The host family

Trip Start Jan 22, 2009
1
4
9
Trip End Apr 21, 2009


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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Sunday, February 8, 2009

hello everyone,

Well it has now been almost 3 weeks since i arrived in this strange and colorful area of the world. Since i last wrote Hannah has settled in nicely, she is slowly getting used to the quantity of food that the Peruvians eat. The morning meal is large because at such high altitude you digest very slowly, breakfast i think she handled pretty well. When it came to lunch time and the Sopa (soup, for those of you who couldn't guess) was served she got through that but little did she know that the soup (ingredients: meat stock, potato, pasta, meat of some description though I'm still not sure what type. and often some sort of grain) was in fact just the starter, then came the secundo and the desert, which to my horror is often gelatine. After a couple of days of repeating to Blanca "poqueno por favor" she has begun to understand and slowly but surely the portions are getting smaller. She seems to have also understood my dislike of gelatine, instead she gives me compote!!!! Anyway, our time at the host family is coming to an end as we move out this weekend and into the halls of residence, so I thought i would give you a description of the family and their daily routine...
The day starts at about 6 AM when Peggie (the miserable dog that bit me last night) begins to bark on the staircase right above our room...then there is an encore by the Parrot Lorenzo yelling and then crying like a baby.  Soon after you hear Blanca (the head of the household) bustle upstairs and begin to prepare breakfast. We head up for breakfast at around 7:30 and are greeted by the Japaneses lady who lives with the family. Up until recently i was under the impression that she was a student like us and couldn't speak Spanish which was the explanation for why she never spoke. however, Arnaud (the other french student who lives in the house) enlightened me and explained that in fact she had been living there for 20 years and did speak Spanish fluently. His answer to why she never spoke was " Elle est hyper bizarre" that settles that then... i guess... Carrying on, after breakfast the help arrives, Marylline, with her son Oliver who is 5. In the mornings he is generally at summer school with the other "slow children" (again Arnaud's words not mine) Off we go to school and to be honest with you I still haven't quite figured what they do all morning but they seem to occupy themselves with something...
At 1:00 when we get back from class we go upstairs for lunch, and are always greeted with "Ola Lucie, ola ..." they still haven't quite got the hang of Hannah's name even though Blanca's sister is called Anna so i didn't think it would be that much of a stretch. At the lunch table on one end are the grandparents, and Anna at the other end. The senile grandfather just stares and slams his spoon on the table occasionally as though to remind us he's still there, the grandmother is lovely and does her best to make conversation. Anna the aunt is hysterical, she takes a delight in mocking Arnaud and his lack of women, and also finds it incredibly amusing making him awkward by suggesting one of us could be his next girlfriend... I have to say he is incredibly easy to wind up and it does provide some serious entertainment so when she is not there i have made it my duty to take over. At the end of lunch we go downstairs to our room and Oliver (the helpers son) had gotten into the habit of coming with us, it seems that each time he visits us he discovers something new... We introduced him to the ipod and though he didn't say it I'm pretty sure his favorite tune was "Hard days night"... At dinner time the house is quieter, though don't be fooled they aren't asleep yet as Hannah and I found out in a hysterical incident with the grandpa. The parrot will be eating on the table in the kitchen and occasionally saying "Ola chica...ola" Later that night you hear the daily yelling match between Blanca and the grandfather, generally because he is diabetic and is trying to get to the kitchen for something else to eat. Not always however, the man is 92 and occasionally gets confused about why there are people in his house. One night Hannah and I were watching TV in the student living room which conveniently connects to his apartment and he walked (or shuffled, as he does) into the room turned all the lights off, then the TV, then started shouting. We promptly got up and left. Next thing we hear is Blanca shouting "left, left" I went outside to see what was going on and it was Blanca's husband carrying the enormous TV down the staircase and into our bedroom... awkward. We tried to explain that it was fine and really didn't matter but she was having none of it...
At first the family were a bit of a mystery to me, who was related to who and why was there only three women in the family portrait when there were already three living in the house and another just down the road... again, Arnaud was kind enough to elaborate with his charming expression " a non mais les Peruvien nique de droigt a gauche" (i wont translate for you Nana suffice to say that the Peruvians are free spirits...) It is true however, the grandmother had an affair and one of the brothers is in fact only a half brother, Blanca had a first husband and the eldest son is only a half brother, the ex wife of one of the brothers is living in the house and he lives in Lima.... suddenly I'm not so worried about explaining that mum lives in France and dad in england...
The house and family are manic certain, but they are charming, kind and warm people and I am very glad that we had the opportunity to leave with them. Whilst I am looking forward to moving into the residence, my classes are over and the volunteering begins so it will be nice to return home where all the students live, I am going to miss the family as they made the beginning of my trip that much more exiting and welcoming....
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