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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

We thought we were done with highschool dances…

Well we sort of were, until our host family invited us to a party to celebrate one of Daniels co-workers daughters 15th birthday. In Latin American culture, the Quinciñiera is typically a big coming of age party with dancing and food. Therefore, this was not the typical high school dance, but there were highschoolers and we were dancing, probably more than we would have been at our own high school dances.

As soon as we arrived at the party, their was a cop outside checking invitations and we were on the list. As we walked upstairs everyone stared, not only were we the only people with blonde hair, but also we were taller than everyone despite wearing chacos instead of the standard four inch heels.

Immediately upon sitting down we had coke with a straw, chocolate covered marshmallows and bananas, sour gummy worms, empanadas, and more. We were sitting at a table with Daniels co-workers when they began to get up and dance. Originally we thought we could sit and watch, but our host parents were insistent that we dance, so not only were we out of place but also we were the first and last teenagers on the dance floor. Just to further explain the situation, the DJ would often try to get people to dance by saying “even the gringas are dancing.”

During the coming of age ceremony we were sitting at our table, when one of their friends pulled out his selfie stick and proceeded to take multiple angle shots of us all. We hope to recover these photos one day. Also in the bathroom we were asked to be in numerous photos being that we were special guests.

Around midnight our host family decided to leave to get there young children to bed, while we were really the most tired and most ready for bed. On the way home from La Paz we stopped to get fried chicken, rice and fries for a midnight snack, which we promptly ate upon getting back to their house. Somehow we managed to stay up long enough to eat our snack before passing out for the next nine hours. Not to worry any parents, but this was the latest night of the trip thus far.

Overall it was an incredible experience and a night we will never forget and I’m sure no one else will ever forget that we were there.

We thought we were done with highschool dances, but turns out they can be really fun (especially when no one understands what you are saying!)