Living in Lima

Dominique Burrows

Hello everyone! Or should I say ¡hola a todos! I wanted to take a moment to provide a short update about how living in Lima, Peru for the past (almost) 5 months has personally impacted me.

I remember when I first landed here in Lima, I got lost in the airport looking for the representatives from my study abroad program and about had a panic attack trying to communicate with the airport staff. I was sweaty from the intense humidity and scared because I somehow forgot how to form complete sentences in Spanish. I had only been in the country for 10 minutes and I already felt disoriented and unprepared.

Now, cuddled up in blankets and trying to keep warm from the terrible garua of the city (this is the constant thick mist that locals have to suffer from for over half the year that chills your body to the core), I feel like I have come a long way from the scared and confused girl in the airport.

Not only have I drastically improved my ability to communicate in Spanish, but I have learned so much about Peruvian culture and history, and even myself. At first, it was really hard adjusting. I had never lived in a city before, let alone the busiest part of a city with a population of 10 million. The people, the noises, the smells, and the insane traffic was all new to me. But, with time, the city began to grow on me. I was able to learn about Peruvian lifestyles, cultures, and social realities while witnessing it, and letting myself be a part of it.

My happiest moment in Peru was the day I went to Machu Picchu. I know it sounds cliché, but visiting ancient Inca ruins, seeing the gorgeous mountain range in person, and climbing to the peak of Huayna Picchu, were some of the most invigorating experiences of my life.

Peak of Huanya Picchu overlooking the ruins below

But, I won’t lie to you. I have had many moments of uncertainty. Sometimes I felt completely lost all over again, especially when I did not know how to navigate the crazy public transportation or when I was traveling to new places. But each and every time I felt lost, confused, frustrated, etc., I learned how to settle myself down and think of a new solution. This skill is one of the most important that Lima has bestowed upon me.

You ask any limeño how they survive the chaos of this city and they will tell you: with patience. Living in any city can have its ups and downs, but the biggest lessons I have learned is that sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and let the craziness roll off your shoulders. You can’t control the noise, but you can stop by Parque del amor on your way home and listen to the waves crash on the coast. You might not be able to avoid the crazy traffic or jam-packed buses, but you can enjoy the street performers who play a little music to brighten your ride. There is always something you can do make yourself feel comfortable again, and there is always time to take a step back and remind yourself why you’re living in another country: to challenge yourself.

I am thankful for every day I have spent in Peru, and it seems to be a fitting day to write about it, since it is Independence Day. Thus, thank you for reading, and I will see you all back at Conn. ¡Feliz día de la Independencia!

P.S. Please enjoy some more photos from my travels here in Peru.

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Hi Dominique,
Thank you for sharing the many ways in which your time in Peru has shaped you, and for sharing these beautiful photos! What lovely lessons you have learned on how to find the beauty and the calm in seemingly stressful situations. I cannot wait to hear more about the challenges you’ve faced and how you have overcome them. Enjoy the rest of your time in Peru! -Cara

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