Last Day in Peru

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Our last day in Lima, Peru, was this past Wednesday. While David cleared out his desk at the office, Marissa, Marcus, and I walked from our hotel in Miraflores to Parque Kennedy (Kennedy Park).

Marcus was cheering our last day in Peru.

Marcus was cheering our last day in Peru.

We saw a lot of cats. This is a park where kittens and cats are abandoned every day and where a large population of feral cats live.

Cats were everywhere around Kennedy Park.

Cats were everywhere around Kennedy Park.

There is an organization that tries to rescue the newly abandoned cats and find them homes.

Cats were curled up napping in the flower beds.

Cats were curled up napping in the flower beds.

There was a giant red bull in the park.

Peruvians like bulls.

Peruvians like bulls.

And a giant vase.

This vase looked quite weathered.

This vase looked quite weathered.

There was a bust of John F. Kennedy.

Peruvians loved J.F.K.

Peruvians loved J.F.K.

We walked around and took in all the surrounding sights.

It was a beautiful day.

It was a beautiful day.

Marissa wasn't feeling the best as she had a sunburn from a day at the beach on Monday.

Marissa wasn’t feeling the best as she had a sunburn from a day at the beach on Monday.

One of the surrounding streets.

One of the surrounding streets.

There was a cool bike path running alongside the park.

We liked the traffic light for bicyclists.

We liked the traffic light for bicyclists.

We ended our visit to Parque Kennedy by eating cheeseburgers at a little restaurant called, La Luncha. Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel to enjoy a swim in the pool before heading to the airport.

♥ Farewell, Peru! ♥

Highlights from Peru

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By the end of this week, we’ll have waved farewell to Peru, maybe forever, and we’ll be back in the U.S.A. As we close out this chapter of our lives to begin a new one, we look back with fondness on the memories we have made here in Peru.

♥ There are memories from our visits to Larcomar (an outside mall that overlooks the Lima coast)…

On one of our first visits to Larcomar, we encountered these designer dresses made out of recycled materials, such as wood and newspaper.

On one of our first visits to Larcomar, we encountered these designer dresses made out of recycled materials, such as wood and newspaper.

At Larcomar there was a TGIF's and once we saw a skateboarding bulldog!

At Larcomar there was a TGIF’s and once we saw a skateboarding bulldog!

I paraglided over Larcomar for my 40th birthday.

I paraglided over Larcomar for my 40th birthday.

♥ There are memories of Darcie’s volunteer work at an orphanage called, Westfalia…

Darcie loved visiting the children at Westfalia.

Darcie loved visiting the children at Westfalia.

♥ There are memories of Marissa’s time with other young women in our ward (church congregation)…

Marissa enjoyed girls camp and other activities with the young women from church.

Marissa enjoyed girls camp and other activities with the young women from church.

♥ There are memories of the Saturday Marcus and I got to ride in a dune buggy and go sand-boarding…

Sand-boarding was fun!

Sand-boarding was fun!

♥ There are memories of spending the past two Christmases here in Lima…

Those melting-snowman sugar cookies were yummy!

Those melting-snowman sugar cookies were yummy!

♥ There are memories together as a family…

Whether sight seeing or just hanging out at home, we love spending time together as a family.

Whether sight seeing or just hanging out at home, we love spending time together as a family.

We’ll always treasure our memories and our friends here in Peru.

What Will We Miss?

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We’re getting ready to move from Lima, Peru, back to the states. In fact, the movers come on Wednesday to pack our shipment. Yay!

What will we miss from our life in Peru?

♥ We will miss the wonderful friends we’ve made here.

♥ I will miss having a maid. It’s back to doing my own dusting!

♥ I think I’ll sometimes miss garbage pick up every day (except Sunday). That’s been nice.

♥ Sublime bars!

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Inca Kola (some say it tastes like bubble gum).

♥ Shopping at the Inca Market. That’s where I buy some fun, unique things for my home and as gifts.

My wicker fruit basket

My wicker fruit basket

What won’t we miss?

~ Running out of hot water and hand-washing all of our dishes.

~ We won’t miss the bicycle ice cream guy. Actually, it’s the sound of his kazoo we won’t miss.

~ We won’t miss driving here one bit!

What are we looking forward to?

♥ Milk! As in, being able to walk into any grocery store and find an endless quantity of milk. In jugs. Here, finding the only milk that comes in a jug (verses a box, can or leaky bag) is hit and miss, and when we do find it, we are lucky if there are 10 jugs in total.

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1 liter jug of milk

♥ Canned soups, frozen vegetables, whole grain bread, Cheerios, sour cream and onion potato chips, baby carrots… Basically we are excited about having choices and variety in food at the grocery store. Here everything is the same. Rice, pasta, a lot of potatoes, beans, canned or boxed milk, plain potato chips, white rolls, chicken. Yup, that’s pretty much it!

♥ Being able to just hop in my car and drive. No more taxis.

♥ No more walls around our house. And living in the countryside again. I’m not a city girl!

♥ Being closer to my 2 college kids. 🙂

♥ Just living like a regular American again.

Weekly Nutshell

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Not a lot of grass and flowers grow here in Lima, but they do take pride in the landscaping of their park areas.

I am so proud of us this week because we managed to get outside for a walk nearly every day. This is how the parks here are landscaped, with shaped flower beds. On Monday, the sweetest thing happened (at least I think so as a mom). My 19-year old daughter Skyped her 12-year old brother and the first thing she said was, “I want to hear all about your boys camp.” (Marcus had boys camp last week.) My heart just melted.

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This picture shows the front of our corner apartment complex here in Lima, Peru. We are on the first floor so our view is partially blocked by the high wall. In fact, we see more of the tops of those two little trees than anything else, but it’s a lovely apartment and we have a little pool so we can’t complain.

On Tuesday, Marcus made this drag race car out of disposable coffee cups-

Wednesday was a bit exhausting for me because two Peruvian women came over, one representing me and the other representing the owners of this apartment. Together they checked off an inventory of our landlord’s belongings (they left their furniture and their kitchen fully stocked for us to use). This was done in preparation for our move back to the states at the end of this month. It took them four hours to complete their inventory, especially since we had to account for each and every single item from silverware to towels to lamps and couches.

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One example of the Catholic influence here. There are statues of the Virgin Mary with the Christ child in many of the parks.

On Thursday as we were watching, Hugo, this quote stood out to me-

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine… I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”

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Here in Peru we see these little guard shacks everywhere. We see men sitting in them all the time, keeping watch over a street or a building or a house. They sit on a stool and sometimes they have a little TV to watch, or a newspaper to read.

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Now it’s Friday. All week long I’ve been reading Day in the Life posts of other homeschooling families (similar to the one I posted earlier this week). I think all moms and dads who homeschool are amazing for choosing to take a different path with their children’s educations than what the world expects us to do. We are all doing what we believe to be best for our children and our families.

Not long ago, I was searching the scriptures when I came across this verse in Doctrine and Covenants that really spoke to me as a mom, especially as a homeschooling mom.

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It made me realize that I am giving my children something that they will never get from a government school- light and truth.

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Weekly Nutshell

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Monday night we walked several blocks to the Chile’s restaurant on the corner. It’s our favorite American restaurant here in Lima.

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On Tuesday we took a break in-between Marissa’s online classes (which she watches live) to walk to a nearby park and toss a frisbee. We really need to get out into the “fresh” (it’s Lima, Peru- trust me the air is not that fresh!) air more often. That’s a goal for February- to get outside once a day.

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On Wednesday, Marcus made a roll-back can (another Steve Spangler experiment). He had to be creative without an actual hammer or screwdriver. Please note- I did not throw away the screwdriver. I gave it way. We are preparing to move back to the states in another month so I’ve started giving away things we don’t need to keep and I gave away our only hammer and screwdriver (here) a little too soon.

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Marcus’ make-shift hammer. I thought it was ingenious!

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Meanwhile, Marissa sketched out an ocean scene and started painting it with watercolors. She took a watercolor class last fall to learn some techniques. Hopefully she’ll have it finished to show next week.

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Marcus and I continue to read, The Hobbit, and now Marissa and I are reading, The Princess Bride (the abridged edition).

And Marcus is at boys camp tonight, until Saturday afternoon which means Marissa and I can watch more chick-flicks! Tonight’s chick flick was Romance on the High Seas, starring Doris Day (I am a huge Doris Day fan).

The Elusive Chocolate Chip Cookie in Peru

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Chocolate chip cookies are truly a novelty here in Peru. That’s because the vast majority of Peruvians do not even own an oven, so of course they do not bake. Even if they could bake, they would not be baking chocolate chip cookies. For one thing, chocolate chip cookies are distinctly American (I dare say most Peruvians have never heard of or tasted a chocolate chip cookie). If Peruvians are going to make a cookie, they make their delicious alfajores, which is a shortbread cookie filled with dulce de leche.

Sadly (for expats anyway), true chocolate chips are not made here in Peru, nor are they currently imported. Brown sugar is not made or sold here, either. Peruvians have what they call, “brown sugar”, but it is only a brown colored sugar. You can find small jars of molasses here, however, to make your own brown sugar.

The only reason I have a few bags of chocolate chips in my Peruvian cupboard is because I brought them in my suitcase.

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Americans here are funny because we all covet our limited supply of chocolate chips. We even bargain for them once in a while and we make chocolate chip cookies only on special occasions. So it truly is a treat to have a chocolate chip cookie here in Peru.

The Andean Culture- Part 4

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Another beautiful backdrop for a family picture as we continued our touring around Cusco.

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In a little town called, Chincheros, we relaxed as we watched a knitting demonstration.

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At one point these three women, dressed in native Andean clothing, sang us a song in Quechuan.

They use native plants, seeds, purple corn (which is also made into a drink), berries, etc. to make natural dyes for their alpaca wool.

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After the demonstration we bought some of their handmade items for sale and then they dressed us up for a picture.

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After we waved farewell, we drove quite a ways to our next stop.

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The Maras salt mines, also called, Las Salinas de Maras, were amazing to see up close. We were now 29 miles outside of Cusco, within the Sacred Valley.

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Would you believe there are at least 3000 man-made salt wells or pools?

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This warm and salty little stream flows directly into the pools.

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So the salt comes from a subterranean stream named, Qoripujio, which as been around forever it seems. The sun evaporates the water leaving salt crystals behind which are then harvested by local farmers.

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Notice how the pools are terraced. They are not very deep. It was so much fun to walk around the edge and take it all in.

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Our final stop of the day was Moray. This is believed to have once been an Inca agricultural center.

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The Incas were terrace farmers as I’ve probably mentioned already. Apparently they had a very practical irrigation system in place here once upon a time.

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The mysterious thing about these circular terraced ruins is that the temperature becomes quite a bit warmer at the bottom than it is from the top. Marissa and Marcus ventured down, with our tour guide, to experience this for themselves.

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Both Marissa and Marcus said it was indeed much warmer at the bottom.

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