June 6th, 2011
First day of school at Amouta! Woke up and still had a pounding headache, so I took some extra strength Tylenol, and it worked like magic. My headache subsided shortly after. I hope that’s all the altitude sickness I get during my time in Cusco.
Brielle, Kim, and I cabbed to school with Carla and Syeda because they live close to us. It’s about a fifteen minute drive to the school from our house with traffic. The school is located seconds away form the Plaza de Armas, on a small uphill cobblestone road called Calle Suecio, We have come to find out that the taxi drivers will only take you up the hill for more money. But at 8:15am, when we’re tired, still acclimating to the altitude and therefore already gasping for air, the last thing we want to do is trudge up the steep hill from the Plaza to the school, so we pay that extra sol!
Class was easy today. Something different about this class though is that my teacher is from Spain and therefore has a very strong accent, which we have to adjust to. It is a cool opportunity to have the exposure to this dialect. I strongly considered switching out of my class into the next level up, but I decided to stay where I was after talking to the placement lady at Amouta. I told her that I was concerned that I was not learning anything new in terms of grammar and that everything was review, as it was for me at El Sol too, however since El Sol was the first school we were attending, I was comfortable with my level their because it allowed me to regain a solid Spanish base, but at times it was very boring. But she explained that this class was designed more to incite discussion based on my level of Spanish, and it was not really about learning more new grammar. It was about cementing what I already knew. I had not really thought about that, so I appreciated her explanation and have decided to stay with my current placement.
After school, Brielle and I had lunch at McDonalds, but clearly the salad I ordered could not suppress my burning need for some fresh vegetables. We have come to find out that basically none of the other host families get internet at their houses, and that me, Brielle, and Kim super lucked out with our wifi access. So, McDonalds, which has wifi, is probably going to be a popular congregation location. After eating, Brielle and I met up with Scott, Yianni, and Syeda. We decided to get massages. Twenty soles for an hour and a half, full body and hot rocks. It was an interesting experience to say the least, but for only twenty soles, I will not complain! After the massages, which we left us covered in oil, we had to do some shopping. I am in love with my purchases, a decorative owl mirror and one of those knit Cusco hats that everybody just has to buy when they come to Peru. I put it on right away to hide my raunchy hair, all greased up from head rub I got at the massage place. Scott, Syeda and I grabbed a coffee before heading to the restaurant where we would have our welcome dinner, provided by the Amouta School. Of course, Lomo Saltado was featured dish, but I was able to get some spaghetti, and munched on other people’s unwanted vegetables that were served with the Lomo Saltado. Following dinner a whole bunch of us, including other Amouta students not with our group, went to a hookah bar to chill out for a while. It was definitely relaxing and fun, but me and Brielle cabbed home relatively early to catch some sleep.