Wednesday, October 13, 2010

really badly need to blog.

i'm sorry i've been mistreating you, blog.

some things:

1. morenada - so maia (otherwise known as british maia, maia uno [cause she is older than me] or simply maia, while i am known as mayita) and i are going to dance morenada in the university parade on november 6th. we go almost every night to dance in the plaza sucre, which is only two blocks from my my house. usually i like dancing - it's a great way to think about nothing, or to think very calmly. tonight i was imagining dancing morenada at middlebury, maybe in a friend's room with a youtube video on, teaching her a few of the steps, and i imagined that i would probably think back to my nights dancing morenada as being very, very bolivian - the plaza at night, with all the yellow and orange lights gleaming around, and the oh-so-pleasant cochabambino breeze, the bolivian girls i am constantly trying to copy who dance so easily in front of me, and the san pedro bank on the other side of the street, with the sign on top that i'm always trying to look at in order to keep my chest up when i dance. i often have to remind myself to stand straight, and i try to move my arms like the other girls so that i don't look like a total gringa, though i'm positive i still do. but after the first hour of dancing, maia and i usually get pretty bored. there are only 8 different steps, so we repeat each one about ten times, maybe more, and by hour 2 of our nightly practice, we are, like, over it.

2. basketball - one day i saw a girl walking across the street in basketball jersey. do you play basketball!?!! i asked her. yes, she said. where!??!???!?! i asked. in the university, she said. can i play too?!?!??!?!?!?! i asked. i don't think so, she said. but you can go watch.
so i went to watch to this tuesday - the court is in this giant gym with volleyball courts on either side, and floor is super sandy and slippery, and the hoop has a metal net. the reason i cant play is because it's a university intramural league, and the girls play with their academic department - like economics vs. agriculture or nursing vs. law. however, i did play a 2 on 2 pick-up game afterwards with a guy named orlando, who turned out to be really good, and two random-sort-of-sucky guys. (we won.) then, i went to get a refresco with orlando and his friend manuel, who talked my ear off for about an hour about all the food i should eat in bolivia and all the places i should go see, while i kept reminding myself that it was good practice. manuel also told me that there is a tournament going on just outside cochabamba, with teams representing cocha and la paz, and including (he stressed this a few times) actual black guys from the united states (who he calls negros, but most people call negritos, or little black people). i'm hoping to go watch them tomorrow!! i am also going to keep playing basketball with the university kids - apparently they all get together on saturday mornings on one of the outdoor courts.

so those are just two things. i find that i only write about things that get me really excited on this blog, positive stuff, things i am DOING. however a lot of my time here is filled with anxiety about things i'm not doing, decisions i haven't quite made, ways i am still "figuring things out." for example, my volunteering - it's sort of on hold right now and i think i'm going to switch things up. hopefully i'll figure out a creative radio project to do with my bolivian friend flor, that can be played on this radio show that she does with jorge and an argentine couple who teach their theater group. i also want to help them out with their other creative ventures, including a literary magazine.

sometimes i have anxiety that i am not learning enough academically about bolivia while i am here. the sit kids are all in potosi this week (which is the highest city in the world, apparently), but when they get back, i will hopefully read some of their history books and get my thinking cap on. i also recently discovered a multi-lingual bookstore called the spitting lama, where there are lots of books in english, including some of my favorite young adult fiction ever, like the westing game and wringer. who knew?!!

one more thing - i have a dream of bringing jorge to middlebury language school! as a professor. i emailed the director of the spanish language school tonight, but if any midd kids out there are reading this and have ideas about how to get him a job (ive heard its really hard to get a job at a middlebury language school), do tell me!

i'll write again, soon. toblerone's face, i miss you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

a lil rough patchin'

it's been a hard week for me here in various ways - but one of the most significant problems was with my host family. i finally moved out of my host family's house due to "cross-cultural differences" which included (on both ends) percieved insensitivity and differing lifestyles. so now i am living in a volunteer house, which is great because the people are open and fun-loving and i have lots of freedom. it's also challenging to decide how i want to spend my time and to make sure i keep speaking lots of spanish while hanging out with these awesome-english-speaking volunteers.

today i am feeling sort of anxious. i'm still settling into this switch from my host family's house and not feeling to guilty about how things didn't work out. i hope to take some time to write and think tomorrow, but today i can feel my anxiety taking over a bit. i am not quite myself.

good things have also happened! i went to an unbelievable parade in a village called punata with a great group of friends. my very good friend here, jorge, is part of theater group taught be an argentine couple. jorge + his argentine friends are also tight with another argentine named rodrigo (who is very funny, has the strongest accent, and is addicted to mate), a SUPER cool bolivian girl named flor (mega friend crush), and crazy outgoing girl named han from belgium. i brought british maia along with me and we all set out for punata to experience the folkloric dances, chicha and incredibly friendly bolivians. we ended up coming back the next day with a slightly different group - more sustainable bolivia people, a random irish kid named sean, a great girl named kelsey (who went to middlebury language school this summer and who i might travel with later on), and our bolivian friend cynthia. on the second day in punata, there was a power outage, and we ate anticuchos (cow's heart) in the dark, while sharing a jug of chicha.

yesterday my friend sarah and i tried to go to a trampoline aerobics class at the gym, but it turned out there weren't enough people to have a class! we were bummed. instead, we went running through the city streets, which was really fun. you may remember that i disastrously sprained my ankle dancing to tik tok my kesha at my dear cousin sophie's bat mitzvah party, and i am glad to report that my ankle felt 85% great. i hope to go running with sarah again.

today i really enjoyed work. sometimes i feel like i have nothing to do - there are quite a few volunteers, and the girls often have very dry homework to do. but today we played basketball and i chatted with a lovely girl named leida while we made paper snowflakes.

another important thing is that i am for real going to dance in the university's parade. i have been practicing almost every night in the plaza with university students, jorge, and british maia. some of the girls are really nice! my favorite is a chica named yolanda who always listens to her ipod while we dance... she's a lazy butt. anyway, maia and i made so much progress and can now dance with the group, instead of practicing by ourselves on the side.

and the sit kids are back! i am so excited. i've seen all of them in the last few days, but we haven't really been able to hang out. apparently they had an amazing and difficult time staying with families in the rural countryside and exploring la paz - i'm thinking about moving with la maddie to la paz while she does her independent study project in november... just an idea!