me llamo Carter Suzanne Grant! I mentioned my middle name because I am often
confused for a boy, due to mi nombre.
Primero, meet me. I was born in the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. My
family and I moved around a bit (Ohio and Colorado), and then settled down
in St. Johns Florida eight years ago. I am a Presbyterian, and active in my
church, Geneva. In addition to attending church religiously, I am in youth
group there and help teach classes for children.
I am very academically inclined and a tenth-grader in the International
Baccalaureate program (IB) at Nease High School. Me encanta biología, and
would love to work in the field of plant genetics for a living.
In my spare time, I play tennis and spend time with my family. I have one
sibling, mi hermano pequeño, Jarrett, and two amazing padres, Adrienne and
Kevin. I am very thankful that my family members (immediate and extended)
are so supportive of my international endeavors.
Also, I love to travel and meet new people, so this program is perfect
for me. I got a little taste of international travel when I visited Europe
this past summer.
You might be wondering why I am writing this short autobiography with
Spanish words mixed in- I am because I will be going to the exotic land of
Peru next year!
Before I became interested in this program, I didn’t know very much about
Peru. However, the more I research, the more excited I get! Now that I am
learning about the country, I am psyched to actually see it all!If I can, I
would love to see: Machu Picchu(one of the new seven wonders), Lake
Titicaca, and the Nazca Lines.
I would like to thank Rotary for this incredible opportunity. I cannot
wait to begin on my adventure.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I’ve been living here in Lima for about ten weeks now, and I am having
the hardest time starting this journal entry…. I’m trying to think back to
when I got here, about my first impressions. Which is a hard thing to do,
because they seem normal to me now. But, I’ll try!
So, when I got off of the plane on my first day (2:00 AM on July 29th) I
was met by a crowd of Peruvians- my family, my counselor, my host club
president and his family, my district president, and many others too. Even
though it was so late, they were very excited and greeted me with many
kisses on the cheeks. Like many other South American countries, a kiss on
the cheek is how you greet people. It was sort of challenging for me at
first, because I have never been one for PDA. But now I am used to it, and I
like that part of the culture. Peruvians definitely seem to be more warm
When I arrived, we were on vacation, so I didn’t start going to school
until about my third week. My two host siblings also go to my school,
Colegio Santa Rosa. It is a Catholic school, and my uniform involves a plaid
skirt and tie. It sounds weird, but I really like having a uniform! I’ve
never been a big fan of shopping, trying on, or deciding on what clothes to
wear. So, I don’t have to worry about that 5 out of the 7 days of the week!
Someone once said that writing just shows us how messy and unorganized
our minds are. This is definitely the case with me, and as I am writing this
there a thousand thoughts and memories running through my head. I would like
to tell all of my readers (really just my parents and grandparents,
probably!) everything. But, I’m leaving to go on my trip to Machu Picchu in
an hour and I don’t have very much time. Speaking of trips, I have at least
five planned with Rotary during my exchange year, so if you like awesome
trips- Peru is definitely for you!
When I last submitted a journal, I was getting ready to go on my
Cuzco/Puno trip with Rotary. So I’ll start off with that.
Peru (apart from the giant metropolis that is Lima) is a beautiful country
with a varied landscape and I’m happy that I’ve been able to see so much of
it. I’ve traveled by bus all over Southern Peru and up the North coast. To
recount all the things I saw and did would take a long time (and we are
supposed to write more about our normal lives and not so much about trips-
sorry!), so I will let my pictures do most of the talking.
Here is a lowdown on what I've been doing. How it’s organized is sort of
We are in our summer vacation now until March, when I will be studying
gastronomy in a university in Lima called Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola
(USIL). Peru has some of the world's best chefs and Peruvians take pride in
and always talk about their food. Lima has some of the world’s cheapest and
freshest seafood, and I can say that ‘ceviche mixto’ is probably my favorite
Peruvian dish. I can’t wait to learn how to make it in university!
Dancing is a huge part of the culture here, and pretty much every town in
Peru has it’s own traditional way of dancing. I have learned the Salsa,
Samba, Scia, and Marinera. Whenever us exchange students are on a trip, we
always dance with the locals. I saw one dance in Colca (Southern Peru) that
was partly reenacting a folktale. It involved a “poisoned” orange, a scary
cloth mask, and a rope with a rock tied to the end of it. Kind of
frightening, and very Peruvian.
My family here is amazing, I have three siblings, although one is on her
exchange in Citrus, Florida right now (Joseline). My brother, Luis Miguel
(14) and my sister Fernanda (12) both go to my school too. They always help
me with my Spanish and are patient with me. I can always be my self with
them. I really couldn’t ask for a better family, and I know that I’m lucky
to have them.
Living in a big city (Lima has almost 9 million people!) is a great
experience for me, I've pretty much lived in the suburbs or in the country
my whole life before this. Before I got here, I used to think that all huge
cities were like New York City, with huge skyscrapers and a very fast- paced
way of life. I was wrong. I call it “La Hora Peruana,” or Peruvian Time. It
means that arriving to anything less than 45 minutes late is early. One
time, my brother and I arrived at a Quinceñera (a party for a girl who is
turning fifteen, it is very important in Latin American culture) over an
hour after the time stated on the invitation, we were the first ones there
and they were still people setting up for the party!
Rotary here is very involved with my life here, and I go to their meetings
with my family every Wednesday, and I already feel close to all of the
Rotarians. Peru is a third world country, so there is a lot of poverty and
so forth. With Rotary, I have been to the poorer parts of the country and
volunteered. The last time that we helped was the week before Christmas, and
we handed out presents and food to families in the outskirts of Lima. This
thought brings me to another point… la Navidad!
Peru is around 80% Catholic, and celebrating Christmas is a huge deal down
here. Christmas Eve is much more important than the actual 25th. We stayed
up until midnight on the 24th, and then we ate turkey, rice, and Paneton.
After eating, we opened presents (I got a watch!) and then stayed up until 6
AM or so. The entire next day we just rested and went to church. My parents
might be hurt from what is coming next (sorry!), but I wasn’t very homesick
over the holidays. I truly had a great time, just hanging out with my host
Well, in short, I'm having a fabulous time here, and I am so happy that I
decided to make the decision to spend a year in Peru! I feel like a part of
my host family, and I rarely have trouble with the language anymore. Now, I
know my way around Lima and I can use public transportation with ease. I
really feel like I fully understand Peruvian culture. The only sad part is
that I am more than halfway done with my exchange now. I only have about 5
months left to enjoy Peru, and I plan to make the best of them!