When I was in my senior year of high school (2004), we had an exchange student from Peru stay with us for 6 weeks. It was a program run through my Spanish class. Her name was Claudia and she was an only child from the busy city of Lima. I think coming to small Boyne City in Northern Michigan was a bit of a shock to her. She loved the snow and we really enjoyed having her around. The following summer, after my Freshman year of college, I went to Peru to visit her for 2 months. It is still one of my fondest memories.
Ten years after she was first in Boyne City, she came back! She needed to use up some vacation time, and was already travelling in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. So, a little detour from her connecting flight in Atlanta, led her back to Northern Michigan. Then, Claudia and my parents came up to Marquette to visit me. Claudia stayed at our house and my parents stayed at one of our friends’. It was so great to see her! It was like we were never apart. Her english is still very good and I got to practice some spanish. Claudia, my friend Megan, my Mom, and I went to see the Boyne City High School football team play Negaunee at the Superior Dome in Marquette. This was Claudia’s first football game, and my second.
The next day, I took Claudia sight seeing around Marquette. We hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain to see the views of Lake Superior and the city. Then we went to the beach where she walked right into Lake Superior. It was only 35 degrees outside. And foggy. And windy. And rainy. We had a good time and Claudia was taking a lot of pictures and enjoyed being out in nature. Unfortunately most of the leaves were off the trees and the sky was gray, but it was beautiful anyways. We came back to town and relaxed a bit with the family. Then Megan brought over some sushi and my Mom made lasagna. We ended the night out at the bars. There was an excellent event at the Ore Dock Brewing Company where local musicians covered John Lennon tunes and raised money for the food bank. Mom really enjoyed dancing that night! Claudia got to have a taste of the Marquette nightlife and meet a few of my friends.
The next day, Megan, Nic, my Mom, Claudia and I took a road trip around Marquette County. We drove to the top of Mount Marquette to see the views. Then I took my Mom’s car off-roading on the backroads to see Morgan Creek Falls. My mother was screaming as I drove through every puddle. Claudia just laughed because the traffic and driving in Lima is much more terrifying than that! We drove down to Gwinn to have Bloody Marys at the Up North Lodge. The restaurant has an amazing Bloody Mary bar and it is styled in traditional U.P. flare. Claudia was confused by the Bloody Marys. “Why are you putting food in your drink?” Haha. I guess they don’t have those in Peru.
We drove back to Marquette on the backroads and I showed her the huge iron ore mine that keeps the Upper Peninsula’s economy afloat. We then went back into the woods on more two-tracks in search of a look-out to view the sunset at. We were unsuccessful, and I almost got my Mom’s car stuck, but we had a fun adventure. It is hunting season in the U.P. and when we went for a walk outside the car, I told Claudia to put on an orange hat so the hunters can see her. She was a little bit scared that she was going to get shot, but she looked good in Yooper apparel!
We played board games at home that night and I also took Claudia for a cold bike ride around the campus of NMU. The dogs and cat loved having her around and the attention she gave them. I was very sad to see her go! Nic and I are hoping to make the trip to Peru in the next couple years. Maybe a honeymoon?
* These photos are a combination of my own and ones that I stole from Claudia’s Facebook page. You can click on them to enlarge.