Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moving to the Villa

We are on our way to our "new" apartment on the villa this week and we are in the process of packing things up. I say new in quotations because the apartment is actually quite old. There are a number of things that we have to remedy such as not having a heater for our water, no cabinetry in the kitchen and no dressers in the closets but given that it is quite large and provided to us at a very economical price, we have little to complain about. I am very grateful. I like that there are flower boxes in front of each window and that there is an enormous tree with bright orange red flowers. The birds chirp away and I have a bit of nature outside my window to remind me that the city isn't just a huge cement-filled place. There is lots of room for laundry and Pepe has plenty of space both inside and out. I also enjoy the process of moving because it means I get rid of a lot of stuff that I haven't used and won't use in the future.

What is weird is that this is the first time that I have accumulated furniture. I had never bought furniture or anything to furnish a house before this year since I never had a place to do so. It's kind of scary establishing yourself in one place but it's also comforting. I am looking forward to hosting some parties and gatherings at our new place once we are settled in. It is super easy to get isolated here in Lima and I find that now that I am not teaching English online anymore I will have more time to get out and do things (especially wedding related things!).

I met some other wives at a meeting that was held at the War School last Friday evening. It was very informative about what our husbands are doing while at school. The first female officer to complete the program gave us a presentation. The event was actually a three-day event but I could only make it the last day. We watched some videos that featured soldiers and military activities and she showed us a powerpoint on the academics and scheduling that the enrolled officers had to endure. It is definitely an intensive course and I am impressed by Marco's ability to manage it all. I can only imagine how wives with children feel when they need help and their husband has to work on a group project or be in a maneuver that keeps him at the school for the week more or less. I have been doing fine since I have tons of things to put my time into such as my teaching job. I am learning as I am going and it has been quite stressful for me but it keeps me occupied so I don't mind when Marco is busy. I look at all of it as an advantage. I don't feel bad that I am putting more time into studying music and practicing because he has things to do as well.

I have to get back to packing! I leave you with some pictures from our trip to the Parque de las Aguas Magicas or Parque de la Reserva from two weeks ago. It is quite a beautiful place. I highly recommend going. We went on Father's day and there was supposed to be a show with the main fountain but it was down for maintenance. There were still dancers though! There was a tunnel that lead to the other part of the park and it had tons of information about the water cycle and consumption in Peru and world wide. It was kind of interesting considering that the park uses water and lots of energy to provide a service for people to enjoy when there are plenty of people in Peru that don't have access to potable water. However, if there are billboards like this one that go up all over the coast, a lot more people could have drinking water.

Date night!

There were three dances. One from each region; the coast, the sierra and the jungle. This one is from the sierra.

Water tunnel!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Parque de las Leyendas

I'm back! Sorry for falling off the face of cyberspace for a while. Since my trip to Spain I have found myself super busy with life and all my jobs. I have had to work on my time management skills and they are not quite up to par yet. They are getting there though!

Anyway, this past weekend Marco and I had the pleasure of going to the Parque de Las Leyendas or Legend's Park as it would be translated AKA The Lima Zoo. I was a bit bummed out because the jungle section was closed for remodeling but it's quite all right since we will definitely be going back in the future when there are more of us.

Marco's favorite section was the felinario. The space they were in seemed so small for these big fast animals but after I saw what they had been in before, they didn't seem so bad. I definitely understand why people are against the whole idea of zoos. Marco had a good point though. On the one hand it allows people to see animals in real life that they would otherwise never see but the poor animal such as the leopard, has a space that doesn't allow him/her to run at all. No wonder they pace around like crazy. They are itching to run!

Ethics aside, we enjoyed checking out the hippos, seals, penguins, giraffes and zebras. What I really liked about the zoo was that it included some aquatic life too. It also had carnival games and a reasonably priced lunch area, and tons of green space for families to hang out and spend the day comfortably playing with their kids and seeing animals as they liked. I don't remember having a park area to play in when we went to the Lincoln Park or the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. That was nice. Families can make an entire day of the event and the kids won't get bored from walking around all day.

My favorite part was the reptile house. I saw a snake climb up a box vertically. It's like they have tiny feet inside their bodies. Their muscles move like feet and grip whatever they trying to climb on. It's super cool!

After the zoo we went to the center of Lima to exchange some money and check out the Parque de la Exposición. While we were there we saw that the Lima Art Museum was open and it was only 1 sol to go inside since it was Sunday. The regular admission is only 6 soles but hey, when in Rome (or Lima)! There were two exhibits. One was from a British photographer, Wolfgang Tilllman's collection and it was quite racy. The other was an artist named Oscar Muñoz who worked with video and photographs. There were projection screens and there was a lot of ink being funneled down drains. Neither Marco nor I really tried to disect or analyze it. We just enjoyed the sights.

In other news, I am managing to get through my two days of music class with my 200 plus students in total without totally going crazy. I also just found out that there is more paperwork to fill out to document planning (fun!) but the most important thing is that I am feeling more confident in my classes and more able to keep control of everyone. The most difficult classes are my kindergartners. There are two or three hyperactive kids in each section. Try as I might to keep them from playing the drums, there is not too much that is more interesting than a big loud pum. What we really need is to use the smaller music room. Unfortunately, it has been converted into an ESL classroom. There is way to much stimulation for these kids and while keeping them entertained for 40 minutes is my job, I can't compete with drums, cajons, chairs, and pianos. For now, I just do what I can by singing and introducing percussion instruments to keep the attention my way.

I have two violin students now that are going to start lessons together. I am super excited to try out this method and see if it is successful. Nancy Lokken, my book 1 and 2 instructor explained how having an hour long class with two pre-5 year olds can be more productive. It also helps that I have two since I am going to the house of one of them to give the lessons. I don't plan on doing house lessons very long but it is a way to get the ball rolling! Unfortunately, the one other student who I started with in April has not had a lesson since the first one. Taking violin lessons is something new to many Peruvians and when other emergencies or reasons for spending money come up, it's not surprising that violin lessons are the first thing to go. :( It's OK though! There are many more students to come!

Snack time!
No live elephant? No problem. Give them bones! :)