It’s Monday, just before 8am and I’m writing this post poolside - there’s an air of tranquility at this time that helps me write. We’ve had more overcast days than sunshine this past fortnight, which doesn’t bother us as much when we’re in class during the week. Then as soon the sun comes out, it’s like we’re rats in a cage who can’t wait for the day to be over. Our classroom is on the veranda above the restaurant - where a cool breeze insists that we wear pants and jumpers.
Our second week brought the added challenge of teaching three night classes, an hour for each trainee. We taught primary aged students to adults at all levels, though last week I only had primary and adults. Although free to the community, they are real classes and we’re observed by our course trainers. The TEFL method is essentially total immersion learning - that means without the use of the native language. That suits me because my level of Spanish is less than most of the adults’ level of English! What’s been my biggest challenge? Getting reacquainted with grammar!
There have been one or two days where I felt homesick - something rare for me, especially so early on in my travels. During those days, I would walk along the beach and let the water lap at my feet. The sand between my toes reconnects me to what is familiar - the Pacific Ocean, and reassures that “home” is just on the other side of the horizon.
Apart from the TEFL trainees, the hotel usually have big groups staying. Last week there were 30 extra guests - high school seniors and their parents. It’s called a ‘promociones’, which is a bit like an end of school year party. Something that you will learn quickly in Peru is that they exist on very little sleep! There is no “bedtime”, and parties lasting until 4am isn’t rare. During the group’s stay, the hotel hosted a karaoke night. Projector screen poolside and YouTube at the ready - we wanted to show these kids how to karaoke!
Oliver kicked it off with his rendition of “The Real Slim Shady” - Huddersfield represent! We managed to convince some of the kids to sing a few songs - plenty of Reggaeton, rap and a song or two that sounded like it was from a Telenovela soundtrack. Being Filipino, of course I had to join in. I wracked my brain for a few minutes, and settled on Natalie Merchant’s “Wonder”. When I finished, it really made the kids hyped and we were treated to more Reggaeton and some 80s Spanish ballads. I even used Google Translate to get one of the girls to have a duet with me - singing that Ed Sheeran babymaker “Thinking Out Loud.” After that, I felt I’d enough excitement for one night and went to my room.
On Saturday morning, Oliver and I made our way to Máncora by catching one of the many minivans that drive up and down the Pan-American highway. He had a date with a Peruvian woman, and I had a date with steak. Public transport, especially in rural Peru, can take many forms. It will frustrate you if you’re not used to waiting, but as long as you don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time, it is relatively cheap. Also, I am yet to see a street name sign. You can read more about my second weekend in Máncora in my Local Tourist blog post.
Two more weeks in Zorritos then that’s it for my time here - I may stay in the area for a couple of days, who knows. More than likely I will have to farewell my beloved ocean views for a few months as I head inland or the Amazon. My placement will start in November, so depending where that will be, I could see a bit more of Peru along the way.
Intrepid travel will gift you precious memories made from dusty shoes, cheeks sore from laughter and bags under your eyes because you chose to watch the sunset with people you met the night before. For me in Peru, it is only the beginning. I barely have a pocket full of memories yet my soul already feels more free than ever. Some chase beauty, when beauty is already all around us. I came here to find my connection to the next chapter, it’s not there yet, not quite.
Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and slam poet currently travelling in Peru. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.
Basically, a shorty who knows her life purpose.