Monday, July 27, 2009

Sample of Work.

Here are just a few of the things I've worked on for Ascender Peru.

Nametag for our volunteers

Gala Program

Logo for greeting cards

Award Certificate.


Brain Dump. Gala. Cuzco. Home.

The gala is over. We'd been working non-stop preparing for the gala since we arrived here.

Let me try to explain the gala.
The gala is an event that Ascender has every year (in Lima as well as Ecuador and Bolivia) to raise money locally to support their yearly programs; it usually consists of an introduction, awards and recognitions, dinner, musical guest, and auction. Unfortunately, Lima has struggled the most out of the three South American galas since they started having a gala in 2007, and usually are lucky to break even (this means selling enough entrance-tickets to make up for the costs to have the gala). This year they didn't break even. Their sights were set a little too high I think, and a lack of support/diligence/intelligence from the accountant was a major pitfall. The location in which the gala was held was a club/bar called Rompe y Raja- really cool place, but not meant to have galas, and WAY too expensive to rent (since when it is usually rented out, it's not meant for the renter to make a profit, just to have a party, get it?) also they raised the price on us last minute (a 19% tax!) and changed their minds about letting us earn money from alcohol purchases; all of which could have been avoided, or at LEAST understood earlier, if our accountant had done the things he said he was going to do and had kept current relations with the location that HE had insisted on for the gala, but oh well. So after coming to terms with the huge sum that we had to pay this club, we just crossed our fingers that people would come to Rompe y Raja just because it's a well-known club in Lima- not much luck, maybe ten people came just to come, and four of those left in a huff. Our program was supposed to start at 8, and nobody showed up until after 9- this may have been due to the fact that we're in South America, and that this certain club usually doesn't open until 10:30. Diana and I were put on ticket-duty, in a teeny room with a teeny ticket window for most of the night; scrambling to find people on the list, see if they had or hadn't paid, how much they were supposedly told they had to pay so we could charge them, then figuring out whether or not we were supposed to give them a dinner ticket or not, where they were supposed to sit, and how to communicate that to Jose Luis who was seating people. It was a mess to say the least. Haha, and on top of that, we have crappy math skills and were dealing with conversion between American Dollars and Peruvian Nuevo Soles.. where was our accountant at this time...? Good question.
So I started with the bad news so I could end with the good news- the really cool thing was, two local volunteers David and Jenny (who were really helpful the whole night) came in and took over for Diana and I so we could go eat around midnight. We got to watch Bartola sing, the food was delicious, and after the show we danced with the remaining people -just Ascender employees and spouses, ourselves, and friends from the neighborhood who had so graciously donated. We even got some employees to dance with us, it was really fun! Some more good news is that the auction went really well, and we also had silent donation slips which a few people donated with; these donations weren't enough to make us break even, but they helped! Also, throughout this whole preparatory gala process, we've been making connections with a lot of businesses who, although could not attend the gala, are very interested in donating equipment, materials, time and manpower to Ascender Peru. We are praying that the staff here will use these connections and build relationships with these companies. Why buy the materials for a school when you can have them donated??
I have a personal belief that everything happens for a reason, and even though the gala was not a success as far as raising funds goes, perhaps the future relations with these businesses will turn out to be worth more than we could have possibly made with the gala.

Diana, Taylor, Rob and I are leaving for Cuzco. In Cuzco we're going to Saqsaiwaman (sexy woman), Valle Sagrado, Oyllantaitambo, and Pisaq. Then we head to Aguas Calientes via train; it's the base town to Machu Picchu. Then the train back to Cuzco, and from Cuzco, a superlong bus ride to Puno where we'll visit Lake Titicaca, visit the floating islands, but stay on a real island for a couple nights, then take another bus to Juliaca where we'll catch our plane back to Lima. The trip is going to be packed with adventure, and I'm super stoked. I'm really grateful that Diana and I are going to be with the boys so we can do things that might be a little sketchier if it were just us two girls.

When we get back, Diana and I will only have a week left in Lima. We want to work our hardest to secure certain relations with certain businesses, then also we plan on doing as much hands-on work in Huaycan as possible.

I'll be coming home broke. Broke but happy. Happy to see my family, friends, and as some of you know, to see James for the first time in two years. I'm still lost as to where I'm going to be working, AND where I'm going to be living... Two really huge things.. but everything will work out. I just get lucky. Also, I have really great friends.

I hope you all know I love you. No matter where I am :)

Monday, July 20, 2009



They've been a nonstop nightmare of trying to get to and from my desitinations. I would have gladly paid a couple hundred extra dollars to avoid crappy layovers, crappy websites, crappy costomer service, and total uncertainty in regards to my flight actually even existing... GAH SO FRUSTRATED.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It had a foot on it... Poor baby...

Cuy day. Ever heard of cuy? It's a traditional food of certain South American highlands... oh, it's also known as guinea pig. My portion was a leg (drumstick??) with the foot, hip, and all.

Thank you Erasmo.

We actually had a really good time with Erasmo today. He loves hanging out with us- he took us to El Centro... which is in "the center" of Lima. Very cool sights and very many whistles and stares. The streets and walkways are flooded with people selling things, and everyone is selling the same five things. Snacks, plastic toys, magazines, jewelry, and snacks. I buy snacks. well.. I buy chocolate. UNSOL!
Then we went to Erasmo's house where his wife and maid prepared juanes, salad, fried potatoes, and cuy. It was a good meal- nice and traditional. Then of course, you can't go over to Erasmo's house without singing kareoke for at least an hour... I just had a good time hanging out with Erasmo's little four-year-old girl..AH she is sO adorable.

Aaaaand a movie night! Batman. It's always dark in Gotham.

Hug your mother.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


"They tried to make me go to rehab, I said NO NO NO."

(warning, this is not a Peruvian)
So I'm thinking about starting a Rehabilitation Clinic for the Peruvians.
It will be full. I'm pretty sure 92% of Peruvians will benefit.
Most Americans probably don't know the sad statistics, but over 9 out of 10 Peruvians are addicted to their car horn.


LIFE IS SHORT, they honk.

If you happen to take more than point five seconds accelerating after a stop light, you will be repremanded.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July <3

Getting ready for our Gala.

Celebrated 4th of July.

I want to live in morocco.

I dunno.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pow Pow YeAH!!!

Super-spanish-speaking-awesome-woman yeah!

So here's the scoop, I just went to the market to buy an avocado (palta) and a plantain (platano) to spice up my lunch time. On the way to the market (because the one with the good produce is a few blocks away) I stopped to talk to one of the neighborhood guards.. oh wait, I talked to him? YEP, in freakin Spanish. Cuz that's what my homies speak down hurr. Yeah, I did have to have him repeat himself a couple times, but who cares? I had a CONVERSATION. haha.
Then, when I got to the little hacienda I had another CONVERSATION with the two ladies who worked there. YEAH, about Peru, and how the food and produce here are so great and inexpensive and yummy. And I'm sure I sound like a complete gringa with a gross accent, but as long as they're smiling, I'm happy.

Just thought I'd tell the world about my triumph.

Oh, and my lunch was bomb.

Peace and love.
(And the splckr isn't working, so sorry for my pesima spellins.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Second Floor

Smoke and regaeton
A ringing Peruvian guitar and
The smell of burning steak
The incessant dog, samba.
No work tomorrow dia libre
Let's get drunk on pisco sour
and love.
I can lose myself in that
Spanish chatter
High pitched laugh.
I am the ceiling.
concrete and re-bar
But I can feel the drum
Smell the burned tobacco
I am homesick.
I never want to go home.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blahg entree.

I may or may not be gaining weight.

Why am I hungry all zee time? Like, I never even used to eat breakfast, and this morning, I ate scrambled eggs and two pieces of toast, and some chocolate, and I'm still craving something...
I wanna go to the panaderia and get some tres leches or flan. duhhhlishis.

Diana and I taught english classes three days last week. It was exhausting. We worked seriously 15 hour days- waking up at 7 to leave to Huaycan, teaching four classes a day, getting back to the office at 3, scrounging up some lunch, then preparing lessons for the next four classes until midnight or later with dinner and maybe a nap in there somewhere.

I think my spanish is getting better. Do I say that every week? Bueno burrito me gusta!

James is going to be home in 2 weeks! I can't even believe it. It seems like he has been gone forever. I feel like a little girl.

Who reads this? Am I writing to myself? What is the meaning of existence? If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear it? I mean.. does it make a sound?

And now, a tribute to the late Michael Jackson.

Long live the beat.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I want a navajo taco.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We've been....

We've been to pre-Incan ancient ruins.

We've been clubbing.

We've been bowling.

We've been eating delish food.

We've been everywhere man, we've been everywhere.

Blake, the first intern who had been here for five months, left on Wednesday. We'll miss him.

As far as office work goes, we work every Monday through Friday, nine to six, with a... shall we say... "flexible" lunch/siesta. Sometimes we work right through lunch, sometimes we work late into the nights, sometimes we work weekends. We've all been really busy preparing for our upcoming gala (an event put on every year to raise funds) and it's easy to work over-time when you work and eat and sleep in the same place. It's a strange feeling, as well as living and working and doing almost everything with the same four people. We do what we can to get out and find a change in scenery.
Lately I've been designing new business cards for the Peru office, designing a big poster to advertise the gala, preparing lessons and homework and teaching English classes with Diana in Huaycan, and trying to write a paper... Lots to do! It's good to be busy and I love it.

Some other cool news is that we [the four interns] just bought tickets to go to Cuzco after the gala at the end of July, we're stoked!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I am addicted to some things.

Peanut butter.
Clementine oranges.
Flushing toilets.
Travel photography (stalker=me, I don't even know these people).
Iron & Wine.
My family.
My friends.
Showers that drain.
The sun.
White Oleander.
Carpet (I'm having withdrawls).
The internet.

And many more things.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Although we're not eating that much, we do seem to be eating more than the usual amount of deep-fried foods and pastries. And what else can we do? The food is just so delicious (even though we take a risk every time we eat) and there is a panaderia around every corner? Yeah, I'm thinking we're more likely to die of high cholesterol than a car crash.
So no worries mom! hehe

Therefore, and furthermore; Diana and I have decided to exercise at least 5 times a week- schedule permitting. Our first night was tonight, and we both are exhausted and at the same time feel really great :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Saturday cathedral, Sunday cleaning.

This weekend Blake's sister was visiting for her senior trip, so we took a Saturday excursion to El Centro de Lima, where there are some really old, really big, really cool cathedrals.
We got to visit the catacombs under one; it was my first time in catacombs, they were eerie. The story is that people would "pay" the catholic church money to be buried down there, but we came up with plenty of ideas why the church might want to get rid of some pesky problem.. so as to have a better time of course!

The insides as well as the outsides of these cathedrals are incredible, and just mind-boggling to me! They're gigantic! This one was my favorite ceiling. I want my living room to have these colors.

Saturday evening, we had dinner with a family in our neighborhood. It was SO delicious. We're good friends with their kids, so we sat around and talked for a bit. In Spanglish.

Then that night I found my favorite places in Lima, the flower market and El Parque de Aguas. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, so next time I go there, I will take pics, and explain more. But at least I know that for 4 Soles and a taxi ride, I can be in a little piece of heaven.
Sunday was productive. I deep-cleaned the kitchen, while Diana deep-cleaned our bathroom. Now I am not afraid to touch the knobs on the oven! Woot!
Then I made some rolls from scratch, thanks to my mom sending me some recipes when I complained about the bread.. hehe. Thanks mommy! The rolls weren't like she makes them, but hey, she's my MOM.
Diana made rice and lentils for dinner with a side of patacones (if you didn't know, patacones are deep-fried plantains.. omg, best thing in the world). I helped! Then we fed Blake and Becca before they left on their superlong bus ride to Cuzco, after that, the rest of us, Taylor, Rob, Diana and I sat down to have a good family meal. It was MUY RICO! Thanks Diana!

Diana and I are both so happy that our tummies are feeling better. We made lunch together at home today, and got some ice cream bars for desert! *knock on wood*

*shoutout to my fam- I love you guys!*


Friday, June 5, 2009

The beginning of English classes- and some other goodies.

Diana and I are now lovely English teachers of grades pre-school to 6th grade! That's ages 3 to 12!!!

I love it so much. I love the kids, they're all so excited and interested in us. Even when their excitement gets the best of them, I love them. And even though Diana has a phobia of germs, she loves them.

The first week was a little rough, due to our angry tummies and our fear of unfamiliar bathrooms, but now that our stomachs have become more accustomed to the cuisine here, this week should be much better. Also, we have a better idea of what we need to be teaching, and how to keep the students' attention.

This is Erasmo's trusty car which takes us up to the school in Huaycan every Tuesday and Thursday. It's a 1976 VW bug, bright red. It has no horn. Which is kinda scary, since everyone here uses their horn very frequently, just as a normal driving tool. "hey, I'm here, so don't hit me." Also, his car will not go into reverse. It won't go above about 40mph either, but that part is alright, because I get enough of going 100kph every time we take a taxi- it's like being in a race with a hundred other cars! So really, I don't mind much that it takes us an hour to get to the school, it's a nice time to think.

After our first day, Erasmo took us around some other areas of Huaycan to show us another project that ASCEND has worked on called "Wawa Wasi". It means "baby house" in Quechua. These little day-care like houses are places where young children can stay while both of their parents are down in the town or city working. We stopped at three of them (to the great disagreement of my bowels). At the first one, we met the most adorable little boy, Sebastian. He is going to be a soccer star, I'm sure.

Apart from the school, I've been working on the floor-plan/seating-arrangements for ASCEND's Gala in Lima on July 23rd. And I must say, I'm pleased with it. I'm not so familiar with Microsoft Publisher, but I made due since I have no access to Photoshop or Illustrator (oh, how pampered we are at the U).
Today I finished the second floor layout and pasted together the plans for both floors on the wall so we can start marking how many seats we've sold, and who will be sitting where.

Lima is growing on me a little. I love that we can just go down the block to the little bodegas and get an ice cream for less than 75 cents. I love that if our clothes come back from the washing place dirty, we have five more to choose from.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Adventures in Peru- Week UNO

Wow, what a whirlwind of South America!

Everything has just been so crazy, I haven't taken time to sit down and blog thus far- but oh are there stories to tell already... yes.

It all started when...

I got on the plane. I like my flights just how I like my milkshakes- cool and smooth, and I had good luck with all three of the flights. I met a nice guy from El Salvador on the ride from SLC to LAX, listened to music (Iron & Wine) the whole time from LAX to Mexico City, and met two really nice back-packer girls on the flight from Mexico City to Lima.

I spent my last night in the US in Los Angeles in a nice little hotel room that my parents put me up in because they didn't want me to spend the night in the LA airport :P It was super nice to be able to sleep in a nice comfy bed for the last time in three months though. Sooo nice.

The 5 hour layover in Mexico City wasn't too bad. I spent a lot of time wandering around the mostly-deserted airport and sleeping in the chair/benches. Oh, and they also had XXL seats for certain people....

The flight in to Lima was about 6 hours (I'm not sure if there was a time change involved with that length of time, but I'm too lazy to figure it out right now) on which I watched Marley and Me- not mi favorito- read the first half of the Notebook- also not mi favorito- and got to know Denise and Kristie (I know for sure that that's not her actual name and I can't remember it..) who were just going to backpack through Peru and Bolivia with a couple hundred dollars and even less Spanish than me.

(Now here is where I apologize, because I had this blog saved as a draft, and I spent two hours writing about my first week in Peru, then the internet randomly stopped working, and everything past this point was erased.)
(I also must apologize for my poor spelling and grammar from here on out, because I know for sure that my English is getting worse- ha but not so sure that my Spanish is getting better, so now I just can't communicate at all.- So please bear (bare??) with me.)

I live in ASCEND's apartment slash office in Mayorazco, Ate, Lima, Peru. Mayorazco is similar to a neighborhood, Ate is like a district. Lima, the city- also capitol of Peru, is the 27th most populous city in the WORLD, and the 5th most populous city in Latin America. According to Wikipedia, (a source which I may or may not put too much faith in) Lima and it's surrounding metropolitan area contain one third of all of the population of Peru. That's almost 8.5 million people.
Alright, so take Utah's ENTIRE population, multiply that by three- and you almost have as many people that live in Lima, yes, all squished into one 'lil city.
So you can imagine the traffic right? And the pollution? Well, to add to the dirty hustle and bustle of the usual South American City; Lima is also a "humid desert". What this means is: no rain, just a lot of dust- and it all sticks to condensed humidity on buildings, so everything gets even dirtier. Get it? Everything is grey here The sky, buildings, and streets. At least now, in the winter, because the fog from the ocean that comes over the city never burns off. (however, today was blue in a little corner of the sky, and it made me SO happy!)
However, and more importantly, the people here are absolutely amazing. You'd think people in a big city would be cold and uncaring, but the people of Lima are the exact opposite, and I've already come to love their spirit and charisma.

Awesome baby Jesus shrine in our neighborhood.

We ride mini-non-bus-van things all over town.
Freaky for boys (huh Gabi?).

My first time in Huaycan- a poor town in which we work.

Self-explanitory. Myself and Diana.

Behind the Hospital, we started clearing a space for a soccer field.
Diana found a surprise! Can you guess what it is??

There is this town called Chancay; in it, there is a "castle". A crazy lady built it for herself when her husband died....

This was in the back of a motorcycle taxi.
Very convinient.

My new friend. I am making lots of new friends here. Many of whom sell chikle in the streets.

You can find more pictures here :D

Okay guys, or whoever is reading this, even if it's just my mom (love ya mom)- I'm really sorry for not writing anything sooner. From now on out I promise to write at least twice a week! There is SO much going on! And although I am busy, I owe it to all the people who are rooting me on to let them know what's happ'nin'.
peace and love.

Friday, May 22, 2009


First blog ever....!

I have five hours before my first flight leaves to LA, and still a few things to do, so this will be brief.

I just want to say how grateful I am for a few things. I'm SO freakin' lucky...
-My beautiful mother- She is so supportive and loving and has helped me out not only in getting ready for this trip, but with everything, always. (I love you so much mom!)
-My awesome dad- Also so supportive and loving, he always helps me to remember things :) Oh, and he is as strong as an ant. (think about it)
-My AMAZING friends!! How did I get so lucky?? My friends are happy for me, and helpful in so so many ways; Marianne, for letting me put all my shiz at her house for the summer; Brenton, Adam, Markham, and Landon for helping me move all my shiz to Marianne's house... they rule hard; DIANA for coming with me to PERUUUU!! And for being amazingly sweet and such a good friend; Christyn, for getting me associated with ASCEND in the first place, and being so happy for me all the way.
-My great neighbors and work associates- You guys, thanks so much for all the donations and help with the fundraiser yardsale, it was a GREAT SUCCESS! WOOT!
My heart just has so many people to love :D

Also, I'm thankful for washers and dryers... and clean water... and.. English.. oh d d dear.

I'm going to have such a blast..

Love y'all.