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Kayla Pica Williams

What Good Peruvians Do

Put avocado and aji on EVERYTHING. Potatoes, meats, vegetables, socks, you name it. Drink you under the table. Not with your flimsy US beer either, but with REAL beer, with a percentage that’s meant to knock you sideways. Know not to talk back to your mama or she’ll smack you across the room. Or your papa, or your tia, or your abuela, or your tio, or your abuelo, or that stranger whose older than you. Just if it sounds sassy assume you shouldn’t say it to them. We do talk with sass though, most of the time. WE NEVER YELL WE JUST TALK LOUDLY. We talk to three people – si mama estoy comiendo – about different things – MIJO LEVANTANSE AHORA – all in – que linda, preciosa – the same breath. We sing loudly and sometimes on key. The same could be said with dancing – loudly and sometimes on key. We don’t leave the house just gets bigger. Familia is a term applied generously and you have to give everyone who falls under that category a hug and kiss every time you enter or leave a room – in the time it takes you to talk back to me you could’ve done it already. We wear red and white for spirit and play an instrumental national anthem that competes against your five tias who don’t HAVE to sing louder than it but most definitely will. There is no privacy, no semblance of boundaries, no space to be found – introverts beware.

But when they’re gone, you feel it. Alone, across the country, you feel it.

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