What is it about 4:00am? When we left the U.S., we woke up at 4:00am to drive to Chicago. The next day, we arrived in Santiago at 4:00am. This morning we woke up to go to the airport again at, of course, 4:00am. At least we have some consistency in our lives.
We just finished a great orientation week in Chile. Over the past seven days, we became acquainted with the two associate houses, the kind of work current associates are doing, the country, and the language. The seven associates in Chile were very gracious hosts. They put up with four extra bodies, over 400lbs. of luggage strewn about the (small) house, and a few know-nothing gringos following them around the city (with the exception of Roy who knows more Spanish than he lets on).
Now we are en route to Cochabamba, Bolivia to study Spanish for 3.5 months at the Maryknoll Institute. As I write, we are passing time during our layover in La Paz, the capitol city. When we arrive in Cochabamba at 8:00pm, we will meet our individual host families who will take us to their homes. That’s when the immersion learning really starts, I guess. I’m a little anxious about meeting my new family. Right now I can construct sentences in Spanish well enough to be understood, but I have trememdous difficulty understanding what other people are saying.
Getting settled in Cochabamba will be nice, though. We have been living from our suitcases for the past month, which is growing tiresome. We’ve also been saying goodbye to a different group of people practically every week. Whether family, friends, other volunteers, or other associates, we all agree that the process is somewhat emotionally draining. Now we don’t have to say more goodbyes until December when we leave Bolivia and return to Chile. Also, after seeing all the opportunities in Chile, we are pretty excited to finally start learning the language that will enable us to take advantage of those opportunities.
The next time I write, I’ll be introducing my Bolivian family. What will they be like? Will I be able to understand anything? Vamos a ver…(“We’ll see”).