Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweet Memories....

Usually I use this blog to share of my life in La Paz; attempting to capture the beauty that surrounds me....the spirit of people here....or the hilarity that I hope others will appreciate:)! However, maybe because it's Friday (finally) and I have a long weekend ahead of me (YAY for All Saint's Day!) or maybe because it's that time when the new becomes old and the exciting becomes ordinary....whatever the case, I find myself sitting on Steph's bed (while she naps beside me), in the dark, perusing old folders of pictures labeled "October" or "November." And, as you probably guessed, I'm missing the familiar smells, sounds and sights of what these above months bring! Therefore, below are some of the sweet memories I found while I laughed my way down memory lane. I am posting these post-facto pictures partly because I think those involved will appreciate them and partly because I'm hoping it will make me a little less homesick right now!

This picture brings me back to TU Homecoming when I was able to visit my sweet sister who chose hilarious decorations (compliments of Croplan Genetics....and our father) for the wing and also thought it was a good idea to take multiple pictures posing with them! Oh, I do miss that girl!
This picture brings me back to my FAVORITE getaway in Charlotte. Yes, this trip to the 'mountain house' did not disappoint between the piles of leaves just waiting to be jumped in and the great company to share in the fun:)!
This picture is a funny reminder of how different my life is from almost a year ago and even though just today my answer to a question regarding the best job I've ever had was my job right now at HIS, I still miss my sweet Charlotte babies and their crazy/beautiful hair!

And, last but not least, this picture just reminds me of what I am missing right now.....vivid colors that paint the sky. For those of you who are experiencing this yearly gift, enjoy it for me :)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bane No More!

Since coming to Bolivia, my roommate and I have noticed that there are many little inconveniences that we have come to live with, and at times, forget that they haven't always been in our lives! But, then there are some things that have never ceased to be the bane of our existences. What are those, you may ask?

Stephanie- a kiln for her ceramics class

Me- internet on my computer at school

I could go into great detail how each has made it's way to this elite title, this dominant status, this obsessive thought!
I could tell you that Stephanie has piles of uncooked clay peices in her art room just waiting to be fired so that they can be used, enjoyed, appreciated by many! I could tell you that she's asked ALL 4 of the people in La Paz that even own a kiln if she could use it multiple times, and everytime the answer is the universal "no!"
I could tell you that everyday I wish I had access to when my sweet, ESL babies don't know a word and no dictionary exists (at least one that is easy to access). I could tell you that we are changing to a new internet based program to do our attendance, planning and grades...AWESOME when you have no internet at school!
But there is no need to whine and complain anymore!!! Our existences as we know it have been improved....THE INERNET AND KILN HAVE ARRIVED!
Today both of our problems were solved and we are just so thankful! Stephanie found out that fifth time's the charm and I discovered that window updates are beneficial:)!
So...thank you for all of your prayers, even the general ones. God is faithful and does answer our prayers, even those that seem little and insignificant :)!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Little pieces of home...

Since moving to Bolivia, I have found communication to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be! Not only are the 11 million people on skype a hindrance to smooth conversations with Idaho, but the mail regulations seem impossible to overcome.

HOWEVER, many wonderful people have persevered through the postal process to send me little pieces of home that I never thought would make me so happy!

The first package was from my dear friend who recently got married. Between the cinnamon-graham-cracker-fishies and wedding favors sent, I felt apart of life back in the Carolinas and was thankful for the thoughtfulness!

Then came a BIG ol' package from another dear friend! But this time, it contained many wonderful gifts for my students, who were almost as excited as I!

My pencil-happy 6th graders and..

..sharpie-loving 7th graders!

The next surprise package came from yet another sweet friend who sent me some good reads, including pages from my favorite magazine.... complete with comments to bring me back to 10517 Parkhouse Lane! :)

Last, but not least, my sweet mother also joined the package fun! Among the treasures from home came some personal favorites that can't be found here!

I feel very blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life...those that send me packages and those that are just plain wonderful! :)

P.S. If you're reading this, that last line is talking about you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Copacabana Pt. 2

So, it has taken me a bit longer than I thought!
But, as promised, here are some pictures of our weekendS at the famous, LAKE TITICACA!

The first time, we were a group of 7, freezing....

The second time, we were a group of 3, sweating....

The first time, we could only see the islands from afar...

The second time, we spent quality time on those islands...

The first time, we gazed up at a cross...

The second time, we looked at a sea of crosses in the beautiful Church of Copacabana...

But both times, we thoroughly enjoyed the lake!

I hope you enjoy our timed jumping picture! 3rd time's the charm....or is it??

It's always fun to get out of the city and see a new side of Bolivia!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Copacabana Pt. 1

As some of you know, a few weekends ago I had the pleasure of spending a 3-day weekend at the beautiful Lake Titicaca, which borders both Bolivia and Peru. I celebrated the Bolivian holiday "Amistad (Friendship) Day" with 6 other teachers from Highlands at a lake house! A friend of a friend offered his place of us to enjoy, but we had hoped to venture from the house to explore the tourist-trap, Copacabana, and the island where, according to Incan mythology, life itself was born, Isla del Sol. However, partly due to the fact that we are STILL in the process of getting our 2-yr visas and didn't have our passports with us, and partly due to the fact that we were one HUGE vehicle filled with American gringos, we didn't reach either destination.

Therefore, this weekend we decided to try it again.. this time ready for what the Bolivian police would throw at us (passport copies in hand and a group of 3 instead of 7)! What we were NOT prepared for, was what Bolivia itself would throw at us!

Getting there Saturday morning on a massive tourist bus was actually pretty uneventful, except for the tire that exploded en route! But, after a quick 30 minute stop at Bolivia's version of a rest-stop...nature's bathrooms, picnic areas, petting zoos and a dog pound all on a 20 yd by 20 yd grassy patch of land along the side of the road...we were on our way! Upon arrival at the legndary Copacabana, we dropped our backpacks off at a delightful hostal complete with hammocks stratigically placed to enjoy the breathtaking views of the water, and hit the town! After living in Bolivia for more than 3 months but not having a lot of time to be a "tourist" persay, it was quite enjoyable to peruse the wares of the many vendors that lined the streets and just enjoy being a foreigner. Then that evening we were able to enjoy an unexpected dinner with a friend from La Paz and some of her friends who were also in town for the night!

So, Saturday...awesome! Sunday....awesome in a totally different way! Let me expound and then I will post pictures of our weekends at the lake in a "coming soon" post!

What "should have happened" and what "actually happened" Sunday, October 4th. Enjoy! I know I did:)...

10:30 am
Should have happened:
the boat drops us off at the side of the island with various shops, restaurants and ruins to explore
Actually happened: the boat drops us off at the side of the island with basically nothing

12:00 pm
Should have happened:
we are close to the ruins after hiking for what feels like an hour
Actually happened: we have to turn around after seeing no ruins because we don't want to miss the "early boat" that leaves the north side of the island at 1:30

2:30 pm Should have happened: the boat quickly stops at the south side of the island and then continues on to Copacabana
Actually happened: the boat docks for an hour while we sit on the boat and watch some crazy donkeys

3:30 pm
Should have happened:
arrive back in Copacabana, grab our backpacks at the hostal and catch a bus heading back to La Paz
Actually happened: leave the south side of the island with a whole boat, full of people

4:30 pm
Should have happened:
driving on a bus that's about 1/2 way there to La Paz
Actually happened: dock at a floating reed island, surprising all of the tired passengers

5:30 pm
Should have happened:
arrive in La Paz
Actually happened: arrive in Copacabana

6:00 pm
Should have happened:
relax back at the house with a light dinner and start cleaning up the house after a long week/weekend
Actually happened: leave Copacabana in another large, tourist bus

7:00 pm
Should have happened:
at Wallyball (volleyball played in raquet-ball courts) with other friends in La Paz
Actually happened: in a ferry full of drunk cholitas and their husbands wondering if the bus will leave us

8:45 pm
Should have happened:
back from Wallyball and ready to grade a few papers before going to bed
Actually happened: on the bus that is showing, on 1 miniscule TV about 20 rows up, the Spanish version of Ice Age II...hilarious

9:30 pm
Should have happened:
ending our evening by watching an episode of House with my roommate
Actually happened: the bus runs out of gas at the very outskirts of town (El Alto)

10:15 pm
Should have happened:
go to bed
Actually happened: arriving home AT LAST after a taxi ride where "Hotel California" was the music of choice