Teaching English

Moving to…JAPAN!

As most of you already know, our next big step is Japan! We’ve spent the last year visiting with friends, getting back into old habits in San Diego (hello GOTR), and planning our next move.

As of this week, my ticket is purchased, and I’m off to Japan next month!!

Image Source: Daily Signal

Image Source: Daily Signal

Zac is not really interested in teaching English anymore, so he signed up for Japanese classes, and I’ve been looking for jobs nonstop for two months.

Finally, after lots of interviews, some okay options, and some really big corporate companies, I’ve accepted a job and will be leaving January 22nd! My feelings are slightly mixed: I’m very excited to have a plan, and I really like the school I’ve chosen, but I have to leave 2 months earlier than Zac (he has to wait in the states for his student visa), and the schedule will mean that we will go back to not having a day off together. Which is not my favorite thing. But, it might not be so bad, so we’ll just have to see!

We’re currently trying to figure out what to store/toss/sell/take, and we’re both in the market for warm winter clothes, and I’m trying to build up my business professional closet without spending a fortune. (Oh, how I’ll miss you running clothes, sweats, and slippers!)

And for those of you looking for the deets:

We’re heading to Yokohama (see weather details here), which is about 30-45 minutes by train south of Tokyo. It is the second largest city in Japan, with a population of almost 3.7 million. (Kinda around the same number of people as Los Angeles.) It’s on the water (a port), but surf is about an hour train ride away. (Poor Z Heis!!)

Yokohama January Weather

Plan is to be there for the foreseeable future (minimum 1 year!). I’m leaving in January, and Zac will follow at the end of March. Hopefully we will become super pros at Japanese!

I just wanted to share this with everyone who has been keeping tabs on us, and hopefully we’ll have some fun adventures to keep you guys entertained in the next year(s). Fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain inside our apartment in Japan!

Categories: Asia, Japan, Teaching English | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Semana Santa

I can’t believe that I am so terrible at posting! This is the last time you’ll hear that from me, because I promise to post at LEAST 2-4 times a month from now on. We had a rough patch there, and not much going on in our lives, so it was harder to come up with things to post!

Peru is a very interesting country, and I’ve decided that Lima does not showcase much of what this South American country has to offer. There are a lot of horns and angry people. There are homeless men fighting on the street. There are plenty of people trying to take advantage of tourists, and there are lots of hiked-up prices. The infrastructure isn’t that great, and the management in our apartment is really bad. These things combined to make Zac & I second-guess our choice. We’ve decided to stick it out for the full year anyway, but we’re surely going to be spending more and more time out of the city, despite having Saturday classes.

As you all know, yesterday was Easter. Here in Peru, the dates and celebrations are a little different. They don’t do much of anything for Easter on Sunday, but they have a 4-day weekend, and consider Friday the biggest day in the holiday. In fact, most Peruvians refer to Friday as “Easter.” On that day, most shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs are closed, and Thursday and Friday are national holidays. It was great to have a 4-day weekend, so we decided to get the heck out of the noisy city for a quiet vacation only 30 minutes away in Punta Hermosa.

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Tiny beach with a lot of umbrellas.

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Punta Hermosa is improving.

We headed down with a group of 5-8 people, depending on the day. It was really nice down there, and revived all of our feelings about the country, inspiring us to plan more and more trips like this!

This quiet little beach town was definitely geared towards Peruvian tourists, but most of the prices were actually lower than those in our district of Miraflores. That was surprising, despite a very overpriced guest house. It’s okay, it was nice to just leave the horns and whistles and car alarms behind (mostly).

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Zac!

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So great!!

The guys all did a lot of surfing, and I even joined them out there one day. I basically sat on my gigantic longboard for 45 minutes praying that no waves came my way. And lucky for me, they didn’t! I’m kind of scared of the ocean anyway, but with a 8-foot board under me, I was pretty terrified that we would both get totally smashed up. The waves were small or nonexistent, so everyone else was kind of bummed, but I felt like I was on a huge raft out in the middle of the ocean, which is great!

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Sunset

We got to see the sunset a lot, we barbecued on the terrace, and we had a lot of laughs.

Sunset with La Ballena rock formation in the background. (The Whale)

Sunset with La Ballena rock formation in the background. (The Whale)

Shopping for the BBQ at the Market

Shopping for the BBQ at the Market

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We even drank beer on the street! We walked past a bunch of cops in front of a church on our way to watch the sunset, beer in hand, and they didn’t say a word to us. We’d seen so many people do it that we figured it was allowed. They even sell beer cans on the beach for 5 soles ($2.50).

Oops!

Oops!

 

Well, on our way back from the coast, we saw this sign, and realized that they just weren’t enforcing the rules for some reason. Our Peruvian friend Maria says it’s because we’re white. We pass through a gate to get to the beach, and we were never stopped or searched, no matter what bags we were carrying, but we saw plenty of Peruvians getting their bags searched intensely.

On Saturday, we headed over to Zac’s student’s beach house about 10 minutes down the road for lunch. Well, a quick lunch at 12:00 turned into an all-day affair. We were there for almost 6 hours! It was a little strange, but man, the hospitality was great!Here in Peru they have this grilling box called a Caja China, which is actually pretty similar to an oven. It’s a wooden box, lined with metal on the inside. You put the meat inside, then cover it with a metal lid filled with burning charcoal. It was delicious, despite getting sucked into a 6-hour “lunch” with a client while our friends enjoyed the beach!

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The Caja China

Punta Hermosa has a little island that shoots out into the sea, and is basically covered in mussels and bird poop. We did some climbing out there in the poop-free areas, and it was interesting to get a view of the “city” from the ocean. We were also able to watch the surfers and the sets rolling in on 4 different beach breaks.

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Punta Hermosa Isla

Birds responsible for the kaka.

Birds responsible for the kaka.

That’s about it! We didn’t do anything too crazy, but we were able to relax and not use a computer for 4 days! The group below is the original crew that arrived together Thursday and stayed until Sunday. Trevor (Boston), Zac, Caitlin, Emilio (England), and Eric (Germany).

Our last sunset

Our last family sunset.

Additionally, here are a few posts that Zac & I submitted to the TEFL Alumni blog for a little extra money. This is another reason why I haven’t been posting here – too much time writing for money! Thanks for following and you’ll hear from me again soon. Happy April Fool’s!

A Varied Palette in Peru (Caitlin)

Jumping Off the Edge of the Earth (Zac)

First World Problems (Caitlin)

Preparing for the Worst (Zac)

Categories: Peru, Teaching English, Travel | 2 Comments

Trials and Tribulations of Third-World Living

Hola!

It’s been quite a delay since my last post. Sorry! Here are the updates.

We’re pretty settled in our apartment now, and we’ve been teaching for a little over a month now. We both like it, but there are certainly frustrations. It’s common for our students to cancel several classes a week right now, because it is summer here and they go on vacation. Unfortunately, that means we don’t get paid! Zac has two students on a a 2-week vacation, which kills about a fourth of his paycheck.

I have the same issues, but I’m teaching kids as well as adults, and I’m working with several different schools. This helps me keep my schedule full. I think we’ve officially reached equilibrium though, and I’m hoping we won’t have to take any more money out of the bank! The hardest thing is communication. Even when we have advanced students, they have a very indirect communication style, so it is rare to get firm confirmations of schedules, or for them to say, “no, I don’t understand.” That’s a challenge, but we’re working through it.

Other than that, we aren’t doing much. We spend a lot of time traveling to and from classes, and preparing for classes that may or may not be canceled!

This week, Zac and I agreed to eat a vegetarian diet, with zero alcohol, and zero sweets. I really wanted to challenge my kitchenability, and we both wanted to save a little money. It was quite an adventure in the kitchen. I made Quinoa Spinach Cakes, Hawaiian “Sloppy Joes,” Lentil Meatballs, naan bread, beet and white bean hummus, and more. It was actually kind of scary in there, but I’m most proud of that naan bread because I’ve never made any kind of bread before! You’ll see a working link to my food site soon, but here’s a picture!

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My foot is not in good shape, so running is not possible. I went to the doctor last week, who said I might have another three months of waiting to do. Next week I’ll go get another X-Ray to see if my fears are true, and the fracture has gotten worse. I did buy a bike this week though, which is great! I need a helmet and a lock and I”m good to go. Buying the bike isn’t something I could have done alone. Central Lima is the true heart of the culture here. This is where tourists go to get robbed, and where locals go to buy anything. We have a friend here from Denmark who has lived here for a decade, married a Peruvian, and has two kids. He took me to Central Lima to get a bike, and I’m glad he did! He took care of haggling and negotiating, and I just said thinks like, “no rosada, mas alto siento, esta bien.” Clearly not perfect Spanish, but translates to like, “no pink, a taller seat, it’s good.”

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This week, Zac suffered from the worst sickness I’ve ever seen. Serious food poisoning with all the fixin’s. We eat all the same things, but I didn’t get sick. Not sure why, but I’m glad I was well so I could take care of him. We’re talking violent shaking, fever, vomiting, and more. It wasn’t pretty. Don’t worry though, he’s much better today. He spent about 24-30 hours in bed, with me forcing liquids and antibiotics and crackers on him. He’s still on a mostly liquid diet, but he’s graduated to fresh naan bread and oatmeal.

As if having bodily fluids come from every orifice wasn’t bad enough, it happened to fall on the same 3 days that the WATER STOPPED WORKING. We got water back after about 12 hours, but haven’t had hot water since about 6am Wednesday. Luckily Zac and I were up and showered by the time it stopped working. Yay for early birds! We can’t even set foot in the shower though, it is covered in grime and gravel that came up from the drain. Today’s “shower” was with boiled water and washcloths. What a glorious life we lead!

Other than the ridiculous week, things are going okay here. We’re looking forward to having some more leeway in our budget to do things, and to making some other friends our age! We don’t get out much as of right now, but we do meet our Peruvian friend Maria for lunch or dinner about once a week, and we might take a trip to Machu Pichu with her soon!

Here are some pictures of our latest meal with Maria. Fusion food is huge here, and Japanese – Peruvian food is one of the most popular. It’s not like sushi in Japan, it’s more like California sushi, but Peruvian. This roll literally tasted like Ceviche Sushi, and it was delicious.

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When we drink, we try to stick with the Peruvian beers and Pisco, and I’m a huge fan of the Pisco Sours. They’re a little too sweet for my palate though, so maybe I’ll have to learn to make them myself. :)

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 (Zac opted for an Asahi this time though.) Well, that’s the update!

Categories: Food, Peru, Teaching English | 2 Comments

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