My husband and I moved from California to Bolivia about a little over a month ago. We have been planning this trip for two years, saving and simplifying our lives so that it was a relatively smooth transition. Considering the big jump that we have made, it did go smooth.
It’s been a short period of time, but we are doing fine. Our biggest obstacle, so far, is the language. Thankfully, our friends have taken us to the government offices we needed for our residency visas and have acted as our translators. They have, also, given us tips on how to get around and how to haggle in the markets and with taxi drivers. Apparently, when a Bolivian sees an American, they assume we are rich, so they will jack up the price of an item. Honestly, I don’t blame them, though it is unfair. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America.
The first stop on this move was in Santa Cruz, where the humidity and heat was extremely high. The heat topped out at 99 degrees farenheit and the humidity was around 70%. Mind you, it is very rare to find a house in Bolivia with air conditioning or heating, so needless to say, I did not enjoy the weather. I slept for the first three days, trying to recover from the last three months of packing and organizing life affairs, and then would wake up in a pile of my own dripping sweat. There was no reason to take a shower that was anything, but cold. Even still, when I got out of the shower, I started dropping sweat again. All day, I would walk around with perspiration dripping from me endlessly. I couldn’t drink enough water to catch up.
Santa Cruz’s saving grace is the people. They are so kind and hospitable. Twice we were invited to someone’s house where they served us grilled steak with rice, yucca, and vegetables. We have met a few lovely families that we will be eager to see when we have to go through Santa Cruz again.
After about 10 days in Santa Cruz, we flew into Tarija, which is wine country. Tarija is about 6,000 feet above sea level and my lungs could tell. My heart started beating fast, so I had to take deep breaths to catch my breath. Thankfully, it is much cooler here and it has a classier feel to it. Tarija works hard to bring in tourism, so the plazas, neighborhoods, and shopping areas are all designed to be inviting.
We will be here for one more month, while finishing up the steps needed to get our residency visas. After that, we will decide if we will stay here or move to Sucre.
We rented a two story, three bedroom apartment, which I love! My kitchen is on the top floor and it looks out onto a roof top patio, where I did my exercise this morning. The bedrooms are all on the first floors.
For the first month, this unrefined wife had struggled to keep everything unrefined, though I did keep away from sugar. My biggest downfall had been white rice. But, I have also had white bread and crackers. It was starting to take a toll on me. I felt bloated and sluggish. During that time, I had lived under the dietary mercy of the friends that took us in. But, now I have own kitchen again. And I am learning how to survive without refined foods in Bolivia.
Bolivia has a large variety of fruits and vegetables that are so delicious. But, guess what is the one thing it doesn’t seem to have? DATES!!! What am I supposed to do?
There is only one thing I can do: adjust.
This is the beginning of a new life, in a new land, during a new year. And so the direction of this site will start reflecting that. My posts, sadly, will only be once a week. My husband and I moved down here on our savings and we need to find work. I’ve been working hard making jewelry to sell when we get back to the states. But, that will only take us so far. In the mean time, we are working hard to find other avenues to make money. So, much of my time will be focused in those areas.
Life here is proving to be quite an adventure – more than I expected. But, I love being here. It is a much slower pace of life and I have more time with my husband. The people are friendlier than I’m used to and the area is beautiful. I am going to fight as hard as I can to stay and to thrive.