Friday, July 18, 2014

Te de Señoras 2014

I have to write about the te de señoras and the dinner for material de guerra that happened last week. It has been a month full of celebrations and I have to make sure to get them all written down! The best one is to come with a great celebration in Asheville North Carolina in which two wonderful people are going to get married! Hurray!

On Thursday afternoon I made my way over to the Circulo Militar to the Te de Señoras of Material de Guerra. If translated it would be the Tea for the wives of ordinance officers. We were greeted by the wife of the general who represents material de guerra and she gave us a gold pin that has a heart on it with the insignia of material de guerra. It was a very sweet door prize and I will definitely wear that pin when Marco gets promoted to Lt. Coronel. I found my girlfriends Liz and Suhail who had saved a seat for me. Thank goodness they did because there ended up being at least another whole tables´ worth of ladies who had to be seated as extras at the tables since there wasn´t enough space. Not everyone RSVPed like they should have. Last year there were tables left empty and raffle prizes for almost everyone who came but this year they wanted to make sure not to spend as much or have any empty tables. I find that it is more embarrasing if you don´t have enough tables but it all worked out. We ended up with 11 at our table when we started out with 6. Oh well!

We danced and ate and danced some more. I love love love how everyone gets up and dances as soon as the food is done being served. There was a toast with pisco sours and wine at each table but by no means is it necessary to get tipsy before getting on the dance floor. I love that. The music was decent but the singers we just OK. At one point, one of the girls try to sing I Will Survive in English and ended up singing lots of la la las because she didn´t know the words. My girlfriends told me that I should get up and sing. Haha. I do love karaoke!

Throughout the dinner the general´s wife got up and presented raffle prizes to 50 lucky women and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. I would guess there were about 120 wives at the tea so the odds were pretty good but definitely not as good as they were last year. I am pretty sure there were over 60 prizes and only 80 or so wives who showed. (I got super lucky and won a Blu-ray player last year.) This year I received a silver bracelet with flowers and hearts on it. It was super cute and simple and the type of jewelry that I will definitely wear.

This year was a lot more relaxed for me since I knew more of what to expect. Last year I went out and bought a suit jacket because that is what I thought I had to wear. This year I wore a super comfortable brown skirt and shirt. I can´t fit into any of my dress pants anymore anyway. Haha bring on the maternity clothes!!

One of my army wife girlfriends commented on how I have adjusted to married life and the lifestyle of the army. I told her it was either adjust or leave. There really isn´t any other option unless I wanted to be miserable. She explained how there are many wives who complain and complain about not being able to adjust to the lifestyle and they make life hell for their husbands and everyone else around them. That wouldn´t fly for me. I made up my mind last year that while I won´t always be super comfortable with moving, everything needs to be looked at as an adventure. Plus, I have the most amazing husband who makes it all worth it. My happiness levels have increased exponentially since last year and I chalk it up to making the decision to be happy and find happiness in things everywhere I can. If I don´t like it, I find a way to avoid it and ditch it from my thoughts and just focus on the good things. Optimism is the key to a happy life. Here I am this year with multiple jobs that I love, great friends, a step-son who has grown on me, an amazing husband and a baby on the way. Life is good!

*We also went to the dinner the following Saturday for all of the Material de Guerra officers in Lima and we had a great time dancing and watching traditional dances from Puno and Arequipa. We shared a table with Keith, Marco's promo, and his wife.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy Belated Teachers´ Day!

I am almost two weeks behind so I better write about Teacher´s day before I forget! When I got to work on July 4th, I was greeted by Mariale, our social worker. She gave me a Mickey sticker that said #1 teacher on it. I also got a donut from Pilar, the secretary. I headed up to my office to find my desk filled with gifts. It was so nice! I got a post it dispensor in the shape of an apple, chocolates, a stapler, a two-hole punch, a cookie with Olaf from Frozen on it, Bible verse pop up notes (which I used to thank the girls for their gifts) and a hand written note from my director. Three girls gave me gifts as well. I also got earrings and a necklace (4 leaf clover) from administration and a packet of notepads that the mothers of the kindergarten class made. All of the pads says VM Prom 2025 which stands for Villa Maria class of 2025. I especially love the pends that double as higlighters and say ¨Beginning a new family¨ on them. What a sweet gift. There is a pad that has days of the week on it and you fill it out for whatever week you are on. I was using some that my co-worker gave to me earlier this year until I got my Camp Echo calendar to put up on my bulletin board. It is so exciting to know that I will be visiting camp in two weeks!

Anyway, the entire school went to mass except for pre-kinder and afterward we were given gifts from the mothers of students. It was a beautiful red white and blue scarf that is super soft. Everyone went back to their respective rooms and in kinder we had our own little celebratin. My boss read cards aloud to each teacher that said what the girls would like to get her and what they wish for each of us. The cards were then presented with a cookie by one of the girls. It was really cute.

At 11 we were called back over to primary school where an enormous Disney castle was set up. Cinderella´s fairy godmother came out and started the show which included numbers from various Disney movies and the grand finale was of course, Frozen. It was an elaborate and impressive show they put on. All of the teachers were then presented with polar bear stuffed animals and every danced. What a wonderful day.

Elsa and Olaf from Frozen

After the girls left at noon the entire teaching staff headed over to La Bistecca in San Isidro where we ate and ate and ate from the buffet. There was every kind of food you could want including a delicious mango ceviche (lime, onion and mango) that I could not get enough of. They really know how to feed us well here. I have nothing but good things to say about the amount of food they give us. Well fed employees are happy employees. That is a fact!

Lovely friends with our new polar bear besties.

I am beyond grateful to be working where I am and the staff make it even better. I hope to be working at this school for some time to come!

Friday, July 11, 2014

An Amazing 4th of July

Last Thursday was an exceptionally happy day for me. My school puts on a huge 4th of July celebration for the sisters and the American teachers. That included Julie, myself, my director and one other sister. We were treated like royalty with front row seats for all of the presentations.

The morning started out with my boss putting a 4th of July Mickey pin on my shirt. Everyone told me happy 4th of July and the girls sang the blessings song to me which is typically reserved for birthdays. Hence, one of my girls made me a birthday card. It was really sweet. What was even more fun is that the girls were all dressed up in their costumes for the show. Kinder put on a show and dance related to American TV shows. One class dressed up like I dream of Genie, another like Wednesday from The Adams Family, cowgirls from Bonanza, 50s girls from Happy Days, and sailors from Gilligan´s Island. They were too cute.

After giving all of my classes I headed over to primary school and the 4 of us Americans were received with applause by our colleagues. The multipurpose room was decorated with red white and blue and there was a BBQ awaiting us as well as an enormous cake that the cleaning and personel staff bought for us. How sweet (no pun intended). I stuffed myself with salad, hotdogs and chorizos (Peruvian style brats). I know I technically only need to eat 300 calories more a day but I indulged a bit.

After lunch we headed to the patio where all the girls who were born in the US marched around with the American flag and the teachers sang the national anthem. The choir sang Proud to Be and American (which actually made me tear up. Not so much the lyrics but the fact that everyone had put so much love and time into presenting all of this to us to make us feel at home.) and another Hallelujah song.
Afterward, each grade put on a song or dance for us. I could not stop smiling. I clapped along and gave reasurring looks to all the girls (especially the 1st graders who found themselves somewhat lost with the cotton eye joe dance).

At the end of the presentations, a group of mothers came over and presented us with a carved watermellon that looked like a flag on the back. It was full of strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and RASPBERRIES! Huzzah. Julie and I went into the principal´s hallway at the end of everything to get some of the fruit. We were both so happy to be eating raspberries. I wonder where they found them or if someone brought them back from the states. Ahh the little things. Anyway, after the presentation of the watermelon, all of the girls born in the States got a balloon and we all released them at the same time. What a fun tradition!

This 4th of July was by far my best 4th of July in Peru and right now my all time favorite. It is one thing to celebrate with your fellow compatriots but to be given a show and celebration from people who want to make you feel at home is like nothing I have ever experienced. I have such a feeling of gratitude towards my coworkers and my school. I could not have lucked out more in finding the job that I did. I am beyond grateful.

I hope everyone back in the States and fellow ex-pats alike had a wonderful 4th of July. Feel free to comment and let me know how your 4th of July went! I would love to hear about it!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Starbucks Got My Name Right!

This normally wouldn't be such a big deal because Amy is a super common name in the States but when everyone assumes your name is spelled Eymi, Emy, Eimi, or Emi, it is a happy day when someone gets it right without having to ask how it is spelled. This isn't the first time this has happened in Starbucks. I have found that out of the 20 or so times I have bought starbucks drinks since coming to Peru, more than 50% of the time the barista gets my name correct. 

Why might this be you ask? I think it has to do with education and exposure to the name. Many of the baristas are college students. I actually had an interview with this particular Starbucks when I first got to Lima because I wanted to see what my options were. The guy who interviewed me told me that the majority of baristas were college students working part time in between classes. Unfortunately, a part time job with Starbucks in Peru means you will be making around 600 soles a month for 19 hours a week that vary every week. Starbucks employees are also more likely to come into contact with foreigners because it is known throughout the world and people are much more likely to go to a coffee shop where they know exactly how their drink will taste.

I typically try and get coffee drinks from local cafes such as Bisetti, San Antonio, or La Baguette for a number of reasons. Coffee from Starbucks is overpriced and not the best tasting. Also, there is a great ambience in Bisetti (which is two doors down from the Starbucks in Barranco) and more options in San Antonio and La Baguette. I am a fan of supporting local business as well. It keeps things interesting and varied. I am a sucker for the chai latte from starbucks though and every once in a while I will treat myself to one and that is what I did today. I am trying to stay away from caffeine while pregnant but I read that up to 200 mg a day won't hurt you or the baby. Fortunately, I have never been a caffeine addict. I do like the taste of coffee with milk though so I occasionally drink it in the morning and for anyone who has suffered the lack of regularity while pregnant, a little cafe con leche will do the trick in no time!

I will be updating about the 4th of July and Teacher's Day very shortly. Both were absolutely fantastic! 

Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Fun Weekend

This past weekend was quite fun. We did a lot of home cooking and I met up with a friend Melissa from my trip to Spain last year. She is from Belgium and we met her while we were in Valencia. She has been in Peru for a little over a month but spent most of it in Paracas. Apparently, it is very easy to get stuck there as a traveler. I have yet to check it out but it sounds great. We met up in Barranco and I met a fellow travel friend of hers whom she met at her hostel. We talked about travels. I gave them my story about how I found myself in Peru. We talked about babies as well.

I guess it would be a good time to let everyone know that I am 4 months pregnant! We are going to have a December baby and we couldn´t be more excited. I put up a somewhat subtle post on facebook about it and it was fun to see how many people didn´t get it right away. I definitely don´t plan on being one of those people who puts up weekly baby bump photos but I will make sure to get a few photos in from our trip to the states. I am sure I will have a nice bump by then. There will be future posts about pregnancy in Peru.

I am headed to The Corner Bar today to catch the second half of the USA vs. Belgium world cup game. I think it will be fun to be around other Americans to watch the game. I have never done it before and I already know the energy is going to be strong!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!