A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Life in Lima

We've been living in Lima since mid-December now, and I've been very delinquent about writing here, so it's time to catch up a bit.

In addition to Spanish, our main adventures have been a crash course in living in a tiny space together and learning about and accepting challenging aspects of Peruvian culture. Living is going smoothly now for the most part, an occasional 'ahh! this stupid tiny kitchen!' outburst from one of us notwithstanding. And yes, it is challenging to live in a studio without a kitchen sink, but we are managing very beautifully lately. The cultural aspects most challenging for us are two-fold: people lacking the ability to say no (and so promising things they do not follow through on and taking personally our holding them accountable for this), and lacking respect for timing (a meeting scheduled for 2pm could easily begin at 3:30pm with no phone call to say anyone is running late). But knowledge is power, and we are accepting more and learning to plan according to the norms here. And we have met so many wonderful people we are enjoying making friends here immensely.

Our apartment is on a (relatively) quiet street in arguably the safest/easiest to live as a Westerner part of Lima, called Miraflores ('look at flowers' is literally the meaning of the name). I say "relatively" quiet because the construction everywhere screams out as Luke said yesterday, 'Look at me, I'm Peru, I'm growing at 7% a year'! I walk around the city often with earplugs, or at least earbuds, in. There is a lot of noise pollution here.

Air pollution too, potentially, but I suspect it may also be pollen we are not used to, and the fact that Lima is the second-largest desert city in the world after Cairo, but you'd have a hard time realizing it looking around because there is so much vegetation. I adore the parks here, and we live near quite a few. It is such a blessing to have trees to snuggle up to and grass to plop down upon, especially compared to other South American cities where aspects of nature were sorely lacking (Photo: Parque del Amor in Miraflores)

We've gone a few times to the beaches south of the city where LimeƱans like to play in the sand and sea in the summertime. The water is cold and refreshing, the sun strong, and the sunsets amazing. It's nice to be on the west coast and yet in the Eastern US time zone. (Photo: pebbly beach near our house better for surfing than lounging)

I have found work with an interesting project here called 'The Institute of Latin American Restorative Practices' affiliated with a program in the US. Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a training in restorative practices in Spanish, and am now working on helping improve the training even more and integrating opinions of participants. The main thrust of the work at the moment is the creation of a 'restorative zone' in a challenging neighborhood in inner-city Lima, based on an ongoing and successful project in Hull, England. It is certainly an ambitious undertaking, and every person who is trained in restorative practices and begins implementing aspects of them into their lives, whether in schools, homes, or wherever, is already contributing to improving communication and community in my estimation, and so the project has already been a great success 2 years in.

Physically I have become a bit thin but feel healthy, if not incredibly strong and robust at the moment. I am easing into a regular yoga practice again and enjoying long walks through the city and the parks here. I am going easier on myself lately and still sifting through a lot of intense emotional energies that require self-care and attention. But in general, life is unfolding and opening up more beautifully, realistically and peacefully from the inside out, and I very much enjoy and feel fulfilled and supported living this way here and being with Luke.

We may not be experts yet by any stretch, but our Spanish is definitely improving, and our confidence increasing too so that we are planning a trip to the jungle to get off the beaten path a bit soon. We've also had a couple visiting friends of mine pass through Lima, and it has been a real treat to see them too. (Photo: courtesy of Colette since my camera died, a bar in Barranco called 'Ayahuasca')

I have been noticing for some time people often saying to me they hope I am happy. I used to wonder why, and lately I am finding it easier to be. Isn't that lovely!

Posted byValerie at 11:23 PM  


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