One week down, and I'm still OK

11 September 2005
6:34 PM

The results are in: after my first week of language class, I am still alive. Granted, several nights I have been so tired that I went to bed at 10:00pm and slept for 11 hours, but that’s to be expected, right? And, of course, my digestive system and I have been having some minor disagreements. I won’t discuss that any further, but I will say that I still feel very good. Classes have been both fantastic and exhausting. Right now I can see plenty of areas where I need work, which is encouraging because I can see my own progress. I have been warned that I will not be so fortunate after a few more weeks, when progress becomes hard to see.

We have had many special events this week because the Maryknoll Institute is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Coincidentally, there are 40 students studying right now at the institute.

Family life is also going well. It is probably no surprise to my friends and family that I already taught my Bolivian family how to play sudoku. My brother Jorge was so enamored with sudoku that he took my book and photocopied it entirely to work for himself. Of course, I would have suggested that he purchase his own book instead if they were sold anywhere in the country.

We have spent both Friday nights here inside playing games. My Bolivian family taught me a new card game called Telefunken, which they introduced by saying se puede jugar este juego para dinero (“You can play this game for money”, though they later added that it isn’t for much money). I said we shouldn’t since I didn’t even know how to play the game. Two games and two victories for me later, I told them Que mala suerte; debemos jugar para dinero (“What bad luck…we should have played for money”). I have written up the (complex) rules to Telefunken and will post them for the curious among you. It’s an interesting variation of a rummy-style game.

My posts thus far have given a pretty rosy picture of Cochabama, and I am currently writing a piece that talks more about some of the realities here. You can expect that later this week.

And finally, I would like to say hello to Roy’s parents. Because Roy refuses to start a blog, I have been informed that mine is their source for information about him. Don’t worry Roy’s mom and Roy’s dad. Unless the situation has changed since I saw him last night, he is still alive, not yet sick, and doing well.