Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 39

Thursday was a very good day for me. After school, I was to meet my new councillors!! Now, I was a little worried because they were picking me up at 1245, and I usually don´t get home till.. past 1pm. But thankfully, I made it with only a slight amount of waiting. Juan Carlos, my actual councilor drove me to their house in Las Palmas, which is a gorgeous little neighborhood in town.. they were loaaaaaded. They speak aboslutely no english, which was AMAZING! I didn´t even get the opportunity to speak english (I´ve realized that I´m only comfortable speaking spanish with people that don´t know any english). We met their son (who is my age), and some other random relatives and then JC´s wife, Maria Rosa came home from work and we had lunch (I have to add that this lunch was the most amount of vegetables I have had since I gotten to Bolivia). It seems that they´re kind of counciling me as a.. duo. So I have both husband and wife working on my problems with me. They seemed really nice, so hopefully everything will work out well with them. Friday, after school and spanish classes it was the same routine as the week before, going to Leah´s house. This time, we went and lounged around the pool, instead of sitting around speaking spanish. Not as... progressive, but totally worth it. We ended up walking to the movie theatre JUST for popcorn, and then walked down to the center to meet up with some other exchange students for coffee. We went to the Irish Pub. I realized I wasn´t really into spending the evening with a bunch of kids that only speak english, so I ended up going home not too late. Saturday was a rough day. For some reason, being at home seems to bring me down and therefore, weekends, if I´m not up to something, I tend to mope around the house. I got woken up at 730am by someone in the house playing really loud music too, so I´m sure that didn´t help. Finally, I made some plans to go out with Sarah and Leah to buy a present for Brodie, because it was her birthday party later that evening. It killed the rest of my evening, and then I was finally out having fun. Brodie´s was a lot of fun, with all the exchange students, and most of the kids from my grade at school. I spent the night at her house (which was so incredibly easy to convince my host parents about this time for some reason) and stayed up till 4am watching movies. Today, Brodie´s actual birthday, we went out to a "quinta" or house in the country, for a huge family reunion of her host fam´s. Transportation: BACK OF THE TRUCK. It was like an Ecuador flashback! The house was quite extravagent, and it was even on a lagoon (although it looked quite like an oversized pond to me). We spent the afternoon lounging around, eating, listening to the live music, and swimming when we got too hot. We were forced to talk to this old man from Virginia for a while, since his Bolivian wife had dragged him along, and he spoke NO spanish. We also met a half Bolivian girl from Texas that moved inbetween Bolivia and the States because of her father´s job as a silver refiner or something of the likes. At the end of the day, we all crammed into the truck again, laying on a mattress in the bed, for a relaxing drive back watching the stars. All of a sudden, Brodie starts screaming that something is on her, and like JUMPS on top of the other three girls in the back (including me). We then realize simultaniously that there is a huge bug of some sort, buzzing around the truck bed, flying into us and not flying out. We spent a good five minutes screaming, and diving from corner to corner of the truck, trying to avoid this huge bug (that we couldn´t see since it was dark out). Now, note that we´re flying down a dirt, country road at a good 65km, and jumping around the truck wasn´t the best of ideas. But finally it landed and we caught the dang thing in a cup, by cellphone light. It ended up being huge!! It was probably a good 5" long.. So we threw it off the side of the truck, and had a peaceful ride the rest of the way home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 35

Here we are, and it´s Wednesday. SANTA CRUZ´S BIRTHDAY! It´s a holiday, so I´m not at school. Everything is closed, so we sit here at home. Time to catch up on the week since my last post. Monday was back to school again. We were supposed to be having a fun day at school, since it was Day of the Student on Sunday (as well as the first day of spring, the day of love {aka Valentine´s day I guess} and my parent´s anniversary).. but it was apparently pushed to Tuesday for us. I sat through my classes, and then went to my spanish class, which I also sat through. Sarah and I waited for Maija´s class to finish afterwards, and then we met up with Brodie to go out for Mexican food. It was absolutely amazing! Really good food. Bolivian food isn´t horrible or anything, but I feel like nothing seems too special. It´s all pretty.. bland and to have a neutral taste about it. If I am to be gaining weight on this exchange, it´ll be from eating out at restaurants all the time. Talking to Brodie about this, and I found out that she goes out all the time.. almost once a day. This scares me hahaha. Afterwards, my brother picked me up and we went to the casino to play BINGO. Ohh that was amazing. I am so not used to being in a country where smoking in buildings is permitted. By the end of the night, my eyes were burning so bad. Bingo was fun, although set up differently than the game I´m used to. No B-I-N-G-O, there are 9 columns, 1-9, 10-19 etc all the way to 90. I was so close to winning on our last game.. I had one box left, when someone called theirs. It was tragic. We then went out to the actualy casino, where Christian played some slots (none of which are acually slots, just computerized touch screens). I tried taking some pictures of us there, but got in trouble from the security guard, who made me delete all of my picures, while hovering over my shoulder. I was slightly bummed out by that, but Chris got a pic while we were playing bingo in the other room, so I have SOME proof. Tuesday was an AMAZING day. It was our Day of the Student, as well as some celebrations for the Santa Cruz birthday the following day, all mixed into one. We got to have some food (which was chicked salad sandwiches, how depressing) and then the whole school got together in the courtyard, for some presentations of tradional dancing, put on by a few classes in the school. Afterwards, they had a huge dance party in the gym (grades 9-12 I think), with sparkles, foam, and music pumping. They even had a band come in for a bit, playing Carnival music which was so much fun. I really can´t wait till February! After school, we had a party and bbq at a schoolmates house, for all the kids in my grade. We got there, and some kids ran out from the backyard, and took all of our cellphones (or whatever belongings we had). They then dragged us back to a big dance party, where they were spraying everyone with a hose! It was a ton of fun, just hanging out, dancing (and dripping) and eating food on a hot afternoon. Getting back to Maija´s, and being fully exhausted, we ended up laying around for the rest of the afternoon. I caught a ride home with Brodie´s parents, taking a few stops on the way to pick up a rifle among other things. I got home, and then we figured out that everyone was going to la feria again. Since it was the night before Spet 24th (Scz Day), everyone would be out there, celebrating, and there would be fireworks at midnight. Going to the fair a second time wasn´t exactly that exciting, but I ended up running into a bunch of friends from school that I knew and spending the rest of the night with them. I barely made it home by my curfew (1:30am!!), but by the... grace of God, I made it. Today has been a day of relaxing.. Since everything was closed, my host mom had to actually make vegetarian food, and it was a lot better than the stuff they buy for me every day. She makes some pretty good (although not completely healthy) veg meals. We even had icecream, which has been the best thing I´ve ever eaten. I can´t even explain it. The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting around, trying to catch up on my stupid blogs, and then we took a family trip to a pool. It was at some club owned by my host dad´s company.. It was slightly boring, since I wasn´t too into the public pool full of frolicking children, or the steamy hot sauna (it was definitely in the 30s today). I ended up going for a walk with Lily, Christians girlfriend. I met her pretty quickly after arriving here, but had never really talked to her before. She´s actually pretty nice. She told me I had pretty good spanish, so anyone that says that to me is immediately on my favorite list ;) The rest of the night hasn´t been too exciting, so I think I´ll head to bed soon. School tomorrow! Buenas noches!

Day 32

So technically, it´s Wednesday right now, but since I don´t want a huge post from the past six days, I´m pretending that it´s Sunday right now. This weekend was a good one. I´m finally starting to be let out of the house more often, and am therefor having a lot more fun. Friday was back to school day. Which is really strange, since I had been gone for so long, and then had to go back for only one day. A lot of kids didn´t go to school, because the school seems to have horrible contact with homes, and so no one knew they had school. I ended up missing school on Thursday, because I didn´t know. It was nice to get back to school, and not sit around the house all day by myself.. yet I still hate having to get up so early, to be out of the house by ten to seven. Classes were not all that entertaining, but what do you expect when teachers don´t expect anything out of you? I had spanish classes after school, and I´ve realized that they´re starting to get painful. The teacher doesn´t know how to explain anything to the students that don´t understand, and she speaks enlish the whole time. How am I supposed to learn from this? Oh well, I went to a friend´s house after the class with her and two kids from France, who spoke no english. This means: we had to speak in spanish, or else someone wouldn´t be able to understand. It was great, and possibly the most spanish I´ve spoken since I got here. We then went to a surprise birthday party for one of the exchange students, organized by her host mom. She was quite surprised, and we got to eat pizza and cake (ahhh such a birthday party!). There´s a tradition in Bolivia that on your birthday, you have to... stick your face in your cake. Most girls end up just wimping out, biting the edge of the cake. But Caity had a few kids guiding her face with their hands. She ended up going straight through the cake, to the table. Split the cake straight in half. And to top it off, it was an Autonomia cake, so she looked like a green and white striped bandit coming out of the cake. Saturday morning, I was RUDELY awakened by Celine Dion´s My Heart Will Go On. This is NOT something that you´d enjoy being woken up to. Not to mention Alan singing, very loudly, along to it. The morning was quite relaxed, and then I was off to Brodie´s house to work on a history project, and go to the ExpoCruz (aka la feria or fair). La feria is a huge commercial fair, where companies come to show of their products. It´s a huge plot of land in Santa Cruz, that just sits there to be used as advertisment for ten days a year. Pretty much everyone in the city goes, and you can´t go without running into people you know. Overall, it was quite a good day, being out and about. Today (Sunday) was my host parents 24th Anniversary. I woke up to a big lunch set up outside, with a few family members joining us, whom I had no clue who they were. We didn´t go to church, I´m assuming because this meal was all cooked at home and would take a while.. But I sure didn´t mind, especially after being out so late. The rest of the day was pretty relaxed. There was a soccer game in the evening, El Clasico. It´s a game that happens every once and a while between Blooming and Oriente, the two teams of Santa Cruz. Being in their home city, it was a HUGE game, where everyone was split up between cheering for the two teams. Everyone seems to be quite dedicated to their team though, and therefor causes a bit of rivalry with friends who don´t cheer for the same team. We (of course) cheered for Blooming, who (luckily) won the game 2-0!!! As soon as we got home from the game, we were back out of the house, going to another DeMolay meeting for Oliver. This one wasn´t as exciting, no robes or anything.. But they did have swords and daggers for something (who knows what). The meetings are mostly boring, with a lot of talking that I don´t really fully understand. I get when my hostdad talks about me though, since most of the room turns to look at me.. It´s awkward, since I´m usually caught offguard, staring off into space. I think the meetings would be really interesting, since I would like to learn about the background of DeMolay and the Free Masons themselves, but I need a bit more advanced spanish skills. We finally got home pretty late, and it´s off to bed for me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 29

So apparently I had school today! But of course, I found out half an hour before the day ended, so it was completely useless for me to even think about going. This is a sad day, for my.. 8 day weekend has now come to an end. I go to school on a Friday, and then it´s the weekend again! I have such a hard life hmmm? Well the past couple days seem to have gotten slightly better, aa I´m trying to get out as often as possible. We went to La Casa Del Camba last night, for my friend Lauren´s going away party. It was a lot of fun, trying to talk with the waiters in spanish.. It made me realize that there are quite a few exchange students with NO spanish at all. I guess I feel a little better about myself then. But yet, I still find myself speaking too much english. So anyways, there was dancing and traditional Cruceño food (most of which I couldn´t eat because it had meat in it). Today I got to go to Maija´s house, and we made these KILLER peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I mean, possibly the best I´ve ever had. Quite proud of myself, I have to say. For some reason, Bolivia seems to make us bake a lot. We´ve probably had close to... 5 or 6 sessions, between a few of the girls. Then we went to the Cine Center, which is like... I guess the Santa Cruz version of a mall (with not much shopping, but a theater and huge food court). We had some pizza, which was... goood hahaha and then hung out with a few of the french exchange students, who speak no english, so we´re forced to speak spanish. I´m so tempted to go talk to them in french, but SO intimidated at the same time. Hopefully I´ll get over it sooner or later, and learn some more french along my exchange. Tomorrow Lauren flys out right after school, so I´m going to try and get to the airport. Hope everyone has a good evening!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 28

Well, first off I must apologize for leaving everyone hanging for quite a number of days. I haven´t been harmed or anything of the sort, so you can stop worrying about me ;) I also want to apologize for having my last post being so angsty. I´ve been partially avoiding the blog posting because I don´t want to have any others like that up here. I haven´t exactly been having the best few days, but I don´t feel the need to go through the whole story AGAIN. What I will say is that I´ve been trying to get a hold of my councillor, who is MIA somewhere in Argentina at the moment. The political situation in Scz seems to be clearing up for the most part. They signed some sort of peace document for the time being, so we´ll just wait until December 7th, when they redo the consititution.. There´s also a huge protest march of indigenous people on their way to Santa Cruz (very possibly here at this very moment), waving around their machetes and axes. But yet again, I am to assure you that I am safe.. As this is what Rotary has been telling everyone. I´m going out for dinner tonight, because one of the exchange students is going back to the States. Her club is making her come back home, deeming the political situation here unsafe for her to stay. I´ll try my best to catch you up on the main events of the past five days. The weekend was a lot of fun. I made a bunch of new, Bolivian friends. Went to a classmates birthday party on Friday, and went out with friends Satutrday night. I went to church Sunday.. Although I was the only kid that was made to go, everyone else got to sleep in. I don´t know what this was.. perhaps punishment for coming in late the night before, who knows. What I do know is that the only reason I go to church with them is because it´s a family event, not because of any religious beliefs. Therefore, if no one else is going, I should NOT be expected to show any interest in going. I´ve been chatting with my parents pretty often, touching bases with them on political and familial situations, and discussing what will happen if Rotary decides they want me out of Bolivia. I don´t really know what I´ll do. Do I move to another country, or go back home and start making some money before I move to Vancouver? It´s a tough decision, and something that I don´t know if I´m able to deal with quite yet. Yesterday I went out with some friends to the movies (woo X FILES). It was in english, and horribly gorey. I enjoyed the popcorn though, even though most of it ended up on the floor or in my lap. For some reason, Bolivia has given me a HUGE craving for popcorn.. perhaps it´s a lack of salt in my diet or something. Who knows! Tonight, I am hopefully off to La Casa de Camba to see my friend for the very possibly last time, before she flys back to New York. Hopefully my night goes better than the past few days have been.. I´m in some dyer need of cheering up.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 24

WARNING: This just might possibly be an angsty blog post. I´ve been trying to keep it out of anything that I post on here, only the positives, but I feel the need to let everyone know how I´ve been truely feeling the past few days. I´m starting to get very tired of sitting at home. I´m getting tired of overproctective parents. Alan (my brother) says that it´ll take time, that they´ll get accustomed to me going out... but I really don´t know. They are who they are. I don´t think that someone will change who they are, change their views of parenting over the span of a month or so. I know that I should just wait it out, and give them time to get used to having an 18 yr old, VERY independant girl on their hands.. I feel like I´m wasting this time of my exchange though. Like, I spend so much time at home, not experiencing the city. And being at home is fine, if I´m spending time with the family, but it seems that they don´t spend a lot of time together. Everyone hangs out in their rooms, watching tv. So I´m at home, tv or computering, not bonding with the family, and not going out with friends. I should be enjoying my exchange. It´s not like I´m having a horrible time or anything, but I am for sure not having a super good time. I´m tired of walking on eggshells, trying to find ways to work around the parents to let me go out past 7pm. I´m an adult, and yet, I´m treated like a seven year old. And I know that, yes, I don´t speak the language, no I can´t drive myself around, and I am pretty dependant on others in that way, but I am no idiot! I know how to handle myself properly, I can tell who´s a sketch and who´re the people that I should be hanging out with. I can´t grow and learn from the experiences, if I´m not experiencing anything. And I enjoy most of the time spent with this family, I just think they need to lighten up. They need to realize that they can´t.. baby me as much, being 18 (and legal might I add). I think I need to finally get a hold of my councilor and have a chat about a few things..

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 23

Yesterday was a super fun day. No school, so I got to hang around the house by myself and the maid. I finally got to go out with Sarah, and her friend took us out to make pies and cheesecake for some small business. She took us out shopping and I got myself a cute little bag for only $6! Ahh Bolivia. We also went out for ice cream, and dinner, where I had one of the best salads of my life... it was Thai. My mom mentioned that apparently Bolivia has made it on the news, so here´s a little update on the political situation, from what I´ve observed on our news. It´s not only the department of Santa Cruz that has been having issues with autonomy and the government. It´s four other departments as well, the whole eastern half of the country fighting for autonomy. I found this Facebook group, which has some photos (if you have an account): Apparently we´ve just gotten a few tanks in Santa Cruz as well. The death toll is at 8, as far as I know (all of which are in Pando, the northernmost department in Bolivia) but nada in Santa Cruz. Yet still, nothing seems to be too big of a deal for anyone. It´s like this is a regular occurance, even though it´s not haha. So right now, I´m safe and sound and there´s nothing to be worrying about. If more chat about civil war starts coming up, then I might get a little worried. But not too much so far. The rest of the day has been quite nice, a distraction from all of the... interesting things on the news. I had some friends over, and we TRIED to make veggie burgers out of this book my mom gave me before I left. It really makes me want to have a house of my own, where I can go buy groceries and make stuff. I really want to live on my own, I can´t wait to get home and MOVE OUT!! The veggie burgers ended up.. interesting to say the least. But we made cookies as well, so they were pretty dang decent. We also had a schoolmate´s birthday party to go to (whom I had only met once previous to). It was a lot of fun, a lot of dancing. I met some new friends that want to take me out, so hopefully I will soon be allowed out of the house past midnight. The freedom will come SOON, after a lot of hard positive thinking. I swear it will... (Made it onto CNN:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 21

Wooo three week mark! I guess I have a little bit of information to update everyone on.. Yesterday, we were told that we didn´t have any afternoon classes because the military had come into town, blocking off all roads in and out of Santa Cruz. They were sent because Santa Cruz wants a percentage of their gas money that they export, larger than what they recieve. Apparently the gov´t is just there to make sure the gas is exported to Brazil and Argentina. But there was a bunch of rioting etc later on in the evening, from what I could tell on tv.. I don´t think anyone was killed, but they were tear gassing places etc. The crowd was throwing rocks, fireworks, anything to fight back.. Apparently they destroyed this phone company that´s owned by the government. I don´t really understand all of it. Last night you could hear gun shots, either really late, or early in the morning. Also today, the secretary poked her head in the room, telling everyone that the situation is possibly getting worse (from what I understand) and there were a few kids that got pulled out of class to go home. I also heard a rumor, although not too sure if it´s true, that the military was just around the corner from the school, at a hospital of sorts. I believe that because when I came outside, I was talking to a girl, telling her that the military was around the corner, and at that very moment there were a bunch of gun shots.. Which I´ve heard a few times today. I think they were even pulling a few kids out of class because they´re in military training (you need it to go to university, get a job etc so everyone joins) and are being asked to come join the military and fight against their own city. I know that I probably am making this sound a lot worse than it is, because I don´t feel in danger, and no one seems to be making a big deal out of this. My family hasn´t even talked to me about it yet, so I don´t know. If I didn´t know better, I´d think they didn´t even know about anything happening. It´s like this is a regular occurance around here. I tried watching the news, it´s mostly about the riots. There´s nothing online about any of this, other than something saying that Evo Morales was sending in some troupes to keep up the gas exportation. School´s been cancelled for tomorrow, and hopefully this ends pretty soon, and doesn´t escalade any time soon. I´ll keep everyone updated!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 19

It seems Sundays are about the same routine. We go to church, and then off to a restaurant for lunch with the family. We went to this place that had Tarijeña food.. Which was all meat, so the family took me to Subway beforehand, and I got to eat my bought food at this restaurant. Apparently not an insult in Bolivia. Later that evening, I was invited to go to the Tentayape Festival.. Which is a cultural dance festival that goes on every year in Santa Cruz for about a week. I went with a few school friends, and it was pretty cool. Reaaaally bad acted intro though, and the speakers gave me a huge headache. For some reason, Bolivians seem to feel the need to turn their stereos up just a few notched past what is needed.. But other than that, I enjoyed it a lot. It was nice to get out with friends, and just hang out for the evening as well.. Especially after a cold, slightly uneventful weekend. Coming home, I passed the heck out :) Today has been a normal school day. I was in a slightly bad mood when I got up, because my dad had me believing that I was going to the lab to get another HIV test, even though I got one before I came here. Yet.. I really don´t want to. I´ve heard the place is super dingey, and I know that I already got a test done, approved by the Bolivian consulate. It ended up that I didn´t have to go, and having PE cheered my mood up slightly (who the heck is this Chelan?!?). Mostly because I got stuck on a really good volleyball team, and we didn´t have to do the 100 situps required if you lost a game. We also did some ab and back work outs, so I have this feeling that I´ll be supremely sore by tomorrow. The rest of the day was completely uneventful. I then got to go to my spanish class, which was horrible as usual. We learned how to tell time.. There seems to be three other kids in the class that are in the same situation, that don´t want to be in the beginner class. Hopefully we´ll be put into the intermediate class soon, or else these classes seem to be a waste of my time. I talked to my host mom about it, and she´s going to talk to the school. I also went to a spinning class with my brother today. Complete and utter hell, to tell you the truth. I was feeling a little sick, and pushing yourself to your full physical limits is not too good of an idea. But I know that it´ll help me get in shape. Hahah who knew that I´d be more physical on my exchange than at home? I guess it´s because I now have the time to do it.. I am very lucky to be in the school that I am. Everyone is SO nice. Not one person is rude. I talked to a few other exchange students, and apparently kids call them fat etc.. Thank goodness! I once again realized today in art class that I´m in South America. It´s like every week or so, I have to take my surroundings into perspective and reality hits. I don´t know if it scares me or not. I mean, I look around and I´m achieving a lot more than many people I know. I mostly understand everything that´s going on around me. I´ve made new friends that don´t speak the same language as me, and yet we still get along fine. I guess this is the moment that I realize how great of an opportunity I´ve been given. At times, things seem so difficult, that I won´t be able to get through the next year.. But then I think about some of these factors, and realize that they are so small. I need to get over myself and grow up.. Take all of this experience in, not for granted. Because I´ll never get another opportunity like this again. When I´m not allowed to go out at night, or there´s some sort of miscommunication, I need to remember that it´s not the end of the world! Tomorrow is always another day.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 17

Right now, I am wearing yoga pants, sweatpants, two hoodies, a sweater and two pairs of socks. It can´t be more than 10ºC outside, and no I´m not kidding. The past few days have been pretty chilly, windy and rainy but yesterday the temp dropped so much (I swear from 30 to 10 in the space of a day and a half) that I don´t know what to do with myself. It doesn´t help that most windows are pretty breezy. This cold is only supposed to be here till Monday, but WOOO do I ever miss the heat (and to think that only a few days ago I was thinking that I can´t wait for a bit of cold back in Canada). Today was a churrasco (bbq) for most of the exchange students in Santa Cruz. My family was to pick me up at Brodie´s at eleven o´clock SHARP.. Aka: Not there until 11:50am. Then we all crammed into the car, and drove a little ways out of town, towards Cotoca, to this little quinta, country house type thing of one of the Rotary members. I got there, and guess who I saw? JUAN! Finally, after being in the same city for almost three weeks, we ran into each other. It was SO good to see someone that´s been through the same things as you. Knows your friends, your family, your experiences. It was really comforting. There were also a bunch of other exchange students (about 20 or so) from the States, and then one from Canada, one from France and Brodie from New Zealand. It was nice to see all the intercambios. I like getting the time to know everyone, although it´s still more time being spent speaking english. Not much was done at the bbq, besides safety speeches about wearing backpacks, jewlery etc and being openly foreign. There was also a lot of meat. Which was not, obviously, enjoyed by all (hah). Now that I am home and freezing to death, I think I need to curl up in my bed. Gooood night.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 16

Oh good lord did I ever have an interesting day today. For the second day in a row, we were traveling somewhere instead of going to school (I have NOTHING to complain about). We went to the Catholic University of Bolivia (UCB not UBC!). There was some sort of career fair going on, so we got to tour around the university checking out jobs like engineering, law, dentistry etc. I walk into this one room, and what do I see? Cadavers!!!! Yes that´s right. I come into this room full of med students in their lab coats, and kids with rubber gloves TOUCHING these dead bodies. They weren´t even plasticised like in Body Works. They were more... dehydrated (for the most part), looking moderately mummified. I took some photos, so I´ll try to post them onto my facebook soon. The rest of the trip was interesting, but not as eventful. We stole some hot chocolate which was more like melted down chocolate in a cup, found a mime and a really creepy clown, and crowded back onto the buses to be taken back to the school (which was over by the time we got there). Then Brodie, Marvel and I went to Burger King for lunch. I was REALLY hoping that they had veggie burgers like they do in Canada, but I was quite unlucky. Brodie was telling me how in NZ, their BK veggie burgers aren´t a veg pattie, but ONION RINGS in the burger! So we got them to take out the meat, and put in onion rings instead! It wasn´t too bad to tell you the truth. Then it was time for my first spanish class, which was... slightly boring. I´m in the beginner class, and we just covered verbs. AR verbs actually.. woo. But apparently they test us often to see if we should upgrade into the other class, so I have hope still. This evening, Brodie and I went to this cultural festival that happens every Friday in September to celebrate Santa Cruz, at my dad´s work CRE (some electric company I think). It was quite interesting, with dancing, singing, traditional music and some poetry thrown in there. I´m glad that my family is showing me around the cultural side of things here, because there is so much to see, do and learn. Now I´m off to Brodie´s house, to stay over for the night... which is apparently a big deal in South America. Sleepovers are like a... once in a lifetime event for most Bolivian kids. So I guess this should be pretty exciting! Night!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 15

Well, today was definitely an interesting day (to say the least). We were going to my brother´s school today, Don Bosco, to have a presentation, yet no one seemed to know what this presentation was about. It was pouring rain, so we caught a micro (bus) the two blocks to the other colegio. We got there, along with three other private catholic schools just in time to start the presentation. It was quite confusing at first, one it being all in spanish, and two, the man was talking about emotions, relationships etc.. Then they brought out a band, and got everyone dancing. It was then that Maija and I realized that this was more of a religious group, sort of like... youth group I guess. But we danced nonetheless, and I got some AMAZING dance moves on video. But then they started talking about sexuality, premarital sex and masturbation.. It was quite the interesting conversation. There were some concepts in there that I´d never heard of before. Like losing the sparkle in your eye, the timbre of your voice and your youthful vitality if you masturbate. I´ve been immersed in this catholic culture for the past two weeks, yet today seemed to affect me slightly more. I just felt.. moderately uncomfortable being there, with Brodie and Maija being the only other two out of.. probably close to 200 kids, not fully participating while they prayed for almost half an hour. Coming home, I spent most of the day at home, napping, went to my bro´s soccer game.. AS PER USUAL hahaha. Yesterday: English class is another joke, we do NADA. We split into groups, into people that can speak english vs. the ones that can´t. We usually end up in the library or something, just chatting for the hour and a half of classtime. I also had my first music class, which consisted of sitting around, with some people jammin´ it up on the guitar. BUT we did sing the national anthem at the end of class. Well, everyone else did. I don´t know if I´ll ever learn, it´s a good ten minutes long hahaha. Brodie came over for lunch, which was slightly awkward but nice. We then went to go get manicures, because apparently it´s something most girls do weekly. Alan took me to this school where I took a spanish test, to check my proficiency. Rotary is putting all of us into classes, to hopefully improve our speech abilities. The test wasn´t too difficult, but we´ll see where they put me on Friday. I sat through part of the intermediate level class, and it was pretty easy, so I can´t imagine what the beginner spanish class is like. I also got some passport photos taken for my soon to be VISA! I shall soon be legally in this country haha! I talked to my parents and Julia on Skype for the first time, and it is SO damn cool! Fancy fancy technology these days..

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 13

Ahh today was another long day. But verging on progressive!! Being surround by english at all times, I find it really hard to know when I can try a poor attempt at my spanish. I don´t exactly feel comfortable speaking spanish with someone that speaks english as well. I usually feel like I´m either comparing my spanish to theirs, or that they´re judging me. I know that obviously this is not true in the least, but HEY, it happens! So I finally worked up enough courage to start talking to my dad (brutally I might add) in the car ride today. It was not too bad. I actually found out some things, and it didn´t feel as uncomfortable, not having to sit through one another silent car ride. Yesterday, we had PE... YES THAT´S RIGHT PENTICTON, CHELAN PLAYED A SPORT! We played volleyball! The classes were split up, girls and boys so I was in a class of all girls. All very unathletic, scared of the ball girly girls! So, for once, I actually felt that, since I could actually bump serve and set, that I was one of the more athletic kids hahahah WHO KNEW HUH?? But things are starting to slow down for me. Getting into a routine, trying to pick up spanish. I feel I might fall into a bit of a lull with my blogs, so I will try my bestest to keep them lively for you. School will soon be over, I might travel to Brazil with my class as a ¨Prom Trip¨ so I will keep everyone updated! Chau chau for now!