It’s hard to believe that in less than a week, my world will take a complete 180.
On Sunday, I’m jetting off to Lima, Peru, to study at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú for four and a half months. Sitting here now in my very American bedroom in a very American suburb while my mom cooks a very American dinner, it is difficult to wrap my mind around what my life may be like in just a few days in a third-world country.
What will my host mom be like?
What will I be eating?
Who will I spend my time with?
Will I be able to express myself fully in Spanish?
My brain is constantly whirring with the possibilities, but I try to focus on the facts as much as I possibly can so as not to overwhelm myself with the what-ifs.
My host mom is a single woman living in an apartment in Miraflores, a district of Lima, and from what I can tell from our limited conversations, she is as sweet as can be. As for Peruvian delicacies, I’ve been informed that potatoes and rice are staples in the diet, and alpaca steak is quite common.
The concept of friends is a bit tougher, but I have been paired with a Peruvian student who attends PUCP as a mentor of sorts, so that in itself is promising. And when it comes to my Spanish (and my desperate fear that I won’t be able to portray my personality in another language), I am confident that as long as I maintain an open mind and a positive attitude, I’ll be set.
Keeping my mind on the known rather than the unknown has kept me calm in preparing for this adventure. While perhaps some may say this will leave me unprepared, especially considering the vast differences between the U.S. and South America, I don’t feel that this is the case. I decided to keep my expectations and anxieties to a minimum for this endeavor, so that every encounter will be fresh, exciting and real. I feel absolutely ready for the journey.
If only I could say the same for my suitcase.