Archiv für den Monat: Februar 2019

Things I miss

As I’m on the plane on my way back home now and I can’t really come up with highly reflective content, I decided to write a list of things I miss(ed) and really look forward to:

– Raclette. The typical German meal for any reunion with friends or family in December, easy but delicious at the same time.
– Christmas cookies. Shame on me, I didn’t maintain my 14 year streak baking them but I honestly didn’t feel like it at 25°C and without my aunt or my mom.
– Glühwein. Something very European as I found out but easily prepared at home and enjoyed various times by all of us.
– Christmas markets. Why isn’t there such a thing here! I feel like I’ll spend my whole December 2019 freezing on them, eating Feuerwurst and looking for presents nobody actually wants.
– Snow and cold. You probably remember I told you I’m psyched about 3 consecutive summers because I hate winter? Well, if you spend 18 years with a normal seasons cycle, skipping winter just feels weird and your body kind of asks for the winter blues.
– Going for a run. Whenever and wherever I want. First, it’s not safe here and second the air is so bad so it’s actually not healthy.
– Friends. That sounds very sad but of course I maintained lots of contact, looked at pictures and had my lonely moments so hey, feels good to be with them again soon.
– Warm water. Trivial but if you don’t have it, I swear, you never get used to it.
– Good coffee. Just found out dissolving the instant coffee in milk makes it a lot better but still not comparable to my french press or a real machine.
– Routine. Quite abstract but the past months still feel like extended holidays because I never had the same rhythm for more than 3 weeks. I bet I’ll miss the freedom soon but we always want what we don’t have right?
– Bread. Of course there is bread but it’s rather „bread“. Lots of air, you need a ridiculous amount of it to be sated and it tastes like…paper.
– Chocolate. There is no milka in Peru! Can you believe it! Nor any cheap chocolate at all so I basically developed an oreo-addiction. You can’t imagine my euphoria when my parents brought me 1kg of Milka taken of the birthday present of my best friend. Thanks again, you really saved me.
– Tea. I’m not an expert but sometimes it’s nice not to have to uniquely stick to either camomile, hierba luisa or plain black tea.
– Health/Stable immune system. That’s not actually something you can get or lose but I’ve never been sick so often before. The food, the climate, the shock; there are many explanations but still it sucks staying in bed all day long when there’s so much to explore.
– Inline skating. This just came up some days ago when I saw someone doing it and I remembered that this is tons of fun but a bit suicidal in Trujillo.
– Same currency. You can debate about the EU a lot but wow the same currency in different countries definitely is a relief! Especially if you can’t change your money in other countries just like Peruvian Soles in Argentina. Still don’t understand why.
– Natural Safety. I mean going out on the streets without holding your belongings tight, taking almost any street you want and using public transportation without fearing you’ll get stabbed after a certain hour. That sounds exaggerated but just living under these hostile circumstances makes you feel the opposite of free.
– Anonymity. People not noticing you, not staring at you or even more. Not being the center of (negative) attention anymore. Something I got to enjoy in Argentina already and I’m looking forward to even more now in Germany.
– Drinkable tap water. That luckily changed after a time when we installed a purification filter but the water still tastes bad and travelling is particularly more difficult.

You might ask now: That’s it? What about your own bed at home, your cat Tabby or playing the piano? You’re right, I could just add that to my list but I feel like this was rather to brainstorm a little than posting an elaborated report. Also, there will be Peruvian things I’ll miss too and I don’t want to create a wrong picture. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask!

~ Jenny

Vos sos una argentina!

Take three girls from all over the world, add lots of passion for science or generally new things, sunny weather and a small village in the middle of nowhere – you’ll get out the 10 best days of my time in Southamerica! Given my pessimism about leaving Peru during this 5 months at all, I was more than amazed to meet even two such beautiful minds and friends, whom I met last year in Israel, close to Córdoba in Argentina.

Clari, my roommate for almost 4 weeks then, hosted us in her family’s house that included a huge garden and even a swimming pool. Her family welcomed us so warmly we immediately felt like home and vacation at the same time.

As the time was short, we wanted to make the most out of it and spent every second together. There was a lot to talk about after half a year – we’ve all been through similar struggles concerning the uncertain time between school and university always with our ISSI experience as a strong inspiration in mind. Expressing our thoughts wasn’t always easy with three different native languages so there was a huge mess of English, Spanish, Portuguese and a bit of German we somehow tried to combine in a way that made sense.

But some things also don’t require to be expressed in words but rather in pictures. There’s a whole lot of them.

Us at a lake we eventually reached after walking under the burning sun at 35°C and almost giving up every 100m.

Us visiting the university campus with its labs and probably every single museum in Córdoba capital.

Us making „music“ with an ukulele and a keyboard or dancing like crazy (a lot of fun though). Us motivating people to participate in science camps and even celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Us taking zumba lessons and introducing some Brasilian and German music (of which the latter doesn’t really have potential as we figured out).

Us on our endless colectivo (bus) rides to different towns like Salsipuedes (get out if you can, literally!) or Rio Ceballos.

Us at a flea market buying feminist stuff because we are strong and independent women.

Us at a river looking for the deepest parts of it.

Us going mountainbiking, having a picknick outside or just randomly walking around because the temperatures suddenly dropped to cold 20°C.

It felt so much like home as we were always in the middle of nature which was surprisingly very similar to my little village at home. And at the same time I got to know so many new things. Let alone the food which isn’t only the meat (of course I got to taste some selfmade asado and lomito), but also sweets like dulce de leche (the better version of Peruvian Manjar blanco), facturas and alfajores.

When should you eat those? At merienda! Just a bit like British tea time, Argentinos have a pre-dinner meal in the afternoon including a little snack and their much loved mate.

Mate- at first it tastes quite bitter but getting used to the different types of herbs, I really fell in love with it too. It’s quite an art to prepare and drink it correctly but I even bought myself an own one with some corresponding yerba to maintain the lifestyle back in Germany.

By the end of the ten days I felt endlessy sad to leave as I had already gotten used to the daily rhythm at Clari’s so well and just spending time with people that understand me and that I like so much. I’m so grateful to be able to call them my friends and I really hope to see them soon again – maybe next time in Germany.

After getting back to Trujillo which took me exhausting 24 hours, I still feel like I have to process my trip while at the same time I have to say goodbye now to Peru too. There’s definitely some melancholy but also I’m looking forward very very much to being back home, seeing friends and family and even the seminar in Berlin where I feel like I will get my thoughts on my experiences more sorted. See you then!

~ Jenny

3 weeks

„When does the class end? Can I go when I’ve finished the exercise? Do you know Fortnite?“ These and more phrases of curious little primary students have accompanied me for the past three weeks. Trying to teach them the basics of the German language in a summer school program wasn’t always how I imagined it to be but at least I got to learn lots of jergas, Peruvian slang.

Despite the varying motivation, I got surprised by two heartbreaking goodbye parties where the students wrote letters to me, expressed personal wishes and took lots of pictures.

To officially end my voluntary work, I had a goodbye breakfast with my coordinators and the director of the Max Planck College where we discussed the past five months and shared memories. I’m retrospectively really grateful for the experience and got assured that this isn’t a farewell but a see you soon again.

The melancholy just intensified with another goodbye, now at my taekwondo school here in Trujillo. After having taken classes every evening, I finally felt more than comfortable in the group and felt like I was just leaving at the wrong moment. Listening to the stories of the Venezuelan trainers or laughing with my partner about our terrible technique – I’m really going to miss this routine!

How else did I spend my seemingly endless freetime? Unfortunately mostly alone as all my flatmates struggled with their opposed schedules so I barely got to see them. Sleeping in late, exploring all the cafes and bars nearby and visiting the enormous local market counted as main activities.

Now I can proudly say that I have mastered another Peruvian dish – Tallarines Verdes (basically pasta with pesto) that is pretty easy to prepare so I’ll definitely try it in Germany too.

A special mention goes to my trip to Paita, a city a night bus drive away from Trujillo, where I supposedly was going to spend a weekend at the beach. Turns out the city is a rather small and dirty fishermen town with the port as the only attraction worth a visit.

Also, I went there on my own which in the end was more dangerous and uncomfortable than expected as Paita isn’t touristic at all and therefore even more exposed to abusive sexism. However, I managed to spend a day at the highly recommended beach of Colán where I coincidentally met other people from Trujillo. The rest unfortunately was quite a deception but I got to enjoy a beautiful sunset and met an amazingly friendly photographer from Argentina whom I talked to for a while. All in all, it wasn’t too bad but I was relieved after arriving back home after the two days.

As there isn’t much more to say, I will end this entry right here in anticipation of a way more interesting time – 10 days in Córdoba/Argentina visiting a friend I got to know in Israel. Crazy, but definitely something to look forward to!

~ Jenny