Pastoruri Glacier

Drip drip drip drip.

That was the sound of the Pastoruri Glacier every second of every minute. It’s a shame that it melting because of global warming. // Eso fue el sonido del glacier Pastoruri cada segundo de cada minuto. Es una pena que todo está derribando por calentamiento global. 

I had never though much about global warming before visiting COP20 in December 2014 in Lima, and I had never really believed in it before visiting Pastoruri and seeing it with my own eyes. // No he pensado en eso mucho antes de visitar el COP20 en Lima el diciembre pasado y no he creido en eso antes de conocer a Pastoruri y verlo con mis propios ojos. 

The fact is, Pastoruri is melting at a disturbing rate. My friends in Huaraz were telling me about how they used to sled and ski on the glacier, without a worry in the world just 15 years ago. However, now that the area is a national park and tourists can visit, it’s a depressing sight and so different from those 15 years ago. We recently watched a documentary on the melting glaciers worldwide called Chasing Ice. It’s sad to see the effects we humans have on the environment. 

Pastoruri is off the beaten path outside of Catac. Get on the highway back to Lima for about 10 minutes, then follow the signs to a rocky road and from there it’s a straight shot up the mountains to Pastoruri. After half an hour or so you’ll come to the entrance, where you have to pay 10 soles per person, unless you’re a local!


There are many things to experience in the park besides the glacier… you’ll see a sulfur spring, a small lake that boasts many colors when the sunshine is just right, fields of Puya Raimondii, cave drawings from pre-Incan civilization, and finally… you reach the parking lot.








You could take a tour departing from Huaraz to get to Pastoruri, or you could pay a local to drive you, like we did. It was much nicer because we were on our own schedules, and could stop for as long as we wanted to.



The hike up to the glacier is free, but the bathrooms are not! (1 sol to use) It took us about 45 minutes, with a few stops here and there to catch our breath. There are horses for rent in case you feel like you can’t make it up on your own.

Honestly, from the parking lot you can’t really see anything (because it’s MELTING!), but once you get to the end of the trail, there it is… all that’s left of the Glacier. It really is a beautiful sight to see that much solid ice that close in person. I’ve never seen anything like it.


There isn’t anything to do once you get to the end of the trail, besides sit and rest, or take pictures. We had fun taking pictures, but for some reason I was totally out of breath and feeling dizzy, so I sat and rested for a while and ate a granola bar. It’s funny how sometimes the altitude affects you, and other times it doesn’t!



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We spent maybe 45 minutes up at the glacier taking pictures and talking, then headed downhill back to the parking lot. The hike down was a mere 12 minutes, and we were dodging people and horses on their way up. The park seems to be busier later in the day, so I recommend going in the morning/mid-morning! 

There are some places to buy food (soup, popcorn, snacks), drinks, souvenirs, and then bathrooms available for public use. Be prepared to pay outrageous tourist prices for anything you may want. Also, dress warmly, because it was much colder up at the glacier!!! My fingers were numb!

If you’re in the Huaraz area, I recommend going to see Pastoruri Glacier while it’s still there… estimates say that it will be gone within 10 years. 



Have you ever visited a glacier??

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Tobacco Tour of Durham, NC

My hometown is known for a lot of things… the Durham Bulls baseball team, Bull Durham, Duke University & Hospital, Research Triangle Park, the City of Medicine, and the Durham Performing Arts Center… but much of Durham’s history is steeped in one product… tobacco.

When we were in North Carolina in February, I thought it would be fun to take my husband on a “Tobacco Tour” of Durham, hitting up a few places that exhibit this product that led to Durham’s rise to success.

We started at the Duke Homestead, the historical site of Washington Duke’s tobacco farm from the 1860s.

Inside, we walked around the museum learning all about the history of tobacco in the state. Outside, we were given a tour of the buildings and learned about the family and how they were the founders of the tobacco industry in NC.



We totally have rugs like these in our apartment! Good old rag rugs :)


The cats roam around the property and sometimes get into mischief! (Like getting accidentally locked in a building or something, haha)




I had been to the Homestead as a kid on field trips, but as an adult I had so much more interest about the history! Oh if I could go back in time to the late 1800’s and experience life on the homestead myself! :)








Next up was a drive to the American Tobacco Campus, where all the old brick buildings are the remains of the booming tobacco business from the 1900s. Walking around the area, you can see how Durham’s history truly lies in the production of tobacco- it brought so many jobs and so much economy to the area. Some of my family members even worked in the tobacco fields/factories back in the day!






the well-known Lucky Strike towers!

Brightleaf Square was the last stop on the “tour” of Durham’s past. Here we walked around for a few minutes and admired the beautiful brick. Nowadays this area of downtown has some great restaurants to try- Parker & Otis, and Lilly’s Pizza to just name two favorites!

Is there something that your hometown is famous for?

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My Jobs

When I first moved to Peru over a year ago, I had no idea what kind of job I would end up with. It was a little scary knowing I would be relying on my savings account, and whatever income my traveling husband had once we were married. As an expat in a Spanish-speaking country, I knew the only job I could really thrive in would be in English. But in a huge city like Lima, finding a job proved harder than I thought.

Just a few weeks after moving, I met a woman who worked at a Christian school nearby. A few weeks after that, I was able to meet the principal, and gave her my contact info if they ever needed a substitute teacher. In the next months, I substituted for a two-week period, then sporadic days in both primary and secondary classes. It was hard work, but I realized how much I enjoy teaching. Some weeks were really busy, and others were lazy and I sat around at home a lot… it was a difficult time trying to adjust to Lima and finding ways to make a living.

In September of last year, I found a company that needed English teachers, so I applied, interviewed, and got an ESL teaching job! My one teaching gig was a class from 6-8:00pm Monday through Thursday about an hour from home. While I enjoyed having an actual textbook to teach from (in my past ESL teaching days I had to come up with material on my own!), I did not enjoy taking the packed bus home and getting there around 9:15 or later. The job was flexible though, and if I needed vacation time, I could give a weeks notice. Perfect for me since we were traveling quite a bit together last year!

Photo from teaching ESL in the jungle, October 2014

Photo from teaching ESL in the jungle, October 2014

When we visited the States in December, I took a break from my job, with the promise I would return in February to teach. My students really liked me as their teacher, and I enjoyed teaching them as well.

While we were Stateside, I signed up as an Independent Consultant for Jamberry nail wraps. That became my only job at that time, because I knew I needed some kind of income to help support my husband and me, and to pay off student loans! They’re products I really enjoy and am passionate about, so it’s easy to talk about it and sell them. I felt confident that I could rock my business from Peru, entirely online, but I knew I would need to get back to my teaching job ASAP.

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Wearing some Jamberry wraps!

So sometimes our plans don’t work out the way we want them to. Once we were back in Lima, the teaching company asked me to work some jobs that were super far away, inconvenient, and at times when the traffic is horrendous. I declined and then quit. Yep, caught them off guard!

At that point I was really up in the air about what I would do job-wise. Sure I had Jamberry, but that only works in the States, so business kind of wound down when I got back to Peru. Thankfully I was able to travel with my husband on a few trips as a translator, and I actually got paid!! It was awesome getting money for talking to people all day and serving in anyway I could. I really enjoyed it and improved my Spanish a ton.

Then, in April I was called by the principal of the Christian school and offered a teaching job in secondary Language Arts! Woah, what a surprise and answer to prayer! I had/have much to learn about lesson planning and teaching grammar and literature, but I have caught on quickly. My coworkers are wonderful and so helpful!


First weeks of school… planning up a storm!

I signed an official job contract (first one ever!) in August, and when I did, taxes started being taken out of my pay check, but I got benefits and health insurance. (yay for being an adult) When we looked at our expenses and our bank accounts, I decided if I were able to work a little bit more, then we could start saving even more for the future. My husband has had steady traveling jobs about two weeks every month, and all of his income (in dollars) goes straight to savings!

On a whim in September, I started two tutoring jobs after school bringing in 220-270 soles more a week. It’s less than $100, but if I tutor each week for a month, that covers our rent! We’re trying to spend less and save more, and the tutoring jobs give us a little extra we can use if we absolutely need to. (like Christmas shopping, or an emergency room visit!) 

Some weeks I get exhausted from teaching then tutoring then sometimes grocery shopping and cooking, cleaning, organising, spending time with my husband, talking to family/friends, reading, etc. It’s especially hard when I leave home at 7:10am and don’t get home until 6:00pm or later!

My jobs include so much more than being a teacher, tutor, independent Jamberry consultant… they include being a wife, daughter, sister, friend, apartment-owner, chef, saver, learner, reader, traveler, social media poster, and on and on.


What jobs do you have?? 

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A Castle in the Middle of the Jungle

Have you ever wandered upon a castle in the middle of the jungle… in Peru of all places?


Back in May, we did just that. We were in Tarapoto, in the jungle of Northern Peru, and taking a mototaxi to the small town of Lamas. The views were stunning and the fresh air was amazing, and we were totally unprepared to see what we saw in the middle of nowhere!




Welcome to the Castillo de Lamas. Apparently an Italian man just up and decided to build a castle… rooms for visitors to see, and a few rooms to keep to himself & family. Fascinating, right?






The coolest thing was, it was decorated like it was straight out of Italy or England during the Medieval Times! Complete with a giant painting of a man being knighted. So random, but so pretty! All the details were amazing, and I loved the stone everywhere!


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It cost 5 soles to enter, but it’s free for locals! The views of the surrounding jungle and village were beautiful, and it made for a nice, random activity while in Tarapoto! I only wish there were some plaques or something describing the history of the castle and why the owner chose Lamas of all places to build his dream castle.



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Have you ever visited a castle? Now I can check this off my bucket list! :) 

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Life Lately, October


October is here! There’s nothing much special about October (besides two days off celebrating the Battle of Angamos), but I have high hopes for this month! Mainly because it’s one month closer to December, which is when I’m finished teaching for the year. Teaching has been draining me lately.

  • Supposedly it’s spring here in Lima… which doesn’t really mean anything has changed, except for now the sun randomly decides to come out for a few minutes here and there… making me so excited and ready for summer!!! I’m still wearing scarves and sweaters and my coat each day… can’t wait to put those away for next year!
  • I’ve been working a LOT. Teachers work from 7:30 – 4:15 at my school, so that’s where I am for the majority of the day. In addition to school, I’ve picked up some tutoring jobs after school. Usually I’m not home until 6 or 6:30 in the evenings, then I want to be in bed by 9 because I’m so tired!
  • We’ve been eating out more lately on whims. Like on Fridays when I get home, I shower and put on sweats and don’t want to leave the house. So we order delivery and are lazy bums the rest of the evening! Papa Johns, Bunny’s (chicken, salad, fries), and Pizza Hut are recent favorites.
  • A few weeks ago I learned who Pablo Escobar was, thanks to Netflix and my husband. Such an interesting, crazy, insane part of Columbian history!
  • Laundry is my least favorite chore because of one reason: neighbors. We share a machine with the rest of the building, and some people think it’s normal to wash a load and leave it in there for 3 days. No joke. We have piles on piles of clothes/sheets/towels to be washed, and looks like they won’t be washed anytime soon. Not cool, vecinos!!!
  • Last weekend some friends invited us over for sweets! They prepared “dulce de camote” aka sweet potato sweet, which was sweet potato with anise and sugar…really good, and “pie de membrillo” aka membrillo pie. I consumed WAY too much sugar, but it was so good. :)
  • We had a blackout in our neighborhood earlier this week. It was so random and lasted about 2 hours. Thankfully, we had a candle sitting around, so we lit it and it was bright enough to light up the whole teeny tiny apartment. Also, this morning the power was out for a few hours when I woke up… talk about annoying! Apparently back in the 80s when there were blackouts, a bomb was eminent. So scary to think how different life was in this city, just 30 years ago.
  • My parents sent us Snickers bars in some packages from the States, and gosh I never appreciated Snickers like I do now. They are SO good, and the perfect combo of sweet with salty peanuts. Technically they’re my husband’s (because he LOVES them), but I’ve been sneaking one here and there when he’s gone traveling 😉
  • Technology : can I just say that I think it’s totally inappropriate for 7th graders to have iPads? Because it really bothers me. I could write a whole post venting about technology…but also praising it for being the way I keep in touch with family & friends.
  • I love going to the market here in Lima. Grocery shopping is always a favorite thing of mine, but here it’s so different. People shop for their groceries on a day to day basis… taking things one day at a time. And I think that’s great! But sometimes I go all American and buy a ton of produce and things, and then after a few days they go bad because we don’t eat them quickly enough! Lesson learned. Possibly…
  • I’m loving wearing, selling, and promoting Jamberry! Of course I can’t get mine shipped directly to me, like you can(!), but it makes my day when I get a package from home with new jams!
  • I need to share a post on what I’ve been reading lately, because it’s been wonderful! I am one of those people who can read 5 different things at once, and if you look at my Goodreads currently reading shelf, there are 8! (soon to be 9) I read a bit of each book when I can, but some have me entwined in their plots and I finish those first.
  • My Netflix “to watch” list just keeps growing. It’s bad. I have a bad habit of scrolling through things and adding them to my list, then when I choose something to watch, it’s something that’s not even on my list! I know, I know, first world problem.  But I’m so indecisive anyways, that having a list doesn’t even help me!
  • I did a big chunk of Christmas shopping yesterday for my family. I played tour guide for a Gringa friend, and showed her all around Miraflores, with a 3 1/2 hour stop at the Indian Market. I tell ya, every time I walk in that place I want to buy so many things! And yesterday that’s precisely what I did. I got some goodies for Padre and bro, and a few things for Mom… she’s such a great gift-giver, that I find it so hard to shop for her! Have you done any Christmas shopping yet???
  • We’ve been visiting a new church lately and really enjoy it. It’s smaller (compared to the huge church we were going to, where nobody knew our names) but the services are longer! And sometimes my rear gets sore sitting on the plastic chairs for so long, haha. It was so nice to finally find a body where it feels like we are welcomed.
  • Coursera is my new friend. I decided since husband is gone and I’m lonely, I needed something useful to do. I’m enrolled in a history course at the moment, and it’s fascinating! Fact: I wanted to major in History in college, so that was my major freshman year, until I realized I would have to TEACH, and I didn’t really want to do that. Kinda funny considering now I am a teacher!!! (and wish I could teach history instead of boring grammar!)
  • I have so many trips to blog about, yet I never seem to find the creativity to sit down and write about them. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll get around to it!

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How to Renew your Carnet de Extranjería Annually

Peru Expat 101


Last week I paid my annual “Prórroga de Residencia” as an expat in Lima. At first, the process seemed daunting, but with a little research, I had it all figured out. Since I’ve shared the other steps about your Carnet and being an expat, I wanted to share the steps to paying your annual Resident fee! [[This is if you’re married to a Peruvian… other types of prórrogas can be found here.]]



I got my carnet the end of last September, and so I assumed my “expiration” date for it was the end of September this year. WRONG.  You have to pay by the first of the month your card expires. So you’ll need to start the process a few weeks in advance, just in case. (Next year, I’m going to get it taken care of the beginning of August!)



As always, there’s a fee for government paperwork. This fee is simply 26 soles. You must pay in cash, and you must keep your receipt from this transaction.



Their website is constantly changing, so be careful with what you click, and if you need help translating, ask a friend! You’ll want to click “Para Generar su cita: clic aquí” This will take you to a checklist of the things you need for the appointment. They have a form online for you to fill out, so that’s the next step…



You may remember the Formulario 007 from getting your carnet last year… enter your info into this form again, and print the page!



The website will ask you to enter some numbers from your receipt from the bank. This is to verify that you paid. Once you enter the numbers, you can pick a date and time (I suggest 8:00am!) for your appointment. Then PRINT the confirmation page!



If you are married, you will need this form filled out by your spouse! I printed off 2 different kinds because I wasn’t sure which was correct. Below is the exact form we used.




The easiest way to do this (instead of waiting in line at a REINEC office) is going to Jockey Plaza off the Panamericana, going to the food court, and finding the REINEC kiosk! It is the neatest thing… you can print your partida de matrimonio straight from this kiosk for 10 soles! You need to enter your spouse’s DNI, then they have a fingerprint verification, then you pay and print. Super fácil and rapido.



You’ll need a copy of your Carnet, your passport, and your spouse’s DNI. No website told me we would need a copy of my husband’s DNI, but thankfully he was able to run and make a copy for 0.50!



I suggest going to Migraciones first thing in the morning- 8:00am. We were there at 7:30, and were in line shortly after 8 with our number. Here is what you will need to take with you:

  • The F-007 filled out
  • The printed appointment confirmation page
  • Receipt from Banco de la Nación
  • Declaración Jurada
  • Copy of Carnet
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of spouse’s DNI
  • Partida de Matrimonio from REINEC
  • Your number from waiting in line (yes, you have to turn this in)



When your number is called, the fun begins! They check over all your forms, verify with your passport and Carnet, then after you sign a few papers, they take your carnet. I thought they would keep it for 5 days, but they told me to come back in an hour!!! That was the best news for us, because I hate going downtown to Migraciones. An hour later, we went back, and voila, my Carnet had a shiny new sticker on the back! :)




Things to learn from my experience:

– Print your confirmation of the appointment! I made the mistake of simply taking a screen shot… NOPE… they need the actual paper. Thankfully, we were able to print the page from Informes at the front of the building for free! Not sure if they do that all the time, so I was thankful they made an exception for this nervous Gringa.

– Make a copy of your spouse’s DNI before going! We didn’t do that, and when we got up to the window, the worker asked for it, and my husband had to run and make a copy. Thankfully the worker waited for him to come back, and didn’t make me lose my spot in line.

– If your address has changed, you will have to make a note of that, and then sign to confirm that the new address is correct. The worker told me exactly what to write and where to sign, and apparently I’ll have to do that each time I go, if our address has changed.

– Go early! Like I said, we were there at 7:30am, and since we ended up having to print the confirmation page and all that, we didn’t get our number until 8:00. But our total wait time after getting the number was maybe 15 minutes? Yeah, first thing in the morning is the best time to go, because the wait was the shortest we’ve ever had at Migraciones!!!

– Chill out. Don’t worry about the paperwork and not having what you need- the worker we had was surprisingly helpful and friendly and patient with me! I was so worried I wouldn’t have everything I needed, or that they wouldn’t accept my paperwork for some reason, and really, I had nothing to worry about!


Now that I know the steps involved in getting my prórroga renewed, I won’t be so nervous next year! 

If you’re an expat, how do you have to renew your residency?


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