A Travellerspoint blog

October 2015

All things new

21 °C
View London - before the off! on Rebecca Heller's travel map.

Somehow nearly three weeks have flown by since the beginning of my trip and I have already finished my second week of teaching in two primary schools around Huanchaco. It's been so busy that it feels as though I've been in Huanchaco for much longer already. It's been a time full of new experiences and new friends. Here are some of the new things I've experienced (/heard about since arriving!):

I'm working with two other girls in both schools. I know I could have been thrown right in alone so it has been great to have them around ease me in and learn from. I have taught English before to High School students and adults and have worked with primary age children but teaching ESL to kids this young is a new experience for me. The schools are both pretty basic and for the most part we teach joint age groups (grades 1 & 2, 3 & 4 etc.). This presents challenges, especially in the youngest groups, where the children are at different levels of reading and writing in Spanish, let alone English.

So far most of the lessons I have been here for have gone well. There are frustrations, with the local teachers and students alike, but there are also those great moments when a child realises they can do something, or surprises you by remembering something from the last class. The kids are friendly, and whilst they don't always show it in class, they seem to get genuinely excited for English lessons, some even sit with us at break time and spend 30 minutes asking how to say things in English.

El Niño
During my Otra Cosa induction I was told school would finish early, in November rather than December, due El Niño. This apparently a fairly well known phenomenon, but it was new to me. I won't go into too much detail here as El Niño really deserves it's own post, but according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Service, El Niño 'is a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in temperatures in the Equitoril Pacific'. It affects different places in various ways. It also occurs in irregular cycles, and the severity of the weather changes depends on the extent to which ocean temperatures increase. This El Niño is set to be a big one, and in northern Peru this means there will be large amounts of rain fall, something they haven't seen much since the last major El Niño in 1997-8.

Here in Huanchaco there's a big surfing community. It's not something I have ever felt like doing before but not one to be left out, I went for my first class. I went on a day where the weather was less than perfect for a complete beginner (apparently courtesy of El Niño) but I had a lot of fun, even managed to stand up for all of about one second. I haven't rushed back into the water yet but I will be going for a second lesson. It's hard work, pretty taxing on the arms and I've never been so hungry as after 2 hours of class, I really should do some press ups before the next class!

There have been plenty of other new and exciting experiences (especially around food and different volunteer project), but I'll save them for another time!

Posted by Rebecca Heller 16:41 Archived in Peru Tagged surfing teaching huanchaco otra cosa Comments (0)

The adventure begins

View London - before the off! on Rebecca Heller's travel map.

One of the big concerns people have about travelling alone is whether you'll make friends; everyone says you will but you always hope it will be true for you. In the first few days of my trip I met a bunch of interesting people, spent a morning or an afternoon with them and then we've all gone down our respective roads. So here's a little about my trip so far, told through the people I've met.

Some of you will be unsurprised to know that I made plane friends: on flight one - Heathrow to São Paulo - I made friends with the Czech girl living in London who was nervously on her first long haul flight. Having broken up with her boyfriend before moving to London she is finally living her dream to travel, both living in another country and seeing the world outside of Europe. It got very deep, in the only way it can at 3am when you've both seen several films already and can't sleep. We said goodbye at international transfers when she went to find her connection to Buenos Aires.

On flight two - São Paulo to Lima - my Peruvian neighbour helped me with my landing cards. I practised some Spanish, learnt about his family and his relatively new commitment to the Seventh Day Adventist church and at the end of the flight we said our farewells and he wished me a good trip and off I went. After many hours of flying, and some heart to hearts, I was on my way.

I was met by a hostel taxi driver and delivered to my hostel in Miraflores, Lima. The hostel was quiet when I arrived so I spent the afternoon wandering to the Miraflores beach front and exploring generally. When I got back to the hostel I had been planning to visit El Parque de Agua, but somehow found myself going with two new friends to the stadium to try and get tickets for the Peru-Chile World Cup qualifying match. Turns out the park with all the fountains is right by the stadium, so I managed to see some of the lit up fountains. Hopefully I'll visit on my return to Lima.

We managed to get tickets, and so we found ourselves in a long queue to get in. It turns out you're not allowed to wear a belt in the stadium (I hate to imagine what used to happen when they let belts in...), so off came mine. This proved interesting when we proceeded to run to find some seats (you get tickets for an area and have to find seats there). We ended up with great seats in the northern stand, made friends with the Peruvian families around us, high fiving after Peru scored, joining (/attempting to join) in with the uni varsity rugby match style chants and generally having a jolly good time. It wasn't what I'd planned but it was definitely fun!

The next day involved a walking tour of the older Central Lima. About a 20 minute bus journey away, it feels like a different city. More colonial buildings, more culture, it's a calmer place than Miraflores. I ended up having lunch with five German girls from the tour, four of whom were vegetarian, so we found a veggie place to eat.

And that was Lima. I enjoyed my visit but was happy to be on my way to Huanchaco, where I'll be based for a while. The bus journey to Trujillo is mostly through mountainous desert with a few towns along the way. With it being over 8 hours long I was glad for the comfy seats and plane style refreshments they bring. I had two seats to myself so I spread out, watched the films, and enjoyed the views (and slept...).

At Trujillo bus station, I was met by Johannie, the Otra Cosa volunteer coordinator and Jorge, my host for the next two months and brought me here to Huanchaco. I met my new housemates and some of the volunteers that evening and some more on Friday at the volunteers lunch. I'm looking forward to getting to know the local people here, the other volunteers and exploring northern Peru.

Posted by Rebecca Heller 05:43 Archived in Peru Tagged lima friends Comments (1)

Before the off

So here it is, the blog I've promised to set up to keep you updated on my travels. I've never been much good at keeping a diary but I will endeavour to write here to let you know what I've been up to.

It seems appropriate to start with a bit about my preparation: I've been talking about a trip of this kind for quite some time and somehow the time has finally come for me to embark on my travels, first in South America, then Australia. I've had a whole host of tips, anecdotes, 'stay safe's, 'I'm so jealous's, 'have fun's, 'the time will fly by's - I'll do my best to keep in mind all the advice whilst I'm away, and if you do think of any other 'you must do this' tips, please send them over!

There's nothing like going away for a decent spell to kick us all into action! Going away has been the best excuse to catch up with family and friends that I haven't seen for a while; there's been cake, fondant models of me, a significant amount of rice salad, drinks and a whole lot of laughter. Please don't be strangers whilst I'm away, I may be jetting off to the other side of the world, but I still want to hear from you!

That's all for now, I've got a few final preparations to make today before heading off to the airport, but for all intents and purposes, all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go - sing along, you know you want to.

Posted by Rebecca Heller 00:45 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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