Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy happy happy anniversary!

4 years? Already!? That's crazy talk! Wanna know what is MORE CRAZY? That of our 4 years of marriage, almost 2 have been spent living in Peru. Looking back now on us making the decision to apply for this job, we were a little crazy! I mean, we had been married for 1.5 years when we hd our interview! But we were also the exception. This year has been WAY better than last year- it was BRUTAL trying to adjust to life down here, with a bunch if other curve balls thrown in with it! 4 years down, we're pretty much experts.... Not. But we still really like each other- so that's good. We came to Lima to celebrate with a tiny get away. Normally we only come to Lima to work in the temple, or for James to take meetings. We fly in, run around getting stuff done, then fly out after a few days of madness. Today, we just hung out. Spent the day doing all the things we love here, but can only do one per trip.
We slept in, went to one of our favorite restaurants for breakfast, and just about had one of everything on the menu. We stopped at a yarn shop so I could buy alpaca yarn by the pound-and ended up leaving with way more than we had intended. Next we hit a store James liked for their running shoe selection, but alas, he didn't find anything that spoke to him. We wandered through a grocery store looking for fun imports from home-like twizzlers! Yay! Had lunch at Burger King (James lunch choice-because we don't have one in Trujillo.). We then wandered through the Peruvian culture museum. It has 3 floors of exhibits. One floor was dedicated to the inca trail. It's a LOT longer than people think. They also had a cool exhibit of artifacts that had been found at construction sites throughout the city. Next stop was a hippy/Indian clothing store and an Asian market. I finally found a sushi roll mat! It's ON now! Came back to our hotel, freshened up- then walked to our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. Isn't it weird when you're served food that looks questionable, but tastes amazing? We both ordered pasta dished with the same sauce-and it came out brown.... On pasta.... It just didn't look right. But it was incredible. This restaurant is owned by an Italian couple who have lived here for a long time. From what I hear one of the 2 of them still doesn't speak Spanish? Anyways, it's pretty authentic. 2 big brick ovens- it's so cool.
We made a list if our favorite experiences over the last 4 years. I'll update tomorrow. And edit this whole post. I'm falling asleep and kinda don't know what I'm writing! Nighty night!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thanksgiving 2011- Our first in Peru!

   Wow. What a day. This has been an amazing Thanksgiving! 2 days of cooking like a mad lady! Kathy and I split the food between us, and it was STILL a lot of cooking! The food was all good(and yes, I NAILED the turkey! I mean, NAILED IT!), but that wasn't what made it great for us.
We invited  5 Peruvians, only one of them had experienced "American Thanksgiving". We also had 2 sub contractors for the Temple come. One from Mexico( this was also his first Thanksgiving) and one American. We're glad we were able to catch Doug to celebrate with us, since he missed it with his family!
We feasted and laughed and talked for 2 hours. We shared with them the tradition of saying what we are grateful for.  It was all in Spanish (Kathy and I had our trusty, attractive translators help us out.) There was a very good feeling in the room. The Peruvians loved the tradition, and had a great time. It was WONDERFUL!
Then, it took 2 hours for a whole group of us to clean the kitchen and Rob to do ALL  the dishes ,(because we don't have a dishwasher). It was all so worth it!!!
This was a day we will always remember.
Sadly I took only one picture that day-I was too busy in the kitchen. Bummer!


...Sooooo....this is awkward. Almost 2 years have gone by since we last updated this thing. We started it thinking that we would be updating at the very least weekly. So, for those of our lovely friends and family that were hoping to follow us here....we owe you our deepest apologies. (Especially Melinda-our most devoted follower! Love you,Mel!) I won't go into a long drawn out thing here, but suffice  it to say that our first year here, was a little brutal. Don't get me wrong, we have enjoyed a LOT of incredible experiences, also. We knew it would be tough- that's why we wanted to do it, well , part of the reason. We wanted to do something challenging and new. But, they kind of sent us down here about a year too early, so we kind of had nothing to do...and well, it just ended up being a little different than we had originally thought it would be. I (Whitney) was also sick about 75% of the first year.  All in all, it was just plain ROUGH, and that last thing I wanted to do was to get on here and blog about how wonderful everything was. I don't like blowing smoke. I didn't want to bum people out, or worry people, and I hate acting like everything is peachy while I am violently ill. So, I just avoided it all together. Looking back on the last year and a half now though, it's a lot easier to pick out all the good times. All the exciting things. And trust me, THOSE are the things you are gonna want to read about, not awkward doctor visits. SO, I have decided to do a bunch of "flash back " blog posts of some of our adventures. Like out 2 trips to see Machu Picchu!  (I actually just found 2 drafts posts in my archive-so  I will start with those!)
AND an update on what day to day life is for us right now. That part will be super boring. I hope we can redeem ourselves a little!
Love from Peru, James and Whitney

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


November was a month full of loose ends. Some are tied up in a pretty bow, and others are still flapping in the wind, starting to Frey.
I'm trying to feel better after our trip to Huamachcuo
We've been working on getting furniture and any other home goods still not aquired. Most furniture here is made to order, so we took in pictures of what we wanted , gave them measurements, picked out fabric, and now we're just waiting. So far one couch has arrived.( Whitney from the future says that our living room furniture will not arrive until December 20th, 2 months after ordering it, and three months of living with out it!)
I'm still working on spanish(when i feel well enough). James has been working with salt lake a lot for the temple Project, still not much movement on land. He organized 2 site clean up projects with the institute program in the area.
We're gearing up for the holiday season- I'm currently trying to figure out how to make a moist turkey. I'm  on a mission. We'll see how it goes!
We're planning our first trip to Macchu Picchu.
 It's been a crazy month!  We're excited to feel more settled in  once our house is put together.  Sigh, that will be so nice!


There is no Halloween in Peru. BUT they know that he Americans living here will give you candy if you dress up and go door to door. Well, some of them didn't dress up, but we told them to scram! So, about 4 o'clock we had hoards of the CUTEST little kids at our door every few minutes. They don't say "trick or treat", they simply announced "HALLOWEEN!!!" James tried to teach them, but they didn't quite understand. A few sketchy punks showed up and lipped off to James, but other than that people were pleasant and the little kids were having fun! Sierra Talbot and her friend Abby asked me to "dress like a hippy" with them for the party. I was glad they asked me to do that instead of-"dress like an athlete" or something else I could never pull off. I, of course, am up to my neck in "hippy cloths" so I not only dressed myself for the Party- but I dressed both of them too! James dressed as a soccer player with the boys! ( Yeah, you read correctly, James dressed up for a costume party!) We had a good blend of Americans and Peruvians- lots of cakes, candy, dancing and decor. It was good fun!
We carved pumpkins with them a few days before-and by we, I mean, Kathy and I cleaned them out and carved them-The kids thought it was too gross!

Getting to Huamachuco

We traveled roughly 120 miles to a beautiful town on a mountain top. It sounds idyllic, right? Had we flown it would have been! 120 miles is no big deal, right? I mean, that's like driving from Bigfork, to Missoula. It normally only takes about 90 minutes for me to drive that! But that's on nice, paved, barely hilly roads in the U.S.. Our 120 mile trip was first of all- a 13000 foot elevation climb(sounds cool right? AND yes, we did take our altitude sickness pills). It also was on a road that EVEN in Montana would have been qualified as a forest service road. It was ROUGH to say the least! It ended up being an over 5 hour drive each way… we also had to stop 3 times for our car sick friend to, well, be sick. The only tiny silver lining on the drive was the pavement we hit about 45 minutes before town.
Now, don't let that be a big downer on the highlights of the trip. Granted, it was a tough go, and we probably won't be heading back up for a very long time, but we ended up seeing some amazing things!
Once the mountains turned green, we saw herds of alpaca and lots of sheep. Terraced farms and people dressed in traditional attire. The 1st impression of the town was that it almost looked like pictures of Italy- steep cobblestone streets and tiled roofs-but the bright rainbow colors of the different houses were a dead give away that we were in  south America.
We drove straight through  town and headed up to the top of another mountain, to the Marcahuamachuco, ancient ruins.  Because it is such rough traveling to get here, this town rarely sees tourists, and Marcahuamachuco is barely on the radar. ( More about it here- )
We were excited to get up there and start hiking around. Alas, the altitude was too much for us. Only part way through we had to head back. we were both panting for air, and I was seeing dark spots and thought I was going to throw up! It was so sad! We kept trying to truck on, but I really didn't want to be sick on some sacred ground. It was a bummer.  The security guards whom live up there even said that the thin air effects them! So we headed back into town and checked into our Hostel/hotel, and went to eat at the only open restaurant in the town.
The next morning we headed to the Central Mercado to check out the local "scene".  We FINALLY saw live Guinea pigs being sold as food. She even had 3 different sacks-Small, Medium and large. A little kid walked up to me with hand out, and in perfect English said-"Give me money".  We finally found white wheat! It was hard to find any here in Trujillo, so we were excited. Now I can get my Ezekiel  bread on! The Market was neat-they also sold the traditional cloths-which you mostly only notice the woman wearing- Layers and layers of skirts, a bright colored cardigan and a wide brimmed hat. I wanted one of the sweaters so bad, but because I am about a foot taller than any woman there, they would have hit me at my rib cage. I loved looking at all of them though!
We had a rough ride home, being stopped at 2 different construction sites for about an hour each. People here know an opportunity when they see one, so plenty of snack vendors were walking up and down the stops with all sorts of  treats. We bought a little bag of popcorn, and it was DELISH!

By the time we were home, we both had major whiplash, and I had some kind of food poisoning/bacteria thing from the food. I was down and out for about 2 weeks.
Huamachuco was awesome. It was a rough path to get up there but it was well worth it to see it all once. I'm sure we will go back again to see Marcahuamachuco, but not anytime soon. If anyone ever asked us, we would tell them to get there buns up there and see it. It really is beautiful. Now that we are prepared for the trip, the next time will be much better. (like, I will pack a cooler of food from home because I don't want to risk being that sick again!)  Work smarter, not harder, you know?
We loved seeing the Mountains for the first time, and getting another look at Peru. We look forward to traveling  a lot more rough roads to see more amazing things.


Huamachuco town plaza

The Famous bell tower

Our "Hotel"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I know… I know…

Sorry for the LOOOONG lag in posts. We apparently forgot about the adjustment period our bodies would need for all of the different "stuff" floating around down here. Almost everything has been on hold for me over the last 6 weeks. Even Spanish class has been hit and miss. The couch has seen a LOT of me though, so it's happy. I had a two week long bout of something that I originally thought might be food poisoning… and a week later knew that it was something more. Just when I started feeling normal after that we both caught a ROUGH cold that even had James down for a week. Then on the tail end of that cold, we caught another. ( with some kind of lower stomach bacteria thing mixed in for 3 weeks)I swear I am so good at washing my hands constantly and keep a bottle of germ-x in the car for the times when a sink isn't available. I don't think that will do it though- because in this culture you hug and kiss on the cheek everyone you see. So we are just loading up on all of the vitamins and minerals to try and brace ourselves for the next set of who knows what. I guess we should have known this would happen! BUT! I am catching up on the posts over the next few days, because we have some exciting adventures coming up!!! Stay tuuunnneeeddd!