Peru: Looking Back

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It’s been two weeks since Collin, Kevin and I returned to the States from Peru. Two weeks since we had a menu del día, since we struggled to communicate in Spanish, since we hung out with the plentiful stray dogs and our new friends from all over the world. Since we shared a room with 11 strangers, since we showered in flip flops, since we drank the glorious nectar that is limonata. Two weeks since my calves burned with every stair I took, still remembering their strain from our ascent of Machu Picchu Mountain. Since I had trouble breathing when performing even light physical activity from altitude, and made pitiful attempts to combat this by drinking coca tea, but failed because it was gross. Two weeks, but it seems like years.

Things have been different since we got back. Obviously we can’t spend as much time together as we did in Peru, since we’re not spending each waking moment exploring together and we’re not sleeping on adjacent bunks. Even so, I’ve barely seen the guys – Collin is busy with life, crepes, and Nostrajamus, Kevin with life and Promotions, and me with life, 30 hours of work per week, and pledge dean responsibilities. I’ve gone right back into my daily routine, just as it was before spring break but perhaps with a bit more senioritis, and a messier room.

That’s not to say, though, that Peru didn’t impact me. Enamored with the fresh food we ate in Peru, I’ve adapted certain aspects of their cuisine. I try to start my meals when I’m at home with a cup of hot broth, which I’ve found helps my sinuses and makes me feel full faster. I’ve swapped out my standard toast + apple breakfast for a fresh smoothie, although I don’t juice my own produce like the juice ladies did. Still no hotdogs for breakfast (never again). I add cilantro and lime to pretty much everything I eat. I love it.

My workouts have gotten easier. It took a while for my legs to recover, but now that they have, I am pushing myself harder because of how easy it is to breathe. Breathing is great. I want to go hike everything because I feel like I’m unstoppable.

I loved Peru. It was my first time out of the country, and it was so valuable to get out of my comfort zone in terms of culture and language. My friends came back with sunburns and hangovers from their benders in Punta Cana and their Caribbean cruises, while I came back with a sunburn and stories. Stories of Incan ruins, of nights out with hostelers, of Peruvian culture. That time Collin ran into a glass window thinking is was a door (still funny!). I couldn’t be happier with the spring break choice I made.

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Thanks, Peru. You gave me a lot. I’ll be back.

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