Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Estamos aqui!

A short update:

I'm in Cochabamba! Our little village, Itocta, is surrounded by the Andes and is absolutely beautiful. The girls gave us a warm welcome and we were smothered in the most delightful way by hugs and rapid introductions in Spanish and little girls attempting to carry suitcases bigger than they are. That night they hosted a special welcome celebration where the girls performed dances they had prepared themselves, complete with beautiful costumes and printed programs with a message to each of us inside. One of the sisters welcomed us to the home and reminded us that it will be wonderful, but also tought sometimes but to hang in there because we are family now and that's what families do. Needless to say, we're feeling eager to settle right in.

The sisters found out I love to dance and invited me to help choreograph a dance with them for a party this weekend. I'm so excited to jump right in not only with the girls but with the community too. It's easy to forget we've only been here about two days. Sometimes I get impatient about not understanding a certain song or prayer yet, or about having so many names left to learn, or about having no idea where in the town certain things are. Then I remember that I got here Monday and have an entire year to go. Nevertheless, here are a few things I've learned so far:

1. Toilet paper goes in the trash can, not the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly
2. Hand washing your clothes is an acquired skill, but make sure you do it regularly because a pile of laundry doesn't fit very well in the plastic tubs.
3. Use your water sparingly. Espcially your precious minutes of hot water.
4. Never understimate the power of hospitality. Making someone feel welcome is a trumendous gift.
5. Don't bother learning tons of Spanish music. All the girls want to hear from Americans are Disney songs and the theme from Titanic.
6. You may have to choose between living lice-free and snuggling with adorable litle girls. Oh well.
7. You know how we speak Spanglish by adding an O on to everything? Apparently English sounds like everything ends in "ation." Nation, recreation, addition, etc. If you want to sound like you're speaking Bolivian Spanish add ito or ita on to everything. Even if that thing is large (ita typically implies that it's tiny), hermanita, papito, ahorita, librito etc.
8. You will never know how many varieties of potatoe exist in the world.

Tengo que irme. Chau!

9. In bolivia, use "chau" instead of "adios." Adios is saved for long term goodbyes.

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