As I sit in my cell of a room (for which I'm very grateful, by the way), as the thermometer refuses to yield a digit in the 10's place lower than "8", as the humidity is undoubtedly horribly high, I am reminded of my time in Lima in summers. There was less need for sleep, which was good, because sleep was hard to come by in such heat. There was less need for food (generally), which was also good due to the fact that I wasn't able to do much most of the day.
One could be sweating going into the shower, sweat during the coldest shower the water pump could muster, and sweat anew as one stepped into new garb. Walking out of Ciudad was always such a transition. From green and brown to pretty much brown, from a bit of shade to nothing, from the smell of practically nothing (or perhaps the grass on cooler nights) to the smell of dust and exhaust and urine and trash and hot sick...and I miss both worlds. I miss the sanctuary that Ciudad offered from San Juan and Lima in general, and I miss the respite that Lima afforded me from having to be responsible for the chaos that life provided in caring for 20 or so teenagers. Some days I miss it dearly. Many of those days are days I have to walk to the grocery store and don't run into a single familiar face or don't have a conversation with a vendor that lasts more than 2 minutes. My wallet also misses Lima on those days, honestly.
Even in the chaos of Lima, even in the strangely regimented schedule of Ciudad (i.e., they had a schedule and were fairly good about keeping to it), both of which sometimes if not often served as sources of frustration, life moved at a slower pace. It was not necessarily more deliberate. It was not necessarily the best way to live. However, it was a beautiful kind of drifting pace. The craziest day was certainly stressful, but there was a legitimate release of tension in my shoulders after it was done. I breathed deeper more naturally and more often despite the terrible air quality.
And then there were the trips beyond Lima to the ponderous hills of Huánuco, the pockets of paradise in Pachacamac, the glorious sillar buildings and tropical fruits and canyons of Arequipa, the soaring heights and greenery of Cajamarca, the beautiful isolation being near Huascarán in Pueblo Libre in Ancash, the fun retreat house in San Bartolo, the neat shore of Trujillo, the less touristy shore of Chiclayo...
Just like there are songs that remind us of certain times in our life, like that summer anthem or the "theme" of a couple's beginnings, there are some songs that just immediately remind me of my time in Peru. To hear the insistent but patient beat of certain Latin music, to hear Andean instrumental music, is to serenade me. To play them and understand their beauty after hearing me rant about these places for hours and to come to a better understanding of my experience and what it meant and means to me is to win my heart, possibly.