Thanksgiving and End of School

As usual, the last two weeks have been pretty busy.

The girls finished their school year and are now on summer break. The past week or so of school they had exams and projects, like any US school. But what was different (and definitely cool) was that they all had to learn and perform dances or other traditional things for the rest of the school and the parents. We were able to watch some of them, which was so great! The girls were all so cute and a joy to watch!

We also had Thanksgiving here, which of course they don’t celebrate in Bolivia. Luckily we were able to go to a Thanksgiving dinner with the Maryknolls and celebrate with all the other US missioners here in Bolivia. We had Mass, then a full dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and even pie! It was pretty great, and I may or may not have tried every single dessert on the table… (I did. I’m not sure if I’m proud or ashamed of it but it happened.) It’s strange realizing that this is the 5th year in a row that I’ve been away from home for Thanksgiving. I didn’t go home during college, and now I’m here in Bolivia. Definitely makes me feel old… Know that I’m thankful for all of you, though, and for the opportunity to be here with these girls.

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So as I already mentioned, the girls are on summer break so they’re home all day every day, which is definitely a different change of pace. The first day they had off Sister had us comb them all out for lice. The girls played with my phone while I combed out lice, and I got some pretty great glamour shots. Honestly, that happens anytime they use my phone.

All the Sisters from the same Order as our Sisters (Hijas del Divino Salvador) in Bolivia are currently visiting, so the girls sang Christmas songs for all of them when they first arrived on Saturday. The girls spent the past couple weeks learning and practicing the songs, and they sounded pretty amazing. It’s a good thing, too, cause those yellow dresses made them look more like minions than Christmas elves…

Yesterday was the annual day of no cars. Instead, people walk or bike everywhere. In the afternoon, Padre Pepe came by and we all went for a walk to Sivingani, a neighboring town. It took us about an hour as we walked along water trenches and dirt paths, but it was so much fun. And the views were amazing! By the time we got to Sivingani, people were using cars again so we took a trufi home. We fit at least 29 of us in one (I’m not sure of the exact number cause I couldn’t see everyone. This also doesn’t include the other 2 families in the trufi.) All in all it was a good day.

Okay, honesty time. Since I know the people who are reading this and have read this far are people who are invested in my time here or want to know really what mission life is like, I want to let you know that while I’ve done a lot of fun things and have some great times so far, it’s also been hard at times. They told us during orientation that especially the first few months would be a bit of a roller coaster: lots of ups and downs. It’s definitely been that. This is the first time I’ve ever really been homesick at times. The last week I’ve been praying more and trying to just focus more of my energy on the girls and being here, and it has been helping. I also ask you to pray for me. I always need more prayers. As always, pray for the girls, Megan, Laura, the community of Sisters, and all those here in Cochabamba. And know of my prayers for all of you. God bless! And have a blessed Advent!

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