Bolivian mothers. I have reached the conclusion that all Bolivian mothers are certifiably insane. I love my Viviana--I really do, but I would go insane if I had to live here for my entire childhood. I am sure of it. Bolivian mothers are very strict know-it-alls. I am a know-it-all as well, so we often clash. Thankfully, I have learned the art of agreeing even when you don't truly agree. This art keeps me sane. I finally reached my conclusion after speaking with Laura at our Rotary meeting last Friday. I knew my mom was nuts, but the combination of Laura's mom and grandmother takes the cake. A couple months back, I only ate soup for lunch as my stomach was a bit queasy. Vivi told me it was from eating chocolate. I knew this was not so as I had not eaten chocolate all that week, but I simply agreed with her anyway. A fight I was not going to win, and it wouldn't have mattered if I won it anyway. So lunch ended and I grabbed a tiny little cherry twenty minutes later as I head upstairs to see what everyone is up to. As soon as Abus sees me, she laughs and accuses me of eating "more chocolate!" I defended myself this time and showed her that it was an innocent piece of fruit. At that, Vivi jumped on board. She said that cherries are bad for your stomach and that I shouldn't be eating it. Sorry, but one stinking cherry is not going to do anything to my stomach! Yet again, I just nodded my head and walked away to eat my cherry in peace. As with everything, it is my fault in Viv's eyes. Got a cold? Well, that is because you walk around the house in sandals. Your stomach hurts? Well, that is because you ate one piece of chocolate. When I got my ear infection, I didn't tell her my ear hurt until she was going to the pharmacy one day and asked me about my symptoms. After I told her the full extent of my cold and misery, she got mad and asked me why on Earth I didn't tell her about the pain?! Well, Vivi, judging from past events, you would have just told me the pain was my fault. so instead of complaining to you about my ear pain and having to hear your excuse for why it is my fault, I just chose to keep quiet. So as you can see, my Bolivian is hilariously harsh. I can laugh about it, though it doesn't seem so after having read all this. This paragraph is the release of nearly 7 months of keeping quiet, so I know it must seem sassy. I find humor in it however, and I do love Viviana. After all, she is a Bolivian mother. A different cookie.
I did mention Laura's host mother and grandmother earlier, but I just got so swept up in my rantings about Vivi that I forgot. Laura told me some great stories the other evening. We both feel like we are walking on pins in our homes when it comes to our mothers. The other night, Laura's mom was baking. laura wanted to help add some sugar, and her mom reluctantly allowed it. Her mother, Rosemary, is a magnificent baker and takes it very seriously. As the got going along, the recipe wasn't looking quite right. Rosemary asked Laura if she was feeling jealous about anything. Laura, understandably confused at the randomness of this question, simply answered no. rosemary proceeded to explain that her real daughter is a very jealous person, and whenever she is in the kitchen while Rosemary bakes nothing turns out. so therefore, jealous people can't bake and their presence ruins anything someone else might be baking. Laura was taken aback at how serious Rosemary was when she asked Laura to leave the room until she finished baking. I still can't believe it. Is that the craziest thing you have ever heard?!
This story moves on to Blunkie, Laura's grandmother. so Laura bought a different tea the other night and offered some to Blunkie. Blunkie asked if Laura had ever consumed that tea before. Apparently, Blunkie had a friend that drank the same exact tea all her life. One day she tried a different tea and her insides literally ate her alive and she died. So Blunkie has concluded that drinking any tea other than that which she has been consuming all her life will kill her. No worries, I assure you all that Laura is alive and well. The great thing about Blunkie is that you can argue with her. She is stubborn and you will always lose, but you can have a hilarious argument anyway without offending her. With Viv, you just shut your mouth and go on with life. Bolivian mothers.
And now I will round out this post with the quickies. One day, Oriana and I went to a museum. As we were leaving, we saw a very old indigenous woman walking down the sidewalk. She was obviously blind as she kept walking into a corner of a building that jutted out into the sidewalk. I was going to keep going, but Oriana stopped without a thought. She grabbed the woman's arm and started asking where she wanted to go. The woman did not understand as she spoke Quechuan, but thankfully there was a man nearby that spoke Quechuan and gladly took over. Ori and I continued on, but only five steps later I stopped and started crying. I just stood there dumbfounded and stared at Oriana. "Oriana! You are such a good person. You are the only person I know that would ever do that!" I was saying this all while literally sobbing. Then I just kept laughing and sobbing at the same time like I always do when I cry for no reason. She kept laughing hysterically and giving me hugs as I just stood there and cried and laughed. It was positively hilarious. Ori is an amazing woman. Just a good person at heart.
I forgot to post a random detail from a few months ago. As we were driving through cities on our drive to Chile, I kept seeing cows and all kinds of animals on leashes attached to stakes in the ground. It was just like we would do with our dogs in the back yard. I think this is goofy. A cow on a leash.
The weather here has been pretty awesome lately. Right now we are currently making up for the lack of rain earlier on in this rainy season. It rained all yesterday evening, all through the night, and all through the morning. It finally let up to sprinkling off and on this afternoon. Anyway, I went upstairs to the computer to do some work and opened the big window. It was unusually cold out. The coldest it has been here yet. Then I looked and thought it was snowing. It was a very strange rain. Like a very heavy falling mist. The strange combination of cold and unusual rain reminded me of winter. It was kind of a heartwarming feeling. I will shut my mouth now as I can imagine what you all are thinking. Heheh! You are all suffering a horrible Iowa winter and I am enjoying the rain. Hah! I love it.
Mayra, the maid, is absolutely hilarious. She is seventeen, married, and a mother of a two-year-old boy. I haven't even had my first kiss, and she has a kid! Whoa. Anyway, we were making huminitas last week. Huminita is one of my favorite foods here. It is made with mashed choclo(white bolivian corn that looks like it is hopped up on steroids) and ahí and yummy cheese made in Sucre. The mashed product gets dumped into the center of a boiled husk and wrapped neatly. By tearing leftover husks lengthwise and tying the ends together, I helped make strings to hold the wrapped husks shut as the huminita was cooked. It was kind of a fun afternoon. I snapped a few pictures that will show up on picasaweb.google.com/hmnelson12 sometime in the near future. I adore Mayra. The other day she was laughing at Jorgito as he drew for a homework assignment. I couldn't help but laugh right along. She was just so funny! It felt great to laugh that hard. And we couldn't stop. Oh Mayra. What a sweetie.
Last item. The earthquake in Chile. No, the earthquake was not felt here in Bolivia. I wish it were though. How cool it would be to experience an earthquake, though not of a dangerous extent of course. I could not stop thinking about myt vacation to Chile just months earlier. I do not believe Iquique was really affected as it was so far north, but I still have all these images in my mind of Jorgito and me following the Tsunami Evacuation signs and running up the side of a sand dune in terror.
That is all I've got for this month. It has been a crazy month with Carnaval and being sick and getting started with all my activities, but I am ready to get organized again. I am over my cold and ear infection, and this coming week should go fine...if I don't take Bus F. :)
Happy birthday, Mother! Enjoy your red velvet cake for me.