You would think it would be a funny feeling getting on a plane to fly 6,000 miles away from your home town and say goodbye to your whole family for 10 months, but I must admit that during the vast majority of the 30+ hours of travel I didn’t fully comprehend that I would soon be in Bolivia. Of course near the end of the last plane flight the reality of the situation became apparent, and even the mention of being in Bolivia and meeting my host family got my heart pounding, but now that I am here all of my worries and fears have been vanquished. I worried my host family wouldn’t get along with me, but they are wonderful people who love to laugh and have a good time. I worried that I wouldn’t have anything in common with other students at my school, but the few I did meet already took a selfie with me and told me the cat in my Facebook profile picture was adorable. So far everything has been absolutely amazing.
Upon arriving at the airport I was greeted by my entire family (my host parents Sandra and Pablo, and my two host siblings Pablo and Camila) who were holding balloons and a big sign saying “Bienvenido Aaron,” finally fulfilling my dream of being greeted at an airport with a giant sign. After this the adventure really began. We first drove back to my host moms house where we went through what they call the first night questions so that I knew all the rules and expectations to follow. Then me and my host brother and father went out to get some delicious frozen yogurt. After that we picked up Camila from school, because she had to take a test, and headed off to my host dad’s house. On the way we picked up a ton if fruit from a street vendor ranging from pears to papaya to strawberries to bananas. The best part was that we got more fruit than I could ever think to eat for only 24 bolivianos which is under 4 US dollars.
After all that we ate lunch, which is the major meal in Bolivia instead of dinner. We had a traditional dish called Plato paceño with consists of choclo, which is kind if like corn on the cob but better, a patty of really yummy cheese, and another Lima bean like food that is called habas. Anyways it was fantastic. After lunch it’s customary to take a siesta but I called my parents instead because I only had the chance to leave them a short message earlier in the day. Finally I had a little down time where we watched James Bond (in Spanish) and played with my host dad’s two dogs. At the very end of the day we went to the mall and ate crepes, then returned home to watch a soap opera and sleep.
On my second day I got the chance to go to the mercado, where there are hundreds of little shops that sell iteams from one dollar clothes to freshly slaughtered llamas. There we took my uniform to get it refitted so that I am ready to start school Monday! My host brother also got me a soccer jersey of his team, which happens to be the rival team of his father, so we are wearing the today when we see him. After that we went to eat lunch with my host mom’s extended family, which is where many of my pictures on Facebook come from. They were all really nice and interested in hearing about the US and teaching me a little about Bolivia. After that we headed to a soccer game between my host mom’s coworkers, but there I mostly talked to my host sister Camila. At the end of the day we went to a restaurant and ate empanadas de queso and ice cream, then returned home to watch the movie Macfarland in Spanish, but with English subtitles.
I ended up waking up earlier than my host family so I decided to write this. I am sure today will be filled with even more adventures, as will Monday when I start my first day at Franco Boliviano, my school. This is all for now, but I already miss all of my family in friends in the states. I will keep you all posted!