Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From Peru...

For the last few years, our friend Linda from Greenfield, MA has been traveling back and forth between New England and Peru to explore herSelf in the Andes and experience a multicultural the midst of such changing times! I envy her. Yet, I have to tell myself, I too, could choose to simply make adjustments in my life to fulfill myself, make a personal commitment and do it! I'm going to post the last few emails to share with you Linda's journey...from herSelf. Linda presents us with hope and renewal in our personal dreams and the conformation that self mastery is a personal choice available to us when we are ready to just reach for it! I hope you enjoy Linda's reflections of travel and growth as much as I did... they took me out of myself and yet posed the question within me... are you fulfilling your dreams right now? And, if not... what choice can I make, to? Enjoy Linda!

Hello once again!

I'm now living in Arequipa, a beautiful city many hours south of Lima and about 7000 feet higher. I moved here Tuesday to work on the chagas project. The project is huge, with so many different facets that there will probably be several ways for me to contribute. I spent the morning looking at a large database to see if I could come up with ways to make it useable - which was a little hard on my brain, as that is not my forte. I have a few ideas - and lots of questions. This afternoon, I'm scheduled to start work on a new counseling portion of the project, much more my "cup of tea". You can check out Arequipa,Peru on your browser and see some nice pictures. It's really quite lovely. I have a beautiful view of the volcano Misti from my bedroom window. Speaking of bedrooms - I actually have one all to myself! There are only three of us in the apartment - and a beautiful puppy. My housemates, Gabrielle and Ricardo, are delightful, and they aren't doctors.(Remember, I was living with a house full of young, partying doctors in Lima.) I plan to join a gym and start Spanish school ASAP.

I had an interesting Easter at the Plaza Mayor in Lima. There is a large cathedral there, which was of course holding an Easter service - which was attended by the president of Peru and his version of the secret service. I had a front row view and was about 2 yards from him, which was kind of fun, and I guess quite unusual. I was fascinated by the procession carrying the statue of Mary - which was on a large, pure silver base weighing a few tons, literally. 20 or 30 men were carrying it. Most were sweating profusely and shaking. They could only go a short distance at a time. They all walked in unison with a slow, swaying step. I followed for awhile, totally fascinated and somewhat moved, by the feat.

I'm enjoying my time here, and I'm appreciating the opportunity to step back from things and get a fresh perspective on life. The closer I get to the Andes and to Lake Titicaca, the easier it is to do that. I can now easily get to the lake for a week-end should i so choose - and I learned that one can actually spend a night or more with the Uros on their floating reed islands! I remember how wonderful it was to lie down on the reeds and feel the rhythm of the lake. To spend a night there would be a real gift. Hopefully I can do that before i leave.

I wish you all well
Hello once again,

I now feel like I'm in Peru! My friend Jorge, often called "Peru's premier spiritual tour guide", called last week and invited me and a friend to Lake Titicaca for the long week-end. (May 1st is Peru's Labor Day.) Katie, an American also working on the chagas project, and I headed out Friday morning. What a treat! Lake Titicaca is one of my favorite places. There is something about the energy of the lake that truly feeds my spirit. We stayed at Jorge's hotel right on the lake. It's beautiful, so chock full of collectibles that it's like staying in a museum of Andean antiquities. It's also full of plants, many of them flowering. There's a beautiful bougainvillia in the dining room. As it's not quite tourist season, we were almost the only ones there. We could see the sun rise over the lake without even sitting up in bed. I was actually up at 5:30 AM taking pictures. For those of you who know me well, you know that's most unusual!

Saturday morning we took a boat to the floating reed islands, and then on to Tequille, one of the regular islands on the lake. It was a speedy trip, but beautiful. I plan to spend a night on one of the reed islands, and a couple of nights on one of the other islands before I head back to the states in September or October. It's a different world out there. The lake looks like an ocean; the people are beautiful, healthy, and happy; it's so peaceful. The islands all seem to have ancient Incan ruins on them, mostly temples of some sort. To leave the island, we took the path that has 500 steps down to the harbor, and they aren't just ordinary steps; they're tall. My calves were so sore, i could hardly walk Monday morning.

Sunday, Jorge brought us to one of my favorite places near the lake, the Aramu Muru portal. It's a huge door cut into the side of a rock wall. When I first saw it a couple of years ago, the door was shimmering, and I felt like I could have walked right through it. Some say it's the door through which Lord Aramu Muru left this dimension for another. There are many legends surrounding Lake Titicaca, one being the Monastery of the Seven Rays - a place where the ascended masters and such come to teach. It is said that if one is meant to find it, he/she will. It supposedly began when Atlantis or Lemuria sank and the Andes were formed. The masters left the sinking island(s) and went to the Andes, amongst other places. Aramu Muru was one of them.

In the afternoon, we went to Sillustani, an ancient graveyard/initiation place of the Incas. There are structures called chulpas which were the burial places of shamans and royalty, as well as initiation chambers. I crawled into one, and found the energy inside quite compelling. It was pitch black inside. The one I crawled into is rumored to have been a portal to a nearby sacred island. Jorge said he spent the night inside once, and slept very little. Hopefully we'll get to do ceremony there at night when i travel with him in September. These ancient places really come alive in the nighttime.

I spent almost a month in Lima, which is a huge city in which everyone speaks Spanish. Now I'm living in Arequipa, which is delightful, but very much its own place. To me, the Andes are Peru. Now that I've touched in, I am reminded of why I'm here. I can be more content. My plan is to return home for 2 weeks in the summer, arriving July 1st. Then I expect to return to Peru to work here on the project until mid September or so, to travel for a few weeks, and to return home in time for my niece's wedding on October 10th, and in time for peak foliage. We'll see what happens!

Be well, be happy, and enjoy the Spring!

Love, Linda
Hello all,

I'm home today recovering from a wicked bout of tourista, so thought i would take the opportunity to touch in.

I'm enjoying Peru. It just feels good to be here. I'm currently in Lima, living in an apartment with 7 or so recent med school grads, med school students, or people applying to med school. Only 2 of my roommates are Peruvian. It's actually OK, though when I know where I'm going to be "stationed", I plan to look for my own place. i hope to know that this week. I'm doing what they call a lab rotation; each day I observe or take part in a different part of the work they do in the rather large lab Hopkins has here at a local university. Never having worked in a lab, I'm finding it kind of interesting - even though alot of it is explained in Spanish. Several brave people have actually put me to work. It takes about 45 minutes to get there by combi (small bus). Lima's traffic is a sight to see! It makes places like New York City and Boston look like child's play. It's the biggest city I've ever seen; it seems to go on forever.

I've kind of centered my interests on the chagas project which is located mostly in Arequipa, so I'm hoping to be able to relocate there. It's a beautiful Spanish city quite a ways south of here - an oasis in the middle of dirt and volcanoes. It's much more what I think of as the real Peru. There will also be a project starting on vitamin D, so I may wind up there - but I don't know where there is. Dr. Gilman (my boss) asked me how I was with altitude, so perhaps I will really be able to get out of Lima. I thrive up there in the mountains! I should probably mention that chagas is a tropical disease passed by a vector that looks like a small cockroach. It's real danger is that it often leads to serious heart complications. I have read some research papers that have given me some ideas of how to perhaps stop that process, or at least ameliorate it. Of course, those kinds of studies take a long time and cost a fair amount of money, so I may need to be content to just join in with what they're already doing. Dr. Gilman did mention looking in to what the native people do for heart disease. Sounds good to me.

I have a Spanish class shortly, so I'll sign off for now.

I hope you're well and happy!

Well folks... the blender is just for the adventures I've been able to join in these emails.

No comments: