I have to say that 2016 has been a year of many changes but also many blessings. During spring break I was able to spend a week in Spain exploring all through the southern region. Then I was accepted to work in Bolivia this summer through Projects Abroad. Since I’ve been in Bolivia I’ve received the blessing that comes from giving your time and energy to others. I also managed to get a new job back in the US while in Bolivia. I can hardly believe I’ve been blessed in so many wonderful ways in just six months.
I think about all the difficult things I’ve had to deal with in the last three years. My second marriage collapsed and ended in divorce. I met the love of my life and then I lost him after only eight months. I lost my father from a long illness. I got engaged and then ended the engagement. I spent time exploring the idea of getting back together with the love of my life only to find that his feelings weren’t sincere. I’ve had a lot of pain and heartache in my life. I have prayed and I have struggled to pray. I can honestly say that I put my life in God’s hands when I came to Bolivia. I can’t believe the peace I feel knowing that God is in control. My romantic life is the only place that hasn’t received a blessing this year. Of course that won’t cause me to lose faith. I know in my heart that God will put the right man in my life at the right time. I also know that I am strong enough to be on my own!
This is Maria Eugenia and she is an amazing teacher and someone I hope I will always be able to call friend. I am working with her at San Simon University in Bolivia. Her classes are great and I can’t say enough about her students! This whole experience in Bolivia has been amazing and it has a lot to do with this woman. We get along so well and I honestly feel like I could talk to her about anything. It is so funny because sometimes you meet people and you just click. She is Catholic and I’m protestant but I have found that we can easily talk about our faith. I have had some amazing things happen to me since I’ve been in Bolivia and I know God is the only one who could have made all these things happen. She told me today that God is blessing me because of what I’m doing in Bolivia. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m doing that much but I think to these students it means the world to them that I’m here. I could have spent my summer so many ways but I’m so glad I chose to spend it working with students in Bolivia. This has truly been an experience of a lifetime. I think I finally found my calling. I know I have to finish raising my children but once they are grown I think I would like to do some missionary work. I know I should be able to combine teaching and missionary work together. I’m getting so much more out of this experience than even the students are. My pastor said when you reach out and help others that the gifts you receive are very often greater than the gifts you give.
Why is it that in life we always want to keep secrets? Why do we always feel more secure when we hold things back? I have so many emotions going through my mind right now! I don’t know how to put them in words! I feel like if I write anything down then I will just make things worse! My heart has been through so many things in the last three years! You know I realized today that 2016 has been the best year I’ve had in a long time despite the fact there has been some negativity! I find that my mind is excited and exhilarated to figure out what is going to come next for me! I’m not sure what the next three weeks in Bolivia will bring me! I’m not even sure what will happen when I get home but I do know one thing, I’m keeping my emotions to myself! I can’t afford to let anyone in right now! I need to figure out what I’m feeling! I need to figure out what I really want! I have three weeks before I go back to reality!!
So I have officially accepted the new job and resigned from the old job which is an amazing feeling. I know I will miss my old students and my former co-workers, especially my ex. It’s crazy but my ex and I have worked together for the last four years. I know that the distance and space will be good for both of us but I will miss running into him in the halls. I’m not leaving church but then again we don’t really talk at church. I’m very excited about the new challenges and opportunities I have before me. I have also realized something else through this experience of mine, I need to take a step back from any and all romantic relationships for awhile. I need to abstain from sex and emotional entanglements so I can focus on what really matters. I need to focus on God, my children and my new job. Romance will definitely still be there when I’m ready for another relationship. In five years both my kids will be out of high school and I don’t want to miss one minute of the time I have left with them.
So today I was offered a new job. It is not entirely official yet but I’m so excited about the opportunity. Last year was not a good year in any way shape or form! This job will give me the opportunity to start over with a clean slate. I will no longer be working with my ex. I won’t have to deal with the red-headed tyrant that has been my boss for the last year. I’m actually completely in shock that this whole thing has happened. Less than a week ago I wasn’t even thinking about this job and now today the associate principal offered me the job. Its crazy because this year so far has included all sorts of new experiences. I went to Spain on a trip with educators that I didn’t know for a week. Now I am in Bolivia working in a country where I didn’t know anyone or the language. I never dreamed that this year would bring yet another new experience into my life. I can’t wait to see what else the future has in store for me.
So if I was at home I would be surrounded by people talking about Father’s Day. In Bolivia I’m safe because today doesn’t have the same significance here. Today is the second Father’s Day without my dad. I remember spending Father’s Day last year with my ex fiance’s family. I miss my dad a lot but I have learned to have some peace. I know he doesn’t suffer anymore which definitely makes things easier. I spend a lot of time with my host family here in Cochabamba which is actually pretty cool. I miss being at home in one respect but in others it is actually nice to be on my own. I have a couple of really great friends who have kept in close contact with me which has helped a lot. I feel like my life is on the verge of significant change but I have no idea how I will be effected by that change. My ex was on my mind a lot yesterday so I sent him a message. It was the first contact we’ve had in a couple of weeks. It was innocent and friendly and I did it for the right reasons. I would love to say that I don’t still miss him but I would be lying. I don’t think about him all the time like I used to though. I am feeling stronger and depending on the news I get tomorrow it may get that much easier to let go of my ex and the past. I am boycotting Facebook today so I can avoid Father’s Day. I know it’s silly but that is how I choose to deal with today.
So last night my host family had a dinner party. I ended up spending all night in the kitchen with Susana’s daughters and the middle ones boyfriend. Susana prepared as much as she could before the guests arrived but then her daughter Pamela was cooking the rest with her boyfriend Fernando. It was a very interesting night. I took some pictures because they explain a lot of the story better than I can.
We all got to eat leftovers in the kitchen after all the plates had been served. It was a crazy night because on top of everything else, the power went off in the whole neighborhood around midnight. Many of the guests ended up having to walk down the stairs all six floors because the elevator was out. Susana only got three hours of sleep but I think the dinner party was a success.
Obviously I have a passion for writing or I wouldn’t be keeping up with this blog. I have been in Bolivia almost a week. Six days ago I started writing in this rather unique book.
I have already completed 74 of the 642 writing prompts. I have found that since I am in a new place with a lot of down time that this book has been awesome. It has all sorts of prompts like your first kiss, first time you had sex, and even prompts like what do you store in your closet. Some of them are designed to be story ideas and others are just designed to get you writing. I have been dating every prompt as I complete it because I have been skipping all over the book. I think it will be so interesting to go back and look at what I wrote and when later on. It is do funny to me how some days a prompt just jumps out at me and other days it seems uninteresting. I’m hoping that I can complete the majority of the book while I’m here but we shall see.
I have grown up always having everything I needed and most of what I wanted. I was taught to give back to others but I never realized the conditions some people live in. In Bolivia abortion is illegal so many women still get abortions that end up killing them. They have grown up with the influence of the Catholic church but they find it’s preaching hypocritical. Apparently in the eyes of young people here the church shouldn’t preach against abortion when historically there have been nuns that received abortions. I can honestly say I was a bit shocked and surprised when they told me these things. It seems that issues like abortion are a problem all over the world. I guess because I’ve lived in the bubble that is known as the United States I never realized that. The water supply is a problem for everyone in Bolivia. Some areas in Cochabamba have water turned off at night while others lose it for a whole day each week. I think of the ways in which we conserve water in my area and it seems like a joke. We conserve water by not watering our grass everyday. The people in Cochabamba have very little grass around their homes. Many have dogs that don’t even have access to grass because they live in apartments. There are also stray dogs all over the place. It is very sad to see these animals on the street fending for themselves. Family is very important here and most of the young adults continue to live with their parents until they get married. Many families even live in houses like Susana’s where it is five floors and each floor is a different family member. Susana’s husband built the house and each of his sisters live on a different floor. I can’t even imagine living that close to my family. It would be cool if my mother just lived a floor above us or below us though. I have noticed that Bolivians are not as conscious of their environment like Americans. There is trash on the ground along the street. The pollution is terrible because all the truffys or small buses emit horrible exhaust. I have noticed that my allergies are bothering me really badly here and I think its all the pollution. The students I have worked with so far are very eager to learn which is nice. They are trying to expand their speaking abilities so today we played lots of games. I understand now why so many people are so desperate to be in the US. Public universities offer very cheap education to their students and many of them will continue to go to school because it is so cheap.
I know that I have always been extremely fortunate when it comes to my everyday life but I never realized how spoiled I was until now! In Bolivia it isn’t safe to drink the water so families boil their water to drink. Susana has a filtration system in her house for one tap in the kitchen so she actually has fresh drinking water but most families don’t! On Monday afternoon we had no water for several hours because the tank was actually empty. I didn’t completely understand at the time. Later she explained that they haven’t had any rain this year. Their tank was empty so she had to get up really early to meet the people that deliver water. I started feeling guilty for taking showers everyday. The family also recycles their shower water to use in the toilets. I never realized how lucky I was to be able to walk into my kitchen or bathroom and always have water. I will say that this experience is humbling me. Susana is always so great about making sure I have everything I need. I feel like a bit of a burden to her. I am beginning to understand more and more Spanish. I wish I would have spent more time studying it before I got here. I hope hope that I will use this experience in the future to make my life at home better. Life is too short to be miserable over an ex that never thinks of me!