Monday, January 13, 2014

Is it really only Day 3?

I realize I only landed in Cochabamba on Saturday morning, but it feels like I've been here for weeks already (in a good way!).  Today was fairly eventful.  I "slept in" until 8am and was greeted by my very worried host mother wondering if I was feeling OK since I had "slept so late."  I assured her that I was feeling just fine.  This could get interesting if I end up going out late some night and don't feel like getting up before 8am...  After breakfast, I went with my host mother to the market on her daily grocery shopping spree.  I found out "the market" actually meant roughly 5 different stores where she separetly bought meat (two different stores), vegetables, bread, and milk.  Have I mentioned that I love her?  Because I do.  She speaks very slowly and clearly and thinks I'm AMAZING at Spanish since I can at times string together a coherent sentence (in the present tense only let's remember...).  I promise pictures of her soon.

In the afternoon one of the other Maryknoll Lay Missioners Eileen took me downtown to an ATM and then to her favorite money exchange place so I could get money to pay this month's room and board to my host mother.  We also walked around downtown and of course got ICE CREAM!!!  I not surprisingly chose mocha and it was delicious--not quite as good as mocha macchiato from babcock, but still very good.  

Both of my excrusions today involved taking public transportation, which I'm still trying to fully understand.  Here's what I got so far:

"Micro" = a small bus.  It has a fixed route, but no fixed stops.  You can hail it just like a cab (if you're on its route of course) and when you want to get off, all you have to do is tell the driver to pull over and he (only saw male drivers) will let you off.

"trufi" =  a mini-van.  Usually can sit about 8 people REALLY squeezed in!  It also has a fixed route and no fixed stops and acts the same of a micro, only smaller.

"trufi taxi" = basically a shared cab.  Fixed route, no fixed stops, fits even less people than the two previous, you get the drill.

"taxi" = means the same as it does in the states.

After getting home frorm my time with Eileen, I was once again suckered into playing with my host mother's grandneice Valeria (age 6).  Talk about energy!  In order to tire her out, I made up an obstacle course in the front yard and timed her over and over and over again... (per her request of course!!) :)  I also worked hard during our "play time" by sitting on a chair shaded from the sun, drinking copious amounts of water, and yelling encouraging comments.  Below are pictures of our play area and the LARGEST aloe plant I have ever seen.  It is gigantic.

Valeria standing in the front doorway of the house.
To the left of the doorway.  Mom and Dad recognize the purple nerf football?? Valeria LOVES playing with it (which mainly means trying to use it as a baseball bat, still unsure why she thinks this is a good idea...)
To the right of the doorway.  You can see my waterbottle sitting on the table right near my very comfortable  and umbrella shaded chair :)
The aloe "plant" or more like BUSH!  That is not a close up folks, those badboys probably reach about as high as my waist.  I guess I know where to find some relief if I ever get a sunburn...

Tomorrow I will try my best to locate some of the places Eileen and I walked to today all by myself.  If any of you know the type of sense of direction I inherited from my mother, you will understand that any sort of success in this mission will be nothing short of a miracle.  I also have plans to buy a cell phone and maybe visit the house of one of the other Lay Missioners.  More reports to come :)  Love to you all! 

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