Bilingual is Better

My son contemplating the Pacific Ocean

One week. That’s how long we’ve been here already. We’ve done so much, yet it feels like such a short time. Our trip back to my home is almost over.

When I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how to start this post my husband promptly responded “with the food!” Because, yes, we’ve been eating like there is no tomorrow. Peruvian food is one of the things I miss the most and so we’ve been doing a lot of eating. Most people — who know anything about food — associate Peruvian food with ceviche. After all, this is where this sumptuous dish was born. While it’s usually one of the first things I eat upon landing, there is a whole lot more to Peruvian cuisine than our infamous ceviche.

My first ceviche

My children got their first taste of one of my all-time childhood favorites: vasito de helado de lúcuma, which is basically vanilla and lúcuma ice cream in a small cup. We bought it from the heladero at the ocean side park we went to our first afternoon here.

Going there was a treat for us in every sense. First, it was awesome to see my daughter interact in Spanish with the other children at the park. She had absolutely no issues whatsoever. In fact, when she saw a little girl playing on a see-saw with her dad and realized one of the seats was empty, she came up to them and asked: “Señor, ¿puedo jugar con ustedes?” Shy she is not. I was very impressed.

Second, we got to experience the most amazing sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. A little welcome home gift of sorts. I could try to describe with words what our eyes feasted on, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Finally, I got to share a bunch of stories with my daughter about my childhood in Lima. That’s how we ended up eating a vasito  de lúcuma because as soon as I heard the heladero‘s horn, I ran out to get him like the child I once was, my daughter right behind me.

But while the food has been a huge part of our trip, the most gratifying one has been seeing my children spend time with la familia. I’ve truly enjoyed seeing my children interact with my 95-year-old abuelita. It think this part has been priceless. Vanessa has spent endless hours playing en español with her three cousins aged 11, 8 and 3. There have been no schedules, no rules, no curfews. It’s been all play all the time. My daughter has stayed up late so she could play with her cousins and I’ve allowed it because their laughter is contagious. If you saw them together, you’d think they’ve grown up together when, in reality, they’ve only seen each other three times!

Vanessa with her cousins

We still have a few days left before we return to Denver and they’re going to be packed! As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re celebrating both my godson’s birthday and my birthday while we’re here. I promise to share at least one more post with the rest of our trip, including my daughter’s observations.

In the meantime, this trip has completely convinced me how important it is for my family to make the effort to travel both to Peru and to Puerto Rico on as regular a basis as possible. I already now that the bonds (family, culture, language) created these last seven days will last a lifetime, but I want to make sure I continue to nurture them!

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