Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Carny magic?

I went to a workshop a couple of weeks ago and one of the things talked about was the law of attraction. I know we were talking about positive energy vs. negative energy, but I do wonder about certain situations. Such as the lrani-Cochabambino fellow who insists that my destiny is to be his second wife (as in, in addition to the first one). *sigh* He owns a restaurant in town and pretty much asked me to marry him after the first time I visited the delightful Middle-Eastern locale. I may have done something to make him think that his advances were welcome, such as smiling or laughing at this early query (as well as asking what his wife would think). Over the course of the last two+ years, I've hired the husband-and-wife team to cater a few events for my organization because the food is quite fabulous and so NOT Bolivian, which is a happy change every blue moon. I have had the opportunity to hear his fascinating story about how he ended up in Cochabamba (of all places). I do think he is an attractive, charismatic, middle-aged man - but I am not about to run off with him. When he started asking me out on dates, I politely told him it was an inappropriate request (in my culture) and I stopped going to his restaurant, thinking that would be the end of it. Today I happened upon him in the market, and I quickly whispered to my friend Grace that she had to make up an excuse for us to leave if he said anything untoward. After greeting each other and exchanging mundane pleasantries, he asked me how my parents were doing. (A reasonable question.) Then he asked when my parents were going to visit because he wanted to talk to them. (Could have been hinting at the whole marriage thing.) After that, he said he would just have to go to the States to talk to them in person about me. (More obvious.) It was at that point that Grace pointed at her watch and stated that is was time to go. After we had walked a block or so she said he was verde (which I think roughly translates to either 'fresh' or 'dirty man') and that I was way too nice to him. I forgot to ask her how she thought I should treat him . . . anyway, this post is part of my continuing reflection about one of the messages in the workshop. What kind of energy am I putting out there? and Could it just be my Grandma Bonnie's "carny" gene being passed on to me?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My camera is telling me something

One happy me! Love the mountains and the crisp air.
Early in July, I was in La Paz for a week long meeting. Since the city has a lot more technical services than Cochabamba, I decided to take my 'new' camera in for servicing. My older camera was a donation from one of my besties in Wisconsin, but it only takes blurry pictures now. (Seriously, the camera, not the operator!!) When I was home at Christmas, one of my sisters was upgrading her digital camera and kindly gave me her gently used one. I noticed sometime after I received it that an error message was flashing on the screen. When I looked up the error message in my handy dandy instruction manual, it said to take the camera into a Sony store. Hence, I went to a camera repair shop. The man behind the counter asked me how old the camera was, but I had what is probably a familiar blank look on my face and I told him I had no idea. He then said it was old. (What does THAT mean?!) With a sceptical eye, he finally got around to examining the error message and laughingly told me that it would cost me more than the camera was worth to get the camera fixed. Apparently, the flash is bad. Hmph! Fortunately, I have lots of friends who take much better pictures than I do. Maybe I don't really need a camera. It seems like the universe is sending that message!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Theater fun

Just wanted to gush about 'my' kids in the Integration program. We participated as Centro Vicente CaƱas in the Festival of Abilities, to highlight the many capabilities that Other-Abled persons. Our small group put on a mimed sketch with the theme of Human Rights. The photos don't really capture how well they all did, but it was very well received by the audience. It was a fun night overall and one of the girls remarked that she no longer feels alone; seeing all the other kids and young adults who were 'just like her' changed her mindset about her situation. For me, it made all the work we put into the event a very worthy cause.

Before presenting the sketch

On stage . . . LIVE!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quick update on The Dress

Today I received a visit from Martha, my dressmaker. She informed me that my dress would not be ready until December. My jaw must dropped, because she hurriedly added that her teacher wants the dress to be displayed in the fashion show at the end of the year and therefore I cannot have it until afterwards. I explained to her that I could still be in the fashion show, but that I wanted to use the dress in the meantime. Did I really have to wait until December? After all, I paid for the thing! I really couldn't make any sense of the explanation Martha gave me, so now I have to go talk to the teacher of the tailoring/dressmaking course to figure out what is going on. Wish me luck! These conversations usually aren't as easy as I think they'll be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adventures? Check. Maybe one too many.

The crew.
Toro Toro in the distance.

If you look really closely, you will see me in the red jacket.
Sliding down a rock.
sleepy town on Saturday morning
Dinosaur tracks!
Last weekend I jumped at the opportunity to go to Toro Toro, a small pueblo nestled in the mountains about 4 hours from Cochabamba. It was an adventure trip - we hiked, explored caverns, climbed down into and then back out of a canyon where there were waterfalls. I really just wanted to get away from Cochabamba, and it was great to breathe in air that was much less polluted, to walk down streets that were practically dog-free, and to get a couple of days off of work. Day one, traveled to Toro Toro all morning, stopping along the way to take pictures. We went to see the waterfalls of Vergel. Walking down a thousand or so stairs was pretty tiring, but it was a beautiful, peaceful spot where we sat for a few minutes. Climbing the stairs on shaky legs was not as much fun. I went to bed right after we finished dinner - I was exhausted! Day two we went hiking around Ciudad de Itas, looking at the rock formations and taking in the incredible views. Had a quick lunch on the road and then climbed down into a cave, where we stretched and twisted our bodies to try to squeeze through cracks and crevices. At one point, we literally had to crawl through a tunnel that was probably only 4 meters long, but it seemed to get narrower and narrower. Luckily I was able to squeeze through without panicking; it reminded me a little too much of the movie Tremors. That night as I was getting in the shower, I noticed my lower right leg was all bit up and starting to blister. I showed the bites to my guide at dinner that night, and he seemed unconcerned, just that it looked like I was having an allergic reaction and if I wanted to, he would take me to the hospital in the morning. (Huh.) I had a fitful rest that night - my leg had started to throb plus I had nightmares about being trapped in a cave without a light. By morning, the blisters on my leg had grown to the size of a dime, but they seemed okay and I didn't want to miss seeing the dinosaur tracks or the morning hike. We climbed up the side of a mountain to see fossil impressions.
fossils and impressions
out-side of leg
Other side.
It was neat, but I paid dearly, and on the descent, I fell behind the rest of my group because I simply could not keep up with their pace as my leg was really throbbing. I was happy I was headed home to Cochabamba that day, and after a long, long trip back, I was finally able to prop my leg up on some pillows and pass out. Sunday I met up with a friend who used to be a nurse, and she referred me to a young doctor from my parish. Unlike my nurse friend, he seemed unconcerned, but agreed to help me see a dermatologist on Monday morning. In the meantime, I went over to the nurse's house where she cleaned up my wound (because the blisters were starting to seep) and gave me some antibiotics because she said that my bites had become infected and did not look good. Better to be safe than sorry, etc.
Monday morning it hurt a little to walk, but I powered though it and mid-morning I went to see the doctor, who said I had a bacterial infection and needed to be on stronger antibiotics than the ones I was taking. I am also on a regimen of soaking my leg twice a day and putting a bunch of topical ointments on it. It is much better now, so don't let the pictures scare you. I am still trying not to itch . . . whatever bit me has put something in my system (or psyche?) and I feel like I am being bit all the time and my skin tingles and itches. Knock on wood, I haven't had any new bites in the last week, so I don't think I brought the mites home with me. But for good measure, I boiled everything I wore during my trip there - including my backpack. :)