And So It Begins…

Foreign Service LifePeru
May 18, 2012

Hola from Peru!  It’s been a chaotic 48 hours of transit and orientation to our new life as Limeños.  I had forgotten how humbling it is to struggle with communication and completing basic tasks.  That being said, small wins (like successfully ordering a latte), make you feel like a million bucks.

So, Ms. Nia gets a C- for her first international flight.  She had her first blow-out of the day while we were going through the security line in DC.  I had a spare outfit thankfully, but started to fret because I didn’t have any additional ones beyond that in our carry-ons.  Blow-out 2 came mid-flight and Daddy got the honors of changing it in the restroom.  He told me that the outfit was fine but upon further inspection later we probably shouldn’t have let her keep wearing it.  Oops.

Nia was enthralled with all the action going on around her and refused to sleep.  She made eyes at anyone who’d look at her and did a fair amount of joyful shouting (note: this is different than screaming).  As the trip wore on and she became grossly overtired we moved into the not-so-pleasant state of intermittent wailing.  Unfortunately we were seated behind the young, childless couple who shot us no less than 20 death looks.

We eventually got her down, but not without creating a tent structure over our row to block out the lights and having Nick and I simultaneously shush in her right and left ears for half an hour.  Oh the things you’ll do as a parent…

We got into Lima around 9:30 Wednesday night and were met by Nick’s office sponsor.  They helped us collect our baggage and get safely to our new home.  Unfortunately, getting into the house was another story.  We have no less than 24 keys to our place.  I swear, every door in the place has a key.  And then there’s the alarm system and the bars that cover the glass windows and doors (oh, and did I mention it has a concrete perimeter surrounding the whole place – very moat-like, minus the water of course!)  So no worries, our safety is being well taken care of.  Never mind that we have no idea how to open the bars to get into our backyard… that’s tomorrow’s project!

I intend to do a full photo tour of the house in the next day or two, so please watch the blog for that.  Today I’ll leave you with a few observations I’ve had during my first day at post:

  1. I need to work on my Spanish, STAT.  There is next to no English spoken here!
  2. Nia’s blue eyes and fair skin are a magnet for Peruvian baby-lovers.  At one point there were 5 people bent over the stroller pinching her cheeks  and making faces at her.
  3. This is not Manila.  It’s really hard not to compare each and every aspect of life, especially when I’m longing for the comfort I had there.
  4. I must be on high alert when we’re out on walks – drivers don’t care one bit about pedestrians.  It’s going to take some serious effort not to get hit!

That’s all for now.  Adiós amigos!

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  1. Robin says:

    Welcome to Peru! Oh my goodness are you in for a ride! There are so many things I take for granted here in Hong Kong where English is abundant and you can find anything you could possibly want if you’re willing to pay for it, but I remember clearly what those first weeks in Chile (with limited Spanish) felt like… and our apartment only had three locks!

    My thoughts are with you and your family – and well done YOU for jumping in to an embassy event on your first few days. You’re made for this. :) The Spanish comes rather quickly once you’re out in it and while we risked our lives a few times on Peruvian and Chilean streets, we can’t wait to get back to South America. Take care!

  2. Robin says:

    Oh yeah… and climbing to the top of Hyuana Picchu to watch the mist rise off the ruins at 7 a.m. is the most fabulous thing I have ever done in my entire life.

    I cannot WAIT to hear you blog about it! :)

  3. Dani says:

    holy blog goddess, I love the new header! It’s fantastic! I hear you on the blue eyed blond haired baby thing. I recommend wearing Nia as much as possible until you figure out what you are comfortable with in terms of attention from other people. I don’t think Will was ever in his stroller in Chengdu (hence I have no idea how to use the damn thing) because I liked that it was impossible for people to reach in and take him from me when he was strapped to my chest. A little cheek petting and foot grabbing was ok with me, but taking Will from me wasn’t. Hence, baby-wearing. It works! Good luck getting situated!! Have fun!

  4. Libby says:

    What an experience already! I can relate to the plane ride scenario. I pretty much had a fight with the man with the booming voice behind us because I asked him to talk quieter because Sylvia was sleeping. She ended up waking up and he glared at me most of the trip. Good times! Thankfully that part is over and I know you are better than anyone in seeing the positive things during tough situations, so I know you will be fine and will probably be loving Lima in no time! Good luck to you in these next weeks!

  5. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Robin, it helps!

  6. Sarah Novak says:

    Excellent tips, thank you Danielle!

  7. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks Libby, definitely glad the flight is over!

  8. Lerma says:

    It all started with your blog about Batanes.. Now, I can’t stop following your blog. It’s just so nice to read.

  9. Sarah Novak says:

    Awww, aren’t you sweet! Where are you located Lerma?

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