Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pensimientos primeros: gratitud

The title of this blog is ¨First Thoughts: Gratitude.¨

It´s no wonder why in every packet given to students by Maryknoll and in every conversation I had with people who had visited before, the words överwhelming¨ and ¨culture shock¨ came up. These feelings are not necessarily negative, in fact, I have already found great value in the lessons I´ve learned since being here.

It´s amazing what life is like without some of the simple givens we frequently take for granted, first and foremost, safety. When safety is always in jeopardy, one lives very differently. So far, that has been my greatest lesson. I never knew what it was like to always need to be on guard and completely aware of my surroundings, because in the US, some degree of safety is guranteed and if one should encounter a problem, the police are just a phonecall away. Here, even the Bolivianos take great precautions by not leaving their homes at certain times, not wearing much jewelry, and not carrying purses. It certainly requires much consideration and adaptation. Every step of the day is pre-planned: how much money you need to carry, what clothing is appropriate, and what streets are safest for the journey. It´s not a bad thing at all but it was certainly a shock to me when I realized that even the slightest misstep could mean very serious consequences.

It´s also true what people say about how much more grateful you are after staying for a while in a ¨Developing Country.¨I´m not sure if it´s the influence of the Bolivianos that´s making me want to say a prayer of thanks all the time, but I have definitely been thanking God much more since I´ve been here: thanking Him for each meal I am blessed to have, each taxi ride that delivers me safely home, each morning when I wake up in a bed and not on the streets, and each trip to school that occurs safely. I also thank Him for my loved ones back home whom I love even more when I´m so far away.

Well, that is all for now. On the list of things to do this weekend are the following: learn how to clean my clothes with a bucket and washboard, take a tour of Cochabamba on Saturday, participate in the Andean New Year (solstice) festival on Sunday, go to church, and to school. I will start my volunteer work next week. !Hasta luego!

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