I can't come up with a creative title right now. Doesn't matter. P has been in Peru for almost a month now and I have been slogging away at getting the house ready for our big move - my 3rd international move in the past 17 years (I guess that's not too bad - fewer than some people). This will be the first time that I have had to learn a new language when moving to a new country (not counting the few words of Australian and American that I've picked up along the way). Yesterday was my last day at work and now the truly concentrated hard work can start, because next week, the packers come.
We have received a lot of advice from other ex-pats on what to bring with us from the US when we move to Peru. Bring your bedding, bring your clothes (public nudity is illegal there too), toys, books, hobbies and so on - Peruvian customs law is apparently very strict about what can be sent by mail, so once we have moved there, we will have to bring anything else that we need (other than food) back with us in our suitcases.
On the list of things to bring is kitchen things - pots, pans, utensils and appliances (our employer will provide us with power transformers to convert the current from 110V to 220V). While I was surveying our cupboards and deciding what to bring, I thought of other immigrants and refugees from other countries and how they must feel when they leave their homeland and go to a new country. Maybe they have some of the same questions that I have: will I be able to get the ingredients that I need to make the things that remind me of home (I'm specifically wondering about mixed peel to make hot cross buns, and glace cherries and dried figs to make Christmas cake)? What is their pastry like and will it make a good pie? What recipe books will I need, bearing in mind that I can't take them all? Even if I can find the right ingredients, will those things taste the same as if I made them at home (ie New Zealand/Australia/USA, depending which of us you ask - N considers himself Australian but has grown up in the USA, so he does enjoy some quintessential USA foods, like the repugnant Reeses Peanut Butter Cups - gross)? Finding out the answers to these questions will be part of the adventure and is part of the appeal (and simultaneous challenge) of living in a foreign country (yes, the USA is a foreign country).
The other thing that we will have to get used to (well, two of us will have to get used to it) is not driving. I really quite enjoy driving and although I'll be grateful to not have to negotiate downtown Arequipa behind the wheel of any car, I think after a while I might miss the independence of being able to just get in the car and go to the shops or go to the post office to check the mail. Our lives will have more structure and planning to them than they do now (it does sometimes seem like we have a lot of routine, but our new life will be different) and less spontaneity - if we want to up and go somewhere on a whim, we can but our agent has to come too.
As I said, P has been in Peru for almost a month. He sent some photos. Here is the view from our front window:
The mountain in the distance is El Misti (19,000 feet).