Cusco: the rest of my first week

My days fell into an easy pattern starting Tuesday afternoon:

7:15 a.m. – My alarm goes off, telling me it is time to get up and dressed, even though I am usually awake an hour or at least a few minutes before this. I get dressed, put on my shoes (no walking around in socks here), and wrangle my hair into some sort of orderly appearance by the time Adela calls me for breakfast.

7:30 – I am seated with Adela at a table for four, spreading a minuscule amount of peanut butter and jelly on my round roll and stirring my hot oatmeal drink (very watery oatmeal with some butter and sugar).

7:45 – Breakfast is over, I have dried the dishes that Adela has washed, and am putting away my pjs, brushing my teeth, and packing my backpack, not simultaneously, mind you.

8:01 – I don’t know why, but it seems like I always leave at 8:01, not 8:00. Having locked my room, I exit through a low door onto the sidewalk and start breathing in exhaust.

8:15 – Having walked quickly to stay warm, I arrive at school, grab a blanket from the blanket table, and plop down in a chair or on a bench in the courtyard, exchanging “hola”s or “buenos dias”s with anyone I come across. The 15-minute warning bell rings.

8:30 – I am seated in between my fellow classmates, Lawrence from Germany and Kristen from Washington, informing the teacher (they change every week; this week’s was Alberto) that I am and everything is, in fact, “bien” today. We usually start in on some sort of grammar lesson.

10:20 – I think this is the time the bell rings for our 30-minute break (I think it’s that long; I don’t really know). If it is sunny, we sit in the courtyard and talk. If it is rainy, we huddle near the two stoves in the big room where the computer and wifi are. Regardless of the weather, most people purchase snacks and hot beverages from the little snack bar in the big room. The prices seem arbitrary and odd: for example, a cup of tea costs 1.50 soles while a pack of four Peruvian Chips Ahoy cookies costs S/1.00. Why does hot water and leaves cost more than four cookies? I don’t get it.

10:50 – We summon our courage and plunge back into our cold classroom for the post-break session, which usually consists of talking (more like listening to Alberto tell stories, this week), doing reading exercises, listening to songs to fill in blanks in the lyrics, and making up stories or sentences about a given phrase.

12:40 – Class is over and people congregate to discuss their day’s activities and/or make plans to meet somewhere for supper.

1:00 – I usually arrive home almost exactly at 1:00. Adela always has lunch ready, so I quickly toss my backpack on my bed, wash my hands, and bring my plate of the first course into the dining room.

1:30 – Our three-course lunch is over lunch is over, and I have dried and put away the dishes Adela washed. I brush my teeth and head to my room to unpack my backpack.

2:30 – By this time I have written my journal summary about morning’s events and also removed my notebook and pencil case from my backpack and replaced them with my computer (yes, I did bring it), camera and computer cords, and my journal.

3:30 – I leave the house, after having zapped some water and perhaps read some Jane Austen or taken a shower, usually around this time, sometimes earlier, sometimes a bit later. Most days I walk straight to school.

3:45 – If I did indeed leave at 3:30 and walk straight to school, I immediately claim a chair in the big room with the wifi and start blogging or skyping (I often do this in another room to avoid bothering people) or facebooking or catching up on Pioneer Woman and Tasty Kitchen stuff. However, sometimes I stop by the bank or the laundromat (once this week) on the way and, therefore, arrive a bit later.

6:50 – The school closes for the day at 7:00, so I have to leave around this time, unless I have gone home earlier to drop my stuff off in order to return and meet people for supper, unencumbered by large electronics. If I leave after dark, which is around 6:00 or 6:15, I take a taxi home. They cost S/2.50 or S/3.00, about $1.

7:00 – Once home, I unlock the kitchen and heat up leftover lunch that Adela has left me. She leaves the food in the microwave and sets me a place at the little table in the kitchen, complete with a thermos of hot water and various tea options, all on a placemat.

7:15 – I have finished dinner and have everything cleaned up and put away.

8:30 – I usually go to bed. Between bed and supper I read some, finish journaling about the day, and sometimes upload and label some pictures on the computer.


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