Apartment #3

There are a few events that make me really, really miss the States. Obviously, holidays are at the top of the list. But surprisingly at a close second are midnight movie premieres. I miss the culture of staying up to the wee hours of the night and going to a packed theatre where everyone is ecstatic about the film. My dad, the movie buff, always took us to midnight showings and it's a cultural thing that I truly miss. So when The Hunger Games recently released and my Facebook feed exploded with, "THE HUNGER GAMMMEEESSSSS!!!!" status updates, I got a case of the homesick blues.

Sometime in February, I saw a advertisement for The Hunger Games and saw that it would be a worldwide release, which meant that for the second time (first being Harry Potter), I wouldn't have to wait several painstaking weeks to see a blockbuster that all my North American friends were raving about. I promptly told Alvaro, "Make no plans for that weekend, we're going."

A new cultural experience I have had since moving into my new place is shopping for furniture. It's an unfurnished apartment, so I have had the luxury of picking out the perfect bed just for me. We found a bed from some furniture market and negotiated with a salesman named Freddy (pronounced in Spanish). We set the delivery for 3pm on the Saturday of our Hunger Games viewing.

Freddy called Saturday morning and said he would be a little later and would be at the apartment at 6pm. We had already purchased movie tickets for 8pm, but I was confident we could make it in time. We were at my apartment at 5:45, no Freddy. 6pm, no Freddy. 6:30, no Freddy. 7pm, no Freddy.

Finally, at 7pm I told Alvaro, we are leaving now. "What?" he asked, "But what if he comes?"

"I don't care," I said, "I'm not missing The Hunger Games to wait for no show Freddy."

So we left. Freddy finally called on our way to the theatre and told us the bed was "just delivered to the market". He offered to deliver it that evening but under no circumstances was I going to sacrifice The Hunger Games for this bed. We rearranged the delivery for the following afternoon. We continued on to the theatre and I was clearly the most excited person in the theatre. It seems that not many Peruvians had read the book. And unfortunately no one came dressed as Katniss nor Capitol residents. I'll just have to wait for Catching Fire for the real fan experience.

The movie was amazing, meeting all my expectations. That night I happily slept on my mattress on the floor, dreaming of my epic performance as tribute.

The Panic

After an emotionally draining two months, everything has finally settled.

In February, after I came back from my extended trip to the States, life in Peru was a whirlwind of emotions. Shortly after arriving home, my American roommate told me that she would be going back to the States much earlier than expected, but by no fault of her own. Unfortunately, the program she came to work for simply wasn't working out and for a multitude of emotional, personal, financial and sanity reasons, she chose to go home. If I were in her situation I would have done the same thing.

But this news installed sheer panic in me. For nearly 10 days I agonized over what to do.

Option #1: Stay in Peru and find a new apartment, struggle to make ends meet, move once again, be lonely, fight transportation and homesickness. But be close to Alvaro.

Option #2: Go back to the States and go to grad school, be close to my parents, be close to my friends, revel in Southern culture, speak English, save a bunch of money and beginning making steps to recreate my life in the States. Oh, and be away from Alvaro.

I cried and cried and fought and thought and cried some more. I had endless Skype conversations with my dad. One of those ended in me being very upset and screaming, "Just tell me what to do!!" To which he calmly replied, "Meghan, as a good father, I can not do that." Hmph, parental logic.

So I made the decision. I would leave Peru. I quit my job but that was the only step I took towards going home. I didn't buy a plane ticket. I didn't talk to my landlady. The only thing I did was blame a "complicated immigration process" on my obvious procrastination.

When I resigned, my boss requested that I come in for one week at the beginning of the school year until my replacement was hired. Ten days later I went back to work. Early Monday morning he said, "Good news! We found your replacement!" but for some reason all I could respond with was:

"I'm having second thoughts."

He told me that my job was already offered to someone else so morally, he had to give it to her. However, there might be another option. "Check back with me at the end of the day," he said.

Word began to spend among the teachers that I was going back to the States. Immediately I received numerous offers to help with finding an apartment. I was overwhelmed by the help and support my school community offered to me and before the end of the first day, I knew I wanted to stay.

On Tuesday, I met with my boss and he offered me another job. By Tuesday afternoon, another teacher had found a place for me to live. All of the pieces fell into place, it was the perfect sign that I needed to stay. On Monday at 11am, it was publicly announced that I would be going back to the States. On Tuesday at 3pm, I made the decision to stay.

As my decision settled, I realized that staying is what I wanted all along. I chose to leave based on rational decisions (finances, convenience, etc.) but didn't give any real thought to my emotions. When I told my dad that I had decided to stay he said, "I had a feeling that you would make the decision." Of course, my dad always knows best. It just took me a little longer to see it.