Hello everyone, it is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to write on Tammy’s blog. I am aware that many of you,her readers, come from different cultures. But what amazes me is to know that no matter where we come from we can all communicate in the same divine language of love. I will share with you a little bit of my culture and my family.

I apologize in advance for any flaws you can find in my writing. English is my second language and I am still trying to perfect it.

I am originally from Peru, a country located in South America. I was born in the south of Peru, In a town called Huancayo,somewhere in the Andes mountains. My country is characterized by maintaining traditions that go back to the beginning of the Pre-Incas culture and today I would like to share with all of you a little bit about our Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions.

For Christmas, unlike other places, we eat dinner on the 24th at midnight. Our dinner consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and other dishes that go along with dinner. It is also a custom to have some homemade hot chocolate and a Christmas cake called “paneton”. Kids open their gifts right after dinner.Then we usually go to visit the rest of our family. On the 25th many small towns have dances and traditional food celebrating that baby Jesus is born. We like to go to the countryside and see the different celebrations in small towns.

For New Year’s eve, right at midnight,we also have some different traditions such us eating twelve grapes under a table. A person has to make a wish for each grape he/she eats. Also some people run around the house with suitcases, by doing this people believe they will be traveling and visiting places all year long. We also eat dinner and some families stay up all night celebrating. On the next day, just like for Christmas, people visit the countryside looking for some peaceful time with the family or visit small towns to see some traditional dances.

dancing one

A traditional dance, Las Azucenas, performed on Christmas Day in the countryside.

new years eve peru

My sister, me, my brother-in-law, mother, and Evan on New Year’s Eve eating grpes  Me eating grapes under the table on New Year’s Eve 🙂dancing two

A traditional dance, La Guaconada, performed on New Year’s Day in the countryside of another town. playing games peru Evan playing games with my niece and nephew.  They fell in love with Evan.

I wanted to tell you quickly about the pictures Tammy posted in her writing about Peru.

The picture of Evan and my mom was taken at the ruins of Wariwilca, an old temple about fifteen minutes from my hometown.

The next picture is a church located on top of a hill called El Cerrito de la libertad, which means Hill of Freedom.  There is a park all around this church as well as a zoo and theater. 

The train is traveling in between Lima and Huancayo.  This train carries cargo but there are several trains for people to take from town to town when needed although the main means of transportation is the bus.  Many people in Peru use taxis or bicycles or even walk instead of having cars because of the cost and because most things are located closer together than in America.

The next picture is lake somewhere between the coast and the highlands with part of the Andes Mountains in the background.

The next picture is me walking through the same ruins pictured shown with my mom and Evan.

The next picture is me and Evan at the mall located right in front of the beach of the Pacific Ocean.

The blue cathedral is located in Lima, the capitol of Peru.

The sunset picture was taken from a restaurant window in Lima looking out into the Pacific Ocean.

Tammy wanted me to show a picture of the waves while we were in Lima.  Normally, that beach has very calm waves.  However, there was an earthquake in Chile on January 2nd causing the waves to be unusually high.  We were told the temperature of the ocean actually dropped two degrees because of the earthquake.

peru ocean wave Here is a picture of Evan looking out over the countryside.

peru view from mountain Another special memory was watching my uncle trying to teach Evan to play a song using only the leaf from a eucalyptus tree.

peru leaf music two peru leaf music

This year, I was very fortunate to be able to go home for Christmas and New Year’s.  After six years, I was finally able to go and see all my family. On this trip I realized that even though these times of the year can be full of traditions that could vary from place to place, the true meaning lays in one’s heart appreciating what we have in our life. I am not talking about the amount of presents we get or places we get to visit, what I mean is to appreciate life as it is, to be grateful for everything that crosses our paths whether those are difficult or happy times.

Thank you for taking the time to read these words. Grateful for this time to talk to you, Maria.