Student Exchange is a whole lot of fun.
The new culture and different people you meet are amazing.

I love it here.
I now can understand majority and have been trying hard to speak a lot more.
It is dodgy spanish, but the more I practise the better it gets.

July was the first month that I actually set out on a big adventure to see some of the most amazing places and features of the world. The first two weeks of the month were pretty slack; I spent my time mainly thinking about HOLIDAYS and an amazing travel to one of the ancient wonders of the world. July was a big month because not only did I get the opportunity to travel also I got to celebrate the Mundial, Independence Day, fiesta familiar and many birthdays with all of my friends and family.

This month in particular is really big for Peru as they celebrate their independence on the 28th of July and of course the Soccer World Cup. This means that for the whole entire month everybody gets into their patriotic spirit and each wear a badge which symbolizes Peru. In my school in particular there was pretty strict discipline if you did not wear it. I unfortunately did spend quite a bit of money because every day you forgot you had to buy a new one at the school canteen. My jacket is going to be mostly full of these I think. (Still no other exchange students!)

Peru may not have made it into the World Cup but they still showed their support for the continent. The final was not as exciting as it could have been as each of the South American teams were knocked out one by one but it was still a fun afternoon. A big crew all went to a mates home to celebrate in style with pizza and of course a few easy bets! I cleaned up a bit of cash because ESPANA after what felt like a lifetime finally won!! It was a really good day and an even better way to start the week.

Not long after the world cup Darren arrived, we could finally start planning an awesome trip. Within three days of his arrival we set of to Colca Canon, one of the deepest canons in the world. It was so amazing, every angle is picture perfect. Also there is a huge bird which lives in the canon, the condor which you have to be extremely lucky to see. We had luck our way because just as we were about to leave one flew up out of nowhere. It’s hard to say but at times on the journey down into the canon, I wished I just stayed up top to enjoy the view. It was long, hot and a horrible walk which seemed endless at the time, every time you got around one corner another just kept popping up. Of course the boys just kept going and going and there was no way I was going to get left behind. Finally towards the end when I could just feel the skin peeling of my feet, I could see the oasis below. That’s all I kept thinking of, you can do it, imagine how prime that is going to be. It was definitely worth it; as soon as we hit the bottom we chucked on some swimmers and jumped straight into the pool (I hadn´t put my board shorts on for a long time and I wish I didn´t because those babies have definitely shrunk in the wash). I should have thought about it a little more because I jumped in and it was freezing and so nice, and then I could feel my blisters stingy like hell. What usually is a 4 hour walk we completed in just under two hours. The rest of the afternoon we spent chilling playing cards, volleyball and laughing at the poor other American girls (Jono brought over with him from the states). They finally made it down after four and a half hours and were angry! They refused to eat the food and didn’t talk for at least another few hours. Afterwards though it was all sweet and funny. I think the best part was definitely the climb up again. The boys journeyed on foot, crazy I think. Us girls hardly able to walk got to climb up on mules. It was so freaking awesome, I have a new respect for those animals because wow it was a big climb. They seemed to know exactly where to go. It was so funny because when you are walking on the track and a donkey or mule is coming you really need to move out the way because they can just knock you down and even scarier of the track. As we were climbing up, one man from I am pretty sure the states went psycho when we passed. One of the mules hit him a little because he didn’t move of the track and he went ballistic, seriously. He hit the mule shouting at it, why did you do that. Jajaja, it was so funny, then he is like you think just because you guys are on mules we have to move for you, and he full on got right up into the owners face. Crazy fella. Towards the top we met up with the boys again, who were pretty knackered. It was a really good experience to go down Colca because it is just amazing. I am so glad I did the journey but even gladder I didn’t sign up for the three day hike because there is no way I could have done more walking.

It took a few days to recover from Colca but on the Sunday after my school put on a massive celebration called fiesta familiar. It is a day full of entertainment, food, conversation and more. Each grade practises for a good month on a performance, either music or dance. I unfortunately could not participate because I just looked like a retard dancing with my feet full of blisters. My sister had to dance right in the front row in front of everybody. She was really good, she loves getting into music and dance. Performance mainly, almost every night we sit at the computer singing and dancing to a different song it’s really funny.

To make everything even more jam packed the next day we were all of to Puno. Jonathan thought it would be funny to tell me to come at 5 in the morning to leave. Of course, this is Peru and we did not end up leaving until like 8 in the morning. I was pretty annoyed! It took around 8 hours of driving before we hit Puno. The drive is amazing; on the way the landscape is just breathtaking, there are rugged mountain ranges, then green hill tops, little huts, amazing lakes and rivers, Micullas (national animal of Peru), llamas, and so much more I cannot explain. There was this one place along the way; where there is just this massive lake, at first I was like is that Lake Titicaca, but no. We stopped wherever we could for photos, at the altitude signs, llama signs, lakes, mountains. Finally in Puno, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and set off for Lake Titicaca. It is seriously so massive and beautiful, there are like islands in the middle of the lake where people live on top of reed which floats on the lake. It is so impressive how they are built, when you walk across the top it just feels like you are going to fall in but it is built to well for this to happen. There are huge boats also made out of this reed, and all the people on the islands are so so nice. It is really an amazing tradition they have there. There is even a little school in the middle of the Lake. We spent the afternoon on a boat cruise around the Lake, and when we returned we all froze our bums off. It was seriously ridiculous. I had like two jumpers, tights under jeans, scarfs, and was still cold. After Puno we began driving to Cuzco, one of the best places in Peru. You know when you are entering Cuzco because everything around you changes so suddenly. It is green and there are trees everywhere. Cuzco is just one of those places in the world you have to go to. It is full of tourism which does let it down a little but also full of amazing archaeological sights and of course home to Machu Picchu. We took a train to the bottom of Machu Picchu and a bus to the top. The first sight is just words cannot explain. Once you are walking around, see the famous view it may seem silly but you just feel different. It is remarkable. After the tour we relaxed playing cards at Machu Picchu, we were sitting in a group and I was eating a banana and this llama full on came straight in the middle of our circle ate my banana and let us take some close photos it was great. After about six days travel we finally returned back to Arequipa. There is just always a sense of happiness when you enter Arequipa and see those three volcanoes. You always know you are home then.

To end the month on the 28th of July, Independence Day I returned back to Colca with my friends to celebrate. Of course this time there was just no time to go down the Canon but I got to know some of the smaller towns a little better. It was really an awesome trip; we had a whole bus full and booked for two days. We danced the night away to traditional music and salsa. Finally I have learnt a little more than spinning and twirling.

Of course you always end a great month with a bang. For the last week I have been dying of illness. My last week of holidays and I have snot pouring from the head and cough that would scare anyone away from me. But to be honest it is all worth it because I have had one of the best adventures of my life. I cannot wait to return to Cuzco.