Cultural Exchange / Food. / Good Times / Study Abroad

Midterms and Birthdays

So, last week was busy. And then this week just sort of happened before I realized what was going on…

Hence another gap in posts. Whoopsies! Guess I owe you guys something of a re-cap, hmm? Especially since it was a rather big week!

I briefly touched on midterms in my last post–mostly just to complain. As I do. 🙂 Anyway, I only had two–Monday was my midterm in my Social Reality of Peru class (which is more or less like the “history of Peru and how it became the modern state it is today in all of its vast complexity”), which is the class I previously did so horribly in for our first test. Naturally, I was freaking out about this midterm, and once again was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to finish all of the readings, much less actually go back and RE-read them to study. I didn’t end up finishing about 2-3 chapters of about a thousand of the assigned readings, so overall I felt like I accomplished quite a bit. Also, I can GENUINELY say that I found the subject matter (aka Peruvian history) of all of those assignments quite interesting and I learned SO MUCH. However, when push came to shove I still didn’t feel as confident as I would like to going into the exam given that I just never seem to have enough time to ‘finish’ studying. (As if that’s a thing.) I did, however, study for about 12 hours straight 3 days in a row. Lots of coffee, kids. Lots.

Unfortunately, the exam was still difficult. I felt like the professor’s questions were just AMBIGUOUS and HUGE. For example, if he had asked me to write about the key points of the War of the Pacific and it’s aftereffects on Peruvian society or economy…I could have done it. Instead, he asks questions about why Peru didn’t have a solid identity for the first ONE HUNDRED YEARS of it’s existence as a republic.

Dude. That is a LOT of material. (If you know a little about Peruvian history, you will understand what I mean.) The other questions were equally as big…I’m just not sure what specific topics he wants me to write about, even though I know so much that happened. Frustrating. Anyway, still waiting for that grade to come back–given how tough he was last time, I’m not expecting great things…but hopefully better things? Maybe?

My other midterm was for my Andean Archaeology class. The first test in that class presented me with a 100%, so I kind of was less worried about it and put off studying for it in order to try and salvage my grade in my other class. Unfortunately, this exam was Tuesday…the day after. Meaning I had very little time to study…and I had NOT finished some of the more recent readings for the class–which we actually hadn’t even TALKED about in class, but the AI swore they would be very important on the test. So…I was trying to read several hundred pages about Peruvian lithics and fight sleep simultaneously. Sleep won. Cue Becky hating herself in the morning, cramming and reading anything possible on the micro on the way to the university. Enter classroom. Open test booklet.

One question.

Question is about the trip the class took to the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru…the weekend that I went to Arequipa.

Obviously, I felt horribly betrayed. I had actually ASKED the professor if it would be alright if I missed the trip, to which he had responded that it was quite alright and that I should see Peru while I was here. (I love this professor, by the way.) Luckily part of the question was about how the museum pertained to one of the readings I HAD done for the class, so I wrote a nice small-sized-handwriting 3.5 page summary of those readings…and then at the end a note asking the professor if there were anything I could do to make amends for the horrible midterm and apologizing for not actually answering the question presented.

Obviously I left this exam feeling rather low. The good news is that I got that midterm back on Tuesday of this week, and the professor wrote a note back saying not to worry about it and that the summary I wrote showed that I had clearly understood the material/class discussions. He gave me another 100%.

Told you I liked that guy.

Moving on to Wednesday, no midterm but I had to write a review for an ethnography of my choice for my class on Ethnicities and Minorities. I didn’t get to finish the ethnography I had picked, but read enough to scribble out a decent amount of semi-coherent pages. Not really my best work, but I was kind of defeated at that point due to the midterm shenanigans. After that class Wednesday night…I pretty much went home and just flopped.

HOWEVER. I had big plans for the weekend. Sunday, little children, was my birthday! And during midterms weeks here, normal classes are cancelled, which meant that I had a FOUR DAY WEEKEND in which to celebrate. I chose to do so by relaxing and unwinding from the stress of the previous two weeks of studying and dealing with issues at my university back home. Thursday I went out to a rather hoity-toity club with my Norwegian friend, and a varied crowd of HER friends including one visitor from Norway who was just there for the week (hence the party.) It was lovely to be able to meet even more people, although I’m still not really a huge fan of the club we went to. It was in Larcomar and has a reputation for being a little racist, though obviously being foreigners this was not a problem for us. But, I got to dance and cut loose, and I really liked all of the people, so ’twas a good time!

All purdied up and ready to go out for the first time in a million years!

Friday I relaxed, watching movies on my computer, diddling around on the internet, doing homework at a VERY leisurely pace, anddddd….shopped.

For a new dress. And shoes. Happy birthday to me.  Why, you ask? Because Saturday night was probably the fanciest shindig I will go to all semester. As I have mentioned, I have a few friends here who attend other universities, one from Indonesia, & one from Germany (also one from Hungary, but he was absent for this event). Saturday was my German friend’s birthday. Sunday, obviously, was mine. Saturday, his swanky private university (“El Pacífico”) was also throwing a HUGE party for its students to celebrate the end of midterms…because apparently universities do that here, and apparently their university is one of the richest in Lima…and therefore Peru. So my friends snagged me a ticket (and one for a friend of mine as well, although she ended up feeling ill and not being able to come), I bought a fancy new outfit, we went out to eat at T.G.I Friday’s (birthday boy’s choice, he was tired of Peruvian cuisine apparently) and then we hopped a taxi to go to the party.

Beautiful Indonesian friend y yo! 🙂

Which, by the way, was held in a private villa/mansion rented out by their university about 40 minutes outside of Lima.

Talk. About. Swag.

Pretty swanky if you ask me. And yes, clearly, ALL of these people came out JUST to celebrate my birthday.

This event was EXTREMELY fancy for something a university put on, in my opinion. Huge dance floor, free drinks (however, entry was 55 Soles, so…fair.) all night long, crazy changing lights, photo booth, etc etc. There was even a place to buy what looked like solid hang-over/prevention food (aka carbohydrates galore) if you needed it, but I never ventured that direction. Literally HUNDREDS of students attended–if everyone who replied with “attending” on the Facebook event actually showed up, it would be over 1,000…but if that many people did come, obviously it was not all at once. I was originally afraid I was too overdressed…but nope. New black cocktail dress blended RIGHT in with those high-class Peruvians. And my friends managed to get us tickets for the ‘VIP Lounge’ which basically guaranteed a fancy area to sit/drink in and a better selection of beverages. Plus the photo booth. I spent a lot of the night getting to know another exchange student from Mexico who ended up taking my friend’s ticket when she felt ill, and absolutely adored her so I hope I get to see her again soon. She was extremely fun to talk to and dance with, and as she was also not a student from El Pacífico it was nice to have someone with me when my other two friends wanted to go socialize with their classmates a bit more. We also rather enjoyed the free endless drinks, although I will go ahead and say they were quite weak until the end of the night. (Perhaps they decided they could go ahead and use more alcohol without fear of running out by then?)

VIP Lounge.

In any case, all in all it was a great night. It was just so nice to be able to go out and get fancied up and enjoy myself, meet lots of new people (albeit some rather irritatingly persistent male students from El Pacífico), etc. The two other girls decided to return home a bit early, but I stayed with my German friend until quite late…er…early? when we went home with a new acquaintance who, by some miracle, had a car and had not been drinking at all. So he delivered us safe and sound…I got home at 6:30 AM, went to sleep, got up at 9:30, and went to the gym.

Talk about a badass.

Anyway…then spent the day doing homework at Ali Baba’s, where I was excitedly awaiting lunch as it was to be another more traditional-style meal, called maqlooba, that one cannot normally order in the restaurant. It was absolutely delicious and the perfect birthday treat, even though it’s not exactly like they made it JUST for me or something. But we’ll pretend so. 😉

Ma2looba (Maqlooba) freshly made… ❤

I wrapped up my birthday deliciously–my American friend with whom I went to Arequipa and I decided to have a birthday dessert together, then bought chocolate frosting/pretzels from the grocery store and snuck them into the movie theatre, along with some popcorn, to see Hotel Transylvannia. In Spanish, of course. (Which actually made me quite happy to realize that I was understanding the whole thing without thinking. WHEEE language skills!) For our pre-movie dessert we decided to go to the local branch of Pinkberry–yes, it exists in Peru!–simply because it was fast and sweet, and not too heavy. I got lúcuma flavored frozen yogurt, naturally (love the stuff now!) with toppings of strawberries, brownie bites and cheesecake pieces. VERY good decision–it was like getting a little bit of several of my favorite desserts! Of course I really wasn’t hungry after all of that delicious food, buuuut still managed to eat several spoonfuls of straight chocolate frosting (don’t you dare judge me) and dip pretzels into it during the movie. Along with devouring a bag of sadly butter-less popcorn. (Salt they have. Butter, not so much.) However, the movie was ADORABLE, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you should definitely go, and it was the perfect ending to my birthday weekend!

Lúcumaaaaa!!! ❤

This week has just been business as usual, minus the recent stress of upcoming exams. I have a quick breather before my next test, and in a few weeks I have recently found out my parents will be coming to visit and whisk me off to Machu Picchu at last! I AM EXCITED, PEOPLE!


Ok. Enough of me for now. Apologies for the rather hastily-written post here, I just really need to catch you all up on things in my life as fast as possible, because there’s so much more I still want to write about!

One thought on “Midterms and Birthdays

  1. Pingback: Food/Pub Review: Les Roses des Damas & The Highlander | Becky Abroad

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