Catching My Breath

Last night I made it to Arequipa. Then I got sick. Really, really sick. The kind of sick where all you want in the world is to be at home in your own bed. It was for sure the most miserable night I’ve had in a long time, but somehow I survived.

While I was on what felt like my millionth bus ride in four days, I realized my travel plans had been too ambitious. I attempted to squeeze way too much into a short time and it got to me.

But now I’m in Arequipa for a full week and am very excited to be here. I needed to catch my breath both figuratively and literally. I’m hoping I will have the chance to do that here. And it already seems like a great place to breath.

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This morning I dragged myself out of bed for my first day of Spanish class. My teacher, who was only filling in for today, was fascinating. Somehow we got into a deep discussion about the state of education in the US and Peru, unions, and causes of violence. It was so interesting. I also told him that I started a small photography business. He asked if I would help take photos at a school he volunteers at, so I’m going on Wed. I’m very excited!

After class, I decided it was time to check out this city that people rave about. At first I was actually overwhelmed. I don’t think I was expecting such a busy, bustling city, way more so than Cusco. I wandered the streets and made my way to the Plaza de Armas. It was so active and vibrant. There were also kids feeding the hundreds of pigeons everywhere!

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I sat on the bench for a while, just taking it all in, when this older woman and her husband sat down next to me. The woman and I started chatting. Next thing I know, we had been talking for 45 minutes, all in Spanish! It was so nice to have this conversation. Obviously, my Spanish is far from perfect, but this woman, Luisa, was so patient and seemed to truly enjoy chatting with me. She even asked for my email when I got up to go.

On the way back to the hotel, I ran into girls I had met that morning and continued to check out the city and grab lunch with them. I can tell its a city I’m really going to enjoy.

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Love,

Julie

“Catch My Breath” -Kelly Clarkson

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