Australian New Year’s Eve traditions mostly involve drinking hard, watching fireworks and calling it a party. This is followed by spending 1 January sleeping it off. Where Christmas Day is family time, NYE Down Under means time with friends. In Ecuador, I was introduced to the tradition of making and breaking monigotes (mon-ee-GO-tez): life-sized replicas of yourself and people you know. These effigies are also known as muñecos … Continue reading NYE lessons from Ecuador
A politician who keeps his word? Who would’ve thought! But after a whole decade as Ecuador’s head of state, Rafael Correa is stepping down. Like, actually. Unlike his buddy Evo Morales, who felt a fourth term to be far too tempting to give up that he tried to change the constitution to make it legal for him to continue as president. Correa’s chosen heir, Lenin* … Continue reading Election reflections: Ecuador and Bolivia
I didn’t think much of the earthquake, to be honest. And I’m going to be very honest about this. The first time I experienced a tremor, I was sitting in my upstairs room in a rural village in the Ecuadorian sierra. It was kinda cool – cool enough to write home and tell people I’d just been in an earthquake. But it was also disappointing because I … Continue reading Just another earthquake?
People always ask me about my time in South America. Some are genuinely interested, while for others it’s the polite and logical thing to ask. In either case, the truth is that these conversations have started to get a bit repetitive and I’m often left wishing I could say more than: that Latinos are warmer; that Andean dishes contain too many carbs; that working with survivors of child sexual abuse was hard as you’d imagine but so rewarding; that I’m not sure how to answer your question about how good my Spanish is.
The worst thing is that I can’t seem to do Bolivia and Ecuador justice – not in a brief conversation that could turn to a different topic at any given moment.
So below are a few noteworthy things I don’t generally get to share about the impact that my time in South America has had on me as a person and who I am now. Continue reading How South America messed me up good
One month from today I say goodbye to La Paz and Bolivia. And I’m feeling pretty good about it; I’m ready to go home. Bolivia: please take this as a compliment. “Seeya” with a smile? In the last week or so people have started registering that I am going away “soon”; I’m beginning to get questions about what I want to do before and what my plans … Continue reading What makes a goodbye good?
One of the differences I’ve noticed between Bolivia and Ecuador is that people don’t stare at me here. People don’t check me out head to toe and comment on my appearance, men don’t address me or try to get my attention in the street, I don’t get wolf-whistled by randoms or asked out by taxi drivers. I suppose it’s a good thing. Reflecting on that distinction … Continue reading About my body
Apparently I’m now living in one of the 14 finalists for the Seven New Wonder Cities of the World. I’m yet to be convinced. Don’t get me wrong – La Paz is stunning, somewhat like a synthesis of Quito and Cuzco. The view from my bedroom window takes the edge off having to wake up at 6.15am each morning. The view from the minibus window, as … Continue reading Meeting La Paz
Hola, Lojita – nice to see you, again It’s like I never left. On the surface neither you nor I have changed much, although beyond the skin deep there has been transformation in the both of us. The 13 months I was away flew by – and yet it was more than a whole year of life, of growth and learning, of tears and laughter. It’s like I … Continue reading Loja Reloaded: Return to the Andes
Lately I’ve felt the unspoken question of why I decided to go back to South America but not as a missionary (that is, not as a big ‘M’ conventional Missionary). This post is an attempt to explain this and, at the same time, share with you some of the thinking behind why I went to Ecuador then, and why I’m going to Bolivia now. Why I went to … Continue reading Ecuador vs Bolivia, and losing the Missionary label
This time last year I … … said goodbye to a lot of people. Too many for one 24-hour period. This time last year I was coming home. It was my second last day in town, last night in town. It was a bit of a whirlwind day, and yet the image preserved in my mind is clearer than the photo you see above. This … Continue reading 365 days ago today