Posted on | May 3, 2012 | 31 Comments
Ok folks – as I promised with the last post, this post is going to be a rebuttal.
And that last post sure got a lot of talk! People definitely have their opinions. I’m just glad that no one got mad at me and told me to go home if I thought Peru was so bad – because I love Peru! It’s been my home for 8 years, which is actually longer than I’ve ever lived in any one spot before. We may have changed houses a couple times, but we’re still about 10 blocks from where we first started here. And we just signed the lease for another year- bless my landlady for not raising the rent.
Now, like I said with the last post – this is all just my own personal observations; your experience in Peru may be very different. And in many ways, I’m comparing Lima with Cape Canaveral, Florida – the town I come from – as much as it is Peru with the US. So here we go!
1. FOOD! Can any list of great things not include food? Ceviche makes it all worthwhile in my book. But the food that I really love the most isn’t the main dishes – it’s the street food. Maybe if I came from NYC or Chicago – other cities famous for street food – I’d feel differently. But I love stopping off for anticuchos or empanadas or pollo broaster (deep fryer chicken). It’s so so so good! One of our very favorites is a cart on Av. Domingo Orue that sells sandwiches – big giants sandwiches, about 6 or 7″ across and so tall you can barely fit them in your mouth – loaded with chicken or hamburger or chorizo and topped with a fried egg, bacon, shoe string potatoes, lettuce, tomato and all the creams!
2. Health Care – I was just talking to my friend Rachael about this over on Facebook. Her little daughter was sick with a fever; it took two days to be seen by a doctor, and even then she didn’t even get a doctor but a nurse practitioner. And this is with insurance. Here in Lima, you show up at the clinic and they usually see you within 30 minutes. A few years ago, one of the boys cracked his head open on the playground at school and needed stitches. It took us longer to drive to the clinic than it did for him to get taken care of. The whole thing – exam, stitches, antibiotics – was less than $25. If I’d had to go to the ER back home with my previous insurance, I’d have had to pay my co-pay of $50 before they’d even look at him.
3. Transportation – This is another one that might be different if I came from a big city, but I love the transportation here. Taxis, buses, combis, micros, coasters… I don’t care that they’re run down and crowded. I love that I can get anywhere in the city I want to go for under a buck. And I just have to walk right out in front of my house to catch a bus.
4. Weather – I can deal with heat okay, but I really dislike cold weather. That’s why I love the mild weather here in Lima. I may complain about the clouds and humidity sometimes, but it’s worth it to know I’ll never, ever, ever have to deal with snow, ice or below freezing temperatures.
5. Prices – There’s been a lot of conversation about this over on the expatriate forums, lately – living in Peru isn’t as cheap as it used to be. And it’s true – when I first moved here, we lived for under $1000/month – now it takes us nearly $2000. Now part of that is we’re living larger than we used to – kids in a more expensive school, paying more rent. But part of it is also that there’s been a lot of inflation here. And with the falling dollar, my income doesn’t go as far as it used to. BUT! I know there’s no way that I would be living in a house as nice as this one, with two kids in a private school on less than $2000/month if I were back in the US.
6. Open Windows - ok, I know this goes against what I said on the other post about central air and heat; but I really do love having the windows and doors open all the time. At home, I was so nervous leaving windows open because even with our alarm system I worried that someone might come in through the screen. And forget about leaving the front door open. Here, I leave all the windows thrown wide open and the back door to the garden is open pretty much day and night all year. I love the fresh air and the feeling of being practically outside in the garden as I sit here and work. Of course, a lot of this is possible because of…
7. Walls – I don’t care what anyone says – I love the walls around the homes here. I love the fence and gate across the front of our house; I love the giant wall that encloses the back yard, making it feel like a secret garden. I love the sense of security I have with the walls. When I lived in Florida and heard a noise in the house at night, my first thought was “Drug crazed murderer!” Now when I hear a noise at night, I just hope it’s not a dog or a kid throwing up.
8. Bodegas and Panaderias – From the day I moved here, this has been one of the best things about Lima for me. In most neighborhoods, there is a bodega and/or a panaderia on just about every block (bodegas are little stores, panaderias are bakeries). Even better is if you live next to a pasteleria – a cake bakery! That’s the only thing I don’t like about the home we live in now; the area is very residential, so there are no little bodegas as close as I’d like them. Most bodegas carry all the little necessities that you always run out of, some also carry a small selection of fruits, veggies or even fresh chicken. They can be a life saver when you forgot to get something for lunch. And of course, it’s wonderful to be able to pick up freshly baked bread every evening.
9. Markets – I’ve talked about the city markets before in great detail, so I won’t do it again here. But oh, how I love the markets! The prices are great, and you never know what you might come across that you didn’t even know you needed.
10. A More Laid Back Lifestyle – I always felt so stressed out in the US. Life was so hectic. I feel like my life is much more laid-back without as much emphasis on how much we can “get”. Peruvians tend to be less stressed out about life, and tend to have a better sense of humor about things.
I like that.
(If you missed it, check out Ways that the US is Better than Peru)
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