I was hesitant to say it at first, but I think rainy season is finally gone. We`ve had a week of sun which makes everything a little more bearable. Our attitudes, laundry, walking, sleeping, showering, etc.. The days are actually fairly warm, and the nights are cold and crisp. My Bmom has started to count my clothing layers and if I don`t pass, she insists I grab another from my room.
The special treatment was appreciated when I was sick and when I first came to this country...now I have mixed feelings about it all. Sometimes I feel as though I´m viewed as incompetent because I´m not Bolivian. In many things, I am... yet it was unnecessary for Shirley to point out where the channel numbers appear on the TV screen when changing the channel. :) I am learning more about humility and allowing myself to be ¨helped¨ even when I don´t need the help. I have a new appreciation for people who adjust to new cultures. I assure you, it`s true when they say you don`t need to raise your voice when you want someone to understand your language... we´re not dumb, we´re not wrong... we are just different, and actually a lot more similar than you might think. This has been a HUGE learning experience, and these new revelations make me excited to return home so I can put into action and teach what I´ve learned here. The thought crossed my mind of finding a Hispanic community in Portland and volunteering somehow.
Each week, I get an allowance of 100Bs. This is equivalent to $8 US, which is approximately a week´s wages here in El Alto. I`ve felt God challenging me to live even MORE simply here - that $8 a week is still more than I really need. So, except for Saturdays (my activity day with my team), I´m no longer buying anything for myself - except for the lovely pink Toilet Paper. No more snacks, chocolate, icecream, coffee... dismissing my thought that another t-shirt might be nice...
My new budget:
10Bs - tithe
20Bs - transportation (usually 1B each way)
15Bs - internet
2Bs - TP
7.5Bs - postage to the US
The rest I`ll spend on other people - the little boys, the beggars in La Paz... I don´t know.
Simplicity is a challenge. Some days it´s easy and other days it`s more difficult. I really like to eat icecream, especially on these sunny days in La Paz. Chocolate is a comfort food. I´m tempted to experiment on some funky food that is being sold in the streets (except for the pig- bottoms I saw for sale in the market yesterday).
To understand the full and rich way of the simple life... this is my call.
A few other thoughts:
-I`m experiencing a lot of freedom and confidence in who God created me to be: without makeup, little-to-zero clothing options, 2-3 showers/week (they are hot now, by the way!). At first I wished I had brought more... makeup, clothes. Now, I`m fully embracing my hairy legs (I`ve only shaved once since I´ve been here. I hope that´s not too much information), and the simple look which is much less maintenence and time-consuming!
-I got a package from home yesterday... I`ve shared some kisses from Oregon (only the Hershey kind!) and am enjoying my jeans (thanks, mom!). So, it IS possible for me to receive packages here... it took 16 business days to arrive and the wait was absolutely worth it!