Wow, this has been a crazy week! And this is only the second time since I got here on Saturday that I´ve been able to get on the Internet. As most of you know, I did lose my luggage on the way down here but it came in on a plane the very next day, praise the Lord. I´ve been staying this week at the Hacienda or guest house with the teams interns. I just found out that my host family will be ready for me to move in on Monday. I can´t wait to meet them and see my new home! I have had a really good time with the interns this week (there are 3 of them). They have been teaching me some Spanish and teaching me how to get around town on the Trufies (Bolivian buses). I spend A LOT of time riding around in Trufies. They are either mini-buses (all very colorful) or vans. Always hot, always crowded, but always always cheap. And very dependable. The exchange rate on money is approximately 8 Bolivianos to the US $1. It costs 1 1/2 B´s to ride a Trufie. It is a hot bumpy ride but it beats trying to find my way around the streets on my own. I won´t have a vehicle for quite some time so this is the cheapest and most dependable way of getting around town.
I have been doing some clean-up work at orphanage #2 with the interns. A short term team was here last week and they were painting. Well, when you mix highschoolers with paint, what do you get? A mess! So we´ve been on our hands and knees cleaning up as much as we can so the floors look nice again. We´ve also been running some errands for the team leader as well. We´ve gone twice this week to work at the Center (the after school program) and have helped with lessons and crafts. In both the orphanage and the Center we just love to play with kids! Many of these kids come for abusive homes or just plain don´t get a lot of love and attention from their family. I am more then willing to shower them with love!
Next week will likely look very different. I will be moving into my semi-permanent home and will begin language tutoring. I have a list of things I need to get done in the coming weeks including getting my Bolivian ID card, applying for my year visa, setting up a PO box, and setting up my room in my new house. And I´m sure there is more to do then I even know at this point.
What I do know is that everyday is different from the one before. I don´t think there is such a thing as ´normal´ down here and thats ok. It just takes some getting used to. I am so far sickness free (though my allergies are having a hayday) and I have adjusted to the high altitude. It is rainy season so we get rain about every other day and it is making all the flowers bloom. They are beautiful! And making me sneeze :) I am on a public computer so I can´t post any pictures but look for a formal update in your email by the end of next week. There will be a good number of pictures there.
This weekend is Day of the Dead, it is a Catholic holiday that nearly all of Latin America observes. It is their was of honoring their dead ancestors. It should be a very cultural experience! There is so much more to say but my time is running out. I´ll be sure to update again sometimes next week!