Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A much needed update

I just realized that I tell a lot of stories. Intresting enough as they are, I thought maybe some people might be intrested in knowing my progress in my adjustment.

And honestly, it depends on the day! Somedays I am confident and other days I want to hide out in my house all day. Spanish is still a daily struggle. Granted, I´m now in the second part of my text book, which means I actually know a heck of a whole lot but I still have sooo far to go. I struggle a lot with understanding what other people are saying. This is a common problem for everyone, even spanish speakers since everyone speaks in a slightly different way depending on where they come from. Other latin american countries speak very very fast, other parts of Bolivia pronounce words differently as well. It takes a lot of concentration and often I have to ask them to repeat or slow down what they said before I can understand what they are trying to say. When someone is talking directly to me its easier for me to understand then if they are talking to someone in a group. Or for example, I can´t understand my Pastor as he is 1) from Columbia (speaks very fast)and 2) he is not speaking directly to me. I try really hard to listen to my bolivian friends as they are talking to each other, trying to pick up on what they are saying. Sometimes I catch bits and pieces, other times I understand nothing at all. But the only way to learn is to just keep on listening to them speak and to use what I know as much as I can. I sound like a fool and make a lot of mistakes but its all part of the process. Someday, years from now, I will look back on this time and just laugh and laugh!

I am feeling very confident about knowing my way around the city. Or at least the parts I travel most frequently. With my move to a new house last week I´ve had to familiarize myself with new bus routes, ect. I am still working on being able to know my way around La Concha. Even Bolivians don´t know their way around La Concha! So I´ve not got my hopes up too high but I would like to have just a basic outline in my head of which sections are which direction. Some say that La Concha in Coch is the largest open air market in latin america. I can´t say for sure thats true but La Concha is HUGE and complicated and smelly and crowded. But its the cheapest place to buy anything in this city!

Praise the Lord, stomach sickness as been far from me! I have an occasional stomach ache from eating too much sweets :) but nothing more then that. I have gained probably 10 pounds since I arrived here. Some of it thankfully is leg muscle as I basically walk everywhere. I can blame the rest on eating bread and tea for 2 meals a day and eating a huge lunch of soup, meat, potatoes and/or rice and then of course taking a siesta after that. Overall, this is a good thing for me!

I´ve been able to read some books that have ben written by people who came to live in Bolivia for a time. Both of them I highly recommend. One is called ¨When invisible children sing¨ and its about street children in La Paz, Bolivia. And the other I´m currently reading and its called ¨¡Gracias!¨ and has a load of wisdom in it, I am browing it but hope to own it myself very soon.

I continue to have very limited involvement with my team as Spanish is still my priority. I still take Viviana for therapy 3 days a week and pitch in to help my team as often as I can. My friends from training arrived last week and will also be staying here long term.

And for those who may be wondering, I do not have a Bolivian boyfriend! I do however have some really good friends that I enjoy spending time with. Many of whom speak English which is hurting my spanish but helping me to build relationships better. As my learning allows, I hope to speak with my new friends more and more in Spanish.

And that should do it folks!

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