Daily life in Arequipa

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


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I was putting myself in our blog readers shoes and you get a lot of the highlights and amazing stories we are in the middle of [here in Arequipa but some of you may be wondering, what is your daily life like there? We are living in a small apartment with two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen and large dining room with a family of 3, adding the 3 of us makes 6 in the house. We think there used to be a living room type area but that has become the bedroom for our host parent’s 14-year-old daughter. She has a section in the main area with a desk and bunk bed covered with a sheet for privacy. There is a gated front yard with a grass section the size of a normal bathroom and there is also a back concrete patio shared by those that live on the second floor (the owner of the building and her grown children). Since we arrived mid Nov we have been attending school Mon-Fri from 8:30 – 12:30. Wellington was waking up around 6:30 but now he is rising at 5am again. Sometimes he will drink his milk and lay back down for 20 or 30 min but no more than that. We try to get in our quiet times and finish up on Spanish homework before Wellington gets up, but it is getting difficult with how early he wakes. We take shifts in the morning. We shower if we have water as we have had a handful of days without – and the option is we might wake without electricity and that means no hot water. One of these two things seems to happen at least once a week. We eat breakfast with our host mom (Karin) and sometimes the father (Ytalo) and 7:30am and rarely with the late-rising teenaged daughter (Andrea). We try to get out the door by 8. We really like to walk for a 20 min stretch and then hop on a combi (city bus) but there are many days we are running behind and need to take two combis and miss our morning walk (many times due to a poopy diaper we discover right before heading out the door). Wellington gets a lot of attention on the combis. He is called gringito, which is an endearing name here in Arequipa. He shares his smiles with everyone. We have been blessed by the three families that have watched him during our schooling: Amanda Duerre (with two great little kids, Ella & Thomas) who is a cluster support mom for the 40/40 group in Puno, Peru, Noami Correa (the wife of the director of the Spanish school – she has one daughter 6 months younger than Wellington) and our host mom, Karin, has taken the last month of our schooling.  Amanda and Noami were located less that two blocks from our school, which was very convenient for us. We love his exposure to the Spanish language through this care. Our school is located in one of the 5 Nazarene churches here in Arequipa. It is called Zamacola Church of the Nazarene. We have one teacher, Julissa for the first two hours. We then take a break and go get a local snack with another student, Michael and practice what we are learning. There is a small tienda (store) we have found that we love to frequent. Vincent loves to try new things, lots of pastries. We return to class and have another 2 hours with Manolo. After school we would pick up Wellington and use the internet to check on email when Wellington was in Zamocola. Now we use our breaks to catch up on email and pack our snacks so we can head back home to Wellington right after class. We take just one combi and then walk the remaining way home as well to chat and do some studying. We normally have lunch, biggest meal of the day, at our host home usually consisting of soup and a second plate with meat and potatoes or rice. We were told they have their largest meal for lunch because of the high altitude (about 7000 ft here). Apparently your body digests food slower at high altitudes. Wellington is in the middle of transitioning out of his second nap. His one nap is usually in the morning now while we are at school. We miss the afternoon naps, as this is when we could get the bulk of our study time in and complete our homework. Sometimes we are extremely exhausted and have to take a 30 or 60 min naps ourselves. Learning a new language is exhausting work for the brain and makes your whole body tired.  In the late afternoons we frequently take walks in the neighborhood. Wellington loves to walk up and down the stairs on the sidewalks and look at all the dogs. There is a park a few blocks from where we are living where we can let him loose for a bit to wear off some energy and play with some neighborhood Peruvian kiddos. He has a playhouse at home (a large cardboard box) where we store all his toys. He really likes to use it as a garage for his cars and trucks. Sometimes mommy and daddy climb into it too. Since bathtubs are not common here, we use a large tub to bathe him. He loves to put all his toys in his tub when its dry and push it around the room.  Wellington usually goes to bed around 8:00pm. Vincent and I feed him some saved lunch before bed, as our family doesn’t eat dinner until about 9:00pm which is customary in Peru (sometimes even later). We get more studying done after Wellington goes down or we get some of our work done in preparation for our voluntary jobs. About once a week we go to the Extreme Nazarene Headquarters office to do email, pick up mail and work. We try to walk there which is about a 45 min walk and then take a taxi back in the evenings after dark. Our host family is literally a host family. There are many evenings and weekend they have friends at the house which allows us to practice Spanish with those outside our circle. One thing that is a little frustrating is all of the joking around and really fast talking that makes it difficult to understand much. If we are one on one with someone and they speak slowly we are able to have a conversation and understand a lot but I am sure we are still missing a lot. On quieter nights if we don’t have much homework, we quietly sneak into our room, into bed and watch a movie in Spanish with our headsets. Saturdays are our laundry days. The washer is stored in the house and we take it out to the back patio and hook it up to the outdoor sink to wash. There is a cloths line out there as well. I can usually get 3 loads of laundry done by noon or 1:00pm. We have had a bit of a challenge during the rainy season with only very small windows in the morning to wash and then not enough sun and wind to dry them before the rain starts. We had a few weeks of this recently. You will see one of the pictures of our room trying to dry the clothes.

We have additional updates we have to share regarding our work here in South America. The construction of the new Cali, Colombia church has been delayed a few months, which is delaying our move to Colombia. Originally we were going to move the first week in March, now it will be the first week in April. We plan to complete our Spanish school on Feb 25. We will be getting an apartment of our own here in Arequipa for a 4 or 5 weeks. We will be trying to let our Spanish soak in and help out at the Extreme office and hopefully start to learn more of what our jobs will entail in Colombia.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!


If you have any questions about our lives here in Arequipa or our positions with Extreme please add a comment and we will answer in our next blog.

  1. Liz Waterman says:

    I would love to share your blog with a couple who have expressed interest in becoming a cluster support family for Extreme. Your blog would be prefect for them!!

  2. Jillian says:

    I got to look through the pictures today- it’s absolutely amazing what you’re doing! Wellington looks as though he didn’t even hesitate to eat fish for breakfast! 🙂

  3. Cole Williams says:

    I just saw the comment left by Liz, Thats aweswome! pretty sure that was left for Kelly and I.

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