Well, this is post #8 in my series

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

So, this will be my final post in the first series I’ve ever done on here! I’m silently patting myself on the back right now for finishing something. 🙂

You know, overall, Peru is a great place to live. One of the things we’ve really noticed over the past three years is how quickly Peru is making advancements. Peru is trying to come out of the “third world” status. Technically, it is a “two-thirds world” country – only part of the country anymore is really “third world.”

We have only been here three years and yet we’ve seen huge advancements – new highways, new interchanges, four or five additions to our mall, new stores, new restaurants, new traffic laws… It’s almost unbelievable how quickly the changes are coming in. For example, the first time Brian drove in Peru, he made a right turn on red – woops – and our friend said, “No!!! You can’t do that! Right turn on red has never been legal here!” This year, there are signs all over the place for right turn on red allowed! People are getting almost too accustomed to it and freak out behind you if you’re not turning right on red when there’s no sign saying it’s allowed. When we got here as well there was no Subway restaurant to be found in Peru. This weekend, we went out to dinner in our mall and after dinner, wouldn’t ya know it, we saw this right next door:

Yup, Subway! We have no clue how we missed it when we entered the restaurant we actually ate in – this was literally right next door! Brian happened to see the sign reflected in the window across the way from our restaurant and he froze: “Is that what I think it is??” Next date night will be to Subway – guaranteed!

Peru is also trying really hard to crack down on traffic issues.

Cars must pass inspection every year, which is getting more of the awful, blue-smoke-blowing trucks off the road (although fake inspection stickers are available, so some are still on the road that really shouldn’t be). There are new laws that working on being passed that will keep buses in their own lane and force them to only stop at bus stops to pick up and drop people off. Right now, they can stop everywhere, all the time, which makes following buses tedious and dangerous since many of them have no brake lights (fake inspection stickers at work there). You can literally be following a bus that will stop to drop someone off and stop to pick someone else up within ten seconds of each other. Ugh. They are also passing laws that keep you from hauling people in the bed of your truck, hauling more people than the car is made for, and buses being over-crowded. These laws are in place in some areas, but not in others. It’s pretty inconsistent still. Brian got stopped for having seven people in a five passenger car, but buses that are so full they can’t close the door and city trucks hauling around workers in the bed don’t ever get stopped.

The medical care is trying to advance and, depending on how much you pay, good medical care is available.

More products from other countries are coming into Peru. The big grocery stores all have “international” food aisles. It cracks me up sometimes what they include from the States — most recently, it included pickles and Goldfish crackers. Many foods I purchased on a regular basis in the States are available here – like couscous, orzo, shortbread cookies, pasta sauce. The problem is the price. Many of our products from the States are actually store brands we’ve bought before, which is pretty cool to see. But, again, the prices aren’t always favorable neither are there many varieties. Like, for example, our cereal aisle is really only half of one side of an aisle, not an entire aisle, both sides of the aisle. Plus, most cereals (especially imported) are very expensive, especially for a missionary salary. I know cereal prices have gone up in the States, so the prices might actually be comparable, but when you live on Peruvian soles, not dollars, it seems much more expensive.

The one thing I always remind myself, though, is that at least it’s here.

cheesecake for Valentine's Day 2010

Maybe we can’t afford stuff on a regular basis, but for special occasions, cream cheese, pecans, cereal, peanut butter – it’s almost all here. We don’t have molasses, chocolate chips, most berries, and some other things – but, overall, we really can’t complain.

So far, I’ve had an emergency C-section and bought new glasses here in Peru.

bought these glasses a year ago, here in lima

We’ve taken our baby to the doctor for a year of check-ups and gotten her half of her vaccinations here (the others were done during furlough). We both have cell phones, plus a house phone. We have good internet and satellite television. We have a flat screen TV and get American stations – only our commercials are in Spanish (although with a click of a button, that can change). We’ve gotten Graco carseats for Elena – both at yardsales for 1/4 of the price we would’ve paid in a store. We have a microwave, an oven, and a great fridge. We own a Chevy (although this particular car never passed safety codes in the States and was therefore never sold in the States, BUT moving on…). We have a gas space heater to take the chill out of the winter air. Brian bought himself a grill.

We’re spoiled.

Yes, the city is a good 45 minutes from home. No, Starbucks doesn’t open until 10am and restaurants don’t open for lunch until 12 or 1pm. No, our roads are not in good condition and no, most traffic doesn’t actually abide by many of the traffic “suggestions.” No, I don’t trust completely all of Elena’s medical care and yes, I am worried because 9-1-1 doesn’t exist here. Yes, I do need to wash my fruit and vegetables very carefully and no, I don’t let Elena eat many of them raw, especially with the peel still on. Yes, we do need to worry about parasites and microbes and random bug bites.

we were told this was made by a spider - it swelled, popped, and scarred

No, our electricity does not stay steady all day every day. No, our water pressure is something to be desired some days and yes, if anything happens to the water lines my water comes out black in the house for awhile.

Butit could be so much worse. I don’t feel like we’re living in the middle of nowhere. I don’t spend all my time feeling out of place and lost. I really enjoy living in Peru. I really do.

Well, there you have it. A series of eight posts on the 

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

Did you learn something new? Is there a topic you wished I’d covered, but didn’t?

Hope this inspired you to travel and go somewhere new just to see the ups, downs, and all arounds of that place, too.