On the 1st we were able to move into our apartment here in Lima, Peru. It felt very empty compared to our hotel room that we’d been living in for nearly two weeks. It felt way too big. In fact, I realized today I’ve never even been in the guest bathroom! Of course, our house that we came from in Pacific Grove, CA was barely 1,000sqft, so this is considerably more space, even though we’ve gone from house to apartment and from small town to urban city. Funny, huh?
Once we were finally able to unpack our things and actually move into a space it was such a relief! The apartment is gorgeous, with an ocean view and plenty of opportunity for people watching, including para-sailers that fly by for a few hours every afternoon (this brings endless entertainment to the littles).
Cliff loves watching the cars out the big floor-to-ceiling windows, telling them “bye-bye” as they disappear from sight, and searching for dogs being walked in the park below us. There are huge windows in every room, which is wonderful for light, but being Peru this also means very little insulation. There are fairly large gaps between each pane of glass, so the city noise permeates every inch of the apartment (as well as the cold air). We’ve become accustomed to the loud honking, people shouting, and other city sounds pretty quickly, though. It’s a pretty small problem to have, really. Last night, we were cleaning up after dinner while the kids played in the living area, and the traffic really backed up outside. There was honking left and right (with crazy sounding horns), sirens, and the screeching and rumbling of motorcycles. Olivia looks up and says, “Mama, I hear music!” Haha!
The drafty cold air inside the house has been a bit harder to get used to. There’s no heating or ac, which makes for some very cold and gloomy winter days lately. We had to go buy quite a few blankets after we moved in, because we’re still awaiting the arrival of our household goods. Making the trips to and from the local department store was quite comical. It’s about a mile walk from our place, so we’d load up the kids, one in a stroller and one in the Ergo, stuff an empty duffle bag in the stroller and go shopping. The biggest thing that I’ve thought of that I forgot to pack in our household goods was our pillows and bedding. Don’t ask me how I forgot – moving day was insane, with three different shipments to think through and a whole crew of movers to manage. Obviously I didn’t do that great… 😛
Anyways, we needed some bedding, sheets and pillows so we walked to the store and loaded up. Thankfully we hit a big sale so things were fairly affordable. It was hilarious carting all that stuff back home though! Comforters and pillows are about the bulkiest things you can buy. We had the stroller handles laden with bags and a huge duffle bag stuffed to the max. Add to that our two sleepy littles and we were quite a sight, I’m sure! We’re still awaiting our crib, which means each of the kids are sleeping in a twin bed. Cliff is nearly 18 months old, hardly old enough for barricade-free sleep, but we’ve been making due. And I have to admit it’s pretty adorable when he comes stumbling out of his room half asleep after a long nap.
The biggest plus to having a home is the kitchen! It has been such a blessing to have a kitchen again – to not have to eat out every meal and actually be able to prepare our own meals! I’ve been trying a fusion of foods we’re accustomed to and local foods. Plantains, rice and tamales have quickly made their way into our diet.
We really are enjoying the food experimentation. It has been a bit overwhelming trying to do all my cooking from a regular grocery store. They do seem to be generally stocked with more real foods (as opposed to prepackaged foods) than their United States counterparts, but it’s still difficult finding good quality ingredients. I was definitely used to easy access to good food at places like Trader Joes, Costco and Farmers Markets in California. Trying To figure out what the prices are is interesting, too! Not only are US dollars 3 times the value of soles, but everything is weighed by the kilo, which amounts to more than 2lbs. It makes for quite a mind-workout each time I go shopping. I’m glad my dad worked with me so much on math when I went grocery shopping with him! Ha!
We found the local organic market this morning which I am super excited about! It was much bigger than I expected.
They sell everything from pastured dairy to veggies and gluten-free baked goods. It was a really fun outing. I took much longer than necessary, probably, soaking in all the new ingredients and trying to decipher new Spanish words on packaging. The market is held at a local park, so we took the kids to play and stumbled upon a little kids music class.
The whole city is very family friendly, and most people go out of their way to say hello to the kids. Of course the blonde hair is quite a novelty here, too. We’re able to walk most places, which is great. There’s a lot within a 2 mile radius of us.
Overall, we’re settling in nicely. There were a few rough days last week, but I think we’re mostly adjusting to the new culture. We just keep getting out there! Even though my Spanish is fairly rough, I know it is only getting better each time I use it. And that’s encouraging!