What a difference a day makes! I think a mixture of jetleg, settling in, and the anticipation over how our interactions with the kids would go over was definitely keeping me in a funk until today. Even with birthday celebrations and all the amazing things our first few days, I was feeling out of it. This morning we set our alarms for 6:30 to give us some extra time to be able to make coffee before leaving. Not feeling rushed helped set the right tone for the day and even conversations in the car with Juan were more successful! We also found a taxi driver that Jay convinced to "work for us" for the rest of our stay. So we now have his personal phone number and a definite second driver to and from our school each day (and probably anywhere else we'd like too). Nicely done Ricosuavejay.
We hit some traffic this morning on our drive in, so intead of about 30 minutes to our site it probably took us 50. We still got to the school a little before the kids, and found out the little kids room and english classes weren't even happening! Come to find out, they have a very set schedule ( similar to the rec center type day-trips we always had going on during school vacations back in they day--I can say that now since I'm getting old :) , and we three girls were in for an unexcpected spa treat.
We found todays teacher in what was the English classroom of yesterday. The two long tables were placed together in the center of the room with about 10 chairs around. There were already a couple girls around the table checking out hairstyles from a magazine. Judging by the lovely styles these models were rocking, I'm going to guess the pages were straight out of the early 90's. The teacher started smiling and pointing at us while talking at a rate I had no chance of pulling any words from. Jay jumped in interpreting as we were all ( Lindsey, Morgan and I) ushered into chairs. If you haven't yet figured out what was going on, I won't judge, becuase at this point it still hadn't registered. What happened for the next hour was a tad scary, a little uncomfortable, a whole lot fun(ny). Let me start by reminding/pointing out that pretty much all peruvian genes seem to produce men and women with beautiful, smooth, and straight dark hair. If you're reading this chances are you know me, and know my hair is the complete opposite of this. And Morgan's not too far from as curly as me. And Lindsey has light-almost-blonde hair with fading purple at the ends. The teacher looked excited, but our poor young hairdressers seemed a bit terrified. Luckily, teacher was amazing, and our hairdressers were quite skilled. It took a while for the combing (and some explaing via Jay translating that there was no way my stylist was going to hurt me with her hairbrushing) before we all ended up with some pretty fancy braids. Bill's promised to help me add photos tonight, so you'll get to see some of thier handy work. And don't worry about the guys, they were content to film and make fun and encourage, and they also got some free time to talk with yesterday's English teacher who stopped by (who we learned is 22 and in college and the son of the school's owner). Oh! And while the girls were doing our hair, Jay offered up our nail-polishing skills and we got to paint some nails while getting our hair done...a true spa day.
After our hour with the girls, our English teacher friend (I'll make sure to find out his name tomorrow) told us some more kids were coming in and asked if we'd like to do some sort of painting project with them. A little bit of shuffling of classrooms and chairs--and quick check of supplies later--we had 13 new kids in our little kids room all set up for our very first 'Paint Day Peru'! Lindsey and I have both done some paint with a splash type events where you drink while being instructed step by step on how to paint a particular picture. We had about 2 minutes to think our strategy through and I have to say I'm 110% impressed with the way we pulled it all off and 200% impressed by our little artists. With only red, orange, yellow and blue paint to work with and only enough of those colors so that groups of 4 and 5 had to share, these kids worked seemlessly and with zero arugments. Everyone was SO into it. The best part was when we ran out of orange for one of our little clusters and I went over to mix some yellow and red together for them....it was like magic had happened and we realized we had a really cool chance to teach about mixing colors! They loved seeing purple come out of blue and red and were amazed green could come from yellow and blue. It was just as exciting for us, I promise. We finished our masterpieces with zero mishaps and even had all hands in to help clearn brushes and table tops and the floor. WHOOPS, that mighthave been the seond best part. The FIRST BEST PART was when LISSETH MAGICALLY APPEARED. (ok, maybe it wasn't magic and was with her dad via taxi) but so exciting! Groups finally all together! Zach (or maybe Jay?) got a couple of amazing shots of the whole group (so hopefully I'll be able to snag one of those to throw in here too) And we're taking recommendations for next weeks 'Paint Day 2 Peru', hopefully featuring the colors green, purple and orange....
No idea what will be in store for us tomorrow, but I'm kind of a fan of the surprise factor.
Our drivers arrived promptly at noon and we were back at the hostel by 1:00. A little less trafficky which was really nice, just the way the roads work here, the home ride is a bit longer (and a whole lot more bumpy because of the unfinished streets). LMHC meal #5 was the best one yet (which to be honest I didn't have until dinner) but it was like a chicken curry but instead of curry its spiced with a peruvian golden pepper. Best part is Lisseth said she could make it for me back at home too (and now its blog-official, so I'm totally going to be able to hold you to this) <3
Afternoons all week are panning out to be a perfect mix of relaxing, blogging, video uploading, working out, showers, exploring and randomness. Todays mix included a run along the cliff walk again, some catching up as a whole group, and then some exploring out in the city. Jay was last here 2.5 years ago and is finding that things have changed A LOT. He and Lisseth keep finding new restaurants in place of old ones, and some new buliding in place of old parks and new roads that fit around the new places. I know it's a little sad for them to see, but its also a good sign that the city is flourishing. It also makes it even more impressive when they can still guide us around so smoothly, knowing right where everything we need to find is.
One store that hadn't moved was a clothing outlet-garage-type shop. It looked like the front of the Express store when they are having their super clearance sales and all the clothes are heaped into boxes on a table with signs hanging above with their prices. So many different shirt/pant/dress/pj/bathingsuit stations where you literally dig through piles of clothes to find hundreds of differnt styles and sizes and colors. It's a nightmare and game all at the same time. We spent at least an hour rumaging and I'm happy to say we all left with some superior Peruvian cotton clothes!
We made a quick stop a Jays old favorite grocery store, Metro (the Peru version marketbasket!!) And then made it back to the hostel for dinner. Oh, and we might have broken my number one rule when traveling out of the country. But when a true Peruvian herself is into stopping at an american super-chain (Starbucks) for a special 2 for 1 frappacino deal on newly relased Peruvian flavors, you go along and stop at starbucks. Not even a little upset.
Tonights coming to a close with just enough time to figure out the picture situation. Oh...and we also recruited 2 Montana-ites straight out of highschool to come volunteer with us tomorrow. Gotta love hostel living and people who ove helping people.
Hasta mañana xo