Welcome to this webpage and to Peru. My own relationship with this country dates back to 1986 when I visited for the first time under the auspices of “Canada World Youth”, which ran a foreign exchange an NGO in the Sierra. Those were different and difficult times: Lima was chaotic, terrorist violence had made life a living hell in the countryside, and inflation was beginning to get out of hand. More people were leaving the country than were coming in and the expats who were living here at the time were a stubborn lot. I stayed in Peru only two months, mostly in the highlands, but when terrorism cut the program short two months later, I had been bitten by the “Peru” bug, and promised myself I’d return one day for a longer stay.
I wasn’t able to return until nearly 10 years later, when I decided to move here for two years. Upon arrival, I discovered an entirely different country than the one I had left a decade before. Terrorism had been defeated, foreign investment had returned with a vengeance, and tourists were beginning to venture back. There was also a growing number of expats who were beginning to settle in. Like many of you, I had close to zero contacts when I moved to Peru, and I quickly learned that it was hard to find good reliable information quickly. I am talking about all that basic stuff that newcomers need, like hints on renting apartments, how to navigate the bureaucracy at the migrationsdepartment, where to shop, what to see, and what to avoid.
I found that one of the best sources of information was other foreigners who had made their home here. After all, they had gone through many of the same things I was facing, but since these folks were scattered about and difficult to contact, I decided to create a mailing list that would join them together. That’s how the “Expatriate Mailing List” was born, and this list later morphed into the forum and the web page that you are visiting today.
Little by little, I have added articles which I wrote, or which were contributed by others - but the heart and soul of the site continues to be the members who participate in the forums and who add important, updated information.
My own story ends up with me having officially settled in Peru and my original two-year plan has now stretched to over two decades. In my professional life, I founded and help run the El Sol Spanish Language School in 2001 and I am particularly active in building our online Spanish school, called Web Spanish, which I also advertise here on the site.
All the best as you settle in to your adoptive country!
Alan La Rue.