Sunday, January 31, 2016

Peru Update 7 - Postgrad, Parks & Poverty

Greetings from Peru!

I know I say this in every update, but the past few weeks have been a whirlwind! Between the craziness of work, gallivanting all over Lima giving private English lessons, night-time studying, housekeeping tasks, and weekend social life at church, I’ve barely had a free moment to catch my breath! However, the month of February will be quite different.

This month I am taking a break from giving private lessons in order to buckle down and study for the GRE test, which I will be taking on February 22nd. For the past two months, I have been in the process of applying to Wake Forest University’s graduate program of Interpretation and Translation. It’s not set in stone as there is still the issue of GRE scores, finances, and whether or not I am accepted, but Lord willing, I will be enrolling fall of 2016.
Notwithstanding, all things in moderation, so I am balancing work and study with a bit of play. This week I had the chance to stand atop the famous arch in Parque de la Amistad (Friendship Park) which I posted a picture of in my last update. Below is the view from the top. You can see the Ricardo Palma University campus (the tall building on the left), the park's main building complete with a collection of wax celebrities and movie characters inside (large building bottom center), and the park's mini train station (bottom right).

On Friday I was invited to eat lunch at the house of one of my students in San Juan de Lurigancho. San Juan de Lurigancho is one of the poorest, most dangerous, and highest-populated districts in all of Peru. (To give you an idea, the average household income is about $280/month.) On the way there, we stopped by the public school where Paul’s father works. Because it is basically free (tuition costs about $15.00/year), there is a huge student body (1200 high school students alone). For this reason, the school shares its facilities, holding primary classes in the mornings and secondary classes in the afternoons. The grounds are littered with broken glass, stones, and discarded bottles. In one of the hallways, a mother cat had killed a bird and was eating it with her kittens. It was a stark contrast to the well-manicured, upper-class neighborhoods of La Molina where I live. Notwithstanding, I passed a pleasant afternoon with my student's family eating aji de gallina (one of my favorites!), listening to Christian music (in English, Spanish, and Hebrew), and praying together (their prayer included the following: "God bless Ms. Catherine and please help her to find a husband!" &#X1f609 )

Yesterday, I took a break from studying to go downtown with a friend. We visited the Peruvian equivalent of “Chinatown,” (a block of Chinese restaurants with street vendors and pagodas), a chocolate store cleverly disguised as a museum (where I sampled chocolate tea and the best chocolate bar I have eaten in my life!), and a train station which doubles as a library/literature museum. 

Prayer Requests:

- Self-discipline and time management: that I would be diligent to study and wise in managing my time/resources.
- GRE nerves: I have had approximately 2 months to review 8 years of math content (which I also have not touched in 8 years) and to learn about 600 vocabulary words that the general public never uses (and likely never will). Now I get to go take a (timed) four hour test in a strange place--yippee.


- God's provision. In one month I was able to earn enough giving private classes to get me through February until school starts back full time in March!
- Continued good health (since it is summertime here, there is the added bonus of no winter colds!)