Settling In

I have officially been a Peace Corps volunteer for just over 2 months now and am starting to feel settled in to my new home. Every day my Spanish gets slightly better, relationships become more apparent, stomach stronger, and the culture more comfortable.

There have been many tough aspects of moving 3,236 miles away from my home in Virginia, but one of my favorite parts of moving has been creating the feeling of home in my new room in my new country.

After swearing in, the Peace Corps gave each of the new volunteers a “Settling-In Allowance” of S/775 (about $230) to buy all of the necessities of setting up our new rooms.

Here is a breakdown of how I have decided to spend my S/775:

  1. Mattress                                                                      S/280 or $83
  2. Water heater for my shower                                S/  70 or $20
  3. Dresser for my clothes                                          S/250 or $74
  4. Hot water kettle                                                      S/  40 or $12
  5. 2 Blankets                                                                 S/  40 or $12
  6. Full length mirror                                                  S/  30 or $9
  7. Carpet                                                                        S/  40 or $12

Luckily, my host family provided me with a beautiful bed frame and a couple of tables made by the Don Bosco artisans. I was also able to make a bookshelf out of fruit crates that my host mom was throwing away at her bodega. The best gift I have gotten is a kitten that was found alone in the street in Lima by a host cousin. During the big fiesta in my town, my host cousin came with the kitten and I instantly fell in love with her. My host brothers and I named her Killa (pronounced Kiya), which is Quechua for the moon.

My home in Chacas. 
My incredible view and the prayer flags given to me by my sister, Maura. The prayer flag/dried flower combination has become Killa’s constant source of entertainment. 
My grandmother has regularly been sending me Mandalas that she colors in a coloring book I gave her before I left. They are by far the most beautiful decorations of my room and I cherish every one that I get. Also, my mom gave me a 2 year calendar of family photos that I absolutely love. My gallery wall of friends and family are a constant reminder that I’m not alone on this journey. 
The dresser I bought from artisan students in my town. Also pictured is my very awesome Peace Corps vest that I rock on the daily. Never did I think I would be trading DVF dresses for a fisherman’s vest, but I can’t say it’s not nice not having to pick out an outfit every day. 
Killa felt as though she should be in every photo so that she could launch her international modeling career. This is the bookshelf I have made from fruit crates along with many Peace Corps manuals, Peace Corps medical kit, lots of Alpaca yarn for my knitting projects, and a little hometown representation with my Richmond flag (Thank you, Maura). The dried flower artwork was made by students at the elementary school in Chacas and I bought the other artwork on the street in Lima.

That concludes the tour of my little room in Chacas, Asunción, Ancash, Perú! I’m all settled in and it is quickly becoming home.





One Comment Add yours

  1. marshall says:

    You are brave and bright lady! When I was in Lima cats were free range, unfettered, and welcomed by all in the city. Your situation look wonderful and I am sure you will do great things there and enjoy an experience that will define and be remembered for your life time. Best wishes. Marshall Butler


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