Sunday, September 13, 2015

My First Blog Post About My Exchange Year In Bolivia

September 13, 2015

It's been somewhere around three weeks since I started my year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Before leaving Door County I made sure that I made every moment count; I spent a lot of my time taking in the sights and doing everything that I liked doing and wanted to do. I mean by that it ended up being a lot of sitting in Steven's basement and wondering what we should do next. Timmy, Steven, Logan, and Marcy were with me on my last night and we said our final goodbyes in the morning (I didn't spend my last night in my bed but sleeping on a couch completely by accident). That morning my good friend Jan came by to help me fulfill a promise I made to him about how my last meal in the States was gonna be a Citgo doughnut. My parents drove me to Chicago that morning and said our goodbyes. That was a crazy day. A lot of waiting in airports and gate changes.

My first day felt like it was it's own month in itself. I saw my host family for the first time and was harshly reminded of where my Spanish actually rested. My host brother was leaving for his exchange to France that Monday so I only knew Carlos Andres for three days in total. It was actually good for me in a way because he was having goodbye parties in those days. At one party I met my "extended family" who are just the biggest bunch of sweet hearts. We had a churrasco which is a sort of Bolivian styled barbecue. We have a lot of those. Like at least once a week. At another party I met his friends who also had their own churrasco in the afternoon and later I met the whole class a little party at Valentina's house. It was nice to meet a lot of people before I started at school.

My school day goes from 8 until 4 and it's a huge open air building. We have a full uniform but on fridays we don't have to wear it. I'm in what the equivalent to a Junior class in the U.S. would be because I only have until December before I go on Summer vacation. The whole class gets the same schedule and mover around together throughout the day. I am still confused  on what a lot of the classes are and what the schedule is because it's different everyday. All the grades have three classes: A, B, and  C. A and B are sorted by alphabet and the C class is for the AP students. I was put in C class because that's where my host brother was.

I won't lie I'm not really homesick but I do miss a lot of people. But most of the people I miss live in places like Spain, South Korea, Belgium, The Czech Republic, Germany, France, a couple in Bolivia that I'll be seeing soon, and more I'm probably forgetting at the moment. With that being said, it wouldn't be much of a difference if I spent this year living in Bolivia or living in Sturgeon Bay. I have more of a longing for all the people I love and I do miss a good amount of people in Sturgeon Bay (y'all probably kknow who you are) and I end up talking to them a lot, giving almost daily updates on the Bolivian life I'm living. I didn't hate it there in DoCo but I knew that I couldn't take being there for another year. I am a person that craves adventure and attention (that's why I love theatre so much) and there's probably no better way of getting that than being an exchange student. I knew a lot of what the peninsula had to offer but it wasn't that until I went to take my senior photos with my mom and the time that Bret showed me this incredible park that I've never actually been to during the day time that I realized that there's always gonna be something new no matter where you are.

My time here has been a lot of eating new foods, trying to communicate in Spanish, and hanging out with people from all over the world (mostly Bolivians but the exchange students have already gotten really close and now with the Spanish classes we are all taking we're becoming like a big family and I can't wait to go tour Bolivia and Macchu Picchu with them). I've seen some breath taking sights and had some wild times already and can't wait for what this year is gonna bring for me.

P.S. I've only met two people with eyes like mine and everyone here says that I am blonde

P.S.S. Thanks to everyone that pushed me to be here, I love you all.


1 comment:

  1. so fun to hear what's in your head right now-- keep 'em coming!