If you’re self conscious, read this

We had a lovely day today, I drove mamacita linda and the kids around the Puray lagoon near Chinchero and then on to Urubamba for lunch. We love to get out of the city on weekends, the kids enjoy the countryside, the views are spectacular and frankly the best food in Cusco isn’t in Cusco, you find it in the country style restaurants “quinta campestre” outside Cusco.

Sunday mornings are always a bit of a rush when we want to go out to the country. Have to walk the dog, get the car out of its garage, get the kids ready, and so on. Our middle child wakes up early with us so I take her with me to pick up the car, she loves to ride in the car with papucho. By the way, did I tell you there’s a middle child now? Things are crazy around here with 3 little munchkins.

But I was going to tell you about being self conscious. When I cranked up the car this morning a Madonna song was on the radio. Now I’m not a fan per se but at that particular time and place I wasn’t out to intently listen to one of my favorite pieces of music, a mindless pop song was just fine for the middle child and me.

In my morning rush I had walked 5 blocks to the garage dressed in my pijamas, boots and a baseball cap. I carried my daughter on my shoulders, dodging low hanging tree limbs along the way. Then we rolled down the windows, cranked up the volume and rocked out to a Madonna song like there was no tomorrow. And no, I can’t hold a tune.

I’m belting out Madonna in my PJs, playing air-drums on the dashboard and in passing I thought, “I used to be self conscious.”

Very much so.

Many years ago I was very self conscious. There isn’t any one particular moment that I would say “I got over it” but I remember going through a bit of a hard time personally and professionally in my twenties and thinking “this isn’t supposed to happen to me“. I’m not rich or famous but in the big picture I was definitely born into a good life, a white kid from a “good family”, in a “good part of town”. Despite that I was very self conscious as a teenager and young adult.

Getting older and having kids changed me completely but long before that, when I was going through these hard times, at first I didn’t want anyone to know. I was embarrassed. I eventually realized everyone has their ups and downs, what defines you is how you deal with it. I slowly quit worrying about what people might think, I got busy pulling myself up by my proverbial bootstraps. I found strength in those days from a few people I was close to but also from some I only knew in passing.

Nowadays when our kids have an event in their school and the teachers need someone to make a fool out of, I don’t think they even ask anyone other than me. No matter how silly they know it’s all fair game with me. People who haven’t known me for 20+ years wouldn’t believe there was a time I used to be self conscious. Sometimes our thoughts dictate too much of our lives. Thankfully, I got over it.

Another expat experience

I had another one of those expat experiences last weekend. One of those moments where you go in no time from “I’m so happy to be here” to “What are these people thinking”, or vice versa.

This past Easter Sunday we decided to take a trip to Urubamba and eat Easter dinner at “Sol de Mayo”. This in itself was a big step for us. “Sol de Mayo” is one of our favorite restaurants, where you get a heaping plate of excellent typical Andean food. However, “Sol de Mayo” was also the place where Brianna decided to throw noodles on the back of an unsuspecting customer about 6 months ago, and we hadn’t been back there since 🙂

Instead of taking the traditional buses from Cuzco to Urubamba, we took one of the “fast cars”. These are simply combis (vans) that drive direct from terminal to terminal, which saves about 20 minutes or so over the traditional buses between Cuzco and Urubamba.

No matter how many times we’ve taken the trip from Cuzco to Urubamba, I still enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way:

Riding from Cuzco to Urubamba, Peru

Riding from Cuzco to Urubamba, Peru.

So we’re the proverbial fat and happy in the back of our combi, no more than about 1/4 of the way to Urubamba, when the driver pulls over to check the rear tire. No big deal, tires get damaged regularly on the winding / pothole-filled mountain roads. The driver gets back in and gets into a fairly agitated discussion with the boletera (the girl who takes bus fares). The boletera gets on her cellphone and starts an equally agitated discussion with the person on the other end of the line.

Next thing we know the combi turns around and limps back to the nearest service station. By now Patricia is mad because she overheard the driver and boletera discussing something about a problem with the tire before we left. The combi pulls into a service station and we get out.

Combi driver knew tire was bad before leaving Cuzco.

Combi has no spare tire.

Service station has no tires.

So these guys started out on a trip with a known bad tire, no spare tire, and a bunch of paying customers in the back. Oh, and the driver drove like a maniac on the flimsy tire. Only in Peru!

The boletera took off walking, never to be seen again. We waited about 15 minutes hoping that a spare tire would magically appear, but then we just hailed a taxi and went the rest of the way by taxi. Luckily the road from Cuzco to Urubamba is quite busy with numerous combis/buses/taxis, so we didn’t have to wait too long.

After that we had an uneventful trip and a wonderful Easter dinner. Brianna ran around the restaurant and generally acted like the lovely little hellraiser that she is, but at least no food got thrown at anyone 😉

Typical Peruvian food

Typical Peruvian food

Easter dinner!

Easter dinner!

Papi can smile and chew at the same time!

Papi can smile and chew at the same time!

Playing in the park after Easter dinner

Playing in the park after Easter dinner.

Plato Sol de Mayo

Patricia got hungry today, you know, nursing the baby and all…

Plato Sol de Mayo

Plato Sol de Mayo

We went to our favorite restaurant in Urubamba, “Sol de Mayo” and Patricia ordered their perennial house special, “Plato Sol de Mayo”. In case you can’t make out the details in the old cellphone picture, the plate consists of a salad with yummie white Andean cheese, a potato – which Peru claims to have invented – noodles, corn, chicken, beef, chicharron and cuy.

There are a lot of places where you can enjoy typical Andean food, but if you’re in Urubamba I highly recommend “Sol de Mayo”. It’s located only 3 blocks right behind the main bus terminal in Urubamba, it’s not overpriced or touristy, and you definitely won’t leave hungry!