Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Almost TOO Easy

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since my last post. I'd like to say that life has been crazy busy with all the adventures we've been having, but the truth is, living in Lima is so easy that I sometimes don't feel like I'm in a foreign country. And that makes me feel like I don't have much worth blogging about.

Saturday routine: T-ball and octopus (okay, not exactly American).

Yekaterinburg and Lima couldn't be more different. Every day in Russia I was acutely aware of my foreign-ness. Even at the Consulate, I was surrounded by Russians speaking a language I barely understood (at best). The walk to and from work, the guard in our building, the nanny, the restaurants...everything felt foreign. Even after a year there, I didn't feel like I belonged.

Afternoons at the park, something we never had in Russia.

But Lima is the opposite. My Spanish isn't great, but I can understand most of what I hear, and generally people will make an effort to dumb things down for me. That never happened in Yekat. Here, I can drive to the grocery store and browse aisles of many of the same products we have in the U.S. Our nanny doesn't speak English but we communicate just fine. We live in the suburbs, so when I run to the park or walk down the street to the little corner store, I feel like I could be anywhere. Maybe it's the fact that I grew up in Southern California, and Latin culture just feels far more familiar to me than Russian culture, but honestly, I feel very at home here. It's a relief, but it can get a little boring sometimes!

My painting classes are challenging, at least. My teacher is very picky and doesn't speak English.

When we first got to Lima I was out exploring more, but lately I've had more writing to do so I've gone out less. Our trip to Cuzco was amazing, but we haven't had a chance for more travel. Hopefully we'll remedy that soon, and we have a trip to Cozumel coming up that I'm really looking forward to. John's mom and brother are visiting for Christmas, followed by my parents in late January, and my sister Amy in February! Visitors are a great excuse to get out and explore, so I'm excited we'll be so busy.

Family Fun Night at school. How very normal!

Of course, there are definitely plenty of dumb foreigner moments. Today I took Jack to the doctor. Easy peasy, right? After all, I went to the dermatologist last week and it couldn't have been simpler. The doctor was married to an American and spoke fluent English. Most doctor's appointments are paid for in cash here, and we submit the receipts to the insurance later, so aside from having to look a couple of things up on my phone while I filled out a form, I had no issues. But today, I arrived at a massive clinic with no clue of where to go or what to do. No one spoke English (I never have that expectation, but man does it help when they do), and there was a lot of going from one desk to another, checking in, paying up front, giving the receipt to someone else, waiting outside a bunch of offices to be called, and finally going in to see the doctor (who hardly spoke any English; my medical Spanish is not great, let me tell you). The fact that we have to return in a week doesn't thrill me.

Too many good restaurants to choose from. Definitely NOT a problem we had in Yekaterinburg.

But. Afterwards, we walked to Starbucks and had hot chocolate before cabbing home. I simply couldn't do something like that in Russia, and I am so grateful for the normalcy sometimes. My social circle is much bigger here. Jack goes to an English-language school! I haven't needed anything heavier than a light jacket all "winter." Basically, the livin' is easy in Lima. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a little too easy...but I'll take it.