Molly Goes to Peru is part of the Molly and the Magic Suitcase series, in which Molly and her brother Michael have the ability to travel to different parts of the world and explore other cultures.

In this installment, Molly is off to Peru to tour Lima, Machu Picchu, the floating islands of Uros, and more.  With help from their new friend Cayetana, the kids get to try new foods, see some wonderful sites, and meet people who help them understand a little bit more about Peru.

The story is really cute and the artwork is enjoyable, so it’s going into our collection of children’s books about Peru.  I think it might also be a fun way to introduce our niece and nephew to the country so they can start to learn a little more about where their cousins come from. 

image

Lately, we’ve been trying to eat and cook more Peruvian food, and here is the collection of books we have collected so far to help us along our way:

  • The Everything Peruvian Cookbook, by Morena Cuadra & Morena Escardo
  • The Exotic Kitchens of Peru, by Copeland Marks
  • Ceviche, by Martin Morales
  • Eat Smart in Peru, by Joan Peterson & Brook Soltvedt

What others should we add to our shelf?

Transracial parenting is not easy. There will be struggles and there will be triumphs. Do the best you can with the resources you have available to you, and never lose sight of your goal of raising me with racial and cultural pride. Every effort you make to honor my racial and cultural identity will make a difference in my life, and you will be surprised with how much you will learn about yourself and others along the way!

Multilingual success: I can now sing Beatles songs in English, French, and Spanish.  I’m not sure why that’s my particular barometer for language acquisition, but there you have it.

Dear kiddos,

Our paperwork has been in your country for about a month now, and your daddy and I are waiting very patiently for word back from the officials who are reviewing it.  We know we probably won’t hear anything until November (at the earliest), and we have made our peace with that.

Earlier in the process that we have undertaken in order to adopt you, we often felt anxious, like everything was taking so much time when you kids—OUR kids—were on this Earth NOW waiting to be placed into your forever family.  Now that the process is done (for now), we’re making a conscious effort to keep the anxiety at bay.  We have dutifully turned in our paperwork, we have taken our tests, we have passed our inspections, we have jumped through our hoops, and there isn’t a thing more that we can be doing to bring you home.  Therefore, patience is our new mantra.  Patience, patience, patience, and one day this, too, shall pass.

Trust me, babies, if there were anything to be done to speed the process up, I would have done it faster than you can say “Hurry up and wait.”  So hurry up and wait, we do.  We fill our days with chores and fun and gardening and hobbies and homecooked meals and walks with our dogs and fun with our friends and family.  We work on little projects around the house that we’d like to have done before you join us here.  We read about Peru and adoption and parenting.  We read for pleasure.  We wait.  We hold our breath.

We think of you often.  Every day, in fact, and we can’t wait for the inevitable day that will come when we get a call or an email and find out that our lives have changed.

We love you around the world and back,

Mama and Daddy

Our newest Peruvian acquisition for the house: this absolutely stunning arpillera.  Arpilleras, we have learned, are handmade textiles with 3D elements that show stories of harvest, village life, markets, celebrations, and myths and legends.  This one is from a small village near Lima and it shows what the harvest looks like for those who live there (with a focus on women).

One day, we’ll actually get to see Machu Picchu, but until then this shot from the National Geographic Museum photo booth will have to do!

image

At the Peruvian restaurant, we began our meal with an appetizer of papa a la huancaina.  The menu described it as boiled potatoes covered in a spicy  cheese sauce, and that’s pretty much what it was.  It was different from what I expected, though, since it is a dish that is served cold.  I liked that it was chilled because it was very light and refreshing, but it was nowhere near as cheesy and spicy as I thought it would be.  Not sure if that’s just how it is, or if the restaurant didn’t put enough pepper into it.  All in all, it wasn’t a bad dish but it also wasn’t my favorite.

image

I had heard of tres leches cake before, but I had never had occasion to try it until our recent lunch at El Chalan in Washington, DC.  Tres leches cake, or the cake of three milks, is a popular dessert in the Americas, and it is exactly as its name suggests.  Basically, it is a sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk: condensed, evaporated, and whole.

The slice that we shared, which had a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top, was delicious.  It was sweet, but not too sweet, and had a thick cornbread-like consistency that helped to keep it from sogging under the milk.  I really liked it, and I will probably try to see if I can make it myself one of these days.

image

Before we went to the National Geographic museum last week, we decided to check out a Peruvian restaurant called El Chalan.  I went out of my comfort zone and tried a dish I’ve never had before: cabrito norteno….otherwise known as goat stew.  Yup, I ate goat.

My stew arrived all pretty before I stirred it all together to combine the meat with the beans, rice, onions, and beer sauce.  The flavor was very reminiscent of lamb (or chicken, if you ask my husband), and it was very different from anything else I’ve had before.  It was gamey and earthy and vingerary, and I enjoyed it, particularly once I realized that I needed to be careful of the bones mixed in there.  Spitting out a big hunk of goat bone is not, as it happens, super refined or attractive. Good thing Bee likes me anyway!