ACIC would like to continue our intern follow up by featuring Harumi Flores Montalvo who in Canada was working with Chalice and in Peru, Harumi has been working with the Centro Esperanza. For more information on these organizations, and to read Harumi's original blog, please click here.
Lets see what Harumi had to tell us!
Trying to wrap up what this internship has been like for me so far, how it’s different than or similar to what I had expected and what I predict the rest of my internship, or better said, my journey will look like in less than 500 words (as requested of me by ACIC) seems inapprehensible and may be a bit of a challenge. To be honest, I came here with an open mind and with little expectations of what my internship would hold for me, as I did not have a concrete vision or much comprehension about what my purpose or my role would be. With a bit of a rocky start and many unknowns, poco a poco I’ve been building on that, and am gaining more and more insight. I can assure you that my interpretation of it all has been simply una nueva mirada. Similar to what I had expected, knowing that I would have to open myself up to the opportunity to learn above all things, yet in a completely different sense than that in which I find myself. No matter how many times, or how in detail and en point someone could describe to me the panoramic scene of life in Peru, only I can paint my own mural, and that to someone else may have a different significance.
As for cultural expectations for this internship regarding myself personally, one thing that was said to me one day was exactly the thing I was missing in trying to piece together the right words and describe how I personally found myself living here. ‘Mexicana, hecha Canadiense y parecida Peruana. When first meeting everyone, and even now when introduced to new people, I hadn’t expected people to be so surprised at how well I spoke Spanish (even I’m surprised and somewhat proud as it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been raised in an English speaking country). The thing is, it never really occurred to me that they would be expecting broken-up Spanish from me considering I was coming from Canada. As if my names didn’t give it away, ‘But where did you learn to speak Spanish? You speak and understand so well’, everyone would ask me. Once I told them I am actually from Mexico, everything became clear as mud. ‘Oh? But you live in Canada?’ And although I knew when accepting this internship, my Latin American background would allow me to have a great advantage in that respect, I also never expected people to think I was Peruvian! I couldn’t help but laugh a little when meeting people at a birthday party not too long ago, they would throw an odd stare trying to study my other fellow intern and question where she was from because surely she wasn’t Peruvian, but when greeting me, that odd stare would suddenly disappear.
So, what do I predict the rest of my journey will look like? That is something I really cannot say. As my journey has already taken a twist and a turn off the road from which it started on, who’s to say what will happen next? All I can do is keep riding along this bumpy, dusty back road and acknowledge all the little towns and villages I get to see which I would have missed driving on the highway.
Thanks so much Harumi! We can't wait to see you in a few short months!