This morning we heard some thunder... looked out the window, and no, thankfully the volcano 'El Misti' wasn't erupting! Rather, a thunderstorm was passing directly over the mountain. It moved on, revealing a fresh dusting of snow across the peak. To the average resident of Arequipa, this is all a bit ho-hum. But to us it was spectacular, and we're sure you'll agree.
Looking at this huge mountain (the summit is almost 6000 metres above sea level) every day is a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead of us. We feel daunted by the prospect of the next 12 months or so focused on learning Spanish. There will be plenty of other challenges as well, no doubt: some sickness, some frustrations dealing with the processes of a different country, adjusting to cultural differences. But learning the language will be the key to so many things -- so we have a long climb ahead of us.
We are still in our first week here in Arequipa. This afternoon we had a great time meeting and getting to know the rest of the Arequipa SIM team: food, some games, chatting. Team members shared some of the cross-cultural differences that they found particularly challenging over their time in Peru so far. It was an eye-opening and fun discussion at the same time!