So, I feel like there are way too many moments when I think, “hmm, Costa Rica wasn’t like this…”. Honestly, of course Peru is different than the United States, I expected that. But, I really didn’t think much about the things I had gotten used to in CR that would not be the same when I arrived in Peru. I mean, aren’t they both basically the same country, full of the same type of people? Yeah…that’s a generalization.
I guess with CR being a bit closer to the States they receive a few more imported brands/items than Peru does. I actually have no clue how that works. We’re by the water here…can’t they go ahead and bring that stuff on down here, too? We don’t have a picture of our time together (something I regret), but about a week ago, Gary and Laura Bull, from the Cochabamba, Bolivia mission team, had a layover for a few hours here in Lima on their way home to Bolivia from the States. When they were here, Laura joked with me that she didn’t feel as sorry for me after seeing what we have here. I get the feeling her town is much smaller and less modern in some ways than our section of Lima is, so I will forgive her if she has no desire to read this post due to the fact that she could probably add tons more to it when speaking about her experiences. But…even still…there are a few things we’re still getting used to…or will we ever be used to them? Here they are:
1. There are no gallon jugs of milk. You have to buy it in bags. About 4 of the bags equals a gallon. Even then, you can’t open one of the bags and then just put it back in the fridge. We’ve been pouring our milk into a plastic container each time we open a new bag. It’s annoying. But, according to Laura B., I can buy some sort of “lechera” to put the bags in so I don’t have to do that. That’s on my to-do list.
2. I still haven’t found any dryer sheets. boo.
3. We just found out our plumbing has been backing up. Disgusting. Completely and utterly disgusting. Anyway, a plumber came last night from 8pm-10:30pm…pretty sure they don’t keep those types of hours in the States.
4. You can buy just about any type of corn flake cereal here…there’s like a gazillion brands, including Special K and a Nestles brand. There are about 4-5 flavors of cereal we can buy that aren’t just corn flakes. Pretty much any box we get that isn’t corn flakes and isn’t a South American brand says “Made for outside the U.S. only”…or something like that. SEND US THE REAL STUFF! =)
5. If you’ve ever seen those commercials for Huggies diapers (I think it’s Huggies…it could be Pampers) where they use a brick and say something like “If your child were shaped like a brick (no fat rolls, etc…), then those other brands of diapers are for you…”, and they go on to brag about how they specifically make their diapers with curves and nice elastic waistbands for all of the “normal” babies…well, be aware that they pretty much send all of those “brick” diapers here. Oh…and they come in the form of Huggies and Pampers diapers. go figure.
6. When you drive your own car and need gas, there’s always a person standing at the pump to fill your car up…for no extra fee. GREAT for moms with little kids!
7. If you want baking soda, you have to buy it at a pharmacy (thanks Tiffany for the heads up!). They don’t cook with it here. They will look at you strange if you ask for it in the grocery stores.
8. Bounty paper towels are $6 a roll. I thought my life was over when I saw that price…we use paper towels for EVERYTHING related with Cailyn at meal/snack time. It is vitally important that I can get them wet, unwrap them, and still have a whole paper towel in my hand. Impossible with just about any other brand. But to my surprise, Sparkle paper towels have pretty much done the trick for us. They’re not Bounty, but they work. Thank God!
9. We can’t drink the tap water here…we could in CR. I miss that.
10. Nothing is really open in the mornings until like 11am. Well, I take that back. The grocery stores are open at 9am. But…forget it if you need milk for your cereal or you’ve run out of toilet paper and it’s earlier than that. That happened to us one morning…the milk one…not the toilet paper one. Anyway, Justin decided (at like 8am) that he would just go get Dunkin Donuts for us so that we could eat breakfast. Oh wait…they aren’t open yet either. Huh? I am very much a “get it all done early” kind of gal, and that’s been hard to get used to. Some days I feel like things are just picking up around town about the time Cailyn needs her nap. So, we’ll see if I can’t figure out a new normal.
11. Brown sugar here is just white sugar colored brown (I’ve not like technically compared the ingredients labels of the white and brown sugar here, but it looks and feels basically the EXACT same). Not the tastiest for chocolate chip cookies that call for brown sugar.
12. Employees at most stores are extremely catering. It’s really nice at times, and then there are other times when you wish you could just look at what you walked in to look at without a person standing over your shoulder.
13. Every street has at “guard”. That was the same in CR. Anyway, Cailyn loves our 2 guards, and we look forward to developing better relationships with them. José and Pedro…2 great men.
14. Every time you go anywhere and buy something, you are asked “Boleta o Factura?” Basically it means, “regular receipt or business/tax exempt receipt?” (for lack of an easier explanation). So, it’s great, because you will never go to the store again to buy supplies for the church’s VBS or refreshments for your work’s monthly birthday party only to get through the line and remember you forgot to show them the tax-exempt card you had in your pocket. Oops.
15. It’s winter here right now. It will be that will until around November (I think). That just means we have like 60 degree weather. Come Christmas it should be warm enough to swim…haha. That’s gonna be weird. I’ve very much wondered how I will feel in December when Christmas hits and we want to decorate with our snowmen and bundled-up Santa figurines. Pray for me…because I LOVE that Christmas “feel”…not sure how it will be this year.
Last but not least…(and that’s a VERY big “not least”)
16. The principal language is Spanish…uh…still working on that. =)
So, if you read through all of that, good for you. Hope it wasn’t way boring. I just thought I could give some of you an idea of what life is like to a small extent here for us. We honestly have loved it here so far. That’s not to say there haven’t been moments we’ve wished for things we know we could have in the States, but overall, we are happy. I would say the biggest thing is just not being near family. It is so exciting to know that my mom will be here in 3 weeks or so, and my dad will be coming a few weeks after that to see the baby. Praise God for the fact that we are only 6 hours from family (or so) in the States!