Español. Lima, Peru turns 483 years old today. To celebrate, I’ve translated a blog post I wrote just days before saying good-bye to the unforgettable city after serving as an LCMS missionary there for five years. It’s a list of the eight most unforgettable things about the Ciudad de Reyes (“City of the Kings”).
- The Weather
If word got out that the average temperature in Lima is 71°, city officials would have a serious gringo infestation on their hands. Man, do I love Lima’s temperate climate, almost total lack of inclement weather, and sunshiny summers. But, Lima’s panza del burro (locals refer to the city’s grey sky that dominates the coast for a good percentage of the year as “Donkey belly”) and garua (a sea mist caused by warm winds interacting with the cool breeze from the ocean) are a different story.
- The History
There aren’t too many places in the world where you can enjoy breakfast at a multimillion-dollar shopping center carved into a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the morning, and then have lunch inside of a pre-Columbian archaeological site in the afternoon.
- The Traffic
National Geographic produced a show about the traffic in Lima called, “Don’t Drive Here.” It’s good advice, assuming you don’t enjoy a good, “holy smokarollas, that was close!” sort of adventure. I don’t think I’ll miss the optional traffic laws, overcrowded streets, or the honking horns. But, I will miss the adrenaline rush I feel every time I get behind the wheel.
- The Noises
Some of the city’s noises are kind of nice. Take, for example, the sound of waves crashing onto the shore. Others reflect the daily life of the city’s inhabitants – the whistle the mobile knife sharpener or the ice cream man (see video above). I can’t say that I’ll miss the symphony of horns honking, dogs barking, or the cobradores yelling (the fare collectors on the city’s minibuses that scream out their route).
- The Street Vendors
Where I come from, there aren’t people standing on the corner that can sell you however many Q-tips you could possibly need. There also aren’t people that keep an eye on your car while you do your shopping or someone that passes by your front door offering to sharpen your knives or scissors.
I will really miss the bread woman from the corner and snow cone lady. I can’t say I will miss the sight of children selling candy in the street or single mothers begging with their infant child strapped to their back. I’ll never forget these things….or, at least I pray that I won’t!
- The Food
If you’ve ever had Peruvian food, you won’t be surprised that Lima has been named the “Culinary Capital of South America.” The food there is out of this world!
In a previous post, I reflected on how much I missed Peruvian food during one of my trips to the States. Life just hasn’t been the same without Lomo Saltado, Ají de Gallina, and Ceviche.
- The People
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the wonderful people I was given the opportunity to meet and serve in Lima, Peru. Peruvians are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Since my first day in the country, they welcomed me into their homes with arms wide open.
They’re also some of the most diverse people in the world. On the streets of Lima, I made friends not only with people from the coast, but from the jungle and the mountains, too. The racial, socio-economic, and cultural diversity you find is one of the most valuable things on the streets of Lima! It really is a shame that not everyone recognizes it as such. The discrimination there is something I most definitely will not miss.
- Peruvian Spanish
Peru speaks the best Spanish! I will really miss the unique and creative way that Peruvians express themselves. What I won’t miss is turning red every time I have no idea what in the world someone is saying to me. “Forgive, Sir. I don’t speak Peruvian.”
LIMA, PERU is undoubtedly one of the most unique and unforgettable cities in the world. While it will be really hard to leave behind the “City of the Kings,” I keep reminding myself that this city really isn’t my home. The truth is, however, my permanent residence is not my country of origin, either.
Every child of God, whether they were born in Lima, Tokyo, California or Kenya, is really on a temporary of this world, the way we know it now. Our permanent home is the “City of the King,” the holy city, the New Jerusalem.
But don’t you worry, Lima friends. In the City of the King, there will also be the most delicious food you ever tasted. And it won’t just taste good, either. We’ll also enjoy it at the same table as the King (Revelation 19:9).
In the City of the King, there will be no grey sky to depress us. No, it “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of the God gives is light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23)
Instead of chaotic streets, they will be made of pure gold. You won’t hear sounds of horns honking, but a chorus of angels singing praises to the King. There will be no kids working on the streets, or single mothers begging, but perfect justice and peace. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.“ (Revelation 21:4)
In the “City of the King” there will be an incredible diversity of people from “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,” (Revelation 7:9). And we will all be together praising and thanking our Lord for having redeemed us from our sin and made us His children through the blood of His Son.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)