Gypsy Amy’s teachings on Peru

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Amy is great to have brunch with. But be warned. She is a food-digger.

WHO is Gypsy Amy, and why should you have to listen to what she has to say?

Amy is the friend I’ve known the longest in Peru. One of my first memories of her was after a night at a party hostel in Mancora, in northern Peru. Three of us who had been doing a TEFL course together in a nearby fishing village woke groggily as she said quite firmly, “I am never going to do anything, ever again.”

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I remember Valentines Day, when housemates Adriaan and Amy decided it would be fun to pretend to be a thing. Very cute. Too convincing.

Amy and I moved south to work at a school in Trujillo after completing the course. We became housemates for seven months, and colleagues at the same time, along with others who did the same course as us.

Amy’s read my cards with a turban on her head. We’ve had many drinks and danced with elderly Peruvians. We have been on the hunt for the perfect pizza in Peru. We have fought each other many times, often after a few beers. We’ve argued over dishes, I’ve cleaned her room and used her Netflix, and sworn at her for waking me up at midnight. We’ve procrastinated so much together, which means there’s a hell of a lot more we could have done. We’ve been to the movies to watch something in Spanish and didn’t even understand it. She dropped the popcorn.

Once we refused to speak to each other for more than a week, and we never even told each other we weren’t talking. It was only when I was drunk on a bottle of wine late one night that I forgot we weren’t talking, and the ice was broken. She is one of the bravest and gutsiest people that I know, and has in 10 months become a sister (but doesn’t replace my real and only sister). She will tell you exactly what she thinks, even if you’re not going to like it. And, so, this blog post is long overdue.

I’ve wanted Amy to give her advice about living in Peru for some time, and here it is. Amy’s exclusive voice:

 

Gypsy Amy
The cards don’t lie…

1) BE EXTRAORDINARY

Actually, you know what, my advice to people who come to Peru is to go do something out of the ordinary. Do something you haven’t done before.

There are so many things here in Peru that you can do, that you can never ever be able to do anywhere else you live (well, it depends where you live).

Go to the jungle, go to a spiritual retreat, try surfing.

 

 

 

2) AYAHUASCA

I have had a couple of beers, because it’s my last night I can drink for a couple of weeks. In two weeks I’m going to do Ayahuasca.

My advice to you is if you do go to Peru, try Ayahuasca for the first time because it’s legal here. Anywhere else it’s highly illegal. Go to the jungle, go to some Ayahuasca. Go to Cusco, go to some Ayahuasca.

I’ve done it six times. It’s my last day I can eat meat. No eggs, no coffee, no citrus. Life is going to be horrible.

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This chica loves living in the beach town of Huanchaco.

3) TAKE ON YOUR FEAR

Get out of your f–king comfort zone and do your greatest fear.

My fear when I went to Bali was the ocean, and I tried surfing. Coming here, I was terrified of Ayahuasca, and I did it.

Do something that you’re not comfortable with doing because there’s so many things you can do in Peru that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with. Go and f–king do it.

 

That’s my rant.

That’s my advice. Do Ayahuasca, or do something you have never done before, or do your greatest fear.

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When there was no house to go to…

I wrote this while rather scared in Starbucks last Saturday:

The six month lease on the apartment ended today, and I don’t exactly have a long term plan to stay anywhere. 

I woke with a hangover at 5am, and helped clear the last of the house.  Housemate Adriaan left first (to a hostel nearby), and then Amy left clutching a pot and looking tearful. Nicola and I shared a cab to her new place in Trujillo because the mall was nearby. And that’s where I am now, trying to write with dodgy internet.

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Our cheesy and almost awkward snapshot together. We have lived and worked and even studied together for eight months.

In the taxi I found 200 soles I forgot that I had, which I had put with my passport. What a win! When I left the taxi on an unusually sunny day, I walked with a backpack, my wallet, phone (with no credit), and passport. That is all. My suitcase is in my girlfriend’s room, so the sense of freedom or insecurity right now is only an illusion. I still have to go to work on Monday, and I still have relationships here. But it occurred to me that I could go anywhere I want right now. There’s a big part of me that thinks, ‘why not?’

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Party drinks at a hostel in Huanchaco that we call ‘the cheap hostel’. We used to go here a lot when we first moved here. It is now run by a French and Irish couple.

The apartment and the job has kept me grounded for six months. It’s the apartment mostly. When we first moved in I breathed a sigh of relief and in the seclusion of my room next to the garage at the back I had a place to call my own – the first moments of privacy I’d had for two months in a foreign country. We had a lounge room to watch Netflix and our kitchen. I had my own bathroom. And regular commitments to paying rent.

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My ‘Peruvian sisters have a drink.

I need the job to make money so I can live. But at some point the job took over. It became everything. I have obsessed over it teaching about world wars, the Incan Empire, and Peruvian presidents. I have tried to be the best at this job and find myself in meetings with parents, and disciplining teenagers.

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When we did our TEFL course eight months ago in Zorritos we played a game called Bullshit. Another name for it is ‘cheat’. It is about lies and deception and trying to catch others in doing it. The Joker card is the ‘wildcard’. It can really mess with a good lie detector.

What am I doing? Why am I doing it?

For  friendship. Supongo.

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“This photo sums up our friendship. You annoying the hell out of me.”