My son was in high school when we lived in Lima, Peru. He was enrolled in an online school and studied with a small group of MK’s (missionary kids- he was a PK, preacher’s kid) in a home-school co-op. They were as mischievous as any bunch of teenagers.
I learned of some of their antics after the fact. The boys had purchased laser pointers, and before they were found out, had been hiding and aiming the laser at the faces of unsuspecting passers-by, laughing when they would try to figure out what it was and bat it away. (Poor boys, their toys were confiscated when one of the dads heard a report about how they could cause blindness about the same time he discovered the boys had them.)
Another escapade the boys got away with- until they let it slip themselves. (They were too proud of it to keep from telling, probably.) During the month of carnival in Peru, you have to be watchful if you don’t want to be ambushed and drenched. The tricksters are everywhere, armed with squirt guns, water balloons, and even buckets of water, trying to catch someone unaware. Don’t drive around with the car windows down, or you are the perfect target at stoplights or in stalled traffic. Perfect prank for a couple of teen-age boys. My son and his pal laid in a supply of water balloons. From the roof of our 12 story apartment building, they dropped their water bombs on people walking on the sidewalks below. If their bragging could be believed, they had a very good aim and hit their targets more often than not.
When we moved to Peru, the only Spanish he knew was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous “Hasta la vista, baby!” He didn’t learn much Spanish while we were there, either. He did learn a few choice phrases for bargaining with taxi drivers. The only way for him to get around besides walking was taking a taxi (getting on a bus was risking your life if you weren’t native to the city- you might get lost and never find your way home again). When you ride in a taxi in Peru, there are no meters. You must bargain for a price and make sure it is clearly understood what you will pay before you actually get in. The MKs who had been there longer tutored him in the skill of bargaining, enabling him to get back and forth to his karate lessons on his own. He learned a pretty convincing, “What! Are you trying to rob me?” in Spanish.
His room decor came from the jungle- literally. He got a bat, a scorpion, a tarantula, and a huge roach in glass frames to hang on his walls.
If you are an ex-pat living in Peru, one of the first things you learn is “don’t drink the water.” Some who live there long enough develop stomachs of iron and can do it with no problems, but most don’t even use tap water to brush their teeth. At home, everyone has huge bottles of water delivered weekly. In restaurants you only drink the water if it comes in a bottle. My tough guy son was the only one of us who forgot…and suffered the consequences. He does not have a strong stomach!
Lessons learned living in another culture served him well, though. He appreciates all he has, having seen that many in the world have next to nothing. He will willingly help others. He accepts anybody. He has served in the US Marine Corps for ten years.