Sorry for the wait, again. Column six. Current update: now in London town and so, so happy. It feels good here already.
I threatened to do it, and now it’s come to fruition. I’m running away. I’m packing my bags and leaving the country or, more specifically, I am leaving my problems.
It’s what I do. Run and hide, hope it will go away. Of course, it never does. Once I actually hid a phone bill from myself because it was so big I didn’t want to deal with it. Then I forgot about it and got charged a $15 late fee. Idiot. But I’ve got a good feeling this time.
Last week I was offered a one-month placement on an amazing volunteer program in Peru. I’ll be there next month.
I’m finding it difficult to convince people to take me seriously on this subject during these early stages of planning. I guess because Peru was always my backup response to any question for which I didn’t know the answer.
Montevideo is the capital of which country? Peru!
Which country hosted the 1948 Olympic Games? Peru!
Luiz Incacio Lula de Silva is the President of which country? Peru!
What’s the time? Peru!
I’m the girl who cried Peru and I’m being attacked by wolves.
Anyway, regardless of what people believe, in less than four weeks I will be in Cuzco working for a not-for-profit organisation called Peru’s Challenge. Briefly, I will be part of a small team of volunteers working towards improving child education, health and hygiene standards in the area.
I expect the placement to be a huge challenge. For starters, I don’t speak Spanish. I can say ‘buen venidos a Miami’, which means ‘welcome to Miami’ (thank you, Will Smith, circa 2001) but I’m not sure that’s going to get me far in South America.
A beginners’ course is probably a sensible idea but teaching this old dog new tricks has never gone down well. I hate being crap at stuff. But I am making an effort. I have bought myself a Latin American Spanish phrasebook but am still at the stage of trying to find phrases that make me laugh. “I can’t get it up, sorry” immediately followed by “don’t worry, I’ll do it myself” are the winners so far.
Thankfully, English will get me by in my next stop: the UK.
My stay in London, at this stage, is indefinite. I am asked daily how excited I am. My response usually falls flat. The thing is, just weeks from departure, somehow, I am not particularly excited. I know I will be, but right now I am consumed by loose ends which need tying.
I need to sell my car (Barina, anyone?), move my stuff into storage, organise immunisation, finalise my new home loan and, most importantly, work out which shoes to take.
Taking this column full circle, because I worry I won’t get everything done in time, I am spending a lot of time pretending there’s nothing to do. Will I ever learn?
I can picture departure-eve right now. After desperately convincing mum to sell my car for me, store all my stuff in her spare room and take over my mobile phone contract, I’ll start to pack.
A few days later, I arrive in Peru undie-less, but with eight pairs of heels and my iPod speakers. Priorities.