The Formidable Fortress (aka Embassy Lima)

Foreign Service LifePeru
May 19, 2012

You know me, I’m not much for wasting time.  Might as well just jump right in.  I woke up Friday morning feeling energized and ready to see the town.  Nia and I started our day with a walk to “our café”, where we met Janeth (pronounced Ha-Net), our server.  She was quite taken with Nia and played with her for close to a half hour, all the while asking me questions in Spanish (oh, the dreaded moment when I would have to make conversation had arrived!)  She was incredibly patient with me, especially since I asked her to repeat nearly every sentence she said more slowly.  I made a solid go of it and at moments when I got stuck, I just turned to my good friend google translate…

Next up for the day was a coffee gathering and Presentation at the Deputy Chief of Mission’s (DCM) Home.  The topic of the day was Spouse Employment, so there was lots of relevant information to take in.  It was a nice way to meet a few Embassy members in a smaller setting, but maybe not the best idea to bring Nia.  Let’s just say she wasn’t very cooperative during the 90 minute presentation.

At this point I should have been taking my daughter home for her afternoon nap, but Nick needed us to come down to the Embassy to get photos taken for our ID cards.  This was my first time going to the Embassy.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I sure wasn’t expecting it to feel so intimidating.  The thing looked like a giant freaking Aztec Fortress.  With the mountains in the background (or large foothills as I heard them referred to), the place looked ready for battle.

That being said, the grounds were LOVELY.  In addition to the Embassy building, there was a playground, soccer field, gym, running track and picnic area.  I can’t wait until I have more time to explore the grounds.

Our last stop for the day was the Commissary, which is basically a grocery store on the Embassy that stocks American products.  I was able to rack up a sizeable bill in a half hour (GUESS WHO FOUND DIET COKE!!) and then was met by our social sponsor, who had offered to drive us home.  What’s a social sponsor, you ask?  Well, it’s a person or family assigned to make your transition to post more pleasant.  Common things they do are answer questions, stock your fridge with a few basics, pick you up at the airport and take you shopping before your car arrives.  Honestly, a sponsor can make or break the beginning of your tour.  Happy to say that we totally lucked out this time around.

Nia refused to sleep in her bucket (aka: stroller) all afternoon because she didn’t want to miss any of the action.  Unfortunately that led to a MAJOR  MELTDOWN in the 4 o’clock hour.   Pretty impressive that she had been awake for 9 hours with only a 30 minute quickie nap – Nothing like a little endurance training for my 6 month old!

So there you have it folks.  That’s what our first day out on the town looked like.  I am delighted by how friendly everyone seems and am feeling very welcomed.

And now, on to today’s big project: OUR HELPER INTERVIEW.  Cross your fingers that she’s a good fit for us!

photo credit:

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  1. Heather says:

    How exciting! I’m really looking forward to reading the next couple of weeks. You’re so adventurous! It sounds like Nia will be quite the world traveler. What cool experiences growing up for her.


  2. Joyce says:

    Wow, my first look at the new Embassy. Glad your sponsors turned out to be good. You’ll be speaking fluent Spanish in no time. Good time to change Nia’s schedule too as she has juetlast and doesn’t know what time she is supposed to go down. I had no doubt you’s fit in right away and Peruvians LOVE babies. Love you a lot.

  3. Sarah Novak says:

    :) Thanks Heather. I try. Nia is totally going to have better Spanish than me!

  4. Sarah Novak says:

    We miss you Momma Joyce – Nia continues to be a little bugger. Sigh. I can be so impatient at the beginning.

  5. bfiles says:

    oh wow, hadn’t read you in a while and didn’t realize you are there! GOOD LUCK with everything!

  6. Nomads By Nature says:

    Those first days of excitement, worry, adventure, over-stimulation, exhaustion, and joy to finally be in place and getting to start are quite a ride! Your Spanish will come along quickly, with Nia’s help of course! ;) Hoping you find the perfect help match for your home soon!

  7. Sarah Novak says:

    Yeah, haven’t been writing much. We’ve definitely arrived and are at the fabulous overwhelmed stage. :)

  8. Sarah Novak says:

    You definitely nailed the mix of emotions- it reminds me a bit of our first days with Nia. 2 interviews today, so hopefully we’ll get lucky!

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