On Saturday was my host sister’s Fiesta de promoción, which is pretty much like high school graduation and prom all rolled into one. The promoción took place in Chilete, a town about 20 minutes from Magdalena, where my host sister lives with her two aunts and attends school.

We arrived in Chilete around 3 pm and hung out at the aunt’s house until about 10 pm when it was time to go to the party. Once at the promoción we anxiously awaited dinner which, to my dismay, wasn’t served until about 1 am.

We spent the night talking, dancing cumbia, huayno, and salsa, as well as watching all the high school students get down on the dance floor to “Mueve el toto”, multiple times. By the time 4:30 am rolled around I was ready for bed so decided to leave “early” and headed back to the aunt’s house to get some sleep.

The next day at breakfast everyone was talking about how “La Sarita” was dancing huayno (traditional Peruvian dance) and they thought it was the funniest thing ever. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. After breakfast, I took a much needed siesta and then we headed back to Magdalena.


That night, around midnight, I was in my room getting ready for bed when all the sudden my 4 -year-old host niece bursts in the door and shouts,

“what are you doing Sarrrita??!”

“Getting ready for bed, and what are you doing?” I responded.

“I came to see yoooou!” she laughs.

We talked for a bit and then I walked her back to her house where we ran into her mom outside.

“Come inside, its time for bed!” her mom scolds.

To which my host niece responds, “not uhhhh! I’m sleeping with Sarrita tonight!” “Alright but not unless you practice your song” (she had a school performance that week in which she would be singing).

So she took a deep breath and began: “We wif you a Merry Christmas….and a happy new yurrrrr!”

Her mom then looks at me and said, “is that OK? Is your bed big enough?”

I looked at my host niece who was looking back up at me with a big grin on her face. I obviously couldn’t say no and the mom had already said yes so said “Yes, that’s fine” and off we went, pink princess toothbrush and chicha morada toothpaste in hand.

We watched the first 5 minutes of Edward Scissorhands until she announced how boring it was so I put on Mulan instead. Not long after my host brother had also joined the party and asked to sleep in my room as well. Again, I couldn’t say no.

20 minutes later they were both was fast asleep and I was not far behind. When I woke up the next morning my host niece has holding my hand. It was the sweetest thing ever.


On Tuesday I went to Cajamarca City to see my host niece’s Christmas/end of the year performance. My friend Richard (“Richard Obama”) came along too. I had spent about 3 hours the previous afternoon hand washing my clothes and by the time I got to my sheets I was done. So, I decided to bring the rest to the laundromat in the city. It was around 9:30 am and we had just arrived and were on our way to drop off our clothes when out of nowhere my host aunt appears. “Sarita!!” she calls. “This way!”

I told her that we were on our way to drop off our clothes at the laundromat and she said that she had a washing machine in her house that we could use. Score.

An hour later we had washed our clothes in her washing machine, hung out them out to dry, had a delicious lunch, had my hair and makeup done by the host niece, and were on our way to the host niece’s performance. A 5-minute walk later, we arrived at the school and took our seats. An hour and a half later the show began and about 20 4 and 5-year-olds wearing Santa hats paraded onto the stage. They sang “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” and then trotted off stage.

Once back in Magdalena, my host niece proudly announced to everyone “Sarita came to see me in Cajamarca”