24

Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. One year ago, I was swinging at a piñata in Malibu, CA and right now I am watching a 12 year old dance in the living room of my host family´s home in Peru. It´s amazing what a year can bring and where life will take you. I´ve only officially been a Peace Corps Trainee (PCT) for one week. ONE WEEK. I can´t believe the whirlwind it has been and how much happened in seven days. In honor of turning 24, here are 24 of my initial thoughts, observations and tales of Peru.

  1. I´m living with my host mom, grandma (64), grandpa (70), two cousins (12 & 17), one brother (12) , and two cats (age unknown) . Full house!
  2. I will be living in Huascata, Chaclacayo, Lima for my 3 months of training.
  3. Our PC training consists of sessions on the subjects of language, technical skills, diversity & culture, health & security and cultural immersion. We have training Monday – Friday from 8am to 5pm.
  4. The chances of all 44 of the trainees getting diarrhea in the next 27 months is 100%.
  5. Based off the previous 26 Peace Corps groups in Peru, an alarming amount of volunteers will also poop their pants at some point. Cool.
  6. Our training group consists of trainees from all over the country, ranging in age from 20 years old – Empty Nesters.
  7. A “combi” is my main form of transportation. Unless you are my Mom, feel free to google “Combi Peru”.
  8. Peace Corps was in Peru from 1962 – 1975 and returned in 2002.
  9.  Regardless what country you are in, kids still get in trouble for texting at the dinner table. Don´t worry, it wasn´t me.
  10. My brother and I bonded over music on my first day here. One of his favorite bands is Nirvana. He also plays guitar, sings well and knows the lyrics to NSYNC´s “This I Promise You”. I´m sure he is a total ladies man at school.
  11. On my first day with my host mom, I said “Yo necesito comprar sopa para mi ropa”. That translates to “I need to buy soup for my clothes.” I meant to say “I need to buy soap for my clothes”. Brain fart.
  12. I brought too much stuff with me to Peru.
  13. This week I got some birthday shots! No tequila, just Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Typhoid. Ya know, the usual.
  14. Originally, I was worried about not being able to celebrate my birthday, but turns out I share my birthday with two other chicas in our training group! Super stoked to celebrate with them tomorrow!
  15. Speaking of birthdays, 5 other members of my (extended) host family have a birthday in May too. Fiestas!
  16. There are six regions that I could be placed in for my two years of service. These include Piura, Junín, Cajamarca, La Libertad, Ancash, or Lambayeque. All have pros and cons, so only time will tell!
  17. During a commercial break while watching a movie about zombies, my host brother turned to me and asked “What do you think came first, the chicken or the egg?” He thinks the chicken.
  18. I will be washing my clothes by hand for the next 27 months. This makes me re-think if I can wear those jeans JUST ONE more time.
  19. Leche de 7 semillas is a common beverage that I have for breakfast. I like it!
  20. My host family doesn´t drink coffee. Don´t worry, us volunteers already started a community coffee pot at our training site.
  21. To be honest, I have been going to bed around 9pm this past week. Thinking in two languages is EXHAUSTING.
  22. We visited a school today and the selfie craze is still going strong, but I have yet to see a selfie stick in Peru.
  23. I love the music here! I don´t understand it all (yet), but it´s so catchy.
  24. This past week has been insane, but I am so incredibly excited to continue on this journey for the next two years.

much love,

Jenna

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6 thoughts on “24

  1. Happy 24th Birthday Jenna! You have accomplished so much in such a short time. We are so proud of you! Have a wonderful day! Love you! 🎉🎂🎉😘
    Love,
    Aunt Chris & Uncle Dave

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  2. Looking forward to following you on your PC journey. Your descriptions take me back! So much was the same for me during that first week of training too. It’s dated and there’s few photos but I kept a journal too. Lindseyinperu.blogspot.com. Oh, after training, you can pretty much find a lavanderia in every major town. I stopped washing all my clothes by hand after I got to my site. I was a year in Trujillo then another in Ancash. Pros/cons to both. My favorite area of Peru was Cajamarca, I visited there a lot of Trujillo. Least favorite? Piura because of the incessant heat. Peru is so very diverse! Suerte!

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