Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Week 31

I have officially completed my NINETEENTH birthday. How exciting is that? Apparently here in Bolivia, it's not. Because I'm spending it with either a) Bolivians, with the legal age of 18 or b) Americans, where as we know, they can't imagine this day for another two years.

It was definitely a successful birthday, going by smoothly and calmly. Sarah came over in the morning, skipping school to spend the day with me... And then we got together with two other girls that I've recently become friends with, Claire and Belen. We hung out for the day, I skipped my Spanish class. After going home and having a nap, I got my place ready for a BBQ that I was going to have in the evening. It was strange having a meat bbq, and everyone was asking why I had one when I was the vegetarian... but apparently a bbq, called a churraso here, is the Bolivian thing to do for birthdays. At the end of the night, I got the cake shoved in my face, in the apparent Bolivian tradition. It was a small but awesome gathering spent with good friends, and I'm glad that I got to spend it with them.

The past couple of weeks haven't gone by especially fast, yet these last two months here in Santa Cruz seem to be flying by. At the moment, I've got 38 days left here.. Which is fantastically scary. I don't know if I'm ready to be going home. I've been gone so long, and gotten so used to living in this house with strangers that once upon a time I hardly knew. I'm still so far away from being comfortable with my Spanish, and just starting to use it now. Obviously what happens happens for when I get back, but I still can't get rid of the nagging feeling that I will definitely miss this place.

I've started going to the gym in the morning. Just a quick wake-me-up that will hopefully loose a few pounds before I get back home.. The summer is fast approaching (at least in Canada) and we all know how painful that Rotary 10 really is hahah. I've also been taking Spanish classes, which are going great. I realize that I work so much better in a one-on-one situation, and am finally getting comfortable with my Spanish (heck, for the first time, I've started speaking to my brother Chris in Spanish haha).

I'm trying to work on my tan in my last days of living in the tropics. My host family took me to the Mariposario the other weekend, which is pretty much a big Butterfly World. It was a beautiful park (I have the photos posted on my photo site) and we got to laze in the sun all day. I've also been trying to get to a pool as often as I can, but there seems to be a ton of rain lately, especially in the mornings, when Chelan happens to be the least busy. I know that when I get home, I won't look white, especially compared to some of you... But I could definitely be a lot darker than I am, and I need to take advantage of living in South America!!

My dad has a friend that is the conducter of a Youth Symphonic Orchestra here in Santa Cruz. When he found out I played the flute, and had some free time, he got me to meet up with the guy to talk about me joining for a while. He was super nice, and when he heard I had 8 years of experience, wanted me to teach hah! I politely declined, but am definitely interested in playing with them. He said he'd lend me a flute and everything, since I failed to bring my baby along with me. I also got to see them perform the following night. Quite impressive, especially since I'm so used to a concert band (no string section whatsoever!). I'll keep you updated on this part of my life since I have yet to practice with them.

We've had a few holidays and birthdays over the past week or so. There was St. Patricks day, which I celebrated with a few exchange students at the Irish Pub (how idyllic, no?). It's not an especially celebrated holiday here, but we had our own little fiesta. Then came up el Día del Padre, otherwise known as Father's Day, here in Bolivia. They celebrate on March 19th because, being a predominantely Catholic country, it's celebrated on el día de San José (Joeph, Jesus' father). We also had my brother Christian's 24th birthday, which involved a lot of cake. It was fun because I invited a few of my friends, and we all ended up hanging out with his friends till three in the morning.

Everything here in Boliva seems to be going amazingly. Which shall lead to a sad ended when I leave, but at the same time, shall leave me wanting more. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this crazy city in Bolivia... and will one day return, hopefully to find everything the same as it was when I left. BUT until then, I shall continue to enjoy myself, and not think of the date that looms in the near future. LIVE IN THE PRESENT!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Week 28

Although it has been quite some time since my last blog post, I've been delaying it since I didn't have too much to talk about haha. I figured none of you wanted to read about my boring day-to-day life after the big trip to Peru :P But I guess I do owe a slight update, just to prove that I have NOT dropped off the face of the planet, or disappeared into the jungles of Bolivia.

After getting back from Peru, on Friday the 13th I might add, I got sick. I was pretty much stuck in the house for a week nursing what I thought could be strep throat. But after going to the doctor, being prescribed antibiotics and then me getting better before taking the medication, I realized it had just been a mean sore throat. I must have a pretty weak immune system, because I got almost the exact same thing after returning from my trip to Brasil. My throat hates me travelling!

It was my six month mark two weeks ago, which I quietly celebrated by myself (being sick and all). Another thing slightly ruined by this bacteria was Carnaval. Normally, girls get invited to go out with the guys so that the girls end up not paying for anything during the four days (and the guys end up paying tons of money). I was sick leading right up to Carnaval, which meant I wasn't out enough to get invited by anyone.. and me being as cheap as I am, decided to NOT pay $50+.

I was a little let down that I didn't get to go out, but in the end it worked out because I stumbled across an application on the SFU website for a bunch of entrance scholarships! Holing myself back up in my room, I spent the next few days working on this application, emailing old teachers and writing essays, hoping that I can get something out of these six or seven different scholarships (ranging from $7000-$34 000).

Since then, I've signed up for Spanish classes again. I started on Monday, and am really excited about them. They're one on one, so I can work on everything I feel I need to work on. Hopefully by the time I leave, I will be at a level of Spanish that I am content with! I've also made some plans to take some cooking classes, but those haven't started yet. I'll learn how to make some local dishes so that I have something to show when I get home!

Other than that, I've been out with friends shopping, baking and doing the usual daily boring stuff. I almost got my necklace stolen from my neck, walking outside my house. The guy snuck up behind me and tried to rip it off me, but I grabbed it and it broke in my hand. I was sad that it broke, and kind of stunned that he just kind of casually walked off after not getting the prize. Welcome to my neighborhood, where I'm scared to leave the house.

I also have had two Bolivian friends come back from exchanges in the States and Germany. One is only back for a week (the other for good) but it's nice to get to see friends again before I leave for the end of my exchange.. Speaking of which, the date looms closer and closer. I think I am now at only two months left. So for the next little while I will be off trying to do all the things I wanted to do while in Bolivia!