It’s my third week in Huanchaco, began from not knowing what to do when I’m in the skate ramp, not familiar with the ways of life here, did’t even know how to say the most basic Spanish. And now I started to get more and more familiar with the locals, say hola to the shop owners/surfers; able to have some small&simple conversation with the kids, play with them (though most of the time I still don’t understand what they are talking about )
One of the funniest and weirdest thing that I’ve experienced in Huanchaco so far is that everyone call me not by my name but “Keiko” here. At first I have no idea who they were talking about, after a bit googling , it all make sense. Her father is a Japanese descendent, the former president of Peru “Alberto Fujimori”, and she is now the candidate of Peru 2016 presidential election. Keiko same as her parents, have an “asian appearance” , and since i am the only few “asian” here (at least i haven’t seen more than two so far…) Locals started to recognize me with my similarities with Keiko. People often ask me wouldn’t I feel it’s kind of “racist” or “uncomfortable” when being called by that name, the answer is “you know what, not really.” This actually help me to get closer to the children and locals more easily, it makes me feel like one of them instead of a foreigner. Although the language barrier is still there, but the cultural gap between us seems to became smaller because of this. But still, after a few more weeks later, hopefully when I say “Buenos dias” to them, the reply would be “Buenos dias, Yuning!!” instead of “Vamos Keiko!!!” jajajaja.
There’s still two and a half month for me here, and there is definitely more in Peru waiting for me to explore; I have to work hard on my Spanish now, try to have some deeper conversations with the locals, which is the only way that I’ll be able to know more interesting facts/hidden stories about this place. Maybe even some unexpected surprises, you never know, right ?
Chaoooo, and have fun in Huanchaco!
Written by Yuning Wang, Office Volunteer/HELP Youth Skate Ramp