"Being together is like catching a sunbeam; each new memory we make reflects light hinting there is more to see and know."

February 22, 2015

Our First Week

February 21, 2015

Our first week in Lima, Peru!! We have had so many experiences that make our lives interesting, new and challenging. It’s hard to imagine we were in with Kaylinn just last Sunday because so much has happened.

We arose at 3:30am to catch a flight from Salt Lake to Los Angeles. Arriving there at 8:00, my mother met us for breakfast. That was so fun to have about two hours to visit and give hugs before heading to South America. It was a holiday so she was able to travel with light traffic to and from the airport. We left Los Angeles for a non-stop flight to Peru about 1:00pm arriving in Lima about 11:30pm. We went through customs, got our bags and walked out into a maze of people waiting for their loved ones. I was so relieved and thankful when we heard “Elder and Hermana” calling from the crowd. Our dear friends the Acosta’s were there to pick us up. We rode the taxi to the apartment they had so lovingly prepared for us and arrived about 2:00am.

Everything was so neat and clean with a large bouquet of flowers on the table and fruit, cereal and milk in the fridge. Our apartment is the second floor on the right. Since it is a new acquisition of the Church for senior missionaries and we are the first couple to live in the apartment, everything is new from the kitchen dishes to the furniture, beds and bedding. After we got all our “stuff” unpacked, which took a few days, we feel very comfortable in our new home. Of course, I have plans to give it a homey touch, but it will take time to find the items I want to complete “the look”.  

Some things about the apartment: the couch, loveseat and side chair were nice but so very stiff and extremely uncomfortable so Elder Acosta had the manager remove them yesterday. Although we are without anything to sit on, they will be replaced with a lounge recliner chair and one couch which will be much better for our needs. The big bed is hard as a rock and yesterday the Kendell’s helped us locate a mattress topper which will be delivered sometime next week. We are fortunate to have two air condition units as the Acosta’s located the second one from another missionary’s vacant apartment. The temperature is pleasant but during the day when it gets up around 80 degrees, it is quite muggy and uncomfortable but the apartment stays refreshing.

The floors are tile and the two bedrooms have a light parquet wood laminate. The kitchen counters are like glass in a grey tone. We have a cute little washer and dryer in the kitchen and small fridge and microwave. The appliances are all new!  The stove is gas and we have already found the oven doesn’t have a broiler on top. We don’t have a toaster either so we are looking for a nice toaster oven. Our bathroom is small with a pedestal sink but a large tile shower.

Tuesday we arose fairly early. The Acosta’s took us to the office about 11:00 where we met the other senior missionaries and so many of the staff that we will be working with. They were all anxious to meet us. Then we went to lunch at a fabulous cafĂ© and bakery, Don Maminos, with the Acosta’s, Hansen’s and Clark’s, all great people and we enjoyed our visit with them and the food was good, too.J We discovered the Hansen’s are from the Walnut Creek/Concord area and the Clarks from Eagle, Idaho know Joe’s sister Nancy very well. After lunch, the Acosta’s took us shopping at the Wong’s next to the Maestro (like Home Depot) and we got more food items for the kitchen. It was a very nice store, much like those we have at home, with very nice produce, big isles and many household and kitchen items. The food selections are not as many and, of course, very different. It was curious to me to find many “canned” products in sort of a heavy mylar bag, such as milk, tomato sauce, soups, mayonnaise and ketchup. It took us a couple of hours, and we were plenty tired by the time we got home. Quite a first day!

Wednesday we got to the office by 11:00 on our own. It is a 5 minute walk from our apartment, and I need to wear walking shoes as the walk if so uneven and dirty and take my office shoes in my handbag. Although we were only in the office until 3:00, we proceeded to make headway on our responsibilities. We needed to apply for our photo ID, gain access to the computers, and meet with the area presidency, President Uceda, President Waddell and President Goodoi, to introduce ourselves and visit for a few minutes.

We went to an early dinner with Pete and JoElla Hansen and met Ron and Bonnie Clark at Prados Restaurant right across the street from the temple! I had a view of the temple while I ate my dinner! We had a few minutes after dinner to stop by the little LDS bookstore filled with little fun LDS gifts and mementoes. We attended the 6:00pm English session. At the end I had a choice to speak English or Spanish and I chose Spanish even though I don’t speak very few words. It was pretty traumatic and I needed help with every word, one by one, and by the time I got done the sweat was pouring from my brow. Phew! The Sister that helped me found me in the Celestial Room and gave me such a big hug and congratulated me. I didn’t think I deserved that. Joe was so proud of me for trying . . . my second day in Peru!

We actually got to the office by 9:00, the appointed time to start our day. It is summer here and quite warm for our walk to work in the morning. We still don’t have access to the computers although we have been talking with Kevin and Carol Lowell about some of the issues. Joe feels overwhelmed not knowing anything about finance or auditing and I feel overwhelmed not knowing how to speak the language. We left the office with the Elder Manny Acosta to pick up some needed items. When we got home about 4:00, the church maintenance staff came by the apartment to hook up the wireless internet. Now it works great and we have been able to watch everything from our TV back home, sports, movies, news and even Netflix. It’s amazing! Then at 5:00, the air conditioning units were installed. These are floor units with a hose that pumps the humidity in the air outside. It has made such a difference in the comfort of the apartment and we sleep so much better, too. The windows don't have screens so except for the dust and dirt that blows in, there are hardly any bugs to worry about. We enjoyed going back to the local Tottus grocery store to find more specialty comfort food like cheese, crackers (there are none) and chocolate. We love the fruit and have been eating a lot after washing it carefully. We only drink bottled water.

What a long week. Friday we actually worked a full day, 9:00 to 5:00 and were just exhausted by the end of the day. We gained access to the computer today and Joe had a few more hours of training with Brother Lowell. He is so overwhelmed not understanding much of what is going on. We are starting our work here right in the middle of the audit procedure. They are due in full by March 15. Thank goodness the Lowell’s are continuing to work from their home in Bountiful. We were invited to go to dinner . . . again . . . with the Hansen’s, Kendall’s and Acosta’s. At first we thought we were too tired but I was pretty sure we needed a boost at the end of the week. We went to LongHorn (with the Texas missing) at Jocky Plaza and enjoyed steak and ribs. Delicious! Then we walked around the mall which is absolutely huge and upscale and ended at a store like Penney’s to see if we could find a topper for our mattress. I was sure wide-eyed trying to take it all in. Got home about 10:00pm.

Saturday I cleaned and cleaned. It is so very dusty here and the dirt builds up on everything. The Acosta’s took us by taxi to the Inka Market, a traditional folk art market with so many wonderful things, leather, colorful embroidered pillows, woven blankets, beautiful alpaca sweaters, jewelry and other handcrafted woods and metals. It is so huge!! It is covered with nice tiled walkways and shops at every turn. I bought the green necklace pictured here.

During the evening, we decided to walk to Tottu’s Market and picked up a few grocery items. Then we decided to walk to Molina Plaza, now 8:10pm, because Joe knew the stores were open until 11:00. He wanted to go by a Radio Shack. So off we went for about 45 minutes of walking. By now it’s 9:00 and we are quite tired but we did our shopping, and at PlazaVea (Target sort of) and then for a bit at the Wong Market. We were looking for a toaster, shorts for Joe, shoes to wear in the apartment, and other items. We were pretty exhausted by 10:00pm and took a taxi home. Sister Acosta was so worried about us. She and Elder Acosta were waiting outside for us. They knew we went to Tottu’s but expected us home about 8:30, not 10:30! They were ready to call the police to look for us. I felt badly. I’m just not used to checking in and we were pretty spontaneous about our walking until late.

We’ve seen some weird things here. The night we arrived in Lima it was about 2:00 in the morning driving down one of the main streets. It was pretty busy for that time of night and there was a small bus, probably holds about 20 passengers and it was very full. The driver had his child about 3 years old on his lap and he was helping drive the bus!

Today we went to church and it was very nice. The building is very large and the ward is pretty large, as well. About half the members are missionaries, temple workers and American Embassy workers so there is an English Gospel Doctrine class and an English Relief Society, as well as Spanish classes. I wore headphones for the Sacrament speakers to get translation. The whole meeting was pretty tiring with so many people introducing themselves and listening to the Spanish. The Acosta’s invited us to dinner along with the Sheffields. It was wonderful food; they are so hospitable and have made us feel so welcome here in Peru.

I think we are ready for another week of learning and serving. We’ll do the best we can and take joy in our journey. After all, what are they going to do, fire us?!?


  1. Hi, I figured out how to do this so I can share your experiences! What fun you are having. It seems like a lot of work and lots of adjustments too. Do you need anything you forgot or wish you had that you can't get there?
    Thanks for all the information and for all the photos! Love, Judy

  2. Loved reading up on your first week. And the pictures are fantastic! Thanks mom!

  3. Sister Cheney, my name is Elizabeth Quiroz, and I am from Ames. Janna is around my first sister's age. Are you guys living in Surco? That Don Mamino is blocks from where my family and I lived our first year in Peru. We used to walk to that Wong and Plaza Vea. It was a long walk, but we could do it. If you get a chance, there is a park nearby called Parque de la Amistad. Beautiful park. I think Tottus is across the street. Right before that intersection is a little sandwich shop called Chicharrones del Inca. Amazing shredded pork sandwiches!

    Good luck on this adventure!

  4. President (Elder) and Sister Cheney,

    What a great blog. I'm looking at the photos of your flat and it looks like a palace (size wise) compared to ours here in Aberdeen, Scotland! Ours is beautifully and modernly refurbished in black, white, chrome and chartreuse green, and is on the main floor of an old council house which is now privately owned. It is about 600 square feet!

    Our weather in Scotland is very different from yours -- cool and rainy in the spring, summer, and fall, and even cooler in the winter, with some ice and a bit of occasional snow (very different from Iowa -- to be sure!)

    We work with the YSA's so President Cheney can be jealous of that!! (I hate math, so I'm not jealous of his having to audit anything!) We think of him often as we work with our YSA's!

    It sounds like you will be having the experiences of being in an area with many Senior Missionaries -- which would be fun. We are at least an hour and a half from the closest other Senior Missionary Couples here in Scotland, so we connect more with the members of the six wards and branches we have jurisdiction over in the Aberdeen, Scotland Stake.

    We love teaching, and are having fun with that as well -- both at Family Home Evening and at Institute.

    We have found -- like you are finding -- that groceries, shopping and cooking are very different than at home -- even in this English speaking country, and we are glad we don't also have to struggle with another language -- other than bits of Doric and Gaelic sprinkled in with the local brogue -- on top of that. We also get to drive on the other side of the road and experience lots of roundabouts and narrow streets with parking on both sides -- leaving very little room for cars -- which we don't love at all!

    Since you are going to be in Peru for 18 months and we are in Aberdeen for 23 months, we will be released in June before you are released in August. (I'm chuckling at the inclusion of the bathroom scales in your luggage. That is quite a sacrifice of space and weight in that minute bundle Senior Missionaries get to take with us to the mission field.)

    Jim and I wish you both all the best as you embark on this new adventure. Cheerio the Noo! Sister and Elder Reynolds (otherwise known as Chrys and Jim!)