Do as the Peruvians.

Because our flights through a particular airline were cancelled, the team from Dallas had to fly down to Lima early.  This allowed us to have an entire day to relax, get accustomed to the cooler winter temperatures, and experience the city and what it has to offer.

Our first introduction was a 30-minute taxi cab ride to a suburb of Lima with many shops, parks, and restaurants.  5 people, one old, beat up Toyota station wagon Taxi, in a foreign country where lanes don’t mean a thing, makes for lots of memories in itself and getting to know each other in a more personal way.  Bright side…my thighs got a good workout for a bit as I tried not to actually sit on top of my new best friends, and we all made it in one piece.

Peru taxi

After being dropped off by our sweet taxi driver and agreeing to meet him later to take us back to the hotel, we were off to explore the city!  Never mind getting his name or number.  He’ll show up “on time” right?  Picked up a free map and headed toward the coast.  One thing this California girl misses like crazy and will never give up a chance to see and experience!

Being a coastal city, the Peruvians take full advantage of this and have a walkway with parks along the way.  Lovers Park (pictured below) was one of them.  Many of these parks promote health with metal fitness equipment scattered throughout, as we had discovered and even tested out.  Let’s just say there was a contest and an almost trip to the ER.

Peru Lovers park

After walking along the coastal path for a good 30-45 minutes, maybe even longer (at least it felt like it), the map came back out only to discover we were heading in the opposite direction.  No bueno for this chick who needed the baño.  It’s a good thing there were some along the pathway, even if you needed to supply your own toilet paper.

We finally found what we were looking for…the mall with restaurants in the side of the cliff…and ate at Chili’s.  Yes.  Chili’s.  With lots of screaming kids who apparently wanted me to play their hide-and-seek game too.  And while we ate, we played the game of LIFE.  The great American kid game that we all adored as a kid is now an app.  And we played not just on one phone, but two.  At the same time.  We’re great multi-taskers.

A walk back to meet our taxi included a stop at Starbucks.  Who knew that Lima, Peru would have Starbucks!!  And yes, more LIFE.

Peru Starbucks LIFE

“Our” time and “Peruvian” time are completely two different things.  Our taxi driver never showed, so we got a new one.  A little bit of a smaller one, but he’d get us to our destination.

Back at the hotel, we met up with everyone else to head back out for dinner.  A great Peruvian buffet called Rodizio.  I LOVE nothing more than being in a foreign country and experiencing the culture and their food.  So being able to experience some of their foods like this was a major plus.

The buffet had an array of foods, from salads, fruits and veggies to sushi, wontons, and rice.  I was warned that they serve French fries with everything, and that’s exactly what they did.  Baskets of them arrived at the table with us, along with dipping sauces.  These were amazing and had a little spice to it.  About a mild on my “spice thermometer,” but still very tasty! And used on everything.

Peru dips

There was meat galore as they continued to come present us with chicken, pork, sausages, beef from all sorts of different places, and then comes the heart.  Literally.  The heart of the cow sliced and cooked.  I’ve never been presented with this, but could not pass up the opportunity to try it.  And try it I did.  2 pieces.  And it was amazing.  A little salty, but it was tasty.  I’d definitely eat it again.  (The actually heart piece of meat is in the upper right corner of the pic below.  I was way too excited to try it, I forgot to take the picture before.)

Peru heart

The “icing on the cake” was a traditional dessert made of pineapple, cinnamon, and sugar.  Could not pass it up, no matter how stuffed I was.  And it was amazing.

Peru Pinapple

 

As we finished eating and looking around the restaurant, there are many tables.  Tables that are pushed together to make one long table.  Some look like the family (and maybe even extended family) gathered for a meal together, a typical “guys” night out enjoying the plethora of food and meat that they might be able to stuff down, while others of friends, new and old, becoming a family, like they have known each other for years.

Peru family eating

 

Today was something I would definitely consider a huge blessing from God.  While it may not look like much from the outside or to anyone else, there are so many deeper meanings to me.

1.  Waking up in another country.  It’s been 2 years since I’ve been in another country.  And if anyone knows me, that’s 2 years too long.  And the last time I came back from being out of the country, started a journey in life that God would use to bring me closer to Him.  Read more at my post Stolen Joy.  This time upon my arrival back home, I’m claiming healing.

2.  There is no picture of it, but the coffee at breakfast this morning was nothing short than amazing.  I LOVE coffee.  The stronger the better.  And this coffee was strong and SO good.

3.  The ocean and beach!  There’s just nothing else like hearing the waves crash on shore and the salty sea breeze, and smell, against your face.

4.  Building relationships.  I love meeting new people, hearing their story, and that feeling like you are becoming like family with others.

5.  Experiencing and trying new things.  Anytime I can do this makes me happy, especially if it involves other cultures.

6.  The food.  One thing I was concerned about when leaving to come here was the food.  Knowing that they love their starches and having diabetes, that concerned me a little bit.  But I was able to eat pretty much on track of what I should be eating, and love to eat anyway.  Fruit and veggies galore at the the buffet.

7.  Peace and relaxation.  Something I’ve needed for awhile.  Just to kick back and relax.  Let things be and not worry about anything.  I definitely felt that today.

Hopefully this has encouraged you when considering missions or going to another country.  And to see that going into other parts of the world shouldn’t be a scary thing, but something to open up your heart and let God show you different things about you or others, help you grow in areas of your life, and live your life to the fullest.  After all…YOLO (You Only Live Once).  This may just be our new team name… :)