24 February 2011

tacacho and cecina and chorizo oh my!

Jungle Food.... Jungle Family... 
Jungle Food night with Jungle Family.
This week our friend Kenedy's mom came to town, that always means good food. And, Julton's sister Pilar came to visit for the first time since she moved back home. Actually, she came to fix some stuff with the university. They are having problems finalizing everything even though they are finished, and finished at the top of their class at that. I am really excited that she is visiting. I got a little giddy when she got here, and we chatted for way too long over coffee and muffins for breakfast after she arrived at our house from her bus ride. We didn't realize how much time had passed until her mom called to see how the process in the university was going. "i'm... finishing my breakfast" she responded :D I have missed them since they moved to Moyobamba - 15 hours away. Since we moved to where we are now, and lived in the same building as them for a while before they moved, and when the grandparents came and everyone had dinner together every night... I got pretty used to seeing them all the time. Watching Julton pick on them and watching them gang up on him. Sharing food and experiencing new foods from the US for them and the jungle for me. Their favorites that I had made them were chicken fettucine alfredo and strawberry cheesecake. We were working on them learning those dishes before they left. And they taught me how to fry all the different kinds of bananas so that Julton wouldn't starve when they left. hehe

I love those girls, and I wish they would just move back to Trujillo already. But, I'm happy for them, they are both working. And ironically one of their university friends found work in the same town, so they don't get too Trujillo-sick. 

We made some jungle food (we = kenedy mostly, pilar as his sioux chef, julton reading medical articles on the sidelines and yvette (a new friend and new missionary for Peru Mission) and i chopping this or washing that)

Pilar's phone rang off the hook...

Julton, no matter the pain, will eat Jungle food when it is offered. 

We used a wine bottle to mash up the bananas to make tacacho, usually they use a rock... which we have in our house... somewhere....

Yvette was excited about the little ajies (peppers) from the jungle. I'm not a fan of spicy food, but these little guys have a distinct flavor that cannot be resisted. It's one of my favorite parts of the packages that come from Moyobamba.

Cecina (dried meat, this was ham) with chorizo (sausage) and tacacho (plantains fried and mashed with the fat from the meat) i never imagined myself falling in such love with something that was intentionally cooked with added animal fat. 

Kenedy, showing off the final dish. The food was absolutely delicious. Absolutely.

23 February 2011

you almost speak like a native... english speaker.

that's the joke my student's came up with for me today. that and "your grammar is so good you must be an advanced student, almost fluent in english!" why? because that's kind of how I felt yesterday.. after meeting someone, from England actually, that even though I carried on a conversation with him in English, thought I was Peruvian. I was a little caught off guard! And one of the funny parts was, him not realizing that I was from the states, began to describe to me the different accents in the states as an example of why some native teachers in an institute here don't teach well. I didn't quite know what to say, I just let him explain to me how I apparently, speak. 

I was in a English conversation/debate meeting along with my students and a few others I hadn't met before. The leader of the debate was Australian, so it was quite interesting for me to be in the same room with an Austrailian and an Englishman, I haven't met many of either. The topic was terrorism: political or religious? And naturally they brought up the war and the fall of the twin towers. Which is when the leader of the debate asked me my opinion as their American guest. Before he pointed out my nationality, the other had been truly bashing the US, just talking (giving his part of the debate) really aggressively. I didn't speak up, I just listened while thinking "wow... this guy is so passionate about this... are all English like this or does he have some kind of personal beef about it??" Well, I think that was his way of debating... or discussing... or conversing in general? Because after the debate had finished he continued talking with me... where in the states are you from? I answered with my usual "from WV but I went to SC for college, so it's like my second home" which he came back, and immediately i might add, with "so what is your opinion of the bible belt? do you think it's a dangerous threat?"


I admit, I was a little speechless. I didn't quite know what to say because I didn't really know what he meant by that. But I could tell that he was very serious and aggresive about it. And eventually he meant for example the Christians that want to burn the koran, or the ones that blow up abortion clinics. But once I figured that out I was still a little confused because we had just discussed in the debate how in religious groups there can be radicals or extremists that don't exactly stand for the whole group, but get all the media making it look that way. My response to him was something of the same, but he insisted. So I had to respond with well, all I know to tell you is that I am a Christian and I am from the "bible belt" but... I'm not going to go blow up a clinic or do a lot of what you are generalizing me into. He seemed somewhat satisfied with that. But I just couldn't shake that, it made me want to ask him what had happen to him to make him react so strongly. For that and other comments that he had made about "American Evangelists bringing their Bibles to Peru"  

And it made me turn my look inward also. I am such a quiet passive person. Sometimes too much so. And also, it made me see how much of a bubble I live in. I have always lived in one. A Christian University and then working for a Mission, all of the friends have the same beliefs as me... with a few exceptions... but those exceptions aren't quite so confrontational as last nights experience. I am completely not prepared to talk to someone that confronts me so aggressively, but that could be said about my faith or my life in general... I just don't react well to aggressiveness. What do you do in that situation? Try to break things down and see what the real problem is? Or where the real hate is coming from? Yesterday I tried to help him see that he was generalizing a few cases to make his point. But what would be a good reaction to have, when someone is bouncing their anger or frustration out on you whom may or may not have something in common with the actual people they are so frustrated with?

a cultural difference, a sick husband, and a nervous wife.

i am quite confident that before ever coming to Peru, or for that matter before this year, I would never have imagined "expert rear end injection giver" being added to my list of skills on my resume. but i am starting to think i should probably add that now. especially after this past weekend. 

first to answer the question "Julie... you never studied to be a nurse, never came close, even dropped the dream of occupational therapy upon the first anatomy course.... what in the world are you doing giving injections??"

well, alongside buying lots of medication in pharmacies without prescriptions that we wouldn't be able to buy over the counter in the states... you can also tell them that you want "blah" ml of "such" medicine and buy a needle too. i first figured that out when i had a spree of migraines that nothing would relieve, until Julton came over with a needle. i didn't think too much about it  (since he himself is a doctor) until one day when Julton explained to me how to give one to our friend Gillian (when he wasn't around). Little did I know that would be my first but not last go at giving injections. 

Since we have been married I have given Julton a total of 5 injections. Why have I counted you may ask? Because they are that well etched into my memory that I can recall each and every one of them. The first one when I nearly cried along with him (he... has an irrational fear of needles? at least some kind of fear) when I thought I was giving it wrong and imagined him never walking again. I think I have blogged about that before. The other four... have all happen over the course of the past week. And each time I was nervous, he was nervous... thus I was even more so. I had to do breathing exercises not only for him but for my benefit too. It takes a special person to be a nurse, and I now appreciate each and every one of you more... because I am scared to death of putting a needle in someone. But maybe I would feel a little better about it if i had had some training and not my "patient" telling me what to do nervously. 

Over the past year Julton has been in a lot of pain for his teeth, specifically one tooth. He has been treated for it numerous times, and the pain just keeps coming back. So... this past weekend when it started bothering him again... he made the decision to have it taken out. It was a molar, farthest back. I reacted a little strong the first time he told me he wanted to have it removed asking and asking to be sure there wasn't another option. But he was convinced it needed to be done, he was tired of dealing with it over and over again. So Sunday morning he missed what I think was the first church service I have seen him miss since I have known him (not including when he was in his internship and had no choice) and we went out to get it taken out. Then I had to give him more injections. And today another... to help his stomach deal with all the medicine he's been taking. 

When you pray, please add him to your requests. I'm not so sure he is out of the clear (he had to come home early from work today... that alongside the missing church is something that never happens) please pray that this problem would pass! 

22 February 2011

zanax.... yes, again.

I realize that I post a lot about this little kitten.... that is not so little anymore, but... she's just so cute to photograph!

And she just really likes her picture to be taken! I was playing with her with the broom, which happens to be one of her best friends. Well, actually  I can't tell if it's her best friend or if she fights with it because she likes to sleep in the dustpan all the time. I'm not sure which. But as I was trying to get her playing (she gets pretty intense) she just plopped down in front of me and the camera as though "okay I'm ready for my shoot".

a valentine's day post part 2


I love each of my students... it's so incredible the connection that you can have or the things you can learn about someone through teaching them another language. These are pictures of a few of my students showing off what they did for Valentine's Day. The couple in the top picture have a flower shop, explaining why they worked so much... then slept... or had chanpagne, but at 11 pm. They worked the day and night before Valentine's Day through the day and night of. Without sleep. I can't imagine... 

One of those pictures is the view from our office window, on the eighth floor of an apartment building. It's an incredible view, and the picture does it no justice.

I love my time with these people, and I love them letting me into their lives. I learn so much about them and their lives and life in general, their kind of work and spanish and their country/towns... they have no idea how much they actually teach me instead. 

16 February 2011

Priscilla Ahn

I will get to the part 2 that follows the part 1 valentine's post... but it's not ready yet. soon! (by the end of the week)

But in the mean time I wanted to share this artist that I just discovered. Thanks again to Pinterest.

Meet Priscilla Ahn. She plays numerous instruments,including the ukelele and harmonica, sometimes all at once. 

13 February 2011

friendship, a valentine's day post part 1

Today my friend Lezlee posted this picture of us from... quite a while back. As I looked at it all of these memories started streaming through my mind. What a great day that picture represents in my memories/heart. We took off one morning and spent the day adventuring in Athens, GA. On an impulse.

And then I started thinking about all of the other days like that, that I have had in my life. All the friends and relationships and people that have come into or passed through my life. Wow. From family and childhood friends in WV to college friends and so many others in SC to Peru where I am now. It's hard to define all of the relationships here, church and work and day to day life, missionaries from the states, missionaries from other countries, peruvians and so many people from different parts of the world in general. When I look at that picture I think wow... who is that girl and am I still her? I've been blessed with so many experiences and I feel like I have been rolled and shaped and smoothed over like a shell in the ocean so that I recognize the girl in that picture (it's about 3-4 years old I suppose) but I can also see how much I have grown and changed in the mean time. 

Actually, I think seeing that picture today had more of an impact on me than it would have any other ordinary day. Any other day I would have looked at it for the sweet memory that it brings but probably not have dwelled much more. But today is different. Today I was already thinking about how blessed I am by the friends and relationships and people that God has brought into my life. Actually, I, truth be told.. am someone that struggles with social anxiety (more on that another day - there's too much to tell) and in the midst of a couple of such breakthrough weeks in that area of my life, of God truly showing it to me and helping me to take the steps to share it with some friends instead of dealing with it (if you could have called it that) alone... I have been able to breathe again and truly see around myself to the richness of relationships that I have in my life to be so thankful for. That anxiety had been blocking my vision for such a long time. I'm just so greatful to God for His love for me in giving me such a husband that would lift me up instead of discourage me and friends and mentors in my life to learn so much from. Happy Friendship day, a day early indeed.

note: i said frienship day instead of valentine's day because here although couples also celebrate (one of my students owns a flower shop... i don't envy his late night tonight) it's also a day that friends celebrate together. 

12 February 2011

mornings with zanax

we usually spend our mornings together when i'm not out in a class. i like to think that she appreciates it. she's quite a chocha (mamas girl) and she gets lonely (julton says i make that up, but you dont see the looks she gives when we leave the house) we hang out checking email and drinking coffee or tea (well, i do) and look out the window. 

but it's also inevitable that that quite time turns into...

which turns into this. i have to hold her head in my hand to keep her from attacking my hand or wrist. apparently her favorite parts of the human body to attack. usually following this sequence she pouts in the floor for a while before she comes back to attack... noted by noticing her sitting on the floor beside me contemplating me whiel her tail swishing and her eyes focusing in. i shoo her a way several times and eventually she comes back to contently sleep on my lap. and that happens... every time.


an obsession.

We have been in such a chinese food eating mood these days. Or rather I suppose that I should actually say that I have been in such a chinese food making mood lately. I think it has something to do with me figuring out how to make some wontons.. and I'm addicted so instead of making the wontons to accompany soemthing else I try to think of something else to accompany the wontons. But seriously. I'm pretty excited because this is something that just came to be one day when we needed a little something else with lunch. 

I sauteed some garlic and green onion (i wanted to add ginger... but Jultons not quite so in love with it, especially in his food)... then added it to some soy sauce and fresh cheese. wrap those up in won ton wrappers and fry them... eaten with sweet and sour sauce = my new food addiction. 

i've also gotten pretty stuck on making juices. i love passion fruit juice... and often drink it pure without sugar or water at night if i am having trouble sleeping. Julton told me it helps you relax to sleep, a friend thats a nurse told me it lowers your blood pressure. either way... we are friends. i've also learned how to make chicha morada which is a drink made from purple corn, it took me a while to figure that one out. lemonade and star fruit juice are also on the list. ive gotten a little addicted to the star fruit juice actually, its just so easy! But with the chifa (chinese food) i made apple juice. that probably doesn't sound quite like it goes together huh? when one thinks chinese food i dont think they automatically think apple juice. but eh, i wanted something different. the only thing is that its just a little thick because of lack of a juicer to actually just get the juice. it gets a tiny bit applesaucey when you just blend it up and strain it. 

back to the food.

I used this recipe to make the orange chicken, but added a few things. I added chunks of green onion and broccoli. And actually in her recipe she marinates the chicken... but instead of marinating ( i didn't have time by the time i read it) i tried tossing the chicken in corn starch and frying it... i heard that thats how they get the chicken so soft in chinese food... must be right becuase it worked! 

and that my dear readers has been our obsession as of late. and note: that is obviously my plate... for all the vegetables instead of chicken... hehe

09 February 2011


InEmpres - Ingl├ęs Empresarial (Business English)
That's the name of the company that I have been teaching English with. Which means... I don't really teach college students anymore... and I definitely don't teach children anymore. It also means that depending on the level of my student and his dedication to English and the technical English of his/her job before me... they could possibly appear to know more English than me! As was such with a group of engineers that I taught... that all knew the technical engineering words... which I had never heard before in my life. But the key? knowing how to use them. I've met lots of people in my classes with interesting stories... engineers, Business owners.. that work in transport or own flower shops, jewelry makers, personal trainers, also a mechanic that owns a very successful shop and when he makes mistakes in class it's ofen in Japanese instead of Spanish since he lived there for 10 years... also someone that is starting a project of solar powered energy. I meet lots of people.

And last night we had our first conversation night. Or should I say debate? Where our students all had the chance to get together in a room and discuss or rather, debate a topic. The topic of the night? "Is spiritual development more important than professional development to solve Peru's main national problems?" We had a guest speaker who did a great job presenting the topic and engaging everyone in the debate, giving ideas and problems, solutions. It was awesome to see the students interracting, cheering them on to talk. It's one thing to talk one on one with your teacher, it's another to talk in a room full of men your own age. They did such a great job, even ones that didn't have such a high level of English yet, I could tell they were really trying to put things together, and it was inspiring them to learn more. 

And by the way... I do have female students (although not all those pictured are my students) but for some reason they didn't show this time!


Julton had a week of vacation last week... and ever did he need it! Since he is busy 7 days a week from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed. He actually decided to take it a little unexpectedly, so we didn't make plans to go anywhere... I was still working... but at least my hours are more flexible so that we could spend some time together! We had a great week of doing things we never get to do together or at least never get to do without at least one of us being too tired to enjoy it. We spent one day cooking food neither of us had cooked before (between my classes that is) we got in lots of breathing and laughing... and spent a night with some friends listening to some reggae music at a nearby beach. Twas quite a week. 

 while i was in my morning class, Julton took off to the market to buy some fresh seafood... including these monster shrimp... 

 as well as some fish to make cebiche

 zanax was quite content with people being home to open the bedroom door so that she could snooze on the bed all day. and to think she used to follow me at my feet from room to room, actually inch to inch at all hours of the day... she's traded me in for a bed. i can't believe she's growing so fast.. and she and Julton are slowly becoming friends... he's starting to comment that maybe we should take her with us when we move to the states. I didn't have any words when he told me that, because I assumed it wasn't an option!

Our Friday night reggae show. The guys playing did a great job, and were actually all the cousins and family of another friend! Note: this experience was quite significantly better than the last time we tried to go... the last time we went not knowing that the doors open at 11 but the show doesn't start until close to 1... AM. We could only stay for a few songs before we had to head back into town to get some sleep since both of us had to work the next morning. Julton's dad was staying with us this weekend... hopefully he doesn't think that we do that -every- weekend!

We also went out walking a lot around town later in the evenings...where we witnessed the visitors from Lima (I don't remember their name) that were doing something a little like karate a little like a dance a little like... I'm not even sure... giving an exposition in the plaza. Nearly every guy there had a rat tail... well.. is it still called a rat tail if it's not at the base of your neck? What if its just a random piece of super long hair .. somewhere? I didn't understand that trend in the third grade... and I still don't. We also watched a group of (and of course I can't remember the name of them right now, Julton's no longer on vacation or I would just ask him)... a religious group from here in Peru, as Julton explained to me that its a sect ... whose leader received a vision telling them that they needed to live by the old testament. so they don't consider the new testament, don't believe in Jesus, and actually the leader said that he himself was supposed to raise from the dead after three days. He died... and they waited to bury him... and he didn't come back... so they buried him and they said that when he said three days he didn't actually mean three days like we know days. hmm

Quite an interesting week we had... indeed. I'm so happy that we got to spend some time together and remember what it's like to spend time together! For our anniversary that is coming up in March we are both going to take vacation and travel to a beach in the north... I am incredibly excited! I can't wait to get out of the city! Don't get me wrong, I love living so close to the market and my job... I can walk to any of them... but after a while I start to seriously crave some purer oxygen, and to be able to see a green tree without a film of dirt covering it!

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