I appreciate what I have at home and in Peru much more. While I may feel more gloom from the dreary Lima winter, at least I’m not stuck under that coastal fog any longer.
Kay Kemmet is an international student at Pontifica Universidad Catolica del Peru studying Spanish, Latin American history and journalism. She’s from Bismarck, North Dakota and studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Total coments: 1
Commented By: jimmyjames
On: April 19, 2012. 11:42 am
To be exact Kay, 8 months of socked in GREY, CLAMMY, HORRIBLE weather. What a location for the ''City of Kings''. Last year we did have surprise days that were pleasently sunny SO we can just hope for more, OR make the short trip to Cienagilla or Chosica!!!!!!!!
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