Living in Peru: Firsts from a Peru Blogger

Conociendo a Ollanta Humala

Coming to Peru in 2008 was one of the biggest “firsts” of my life. It was the first time I had moved to a developing country on my own and the entire experience has been string of firsts, even to this day. I guess that’s just the nature of living in a new, foreign, and unpredictable country!

Conociendo a Ollanta Humala
The president of Peru shook my hand during an earthquake drill.
  • The first time I touched down in Peru, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone. Thankfully, my high school Spanish came back to me and I was speaking within the first week.
  • The first place I stayed at in Peru was my friend’s relative’s apartment in Lima that was filled with art and culture. I still feel that it was a perfect introduction to the country.
  • The first time I “watched a movie” in Peru, it was in a cabina: a little room with two beach chairs and an old TV. They put the movie in a DVD player. Huancayo has since graduated to a movie theater.
  • The first week I was in Peru, I went to a huge celebration typical of the Andes with hundreds of people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in two plazas passing beer around and dancing to groups of orchestras. I still have a scar from a castillon (pyrotechnic tower) spark that burned a hole through my shirt.
  • The first Peru blogger I ever met in person was Karen from Karencita de Peru. She has since moved back to Vancouver where I’m also originally from, so it’s easy to stay in touch.
  • The first pet I ever owned on my own was a cat and I became addicted. We ended up welcoming a second cat into our home, not knowing that there could be territorial issues. Thankfully, they ended up loving each other on their own.
  • The first time I met the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, he shook my hand. It was during an earthquake drill at the main plaza in front of the government place in Lima.
  • The first time I was ever hospitalized was this past November when they found gallstones in my gall bladder. After all my concerns about my health in Peru, the most serious issue turned out to be a condition that probably has nothing to do with Peru at all. I’m currently waiting for surgery to get my gall bladder removed and I’m scheduled in for March, much earlier than I expected!

Tell me about one of your momentous and memorable firsts!

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Comments (24)

  • One of my most memorable firsts was the feeling I had when I fell in love with my first girl friend. Being young and inexperienced at the time, I didn’t even understand what that incredible feeling was that I had whenever we were together and. It was a quite extraordinary and wonderful sensation that I will never forget.

  • One of the funny firsts in my life was when I was a designated driver after a Firemans Ball. I was driving Maria home when I got pulled over. The police only questioned where we had been, asked if we had been drinking. I replied “Maria yes, Me no!!!” He then said “It sells like liquor in the car, would you please step out of the car” I did and he had me do all the testing for drunk drivers. People in town are still talking about it.

    • HAHA! =) Buuummmer!! =P I’ve never gone through that before! =) And I can imagine how a story like that could spread like wildfire in a smaller town. That’s what it’s like in Huancayo too. =) The neighbors know everything!

  • Oh nice! Loved learning so much more about the first time! Especially in a new city.

    The first time I volunteered was when I realized how much one human being needs another. The first time I tried smoking was when I moved into a new city and then realized how uncool it actually is. Haven’t smoked since.

    The first time when I moved into a new city (after school for college) I realized how tough it is to manage every day meals when mom is not around!

    • Wow! I loved learning about your firsts, Hajra. You should do a longer “Firsts” post too! You’re always so reflective. I especially love what you realized through volunteering. People underestimate its value.

      It’s crazy how “new” scenarios can really push out of our comfort zones. I *still* have a hard time with meals when my mom’s not around. =P

  • Where to start ? The first time I ate mince pies was great. I was convinced that they had meat in eat and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was great.
    Some firsts were not as great, especially when I realised that it is pretty normal to serve roast meat with jam over here. Well, it is part of the journey, isn’t it?

    • Haha! =) I love how the firsts you shared involved food. =) I should have thought of more food firsts too! Now those are two firsts that I have never had the pleasure of experiencing. I must try mince pies and roast meat with jam!!

  • Hi Samantha, Wow, good luck with your gallbladder surgery. You’ve been through a lot, haven’t you?

    What a wonderful list of firsts. Your milestones should be celebrated! You have certainly made the most of your time in Peru, relishing all of your new experiences.

    I still remember publishing my first blog post two years ago. I was so scared to hit “Publish” that I had to call a friend to talk me through it. I still get a bit nervous with every article. I am well aware that I am putting my work out there for all to see!

    Do you ever feel that way, Samantha?

    Have a great weekend and take good care of yourself!

    • It’s weird! Reflecting on firsts for this post has shown me that I really have been through a lot. =)

      Ooh! I love my “first blog post” memory too. =) Wow! I can hardly imagine you being scared to publish that day or being nervous at all, especially when you’re now a blogger that so many look up to! =)

      I definitely feel nervous about posting. =P I just had a post go out prematurely a couple months ago and then I had a feedburner problem. Both errors have continued to traumatize me. =P

  • Funny, for the first time I don’t have any stories to relate to yours.Except for the last one. I also have to have my gall bladder removed next month or so.

    One of my most memorable firsts was finding out there were/are so many people living near or at poverty level in this country.

    • What! Out of all those firsts, how crazy that you can relate to the gall bladder one. =P Wishing us both luck in the surgery! =)

      Yeah, I was surprised to learn about real poverty in the United States through your posts. People usually have such a different image of the US. It’s still hard for me to see beyond what the media typically bombards us with.

  • I love these recollections, Sam! Okay, my first…well, one of my most memorable firsts was the first time I drove through Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I absolutely, fell head over heels in love with the City. I always think of it as a place that’s good for my soul.

  • Exciting!…although I must say the surgery could be a bit scary. But I’m sure all will be well and I’ll definitely be including you in my prayers, Sam.

    As for the firsts, hmm….let me think….First time with snow was when I first visited Chicago in 2001. There was a point that winter where it got so cold even my nose hairs froze almost instantly upon stepping out of my sister’s apartment! Jeez! There are other more memorable firsts but I have to say they all have to do with falling in love. 🙂

    • I’m actually kind of excited about the surgery! =) I’ve never had one before, so I’m curious what it’ll be like. =) Thanks so much for the prayers, Joy.

      Wow! I’ve never experienced that kind of cold before! What a shock that must have been. =P Ooh! And I forgot to include my “love” firsts. =P

  • None of my firsts are nearly as exciting as yours! Although when I moved to Alabama from California nearly 43 years ago, it was like moving to another country. I’ll never forget my first morning here (I had arrived at night) when I saw the burst of color in the trees (it was October and the fall colors were at their peak). What a sight that was! I fell in love with my new home instantly!

    • WHAT! That’s a huge “first,” Cathy! =P I’ve never been to Alabama before, but I imagine it’s super different. I love how you describe the color change. It seems to parallel that new beginning. =)

  • Hey Sam,

    Had to comment on this post even though I’m late to the party (thanks for letting me sneak in anyhow!).
    Very few great things were accomplished without someone stepping out of their comfort zone. Great things are coming for you my friend because you were willing. Life experience.
    I’m secretly (no longer secret) envious of your courage. Few are willing to step out in that way. There are also few that excel to great heights.
    I’m excited to see where your drive and courage take you.

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