Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The little things

There are a few differences between living in Bolivia and living in Chicago...

...finding scorpions (and a lot of other weird bugs) in your house. I have officially started checking my shoes before I put them on so there you go Mom (she made me promise to do that when I moved to Ecuador and six years later I started doing it).

...we also have a bird that tries to get into our kitchen by knocking his beak on the window. And its a big, orange beak. He comes every morning and knocks about twenty times at the same spot then flies away. on a street that doesn't have a name. And we don't have a house number either. It makes it interesting telling someone how to get to your house...especially in Spanish.

...throwing out toilet paper instead of flushing it

...buying milk in a bag

...listening to the radio and thinking "This song, really? I forgot it existed!" Also feeling like you've stepped back in time when watching T.V..

...boiling water for 15 minutes before you use it to cook anything

...public transportation not being learned by a map but by observing where each bus goes. It's a guess and check type system.

..starting to think that 35 Boliviano's is too much for anything then remembering that it's less five dollars. Your perspective of money and how much everything costs shifts once you've been here for a couple months because everything is so much cheaper.

...seeing the owners of your house every few days just because they decide to stop by...with the whole family. I'm talking spouses, kids, grandkids, everybody.

...the only post office in town being closed for three weeks

...spending only about half your time on paved roads

...something that would take maybe an hour to get done in the States takes at least three days here

...being held up in a street by a herd of lambs at any given moment

...if you need something, anything, you've got to go to the market to get it. I had been taking Target for granted all these years. can expect that anything you're planning on not to get done in the way you have planned.

It's kind of hard to think of the things that are different because I think we are already getting used to the way of Bolivia. In some ways I think it suits us better than the hustle and bustle of America. Time seems to pass by rather than rush by. It's refreshing in a way but can be frustrating in another.


Greta said...

So funny! I laughed many times reading through the differences. Thanks for sharing too because unless we have lived there or a similar country we have no idea what the differences can be or at least i don't.

Miss you guys!


Anonymous said...

Hey Matt & Elsa!

That was a great post! I loved reading about the differences in culture you're experiencing and your perception of them. The issue of bugs alone is why you are there and I am here...but I'll come and visit you anytime :)


Kathy Attardi

David said...

bagged milk that is also unrefridgerated (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong). This was a good post...three comments now even.

Kim said...

Good summery, thats hilarious about the bird!

Anonymous said...

Great to be able to visualize where you're living. Amazing how we just get so accustomed to things here!

hannah joy said...


i know how you feel in so many ways! bugs, birds, markets, missing TARGET, enjoying life rather than letting it rush by, the frustration that sometimes brings...

i have birds that live right outside my window that wake me up every morning that annoyed me so much until my dad said, "hey, it's better than the train that wakes me up every day." oh yeah.

anyway, just thought i'd share. i love reading your blog!

Wendy said...

Matt & Elsa
It's so much fun to read your blog and really get a feel for what happens in your lives on a daily basis. The pictures are great and our whole family is enjoying being part of your mission.
Wendy & Tom Wright

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