Peruvian Time

The Dean at the church that we are attending recently gave me a valuable piece of advice. He said, “Meghan, this is what I have learned during my six years in Peru: Things in Peru take twice as long as you think they will, and four times as long as they should.” I know that I am adjusting to the pace of life in Lima because I have come to expect unusually long delays with pretty much everything.

For example, before arriving in Lima in July, I had been in touch with my new employer and had agreed that I would begin work the first of December. That first month would then have had to operate under a very delicate timeline. I needed to carefully plan signing my contract, sending my papers to immigrations and completing my training if I were to have started work in December. According to that timeline, I should have signed my contract the second week of November. I just signed it last Friday, the second week of January.

After weeks of delay, two weeks ago I was told that I could sign my contract on January 10th. As people asked me when I would be signing my response was, “I’m supposed to (complete with air quotes) sign on the 10th.” I didn’t actually sign until the 14th, after a significant amount of pressure from Alvaro the lawyer.

The thing I have been most excited about over the past few weeks, is the opening of a yoga studio near my apartment. The studio was set to open January 5th, but due to complications with the heating system for the hot yoga classes, they had to postpone their opening. The owner proclaimed that they would be open within a few days. And now, almost two weeks later, the official grand opening in tomorrow.

I”m not sure exactly what it is about Peruvian culture that contributes to this delay. Peruvians and Expats alike recognize and laugh about it saying, “Oh, yes, that’s Peru...” I thought that dealing with bureaucratic red tape in the United States was difficult, but this is a whole different story. I’ll take American customer service calls any day. Just two and a half months in Lima have shown my that the Dean’s advice is completely true. And according to Alvaro, “...that’s only if you’re lucky.”