Why I live in Peru? There is a simple answer: because I like to live in Peru. Well, that doesn’t tell you very much. You may want to know more.
I often find that it is hard for me to define exactly why I like something. And yet it is important. As in this case, I feel the need to communicate this feeling to others. I also need to understand it better myself. So here goes.
First, as a matter of context, I have had a fortunate life. I’ve lived in some of the most desirable cities in the world: San Francisco, Washington, D.C, Honolulu, Melbourne (Australia), and Los Angeles. I suppose that I could live in any of these cities again if I had the desire. However, I prefer Lima and, especially within Lima, Barranco.
So why do I choose to live in Lima? There are two contrasting reasons—I feel comfortable, and I am stimulated by a challenge.
For me, Lima is comfortable.
Why is it comfortable?
I feel safe here. I should qualify that by saying that I feel safe within the small world that I inhabit. This feeling is not based on being totally free from crime which I am not. Even so, I still feel safe.
It is a lot more.
These are some of the elements:
If I get sick, I feel certain that I will get excellent treatment at a price I can afford.
If I fall in the street, or have an accident, I know that someone will come and help me.
If I have a problem, I know that someone will help me.
If I have business with someone or a social encounter, I believe that most people are going to treat me with kindness and respect.
If I want to have an extraordinary meal, without breaking the bank, I know a huge number of restaurants where I can go.
If I want to have an interesting conversation with a friend, in English or Spanish, I know I can do it without making a date three weeks in advance.
If I want a professional driver to take me to and from work at a reasonable price, I know that I can do it.
If I want to live close to the ocean, enjoy wonderful walks in a beautiful neighborhood, and not pay a fortune in rent, I know that I can, because I do.
Of course, being a gringo, I like to be independent and do things for myself. But it is very reassuring to know that there is a backup in case something happens. Until I lived here, I didn’t realize how important that is.
So, that is part of the reason I like to live in Lima, it is comfortable for me. For the other side of the coin, why Lima presents a challenge for me that I love, you’ll have to return next week for part 2. “The Challenge”