Monday, October 14, 2013

Traveling Peru!!

The Nazca Lines!
This past week, the majority of students took a rain check on their midterm exams and headed out to explore different parts of the country and city of Arequipa. Peru is an incredibly diverse country, hosting three distinct regions: the coast, mountains, and jungle. Different groups of students headed to each of these regions, taking in incredible scenery and meeting other travelers from around the world. Enjoy a few snapshots of the beautiful locations we visited!

The Dunes of Huachina
These voyages put to the test everything that we have learned thus far about the language and culture here in South America as we traveled independently from our professor and in many cases without our Peruvian families as well. This may have been a week of vacation, but I would dare say that we each learned more about the geography and people of Peru and about ourselves than we could have ever learned from sitting in a classroom.

Harbor in Paracas, Peru
Paracas National Reserve
Throughout our trips, we prided ourselves in not being your typical tourists. We enjoyed exploring the marketplaces and striking up deals with the vendors with ease, being confident and familiar with the custom of bartering. We cherished the opportunity to act as the facilitator between those who spoke broken Spanish and those who spoke broken English in our lodges and hostels. We rejoiced when a waiter in Cusco asked us if we were from Lima, confused as to why a group of gringos were speaking Spanish in a highly populated tourist cafĂ©. We praised God when our Spanish-speaking guide asked us what religion we were and when we replied, “Christian” he replied, “I knew there was something different about you guys”.

I think I can speak for all in saying that there have been sometimes through this semester in Peru where I think I can physically feel my brain growing and being stretched to think in new ways. This past week of travel was no exception. I now know just two languages and a handful of countries and already my understanding of the world has increased exponentially. I realize even more and more every day how big the world is and how little I know about it. I realize that there are conversations and relationships happening around the world in languages that I will probably never understand. It overwhelms me even more to realize that God knows and created it all. He knows every creature in the Amazon Jungle, each grain of sand in the dunes of Huachina, and every penguin on the Ballestas Islands. Moreover, he is the God of all people, of every nation and every tongue.

Sea Lions on the Ballestas Islands, Paracas National Reserve

Tambopata National Reserve, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Cruising the Madre de Dios River in the Amazon

Green Macaw outside of Puerto Maldonado

Trekking through the mountains above Cusco

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