Warning: Very long post. Sorry for the blog purge. I write in my host home, then post when I am at the internet cafe. So today, you get three posts- starting with this very long one. Enjoy :)
Happy Fathers Day! Here in Peru, Father's Day is a big deal, as all holidays are, from what I understand. The events of my weekend revolved around the holiday and my 'homework' for the weekend which was to participate in community activities while spending time w/ the host family. Yesterday, I went to an outdoor father's day activity of a local grade school with the an Olympic theme titled "Daddy is My Champion." My friend Ali invited me to attend with her, as the children she lives with go to this school and her host family was there all day participating in the events. The event was a "day of sports" to honor the fathers of the students in the school. It was adorable. The day began with members of each grade taking turns running around the track w/ a lighted torch and a parent. After the torch went around and the national anthem was sung, each grade took part in a short parade, then performed a dance. Each class had a country and a value that they represented. Ali and I walked with grades 1 and 4, as this is where her host sister and brother fall. First grade was Peru with the value of honesty while 4th grade was Spain with the value of love. If I had to choose a value for Spain, it would be pride, but that's just me ;) Anyway, it was really fun to walk and dance with the kids. There was a group of 4th grade girls who were glad to meet some gringas and we spent much of the day playing with them and answering random "how do you say this in English?" questions. Two of our friends/ fellow trainees joined us for the 4th grade parade/ dance and stayed for the afternoon of sports. The whole day was really fun and a great thing to be a part of. All the children and their parents had matching uniforms specific to their class and the country they were representing in the "Olympics." The kids were adorable and the activities were really fun to watch. After the parade/ dances, each class lined up on the volleyball court across from their parents. An announcer counted down and when she said 'Go,' the kids ran to hug their dads and wish them a happy father's day. Soooooo cute! After all of this, the Olympics began. The sporting events were games of soccer and volleyball played by the parents and the students. Games were fathers vs. fathers (organized by the grades of their children) in soccer, then the little boys followed with soccer games grade vs. grade. Volleyball games were held in the same fashion. I played on the 4th grade mom team with the moms of that grade and my friend Katherine, who is really good at volleyball. I am not. Our team lost. It was fun anyway. The 4th grade girls were very good, especially a little doll whose name was also Brittney. Their team won. It was fun to practice with them and cheer them on. After the sports wrapped up, we had some lunch. I had my first taste of Papa a la Hunaina, which will definitely be a repeat treat. I also had my first Coca Cola in South America, which, at least to me, is way better than Coke in the States. They don't use corn syrup here in soda or chocolate, and the difference is detectable. Also, Coke is in a glass bottle here so I feel less guilty about it because I'm not using a glass bottle :) The afternoon of the Olympics included prizes for the winners of the events and also a large game of Bingo. Given my Nigon upbringing, I was all about playing Bingo. Unfortunately though, I couldn't stay to play as my own little host brother also had a Father's Day program last night. In order to see his program as well, I had to leave before Bingo took place.
I returned to my host home and practically begged my host mother to show me how they wash clothes by hand here. I feel a need to contribute. At this point, they are treating me like a princess. Which is nice, but I can't keep this up. I feel too guilty. If there is anything I can help with, I want to know how. So... Elena agreed to let me help wash my clothes. As it turns out, she can wash about 4 items to my 1. But I got to watch at the very least. Elena and I had a nice conversation while we washed my stuff. It felt good to do some manual labor, even if I didn't do much. After this, I helped my host sister, Grecia, hang my clothes on the line, then I went to Arturo's father's day program with his mom, my other host sister, and with Grecia.
Arturo goes to school just up the road so we walked the 2 minutes or so it takes to get to his school. He is in the 5 year old kindergarten class. Here, kindergarten classes begin at age 3 and go through age 5. He sang a few songs and did a really cute little dance. It was fun taking in a school program in another language. It was very similar to the school programs I've seen in the US.The school was cute, the children again were adorable, and the fathers they were honoring were really fun to watch. As with the other program, the event began with a presentation of the flag and the national anthem. Each class sang, danced, and/ or read some poems. The 3 year olds dressed like bunnies and sang a really cute song while jumping around. They made some of the dads play musical chairs in front of everyone. Then they raffled off door prizes to some of the dads as well. Very cute.
At both programs, food was served. At the first one they had ceviche, Papa a la Huanaina, anticucho, ice cream, soda, etc. At Arturo's program the hot ticket item seemed to be hot dogs on sticks with a strip of mayonnaise down the side. They also had a full concession stand complete with papas de Lays, aka Lays Potato Chips, and Crush orange soda. It's really fun to people-watch and find out what's popular, what's normal, and what isn't. It's also strange to see so much influence from the US here, like the Lay's Potato Chips. At the end of the day, my head was full of new words and concepts. Good day.
One more thing on Saturday- I met a baby named Walter. I'm not very discreet when I see a cute baby. So as soon as his mother saw me making faces at him, she asked me to hold him so she could take a picture of Walter with the gringa. It was great. His cheeks were almost as fat as Hailey's were when she was 6 months old, that's how old Walter was. I love that his name was Walter too. There are more American names here than I was expecting. Anyway, I had to toss that in because it is something I want to remember.
Today's father's day activities are much more chill. A big breakfast of tuna, onions, and potatoes was followed by some solo time, a walk around Yanacoto with the little brothers (hermanitos), more laundry watching/ collecting my dry clothes, an hour and a half of Monopoly with the hermanitos, then some gossip of Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, etc. with the host sisters and their cousin. Lunch of cow heart with corn, rice, and potatoes was served around 2ish with some other family members in attendance. I was given a full plate of veggies in place of the heart (anticucho) :) I had cow heart once as a child and wasn't a huge fan, so I don't feel too bad about not trying it here. They made it over an open fire and I hear it was good. We had ice cream for dessert which was delicious. Then I watched some American TV w/ Grecia. She's a fan of Ace of Cakes, which I had never even seen before, so that was fun.
Anyway, I should wrap this up. Apologies for the long entry. The weekend brought with it time for me to keep you all updated on what's going on here. They keep us fairly busy during the week which I enjoy. I hope you are all enjoying father's day and I hope the weather was nice in the Midwest this weekend! Excited for week 2. Stop back soon :)