Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cultural Bit: Top 5 Awesome Things About the US

After being abroad for the last 15 months, I have a new-found appreciation for the US. Of course, seeing friends and family is the best thing about re-arriving but the following are close behind...

Top 5 Awesome Things About the US
1. water pressure - it's a little thing, but makes such a difference.
2. hot water - not only in the shower, but there is actually a handle for warm water when washing hands.
3. toilets - they're clean AND they flush!
4. cheese - pepperjack, cheddar, parmesan, oh my!
5. helpful people and customer service - this my be the thing for which I am most grateful. I really appreciate that people care to help, or at least they pretend to.

DIY: Rock Wrapping for beginners

Hey all! I'm thrilled to have created my first legit jewelry video with the help of my boyfriend, Rafa. A big thanks to him for his video expertise (Cinergia Cusco).

If you want to wire-wrap rocks, sea glass, or any other object I hope this DIY helps. Please leave a comment, thanks for watching :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Como el sol y la lluvia ...

Timothy M. Marston

Como el sol y la lluvia …
como el fuerte sol cusqueño
(que brilla y quema)
se convierte a la lluvia intensa
(que llora, que refresca)
viene y va otro año.

Como el sol y la lluvia,
al final del año representa
la extensión de todos sentimientos
que hemos experimentado y sufrido.
De los intensos momentos de tristeza y conflictos,
los lindos recuerdos de sonrisas y palabras felices,
un gran lección que aprendemos es que todo se cambia.

Un año acaba, recordándome que ya es tiempo
de reflexionar y agradecer…
a todas las hermosas almas que conozco,
las que me enseñan,
las que me inspiran.
Gracias a las compañeras de trabajo,
a mis alumnos,
a mi familia (no tan lejos de corazón),
a los amigos y viajeros irreemplazables
que han cruzado en mi camino con tanta elegancia.

Y en un minuto, aun segundos se transforma en algo nuevo.
Como un viento furioso se apaga una vela y se enciende una nueva.
Un nuevo año de sol y lluvia ...

Feliz año nuevo, que todo se transforma 
en algo nuevo y aun más bonito.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Cultural Bit: American Thanksgiving in Peru

Celebrating American holidays in another country is always fun. Here´s what this really entails:

1 - Explaining the bizarre story of the holiday based on American history. So the history is pretty much that the new colonists claimed the land of the natives and then everyone celebrated a giant feast together and lived happily ever after. I believe the modern tradition of Thanksgiving is not to celebrate this destructive history, but rather to be thankful for the many things we have.

2 - Stereotypes shine through. If you think Americans eat a lot, this holiday is the testament. On Thanksgiving we slave away many hours making all types of delicious and fatty foods. Then we stuff our faces until we can´t anymore, and then squeeze in some extra dessert (because what is Thanksgiving without the pumpkin pie?). Proceeding face-stuffing commences couch-laying food coma.

3 - Making cultural substitutes. If Peru were to have a Thanksgiving, the dishes would be quite different because of the foods here. We had to make some creative replacements for the classic Thanksgiving dishes this year. For example, squash pie make an acceptable adaptation for pumpkin pie. Diane made a sweet strawberry sauce instead of cranberry sauce, which was a mega-hit according to a certain guest. Perhaps the most monumental adaptation was the main course. In November, one can hardly find turkey so chicken breasts were the replacement. The gravy made it just as good.

We decided instead of on real Thanksgiving we would wait until Saturday so we could really cook and have a party. During the work-week would have been quite the feat to pull off. So we had our American feast with a great group of friends and had a fun evening together. I´m so thankful for those who celebrated with us and Diane for allowing us to blow up her kitchen.

The menu:
-chicken breasts and veggies
-ginger carrots
-garlic green beans
-apple stuffing #1
-apple stuffing #2
-mashed potatoes (or puré as it´s known here)
-sweet potatoes
-an Indian dish of lentils, rice, and yogurt
-strawberry sauce
-mulled wine
A sample plate of our feast.

Strawberry sauce and mulled wine :)

Cheers, chicas!