When I was thinking this week of an “Up” to write about along the lines of

The Ups, Downs, and All Arounds of Living in Peru,

the one thing that kept coming back to me was: people. Specifically: my little people. The cute ones I teach every day. 🙂

This picture was taken just this September, a couple weeks ago. My husband was in charge of “Spring Day” where they all planted flowers to celebrate spring and brighten up the campus. I was sick that day and home in bed. Brian snapped this picture of the three girls I teach. They were planting a flower for me. They picked out the pretties one, cleaned out the pot, planted it carefully, and have been watering it and taking care of it outside our classroom ever since. They were so proud of themselves and could not WAIT for me to see the flower they had picked out specifically for me. Melted my heart.

Back in 2009, I took this picture, also on spring day:

and this one:

A definite “up” has been getting to know these kids. In many ways, I’ve come to feel like they’re mine. I rejoice in their achievements, I cry when they fail, I cheer them on and snap pictures at every event they participate in, I stay up late making sure the next day for them is going to go well, I pray for them. They’re special, unique, and loveable. 🙂 Some of the cultural differences between them and children in the States include:

  • When talking about poverty and how they can help others, it’s always met with the response, “Last week, at the market, I saw a man with no legs who was asking for money. I asked my mom and she gave me two soles to give to him, so I did.” Or, “There was kid begging for money in Lima the other day so I gave him all the money I had in my pocket.” Or, “This year, I want to give away all the toys I don’t play with anymore to someone who doesn’t have any. I don’t need them.”
  • When I told them about raising chicks from eggs in 3rd grade, it was met with, “Did you eat them for Christmas? I think we should do that – raise chicks and then eat them for Christmas dinner!”
  • When talking about weather, one has never even heard thunder and neither have ever experienced snow. The other day, one asked me, “Lisa, I wish it would snow. Why doesn’t it snow here?” I had to explain that it doesn’t get cold enough here and when they asked me how cold it needed to be snow, I’m pretty sure they thought I was lying.
  • When teaching about time zones, daylight savings time, and the sun coming up and going down at different times during the year, they are completely lost. We live in a country where the time zone never changes, we don’t do daylight savings, and the sun rises and sets basically all year round around 6 – AM and PM. Yet another thing I think they think I’m lying about.
  • When I define spelling words, I use Spanish, hand motions, horrible stick pictures, and occasional pantomimes around the room.
  • When explaining a Magic School Bus book on where we get our water, I had to tell them, “And this… and this… and this.. and this… does not apply to us. We still can’t drink our water.” I had to do the same when they learned about pasteurized, canned, and processed food – no food is purchased in cans here (unless you have some money), most food these girls eat is not processed, and pasteurization I’m CONVINCED is different.
  • When telling them they have it easy – school starts at 9 and is over before 1 OR starts at 2 and is done by 5, they (again) don’t believe me. To them, this is A LOT of school. In Peru, you go to school either in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening – never all day, hardly any homework at night, and reading books? What books? They can’t fathom a school day that begins before 8 and ends after 3 PLUS homework.
This list could go on.
I’ve learned a lot from these kids, though. They have been raised to love the Lord and they understand what it means to serve the Lord. They are close knit to their families, but they love others and accept them into their families, too. They have grown up calling everyone “Tia” and “Tio” and “Primo” (aunt, uncle, cousin), enough so that they ask me sometimes, “Are they my real aunt or a fake one?” because they’re no longer sure.
My little ones are reading through a book that talks about different people groups in the world still without Scripture. You want to have your heart melt, listen in on these little girls pray, in English, for God to “please, please send a missionary and a Bible to these people!” I told them last week, “Maybe someday YOU will be that missionary” and their eyes got really big and they said…. “OR – maybe YOU can go instead!”
Not the point.
This is their artwork from the week. They read “Put Me in the Zoo” and had to draw an animal with funny colors and a talent. The top one: “Big Head” the T-Rex who dances with a top hat. The bottom: “Michaella Jackson” [she wanted Michael Jackson, but drew a tu-tu and decided it should be female instead so I helped her change it] who dances like Michael Jackson. Does that not just make your day?
And to melt your heart — Moses in the basket. Note the sad clouds, the sad faces on the mom and sister, and the teddy bear waiting in the basket so Moses wouldn’t be lonely.
I leave you with one final “Up” picture. This one, for me, spells “J-O-Y” — Elena with the girls and Eva (her sitter) blowing bubbles together in the school.
Just another day in the life with

Ups, Downs, and All Arounds of Living in Peru!