Christmas Heat

There’s snow powdered on the branches of the Christmas tree. The sugared aroma of chocolate caliente calls to me from the kitchen, a chunk of panetón ready to be dipped into the tasty beverage. Christmas music plays in the background. And while there may not be a fireplace, my host family has turned on the television set and […]


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Far From Home

My head hurts from unshed tears. I’m not sure I understand why my need to cry is so powerful. If I had never connected to internet, nothing would have changed about my day. I would have gone from class to class, teaching verb conjugations and vocabulary for family members. But the knowledge and the weight […]

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breathe out

 i lose my breath when golden afternoon strikes the black and white tiles,  the stripes curving and dancing before my eyes ocean air winds its way through the city,  the flag billowing, red and white dancing together i step down an empty alley,  the bustle of the city suddenly cut off by brick walls and […]

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The Revolving Door of Volunteers

“MISSSS, NO TE VAYAS” — “MISS, DON’T LEAVE.”  About three months left of my time as a JV here in Peru and my students act as if I’m leaving tomorrow.  In fact, sometimes they act as if I have already left:  “Miss, ¿Cuando vas a regresar a visitarnos?” – When will you return for a […]

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Neighborhood Noises

Although Tacna, Peru may be an urban city, stretching far out into the desert, my neighborhood of Habitat remains a tranquil suburb on the outskirts. As long as no one has decided to throw a “tono” in their house and blast reggaeton music until our windows shake, most evenings are quiet affairs, with only the sound of […]

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Ciudad Hermosa

This special day only comes around once a year. Every August, school grinds to a halt for almost an entire week. There’s at least one parade or concert every evening with well-known bands like Grupo 5 headlining at stadium venues. Bougainvillea flowers can be spotted in every nook and cranny and Peruvian flags of all […]

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La Hora Gringa

The weekend has arrived and it’s time to make plans.  “I’ll see you at 7,” I say in Spanish to my friend over the phone, “Hora gringa, not hora peruana.” “7, hora gringa,” he repeats, now well-versed in my need for a timely arrival.  Time flies differently here in Peru, or rather, it crawls. Hora peruana is […]

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Dancing Through the Market

It’s Sunday and I stand amidst the vegetable sellers in Mercado Grau. I’m sleepy after a late night of karaoke- una noche divertida spent celebrating a friend’s birthday. I’m a bit thirsty, my worn Nalgene water bottle at the bottom of my bag hidden beneath a bag of choclo (Peruvian corn), too inconvenient to take the time to […]

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