I have so much to write about I´m not even sure where to begin. I think to help keep myself sane I´m going to write about all of my (mis)adventures in list form. Here goes:
1) We got off to a good start on Sunday. Mom, Dad, and Fuzz brought me to the airport in Milwaukee and we arrived at the perfect time, not too late but not too early. It was hard saying good-bye and I almost cried the whole way through the security check point. I did not look like a very seasoned traveller.
2) My flight from Milwaukee to Houston went fine, though it was very cramped. The plane only had three seats across and we had a lot of turbulence.
3) When I arrived in Houson, Michelle was waiting for me at my gate. For those of you who don´t know, a few months ago I contacted IFRE (the program I am here through) and asked if any other students were flying in at the same time I was. They put me in touch with Michelle and we were planning on meeting up in Lima until we realized a few days ago that we were on the same flight from Houston to Lima. Anyway, we killed some time in the airport and then boarded our plane.
4) Once on board, Michelle switched seats with the gentleman next to me so we were able to talk. On the other side of Michelle was a girl our age, Rita. She´s going to be spending ten weeks in Lima and will hopefully be coming to visit us in Cuzco some time.
5) About two hours into our six hour flight our captain told us that one of the blades in our engine was broken. Both engines were still working but the airport in Lima would not be able to fix the problem. So we had to turn around and go back to Houston. We got to Houston in about two hours but our plane was too heavy to land so we had to fly in a holding pattern for an hour to burn off enough fuel. During this whole time the flight crew had no idea what was going to happen to us or when we were going to be able to fly out again.
6) We landed in Houston (again!) around 9pm. They had re-routed a plane for us and we able to board it and leave by about 10:30. I slept through most of this flight but I do remember them serving us a second supper at around 11:30 and breakfast around 3:30.
7) We landed in Lima at 4:15 and Michelle and I rushed off to immigration and baggage claim. We were very worried about making our 5:40 flight, especially since it was the only flight going to Cuzco that day. My luggage took forever to arrive and we were running through the airport in order to make it through customs, check-in, paying our departure tax, and boarding our flight. We made it with time to spare and were safely on our way to Cuzco.
8) Cuzco is definitely a third world city. On our ride to our Spanish school, we saw a lot of run down houses, people searching through garbage, and stray dogs. I´ll try to get pictures up soon, since there is really no way for me to describe what it is like here. It´s not horrible but it´s definitely not like any city in the US.
9) We were given a tour of the place we were going to take our Spanish classes and were given instructions to return at 1 for our orientation. Where I am living is only a ten minute walk from the school, which I think is one of the closest places. Then I received a very big surprise. I´m not staying at the family house like I was told, but at a homestay. I have my own bedroom with a twin bed, closet, and desk. There are lots of books on my desk and one of them is a ¨Picture Tour of Wisconsin¨. I haven´t looked at it yet but I´m sure it will help me feel more at home. When I got here my Homestay mom served my c0ca tea and we had a talk. It was hard since she only speaks Spanish and my Spanish is pretty bad, but here is what I think is happening. My homestay Mom lives here with her daughter and four other tourist volunteers, like myself. I think they are coming home at noon to have lunch, so hopefully I´ll be able to give a better report about them later. We also have a small dog named Tito. And we have fairly fast internet here, so I will hopefully be able to check my e-mail fairly often.
10) I learn more about my Spanish classes and placement this afternoon (I think...). Hopefully, I´ll be able to update with that information in the next few days.
That´s my adventure so far! I´ll try to post pictures soon, once I´m out of this state of shock and able to think a little more clearly.
My homestay mom just asked me something and I have no idea what she said so I just said ¨si¨. She took the towel from my shower and I think she is hanging it up outside. I´m going to sleep good tonight.