After just a few days in my new homestay, I have already started to feel more comfortable and at ease. My initial struggles and concerns have minimized; I´m getting used to the composting toilet, my freezing shower actually felt refreshing on a sunny day, and what I thought were bed bug bites turned out to just be mosquito bites. I also feel that I´m getting to know each one of the members of my host family on a more personal and individual level. Don Boris, my host dad, makes instruments but is also an incredibly talented musician and singer. The other night I had the privilege of listening to and admiring his band practice. Doña Feli (Felicidad) took me to the Sunday market and showed me which type of potato was best for frying. Then I spent the morning helping her prepare a dish typical to Cochabamba called “Pique Macho.” My seventeen year old host brother, also named Boris, already feels comfortable making fun of me, just as my real brothers would (I´m taking this as a positive sign…). Lastly, I love playing games with my fifteen year old brother Oscar, whether that be board games or basketball. But the people in my house aren´t the only family members I interact with on a daily basis. Just next door is my host Dad´s sister, along with his parents, nieces, and nephews. His three young nieces especially love to give me flowers and attempt to say my name correctly (“Libby” is very hard for native Spanish seakers, so I´ve been called Libeet, Ellie, Bebby, and many others). Actually, the little girls can say my name better than anyone else in the family.
These first few days have not been without challenges, but they have also made me excited for three weeks of improving my Spanish, exploring Tiquipaya, and watching weird Bolivian game shows and soap operas. I can´t wait to see what happens next on “La Esposa Joven!”