One Year

Monday, May 31, 2010

As of TODAY, I have been living in Bolivia for an entire year. I remember this day one year ago. I was up before the crack of dawn full of excitement, nerves, and some sadness. It was difficult to say goodbye to my family, especially not knowing when I would be back.

My dad drove me to the airport and I then proceeded through security on my own. It wasn’t the first time that I had marched through the airport all alone, taking off for Bolivia. Every time I’ve walked those same hallways and found the same gates, I feel like I have opportunity on the tip of my fingertips. It’s nearly tangible.

Honestly I don’t remember much about the travel that day; after so many trips, they start to blend together. I do, however, remember finally walking through the door at the Santa Cruz airport and seeing Mauricio waiting for me! That was a moment that I will never forget.

Over the next week or so I bought my furniture and got settled in, started at my job, and let the heat seep into my cold, Minnesotan bones!

And now an entire year has passed. A unique, wonderful, challenging year.

The first few months here were almost entirely dedicated to getting my residency visa. It was time consuming and expensive! It was one of the first things I wrote about on my blog.

I began taking photos with my cell phone just to save some memories, but quickly fell in love with photography. I took a photo of buchere fish and realized that I kind of liked it. I haven’t stopped taking photos since!

In December and January the rainy season came, though flooding wasn’t too bad this year.

I spent Christmas and New Years in Trinidad, Bolivia with Mauricio’s family. This included a rather tropical nativity scene in the main plaza.

In January, the dog that lived at my house had puppies! I got to enjoy them for a few weeks before they moved away with new owners. I photographed them several times!

Later that month I travelled to El Carmen, Bolivia – the rural village where Mauricio’s family originates. His grandma and many other relatives still live there. I experienced (and enjoyed!) some pretty primitive and simple living. And of course I photographed everything in sight. I was still using my cell phone camera at this point, though!

In February I took a trip home to Minnesota. My parents gave me a beautiful new camera – goodbye cell phone camera! I enjoyed practicing with it in the snow.

March was a bit more routine. I wrote about a young girl who was, sadly,
abandoned by her mother
, started participating in Black & White Wednesday, and working on my portrait photography.

In April I experienced my first Easter in Bolivia which included eating fish instead of meat!

And that brings us to May! It’s been a very full and interesting year, but a very good one. I wouldn’t change it for a thing!
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