Happy May Day Bank Holiday (if you’re in Blighty) & get back to work, if you’re in Peru, (Friday was “Day of the Worker” here!)
Hope you all had an awesome extended Bank Holiday weekend.
After the Nipper’s reaction to my original blog, think I’ll keep it short & sweet this week…
My fiercest critic!
Since we arrived here in Lima, I’ve kept a weekly blog. Partly because I have such a shocking memory & if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it.
Partly if I lose my marbles here, there will be a record of my ramblings & partly because it’s an insight into Lima life.
I haven’t got a clue how many people actually read it, but as long as I can type, I’ll keep writing it
4 month reflection. It’s been emotional…
4 months ago today, in a flurry of packing, we left Blighty on a sunny winter afternoon for the distant shores of deepest, darkest Peru.
It was mainly my decision, I’d been putting pressure on my long-suffering wife, Lina, for quite a few years.
Ever since I travelled in 2004, I’ve found it increasingly hard to settle in one place. “Itchy feet only get itchier” & all that.
It’s been a very different experience this time. In 2004 I was a single lad, on an adventure, with a thirst/lifestyle similar to the late Tosh Lyons.
Heady days indeed!
Peru was a place that really got under my skin. So much so that I cut short a round-the-World trip, to come back her in 2005, to try living here off my own back.
It was a very hard, I had very few contacts & was working in the 4 corners of the city, but it was a very exciting & rewarding experience.
If I said I was clueless, I’d be understating just how little I knew (lingo & culture), but I survived & met my lovely missus, we got wed & then after finding a decent job, I suddenly decided to return to Blighty, which we did, in 2006.
Fast forward to January 2015, married with a 9mth old Nipper, it would be different again.
Peru had seen a huge economic boom (since I left last time), there are lots of opportunities for the brave &/or foolhardy.
After being here 4mths, I’ve made the following reflections:
- Decent weather.
- A job I really enjoy.
- My dirt bike/Clunk-sin-nombre: Something I’ve wanted since I was 9 years old!
- Prices (of some things, but not all) :-/
Inexplicably some things (milk/coffee/utilities/wardrobes(!) and not necessarily imported goods) are crazy prices. Conversely taxis/buses are supercheap.
- Expensive healthcare: I’m a HUGE fan of the NHS, long may it live.
Here we’re paying through the nose, & we’re not actually covered yet, (plus goldfish brain here forgot it was a bank holiday on Friday, so we slip back another month without cover, for being a day late with payment. No Direct Debits here!)
- Pricey education: Not affecting us, yet!
- The massive disparity between the “Haves” & “Have-nots”. The glaring difference in wealth & the daily heartbreaking sight of the harsh life of people living on the street. Something that does upset me, especially as there is so little I can do to help/change this.
- Traffic: (I may have mentioned this before!) No matter how you dress it up, it is an absolute nightmare. Basically if you have to get anywhere, you’re in the thick of it & it’s bedlam, always!
As a Taxista said to me “It’s a monster, you can’t fight it!”
I once said to a good mate who was moving out here, “It’s not better, nor worse, just different”. He came here & loves it, a life-changing experience.
Part of me likes it here & the other part would fly back to Blighty in a heartbeat. Not homesickness, just wondering whether we have made the right decision, especially with bringing up the bairn. It would be wrong to make a decision yet, 4mths is a short time & Lina has grown a bit tired of my impulse (rash) decisions & rightly so. Going back now would prove nothing, just that I got fed up with the incessant traffic & couldn’t adapt.
Now I’ve got my residency & a decent job, I might be a bit more tranquilo.
Long term, I don’t know yet. We’ll see…
My new employers were getting very keen to see my papers.
After a flurry of trips to Immigrations & Interpol, it all went very, very quiet.
I felt a bit like Jerry Lundegaard in the film “Fargo”, as I really had no idea when/if they would all go through & was stalling for time.
On Monday I decided to go down to my second home (Immigrations) to see exactly what was going on.
Ready for a battle/long wait, I was seen at the first desk within a minute “Your papers are ready. You just need to collect them upstairs!”
Dumbfounded by this I ran up to the 3rd floor & waited, and waited & waited.
After many forms, more waiting, mugshots/fingerprints taken & a lot of confusion, 6hrs later I was handed my new Carné de Extranjería!
Hoorah, especially as my old card expired 6 years ago & had been through the wash once too many times.
A Peruvian resident, again & no more trips to Immigrations for a whole year
“Grass, grass, give me some grass please!!!” my legs are screaming.
Bloomin’ ‘eck! I’ve not done running of this intensity for a l-o-n-g time.
4 weeks in to the “From zero to marathon in 6 weeks” training schedule, my mileage has stepped up from 0-45-50-65-80 miles.
All of it on the mean streets & crumbling sidewalks of Lima.
My knees & ankles are in a bad way, but with 2 weeks to go, I might just make it to the start line!
I’ve found a magic cream, if I suddenly drop dead, please test my blood for overdosing of Flexitol!
“Hair Vs. Beard contest”
Pipped again in the contest for hairiness supremacy.
The Nipper pulled it out of the bag at the last minute & I was destined for the wooden spoon, again…
“Victor Meldrew says…”
This weeks grumble is a valid one (!)
Indicators & hazard lights :-/
Observation is everything on the roads of this fair city; eye contact, body language, the turn of a wheel & a huge chunk of guesswork/hope!
Nobody uses their indicators, but way too many punters drive round with their hazard lights on, all the time, (including the few folk who actually take lessons).
Give us a clue mate!
I went out on an early doors ride on Saturday, to an area of Lima I don’t know very well/at all.
Soon lost, I was in the chaotic centre, but rather than freaking out (like I would have done 2mths ago), I just got on with it.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m used to it, nor am I becoming blasé, but it’s definitely becoming a lesser source of nervous breakdown material.
Victor says “Piense Varon!”
Start tomorrow at the new job.
Attended a 3hr ceremony for signing the contract on Wednesday.
Intermediate classes during the week & 2 classes teaching Nippers on a Saturday.
Best get cracking with my lesson plans…
Have yourselves an awesome week
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper