Living in Huanchaco

It has been a week since I have arrived in Huanchaco, and I have already fallen in love with this area and the people. I abandoned the fast-pace craziness in the States and have began to relax into this lifestyle where I have time to reflect on my life, myself, and all those around me.

In the States, I have a problem with filling up all my time and staying as busy as possible. As a result, I am always sick, I have no time for myself, my relationship with myself suffers, and I lose sight of what is important in my life. I talk about getting out my comfort zone in order to to take on challenges and look fear in the face. Slowing down is out of my comfort zone. When I slow down, I have to look at myself and my life. So besides being in a new place, with a new language, with no one I know, I also am getting a good look at the person I am and the life I lead. It’s uncomfortable.

I have had a ping pong battle going on in my head. I thought I had no expectations when I arrived here. But in reality, I had the idea that as soon as I got here to Peru I would hit the ground running. That is not how it is going to go at all. It is a painfully slow process. My Spanish is at an elementary level. I have to  put myself out there each day, even though I have no idea what is going on around me. I have come here to Huanchaco, Peru to volunteer as the women’s empowerment coordinator in several shantytowns. I don’t know the women or what they want. I have had to let go of my ego and ask for help from some of the other volunteers. I am being humbled each and every day as I am shown how much I have to learn. I need time to write, to think, to meditate. As I begin to doubt myself and what I am doing here, I remind myself what got me to this point and show myself some love to keep going. I have to re-fall in love with myself. I am away from my boyfriend, my family, and my friends. And while I am living with the most wonderful people who are taking care of me, the only one I can truly depend on is myself.

While being here is a challenge, it is so beautiful and exactly what I wanted. Sometimes you have to throw yourself into an unfamiliar circumstance to learn the most important lessons. It is similar to my Spanish experience. I took Spanish through high school and into college, but here I feel like I have never taken it in my life. I needed to completely immerse myself in the language. I need to completely immerse myself with myself.

I am having an amazing time, but each moment is different and I am on an emotional roller coaster between self-love and self-doubt. This is life, or in Spanish, “Asi es la vida.” I am committed to taking time for myself, for showing myself love and patience, and to meditate and take care of my body. And by taking care of myself, I will be able to take care of others.

Every night I have been  picking up trash on the beach as the sun sets. There is this beauty that is indescribable. The sky is on fire with red, orange, yellow and it reflects on the ocean and beach. However, the beautiful brightness of the sky also lights up the plastic cups, bottles, napkins, dirty diapers, scattered across the beach and the ocean as it gets washed ashore. I am devoting part of my nights to picking up trash to help the environment, but also as a symbol of cleaning the litter in the beautiful depths of my soul.  And in order to cleanse myself, I have to put in the time to do the self-reflection. By slowing down my pace of life, this allowed me to see the littering happening within myself and the world around me.

I devote the next three months to being aware of the global crisis of pollution of the Earth and the self-crisis of pollution of self-doubt and negative self-talk; this negative talk of questioning my abilities, my drive, my purpose. I am going to be aware, I can take action to make it better. Each day, “poco a poco,” little by little, I am becoming more patient and more kind. I do this for others, so why not do it for myself?

“Always know the difference between what you are getting and what you deserve.”

Salud y amor,


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