Sometimes we can’t always see the opportunity lying right in front of us. But on Friday, June 30th, a friend spun around from her laptop and clearly asked, “Tishely, do you want to go to Peru?!”. Uh, yes? “Tomorrow?”, came the next prompt. Wait, what?
She explained that her company was in dire need of English instructors, and since I had my TEFL certification, I could teach. She’d arrange for them to fly me out, and set me up with an apartment when I got there. “Only for the month”, she further convinced. I was in.
I quickly arranged for my favorite person in Costa Rica, Darlin, to care for Su while I was gone. I wasn’t completely at ease with the decision. I usually take my time to mentally process such a big change, but this time I had only one night; I was leaving Su behind, and I’d have to tell my boyfriend to cancel the flight he’d just booked in order to spend my birthday with me. But it was only a month, right?
Understandably, he wasn’t happy. We’d been planning this holiday for months, and now we’d have to delay it. However, in my defense, I was getting a fully paid trip to Cusco, Peru–that will probably NEVER happen again. And although I’d volunteered teaching English in the past, this time, I would be an official teacher. It would definitely boost my resume should I decide to teach English officially anywhere else–which I plan to do. Being the amazing boyfriend he is, he understood, and again let me live my life.
I didn’t start packing until the next morning. In 2 hours, I’d done my laundry, and packed my entire room, moved Su’s stuff to Darlin’s, and packed only a backpack for my trip. It’s now been two weeks.
This city is nothing short of incredible. It seems like everything is made of stone, completely preserved from the Inca regime. Cars drive over cobble stoned streets, and the Qoricancha (sun) temple sits right outside of the institute. It truly feels as if you’ve walked into a time machine. Inca trails are still intact and lead you far up to ruins which overlook the entire city.
The people hold on as much as possible to their indigenous culture, some even still resisting the Spanish conquest–which I fully respect. It’s obvious in their fashion, their food, and their language–Quechua–which I’ve learned almost all of my students speak, in addition to Spanish. The textiles are brightly colored, and intricately designed. At any given moment, you’ll find native women and children wandering with their alpacas….
At the same time, the city seems completely modern. It’s lined with cute, overpriced (for the area) cafes, warm coffee, artisan ice cream, luxury alpaca clothing shops, and upscale dining. The parks are beautifully kept, with the ambiance of warm yellow lampposts lighting the colonial churches in the main square.
Mercados overtake the city. If you live in Cusco, there’s a mercado not more than a 10 minute walk from you. Here you can find ANYTHING you need. Rice, avocados, chicken, beef, butter, sugar, seasoning, bread, clothing, earrings, art, llamas…ANYTHING you need. They’re the best places to go for lunch, have a home cooked meal for less than $2, and freshly made jugo for $1.
The nightlife is alive! There’s music and dancing every night. The people are open and friendly, and happy to engage you in a good time. There are a variety of venues to choose from so if you aren’t feeling one, just hop over to the other. And don’t worry about drunk food in the wee hours of the morning, things are open!
Tomorrow, I’ll hike rainbow mountain, so stay tuned for that. By the end of the trip, I hope to have visited Quillabamba, Agua Calientes, and Machu Picchu. As for teaching, well, that’s a whole other post in itself. I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity, and so glad fear didn’t hold me back from taking it. Hasta luego, amigos 😉