|New city--La Paz! Before heading back to the States, I got to explore for a couple of days.|
I even got to explore a bit outside the city....see below.
|In the Altiplano, about an hour outside of La Paz|
While I may yet have the chance to master Bolivian dancing in the States and while I certainly hope to stay in touch with the people I met in Bolivia, some of the possiblities mentioned above are probably better ascribed to the process of building a life in a country or doing longer term (as in years) mission work.
Moving to a different country is certainly more attractive than ever before, but my time in Bolivia was never about settling in for good. Instead, it was about being immersed in a new culture for a time and getting a taste of what cross-cultural mission is all about. Indeed, I think my yearning for more time in Bolivia is not only appropriate, but also far better than feeling like I've had enough of Bolivia and never want to return. For that reason, I suppose I am grateful for the bittersweet goodbyes and the reverse culture shock I'm experiencing now. At present, the challenge I face is that of continuing to nurture my relationship with the people of Bolivia, of staying connected with a culture that is not my own and with a country that is not only far away, but also very different from the U.S. I could push the challenge aside (it is, after all, not so hard to do now that I have re-entered the relatively cushy world of middle-class America), but I accept. With an open heart.
|Last day at the home and my pointe shoes were as popular as ever. |
When I said goodbye, I left my shoes and toe pads at the home so the girls could keep on dancing.
|An inhabitant of the Altiplano who resides at the Tiwanaku ruins.|
|Maryknoll volunteers, sisters, and friends together for one last dinner |
with an excellent dessert made my master baker and volunteer, Veronica Holland (sitting next to me)