So our plane was delayed and we ended up getting to the retreat center in Chaclacayo at 2 am. I was groggy as we stepped off the bus and I was faintly aware of the smell of burning leaves, cold air, and thick fog. As we walked into the center we passed a dog... wearing a tattered t-shirt?... the whole thing felt so surreal. I snapped a photo as the gate squeaked shut behind us.
The first days of training have been long and exhausting. We spent a lot of time sitting through presentations about what we would be learning later. I suppose the extremely structured schedule is so that we don't have time to freak out about our 2 year commitment. Personally I feel great to be here and I am chomping at the bit to get things rolling.
One of the more interesting things we have done during training is something they call "Mission Impossible." Elke (an advanced speaker and pictured below) and I went around my community of Chacrasana and asked shop owners, community members, teachers, and kids about the area. This forced us to be social - get messy and make mistakes. It was a lot of fun and it resulted in quite a few people recognizing me in the streets. It is great practice for when I arrive in my smaller site and need to integrate into my new home. We then had to use a local pay phone and call the training center to get the password to enter the next day. We, however had a bad connection and could not hear the password. The next day I had to explain all this for about 5 minutes until the tech trainer had pity and let me pass.
Everything is great here. I am having a blast and working hard. I can't wait to get out of Chaclacayo and see a bit more of Peru but I guess I need to remember that I have a very long time to do all that... as they say here "Poco a poco."