Our eldest son and family have been in New York over the last year and are about to come home. On their blog this week they posted answers to several questions about their experiences. Inspired by them, and because we are at the half way mark of our mission, here are our answers to the same questions - Q&A about Perú.
What is your favourite thing to do in Perú?
Lesley: Go to the office every day and work with wonderful people and to eat out most nights without having to cook dinner.
Craig: Talk with missionaries by phone every day (even meet them in person some times) and work with wonderful mission presidents and their wives.
What is your favourite thing about Perú?
L: There is always something to see, something to do, something going on, and somewhere to be. The amazing differences and changes in geography from mountains to desert to sea to jungle….
C: We don’t have to drive. We walk to work, to shops, to church, to the temple, and to the many places where we can eat.
What surprised you the most about moving to Perú?
L: The traffic and the crazy drivers (eg turning from the outside line across traffic without indicators), the constant noise, the things that are not quite right; the electricity wires hangingdown and gathered in bunches everywhere. Feeling earthquakes every now and then. And finally feeling comfortable
C: The mixture of old and new, developed and third world, the gap between rich and poor. How big the Church is here. Most prescription medications (in Australia) are available over the counter here without any prescription. That I can still play tennis and hit the ball over the net. Also there are no flies (that we have seen other than one or two) where we live.
What is your favorite museum/archeological site?
L: The Temple of the Sun and the Moon in Trujillo. There was amazing preservation of ruins, historical artefacts, and the museum next door.
C: The National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima. There were skulls and mummified remains and head shaping from Paracas a couple of thousand years ago, as well as other stuff. Sorry, I am not a big fan of really old stuff. In essence the bedrock of civilisation is so wasted on me in Perú. People I like, their things aren’t so interesting.
What are some of the interesting things you have done?
L: Visiting and flying over the Nazca Lines, driving up and over the Andes; seeing the Spanish horses perform (and not getting eaten alive by deadly disease carrying mosquitoes); ballet and national dance and symphonies and other performances at the National Theatre.
C: Flying all over South America and North America (NOT); daily meeting lots of interesting people. Seeing different cultures and how different people live in different circumstances and are happy. Visiting various missions in Perú. Seeing lots of different dogs in different stages of aliveness.
What do you miss most about Australia?
L: getting in a car and driving anywhere I want; my own house and my own big kitchen; people speaking English; work at Greenwith Primary School; my hairdresser.
C: Walking along Linear Park in the morning; paying taxes; rain (I still haven’t seen proper rain in 12 months).
What food do you miss the most from Australia?
L: vegemite (but good friends from the USA brought me some); chocolate biscuits; Sunday night dinner(though that might be the company rather than the food).
C: CHOCOLATE (the good stuff); chicken fillet burgers (they have good chips here); our favourite restaurant (the Alphutte) but it closed without our patronage; Aussie fish and chips at the beach fighting off seagulls.
What is your favourite thing to eat in Perú?
L: Fresh fruit (as long as you wash it carefully so it doesn’t kill you); cheap mangoes and avocados; chicken in it’s many forms; fresh bread and nice desserts from the bakery a few doors down.
C: Italian, Chinese, chocolate, club sandwiches (except my phone always rings when I start eating them)
What is your favourite restaurant?
L: Punto Italiano - a great little Italian restaurant directly across the street from the office (which means both lunch and dinners), great pizza, seafood, risotto, and pasta
C: As above. The owner is from Sardinia and we reminisce from my time serving as a young missionary there. He helps me keep up my Italian as well.
Who do you miss the most?
L: My grandkids, kids (in that order), parents, extended family, friends at school, work and church; and the kids I taught.
C: As above again.
What is the most different thing about Perú?
L: SPANISH!! Not seeing the sun for months on end due to constant cloud (except for the summer months when it was clear and hot and we wanted the clouds to come back)
C: Not having a car and having to walk or catch taxis, not being able to drink water from the tap (we can only drink bottled water); using different skills than I used at home (I do more actual counselling here rather than just mental health evaluations and assessments)
What annoys you the most about Lima?
L: Getting places, the continual noise, and the blowing of car horns for no good reason.
C: Car alarms (that nobody takes any notice of anyway), the phones and working out how to make calls to different places.
What is the most difficult thing about living in Lima?
L: SPANISH!! And missing my family.
C: Not being able to hug and play with my grandkids (although I am very grateful for Skype and FaceTime)
What is the most exciting thing that you have done?
L: Packing up and actually coming here. Riding sand buggies through the sand dunes, someone bringing me Tim Tams; and hearing about Marley getting hit by a train at Machu Pichu and surviving and being able to tell about it!
C: Speaking Spanish and being understood when I had no idea how to do it.
What’s the worst experience you have had?
L: Perú belly- where the local gut bugs tell everything to clear out because they are moving in.
C: Really wanting to say something to help someone and not having the Spanish to do it. But I am getting better though.
What is the most different thing about Church here?
L: SPANISH!! (notice any pattern here). Everything starts late (up to an hour late sometimes). Attending Church at the Missionary Training Centre (MTC) each week. We just get to know and love the young missionaries then they leave after six weeks.
C: Church is much bigger here, with more members, large wards, large stakes, lots of chapels, (there are five missions in Lima itself), everyone knowing who we are (those name tags help); and serving in the MTC is a great blessing.
What and who will you miss the most when we go home?
L: The other senior missionaries - my friends in the office (they become friends and family very quickly because we have all left those behind); my piano kids; Spanish lessons; serving in the MTC.
C: Working daily with great young missionaries and their mission presidents and wives; not having to worry about the normal everyday things that we left behind at home, rice and chicken/chicken and rice for most meals (NOT);
Where are all your friends from?
L: Lima, Colombia, California, Utah, Virginia, Canada, Brazil
C: I don’t have any friends :( (the ones I do come from the same places as Lesley)
What do you want to do first when we get back to Australia?
L: Hug my grandkids
C: Play with my grandkids and get a Cherry Ripe, chicken fillet burger and chips, and go for a walk in the fresh morning air.
Was the move to Lima worth it?
L & C: We don’t know yet, we still have a year to go! Having said that where else would we get to spend 24/7 together focussed on other people instead of ourselves, and experience a different culture, a different country, and meet the amazing people that we have met. We look forward to the next 12 months.