Who are you?
My name is Amy Brown and I an almost 30 year old American immigrant to Peru.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Peru in 2010 because I was looking to teach English and return to the Andes mountains for an adventure. I fell in love with the sierra after studying abroad in Ecuador in 2008. I was not sure about going to grad school and I had the traveler’s itch.I wanted to explore and take every chance I could get to have an adventure. I started with a job teaching English and ended up teaching violin exclusively for a year and a half before moving to Lima with my husband who I met while teaching English in Cusco.
What challenges did you face during the move?
I can honestly say the challenges were few. I majored in Spanish in college so I was able to get around and converse pretty easily. I had more difficulty moving to Lima from Cusco because instead of moving for fun and adventure, I was moving to a new city due to my husband’s work. The challenges were typical of moving from a smaller town to a big city. Everything was faster, louder and much more chaotic. Safety was a big concern of mine but I learned be attentive to my surroundings and where I keep my belongings.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Yes, there are many expats and there are many expat groups and networks. Peru has an incredibly high number of expats from all over the world living here. There is an expats mom group that has been a fantastic resource since having my daughter.
What do you like about life where you are?
I appreciate how close I am to the Metropolitano, Lima’s best public transportation option. I also like being very close to Barranco, a wonderfully artsy district that has a small town feel like Cusco. (Have you guessed that I like Cusco more than Lima?) I also really enjoy that my current apartment is located inside a gated community that has lots of green space, something that Lima lacks in general.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
I miss my family and even more now that I have a daughter. Skype is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch but nothing beats physically having family around. My solace is that if I was living in the States, there is no guarantee that I would be living close to my parents or immediate family depending on the job I had.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Drivers. Drivers in Peru are in general very rude and egocentric which causes a lot of traffic. I think the fact that Peru is so informal in a lot of ways makes people feel like they have a right to get away with doing things that they know are not correct. No one is going to punish them and when they are punished with a ticket, if they don’t pay it in two years it is forgotten. What kind of message does that send?
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Be open to new ways of doing things. There are certain customs that I like to keep alive from my childhood and from my way of life in the States but on the whole I became much more comfortable after embracing Peruvian culture and the fact that I am going to be a while.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to raise my child(ren) bilingual and happy, travel and live throughout Peru with my husband who is in the Peruvian Army. I will keep writing about my adventures in raising kids here and teach English and violin too.
You can keep up to date with Amy's adventures on her blog, Wawas In Peru.