PASEO Program Adventure—Day 59: Lima, Peru

On Monday morning, I was picked up at 9:30am again for another tour with Viator. We started the morning visiting a local market in Villa El Salvador, a district of Lima that is considered to be one of the city’s shanty towns. The tour guide and I picked up some breakfast food, as we were invited by a local community leader to have breakfast at her home.

Once we purchased bread, meat, cheese, and palta (avocado), we made our way further into Villa El Salvador, specifically to Bello Horizonte. Our host had a warm, delicious quinoa drink prepared for us upon our arrival, and we spent the morning discussing local “scary” stories or childhood fables, as well as difficulties that this individual faces when advocating for members of her community and ways to improve her community as a whole.

Viator provides Villa El Salvador with funding that helps support community projects, in addition to completing community service within the town, as well as other towns without sufficient resources. We walked around the district and continued talking about some of the dire needs that the community faces. In some of the pictures below, you will notice yellow stairs that lead to most of the houses within the town. Years ago, locals had to walk up sharp rocks (that often ended up cutting through their shoes) in order to get to their houses, as their were no stairs or set paths.

Many women fell on their way up the rocks, and sadly enough, many of these women were pregnant and ended up losing their babies. When a local political candidate stopped by the town a few years ago, he asked what the locals needed most. They responded by saying a better way to get to their homes. Once elected, the official made sure that stairs (known as the famous “yellow stairs”) were provided throughout the town. While the situation has improved significantly from what it once was, there are still areas in the town without stairs, leaving many locals continuing to walk up dangerous, sharp rocks. The town continues to have needs that are not being met, especially ever since the devastating huayco ( mflood) hit Peru in March, which has left many other cities in need of government resources as well.

After the tour concluded, I stopped by Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, a beautiful park named in honor of President John F. Kennedy. From there, I walked over to El Mercado Indios, a local artisan market. Keeping in mind my flight tonight was scheduled to leave at midnight, I had plenty of time to make my way through the city. Following El Mercado Indios, I took a tour of Huaca Pucllana—impressive ancient ruins from the Wari culture, which was built around 500 A.D.

After the tour, I returned to Barrancos to take in the artistic sites, and then returned to my hotel, where I enjoyed dinner before finally making my way over to the airport for my (delayed) flight. Touring the different districts of Lima these past few days was truly enjoyable, especially since each district offers something unique and exciting. However, regardless of where you go, the locals continue to remain humble, kind, warm, and extremely welcoming, which is always incredible to experience. 

As I get ready to make my way to the airport now (even though by the time I publish this, it will likely be a few days from now), my experience in Peru is one that I will definitely cherish for years to come. But over the next few days, I’ll be sure to write about my “closing remarks” and highlights of the trip. So for now, it’s not goodbye. It’s more of I need to make my flight, so I’ll pick back up with where I left off tomorrow.

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PASEO Program Adventure—Days 19 and 20: Huanchaco, Peru

To spare you from boredom, I decided to combine days 19 and 20 into one post, since both days were fairly uneventful (or at least for you probably, anyways). On Wednesday, we had an intensive Spanish grammar course, where we reviewed various Spanish tenses and conjugations. There’s nothing to boost your confidence of believing you know another language like reviewing various conjugations and verb tenses. (That was a joke. I can think of 100 other things to boost one’s confidence with regards to knowing another language as opposed to what we did). But of course, it’s good practice, and it’s necessary to know and relearn, so I’ll leave my complaints at that.

Yesterday, we started the day with our Motivational Interviewing course in Spanish, which was also interesting and beneficial, but I’ll talk more about this in a later post. Since yesterday was Teacher’s Day in Peru, our first workshop with local teachers had to be postponed. What a concept—actually celebrating and appreciating those who help impact the future generation. Yesterday was a day spent catching up on homework, procrastinating from writing blog posts, and dedicating the evening to eating delicious papas rellenas once again.

While I’ll write about today’s adventure on Monday, I figured I’d keep you posted about what’s going on in real time. We’re currently getting ready to leave for Cajamarca, a city in Peru’s northern highlands. We’ll be hopping on a bus, which should take somewhere between 6-8 hours, so that should be an exciting new adventure. You’ll also have an exciting adventure this weekend, as I won’t have Internet access to post any updates, so here’s hoping we both enjoy our weekends off from one another.

Sorry—I’m rushing to leave, so I don’t have time to edit the sarcasm, but I do hope you enjoy your weekend! I figured a nice statement would make up for everything you read prior to that. 🙂

PASEO Program Adventure- Day 1: Flying to Lima, Peru

For anyone who stuck around throughout my hiatus, you probably realize that it’s been a while since I last posted on here, aside from following through with my Simple Quote Sunday challenge. A lot can happen in such a short span of time, but I won’t bore you with minute details. I’ll save those for a rainy day. 

Having recently graduated from a three-year master’s program in clinical mental health counseling and vocational rehabilitation counseling, I’ve found myself stuck between choosing what the next step will entail- pursuing a doctorate degree or joining the workforce. Before making a final decision, I was fortunate enough to come across an exciting opportunity that truly sparked my interest (and helped me postpone my decision making for the time being). 

About a year ago, I was informed about PASEO (Psychology and Spanish Elective Opportunity)- a Spanish for Mental Health Immersion program that focuses on global mental health. This immersion-based language training program is designed to build Spanish skills for use in mental health settings. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the program last summer due to classes and internships, but things seem to have a way of working themselves out. Now that I’ve graduated, the timing couldn’t be better. Besides, I couldn’t think of a greater opportunity, given the fact that there is such a large Spanish speaking population in Miami, and an immense need for mental health services in so many underserved Spanish-speaking countries. 

So, for the next month, I will be living in Huanchaco, Peru, and working in Trujillo, Peru. I’ll be sure to provide information about both cities throughout the upcoming weeks. During this trip, I’ll be taking intensive Spanish classes- mainly focusing on use for the mental health setting. I will also be practicing under a licensed clinician at a site of my choosing. 

I decided to work for the court’s Juvenile Restorative Justice Program (Justicia Juvenil Restaurativa). Again, I’ll be sure to include more information about this program as my time in the program progresses. 

I’d like to think that we should always be open to new adventures, and I’m glad to say that the time has come for me to embark on my newest adventure. I look forward to sharing this exciting journey with you, each step of the way. Cheers to new adventures for all of us. And for now, it’s time to get to Lima!

Day 1 At Canyons Village In Park City, Utah

A few weeks ago, my brother, grandfather, and I traveled to the Canyons and Park City in Utah to ski for a few days with some of our cousins and uncles. When we arrived, the weather was nice and cold, and much different from Florida’s typical weather—so we were in for a bit of a shock, to say the least. Granted, I had also never seen so much snow in my life, so it was pretty exciting getting off the plane and looking around at so many mountains covered in snow.

We hopped into a car and made our way to Canyons Village, which is around 45 minutes away from the airport. On the way, we passed Salt Lake City as well as the Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the 2002 Utah Winter Olympics. As you can see in the bottom left photo, we were able to see one of the ski jumps that was used during the Olympics, and is still currently being used for practice. Upon arriving at the Village where we were staying, we unloaded our bags, and walked around outside—enjoying the incredible weather. Although we didn’t ski our first day here, we stopped by the local strip consisting of restaurants and small shops. And of course, we stopped for dinner along the way. After a long day of traveling, we were ready to turn in for the night, eagerly (and anxiously) awaiting the opportunity to ski the following morning!

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Visiting the Western Wall In Jerusalem, Israel

Although it may seem as though we had been traveling for weeks, we only spent three days and two nights in Barcelona, since our final destination was Israel. The most memorable part of our trip to Israel (besides seeing family members and loved ones) was our excursion to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. There is so much history and an overwhelming sense of spirituality as you walk around.

It is absolutely beautiful to be able to go to a place and pray to a higher power (or whatever one may believe in) and know that a countless amount of individuals travel here to do the same. We were lucky enough to come on a day where members of a certain sector of the Israeli army had completed their training, and were officially becoming members of the Israeli Defense Force. And as we walked around, the view of the surrounding area was breathtaking.

We had such a great time touring Lisbon Portugal, exploring Barcelona, Spain, and visiting various cities in Israel, especially Jerusalem. We were sad to return home and get back to the “real world,” but we have since been left with a lingering and exciting feeling of knowing we’ll be back on a plane traveling again soon—although for now, the destination is unknown!

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The Western Wall In Jerusalem, Israel

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

A short while ago I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, but somehow didn’t come across the comment nominating me until a few days ago. Better late than never, especially when it comes to exciting awards! I was nominated for this awesome award by Sahbina from http://sahbinahvioletflynn.wordpress.com/. Her blog is truly amazing, so I would strongly recommend checking it out!

We all have goals in life and all want to achieve nothing but the best for ourselves. Have you ever asked yourself what the goal of your blog is? I’m assuming you have since you’re successfully blogging here on WordPress, but once in a while it’s nice to think about the what the purpose of our actions is. Let me tell you why I blog. There are quite a few reasons here, so bare with me. I blog to make people happy;  I blog to entertain my followers; I blog to keep tabs on trips that I have taken and remember what I did on those trips; I blog so that other people can take these trips with me from the comfort of their own home; I blog to help people overcome obstacles they may be facing on a daily basis; I blog to remind people what is important in life and to remind each of us (myself included) of important lessons that we sometimes forget; I blog to help myself out on a daily basis; I blog to help others out on a daily basis; I blog to inspire myself; and I blog to inspire others.

If you can make a positive impact on someone’s day, then you have done something really good. If you can help improve someone’s week, then you have done something great. If you have made a difference in someone’s life for the better, then you have done something incredible. I blog to try to make a positive impact in my follower’s lives on a daily basis and as a whole, in general. If I am able to make this difference on just one person (even if it’s myself), then I will be content in knowing that I fulfilled my goal. But I don’t want to stop at just impacting one person’s day and/or life. I want to keep going. So I will keep on blogging and keep on trying to inspire. (Maybe I took this post a little too seriously, but a little catharsis never hurt anyone). But again, special thanks to Sahbina for making a positive impact on my day with the nomination of this award 🙂

Now for the RULES to follow when nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven Things About Me:

  1. I am the youngest of three kids (I have an older brother and sister)
  2. We have three dogs at home (one to replace each of us when we left our house for college)
  3. I intern for a local college entertainment-oriented magazine in the Orlando area
  4. While using the bathroom in a moving train last week, I had a sudden burst of inspiration and came up with the following quote. “Life is like using the bathroom in a moving vehicle. You can come out with lots of accomplishments or lots of regrets”
  5. I use Twitter to promote my blog and at times to reach out to friends and fellow Twitter followers. I try not to use it too much to give updates on my location (minus traveling) because I don’t think people want to know when I’m eating dinner or when I’m going to the bathroom
  6. I have self-diagnosed OCD in general, but more specifically, I can’t finish brushing my teeth until I brush each “section” for a certain amount of time. Also, after a certain amount of time since previous haircuts, I have to get another haircut or else I’ll start to get jittery (It’s not easy thinking of facts about yourself, so sometimes you have to dig deep)
  7. Seven is actually my favorite number

My Nominations for the Very Inspiring Blog Award:

My whole blogging experience wouldn’t be the same without my followers as well as the blogs that I follow. There are always new blogs that catch my attention and there is no way of showing that I appreciate their work more than nominating them with a gratifying award such as this. Thank you to the following blogs for inspiring me and making a difference in my everyday life!

  1. http://2bewell.wordpress.com/
  2. http://nomadgrad.com/
  3.  http://alarnarosegray.wordpress.com/
  4.  http://readinpleasure.wordpress.com/
  5. http://noholdsbarredribataylor.wordpress.com/
  6. http://worldismycuttlefish.wordpress.com/
  7. http://travelerslounge.wordpress.com/
  8. http://pczick.wordpress.com/
  9. http://bamskitchen.com/
  10. http://justanotherwakeupcall.wordpress.com/
  11. http://sued51too.wordpress.com/
  12. http://adventuresofacarryon.com/
  13. http://hutchagoodlife.wordpress.com/
  14. http://lifebyphoto.wordpress.com/
  15. http://milenanik3.wordpress.com/