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Foster finds gastronimical surprise in peru

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By John Foster

Below are excerpts from former staff writer John Foster’s blog about his adventures in Peru. Foster and his wife, Lori, left the Bluegrass state Sept. 15 and traveled to Peru where they’ll spend nine months working in an orphanage. 

Staffers of The Oldham Era were particularly moved by a photograph taken by Foster of a young boy listening to a volunteer’s iPod in a garden outside the orphanage, and the image of the boy’s toes poking through the bottom of his shoe soles. 

We’re working with the Fosters to find out if there are items like school supplies, clothing or shoes our community could donate to the orphanage, and we’ll publish information in an upcoming edition of The Oldham Era. 

To follow John’s blog, visit strikesandgutters.wordpress.com

Blindsided

posted Sept. 12, 2009

It’s strange the things that can blindside you. In most respects, today felt like a normal Friday at work, albeit one where I cleaned my desk extra hard. Really everything was going in flow until the obligatory “here, sign this paper so the corporate office has assurance we told you your 401k won’t totally disappear” form came up. Of course, I knew I needed to turn in my camera and all that, but I didn’t think about having to turn in my key.

And, unexpectedly it hit me.

“Whoa, I am really leaving,” I thought.

Again, as I came home to my apartment, I reached for my keys and they felt a little light — down one muchacho. (See, I’ve already started the annoying habit of anyone who lives abroad. We absolutely must insert Spanish words here and there, to prove that we are, or will soon be, in fact in a foreign country.)

I didn’t expect my key to be the most real feeling of the day. I guess it’s just that I’m locked out now — can’t come and go as I please. If I want to go in this place that’s been my home half my waking hours for the last four years, I have to come through the front door during business hours like anyone else. I’m an outsider now.

P.S. I’m super sorry to anyone I inadvertently Spammed to death. I clearly don’t know how to use the autoreply. I intended it to reply to anyone who tried to write me in the next few weeks. Instead, it sent one e-mail for every one any of you ever sent me. I’m a Spammer. That hurts to realize.

First Impressions

posted Sept. 16, 2009

We arrived, exhausted this morning to the tiniest airport I’ve ever seen, in Trujillo, (True He Yo) Peru. It was a long day and night of traveling, starting an hour earlier than expected.

As we looked at our tickets yesterday morning, we realized the departure time was 2:30 instead of 3:30 from Cincinnati, starting a mad rush to throw everything in our bags and get gone. A little extra stress on an already stressful trip. Poor Lori, she didn’t get to say goodbye to her dog Blue like she wanted. That was hard for her.

Just starting to meet everyone, all of whom are super friendly. Lunch was tasty. We have a nice little apartment with a sitting area, wireless Internet, bath, double bed — lap of luxury. The countryside is pretty much monochromatic – a lot of sand and concrete, compounded by the gray weather of this time of year.

Overwhelmed by varied thoughts and emotions, just trying to enjoy it and get ready to really dive in.

A gastronomical surprise

posted Sept. 19, 2009

So, the food here’s been really delicious other than yesterday’s lunch. We’ve had fish, yucca, and various vegetables in some spicy sauce on rice. Last night we went out to eat at one of the nicer restaurants around, ordered a delicious roast chicken half, salad, more fries than we could lift, a couple beers, a coke and a bottled water for less than 20 bucks. Not too bad.

But yesterday’s lunch, well… It looked like a beef stew with chunks of meat in a broth with potatoes on top of what else, rice. A little word about the potatoes — they are potato connoisseurs here, Peru being the birthplace of the potato after all. A whole aisle at the grocery store is devoted to all the varieties of potato. We have the cereal aisle, they have the potato aisle.

So, anyway, I’m diving into my lunch, hungry because breakfast consists of just a couple rolls, and notice that the meat smells just a little funny and has a little extra spring to it when I bite down. One of the other volunteers at the table says, “I thought so, this is stomach.”

Good.

I plowed my way through the rest of it, trying not to think about it much. Still, I hope it’s a while until that meal comes around again. (Later in the day update – looks like they had some left over since yesterday. It showed up again, but this time I was more prepared.)

A little FYI on the post title. Besides having a double meaning, get it, huh, huh, in English ads, they often declare restaurants to be a “Gastronomical Delight.” I think something gets lost in the translation.