Loving life in Cusco

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Our lives are full of little girls. Between 70-100 every week to be exact. That’s a lot of names, a lot of “Profe, Profe” being said, a lot needs. It’s also a lot of smiles, hugs and kisses.

Our lives aren’t just about the girls, though they are the reason we are here. In this blog we want to share with you a glimpse into the lives of two people GSW doesn’t typically highlight: the project managers!

Kaitlyn/Kata
5:30 am, the alarm goes off and I search desperately for the snooze. Then it’s up, put the hot water on for tea and bible time, one of the best ways to start a day.

By 6:30 am I’m out the door and on my way to French lessons by 7:00am. At 8:40 I walk home and if it’s a Tuesday I pop in to a local ex pat favorite food joint “The Meeting Place” where I volunteer as a waitress/barrista. Other days of the week the few hours before work are used to catch up with friends or family on Skype or prepare for the weeks lessons.

2-3 times a week after work I hop on a combi and make my way to the “Casa de la juventud” a local sports complex where I spend several hours hanging out and bouldering with my Peruvian friends. If I am not at the gym you can find me on a run behind the local ruins of Sacsayhuaman or eating the best brownie in the world with a friend at Jack’s, another favorite restaurant in the neighborhood.

Climbing friends

Climbing friends

Every week I have also made it a goal to learn to cook something new. Some weeks it turns out great like the week I made homemade strawberry jam, or the time I attempted causa. Other weeks my creations end up in the trash. Kat’s definitely a better baker hands down.

On the weekends I try to rock climb at least one of the days with my bouldering friends. Another weekend ritual of mine is to head to “The Meeting Place” every Sunday night at 5 for an intellectual discussion on topics ranging from self identity to the role of story in our lives. Recently I have also started a photography club for a few girls at Santoni. On Saturday afternoons until the end of the semester we are meeting and I get to teach the girls about how to frame pictures and use a DSLR. The goal behind this project was to teach the girls a new skill, but also to allow them to capture the story of what is important to them as 10 year olds in their neighborhood.

10pm it’s hop into bed, read a bit and fall asleep to do it all again…and love it!

After a great meal with friends at Jacks

After a great meal with friends at Jack’s Cafe

Kat/Kati

My ideal day in Cusco starts off rising early to catch the morning sun and fresh crisp air of possibility, a morning mountain run and/or yoga practice followed by a satisfying breakfast. Breakfast is crucial, it is essential and it is one of my favorite meals of the day. Sometimes it’s best spent quiet at home in the patio, or maybe snuggled in bed, but I also find that some of the best connections are made with others over breakfast, at the start of a new day. One of my favorite things to do after a good yoga session is head to the San Blas market and order a juice and breakfast sandwich from Betty with friends. Then I am ready to take on the day.

If I’m not working for GSW, I’m most likely practicing, teaching, thinking or talking about yoga. A few days a week I teach at a local non-profit, The Healing House and also at a swanky hotel Palacio Nazarenius. Both of these locals are literally a hop, skip and a jump away from my front door, making for an easy, roll out of bed commute.

I’ve been riding solo for a while now, traveling and living from one adventure to the next, but in the last two weeks my life has adapted a new permanent, furry four-legged character. Around three in the afternoon one Saturday I was having coffee with a friend Kristina and I told her that if another opportunity passed my way to adopt a puppy, I couldn’t turn it down. Regardless of the commitment, I’m tired of spoiling other friends’ dogs with love, I want to make my own the luckiest pup in the world. Two hours later, Kaitlyn texted me and said, I just found a cute abandoned puppy on the street, would you want to adopt her? I hesitated for a moment and then jumped up to text back a most definitive YES. This little pup has now become my Nahla. She is without a doubt the most amazing perrita dinámica in the world and she is slowly becoming famous in the San Blas neighborhood.

Kati and Nahla in PIsaq

Kati and Nahla in Pisaq

On the weekend I love to take or teach a yoga class, have long lunches or dinner parties with friends and go for hikes in the mountains. Cusco, the navel of the world, has a slower pace of life, and it’s a rhythm I’ve embraced and enjoy living.

Nahla makes everyone smile!

Nahla makes everyone smile!

So that’s us. We love Cusco, we love sports, we love food, and we love friends. Don’t get us wrong, the best part of our day is the part with all the hugs, kisses, little girls and even the disciplining. We just want you to know, that the 70-100 girls aren’t the only ones being empowered through GSW and your support. Make that 72-102. We are empowered too!

Kata and Kati hiking in Pisaq

Kata and Kati hiking in Pisaq