Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Milagro Rodriguez

The past few days I've been easing up on the tourist activities and been doing more practical things. Running errands- a great way to get to know the city, looking for work and looking for a new place to stay. Yesterday I had several errands to run around the city including visiting a Spanish school who posted an advertisement for a fluent english speaker to help with reservations and bookings. Turns out the owner of the school with whom i'd been talking didn't inform the volunteer coordinator of our correspondence, but it was ok. She showed me around the school which has rooms for spanish students to stay, free wifi, a kitchen, an open air patio and living room. If I were to work there, I wouldn't get any monetary compensation but rather free spanish classes or a free room. Sounds good to me! I emailed her my resume and a few writing samples and am waiting to hear back. But the search continues. On my way back to the main square, feeling hungry but knowing that I wasn't in the mood to go all the way back to Luz's house for lunch, I did something some of you may find insane- I went to KFC.


In the states I hardly ever eat fast food, but I had been craving fried chicken even before I left for Peru. When in Bmore I tried to go to my favorite soul food place, but they were closed for rennovations. So when I passed KFC, I succumbed.... yummmmmieeeeee.

KFC is hella Peruvian

The rest of the day was filled with job hunting.

This morning I went to a yoga class in San Blas. From what I can tell, there are only two spaces that offer yoga. One is a proper school with several teachers, a teacher training program and two classes a day. The other is a guy who offers one class a day in a studio that's really just the front room of his apartment. I chose the latter because he got great reviews online and teaches an Iyengar/Ashtanga mix. I was told by a trusted healer, shaman and psychic last year that I should practice Iyengar. This was last May. She told me that I didn't have to do it immediately, but some time in the future... The signifigance of this will come up later.

So I walked into Al's place and met him, a middle aged guy from San Diego with a salt and pepper braided ponytail. Sweet, genuine and a little heady. We talked for a while about living in Peru and what brought him here. He's been here for 3 years and loves it. He asked me why I came and I told him, like I tell everyone, that I've always wanted to live in a Spanish speaking country and that I've been attracted to Peru for a long time. He said that Peru does that to people- attracts them for reasons they don't know why. He spoke of the magic of Peru and how you can manifest things so quickly here because everything happens person to person.

Turns out that I was the only student who showed up. Lucky me! - I've never really had a private before. I told him about my yoga experience and once we dove in, he got excited because he mostly teaches beginners and he saw that we could really have fun. And we did. I found out that I've been doing Warrior 1 wrong for a while and learned a few other alignment corrections that I wasn't able to  receive in larger classes. We even got to do inversions, which he doesn't normally have the chance to teach and which I really want to practice.

After the class we got to talking and I found out that he has a spare room that he rents out. I love the San Blas area where he lives and he told me that his apartment is only 1000 soles -that's only 387 USD for a two bedroom apartment in one of the nicest areas in Cusco. Are you kidding me?  I checked out the rest of the apartment, small but cozy with everything I would need and then some. Because he's an American he has a toaster oven, blender, high-quality cook wear and more. He was telling me where he buys all of his fresh fruit, meat and yogurt and how cheap it is. He can buy lamb ribs for 2 USD per lb. And it's organic. Boom.

He told me he could have the room ready tomorrow or later this week. Then he took me up to the roof. Up there, you can see a 360 degree view of Cusco. It was utterly breathtaking. And better yet, once you take a seat you can't even see the houses. You're just looking at the glorious mountains rising out of the earth, feeling nestled in her arms. . .

Como se dice Jackpot?

Before I left I asked for some restaurant recommendations. I took out my map and he pointed out his favorite places and told me cute stories and descriptions of each. Then, remembering that everything happens face to face in Peru and that he was the manager of the biggest bar in Cusco I told him that if he hears of any job openings to let me know. After thinking for a sec he said he did and would talk to me about it later.

How lucky I felt!

I then made my way down the beautiful, quaint streets of San Blas to find one of the restaurants Al suggested. I love the streets of San Blas. . .

 I passed a few places he suggested and looked at their menus. For whatever reason I landed on Jack's Cafe, a place he said was popular with the gringos. A part of me feels I should apologize for not eating Peruvian food all the time, but the other part of me remembers the Sophia that didn't eat a hamburger or any red meat till she was 20, ate peanut butter crackers for lunch every day until she was 11, continued throughout college to eat the same lunches each year and had to go to the doctor while living in Nicaragua for a month after refusing to eat anything but cereal. At least I'm eating what Luz's family gives me rather than starving myself out of pickiness.

Jack's Cafe has a nice menu including sandwiches (which I love) and Mexican Nachos. I'd been craving chips and guac so I ordered the Nachos and a lemonade which actually turned out to be limeade. Yum.

While waiting for my food, I saw a flyer on the windowsill behind me that caught my eye. I picked it up and saw that it was a flyer for a non-profit company that offers classes in art, theater, meditation, yoga and more to underprivileged children and families. After looking high and low for theater in Cusco and hearing from several people that there really aren't any theater programs or plays here, my heart skipped a beat. PLUS meditaion and yoga services? Wow oh wow. I got SO excited and any minor guilt I might have had about going to eat at this gringo hotspot melted away. Even if the food was terrible, the flyer made it all worth it. You have to pay to participate in most volunteering programs and this one is absolutely free. In their website they say that what they need most from their volunteers is "something that can't be bought: love, the love that naturally eminates from every being on this planet... A volunteer is more than just an easy out (for employers). From the beautiful energy that is produced when someone decides to offer their time for others and offer it with love, to the fact that someone can learn a lot about the different cultures and customs of a people. At the Yanapay Village, a volunteer isn't just someone who comes to have a new experience and help, because humans can be full of experiences. But what good is an experience if its just a fact in your head and doesn't truly affect your life?" They speakin' my language. I can dig it. As soon as I got the opportunity, I researched more about them and sent a resume and cover letter over. I've only begun this journey today so who knows what will happen, but even if it doesn't work out I feel Peru is just inviting me deeper inside, allowing me to feel welcome and at home. Showing me it wants me to be here. . .

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