count your blessings
A few things I will appreciate oh-so-much-more upon returning to the states:
- Indoor heating. One of the zones we traveled to, Pasto, is on top of a mountain, which means it is freezing. All the time. Definitely didn't take that into consideration when packing for a country so close to the equator. Because of the lack of indoor heating, even our hotel was ice cold. I shamelessly wore my dad's thick dress socks underneath my sandals and every shirt I brought for the weekend, including my mom's cardigan underneath my own sweater. Bring on the crazy North American stereotypes.
- Diversity. I like to claim that my high school was about 50% white, 50% everything else. Needless to say, I was exposed to a lot of different races. Here, everyone is pretty much pure Colombian, and it's not exactly a hot tourist spot either. Whenever I go anywhere, I get stared at. It is quite possible that I, Marcie Prince, am the first Caucasian many people have ever encountered in the flesh.
- Safety and security. I feel like safe in Colombia does not mean the same thing as it does in the states. Although this is a relatively "safe" time for Colombia, it's definitely not recommended to go frolicking around the city. This means that I can't go out unless I'm with my parents, who happen to be busy 90% of the time. As a result, I sit inside our apartment. But hey, I've read two books already!
- Dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. Even though we are fortunate enough to have these appliances in our humble apartment, most Colombians are not. Also, they are slightly less reliable than the ones in America. Our dishwasher was not installed for the first five days we were here. No problem. We just washed our dishes by hand - until our sink broke and almost flooded out kitchen four times. Even after the sink was "fixed" and the dishwasher was so-called "installed," water poured out onto our kitchen floor. By that time, I couldn't stop laughing.
- Traffic laws. Good gosh. The roads are terrifying. After over a week of avoiding driving out of pure fear, my mom finally buckled up and took the steering wheel yesterday. We survived!
- Clean water. You cannot drink the water here. It has a myriad of parasites and other wonderful things that make you sick. It's not hard to find filtered water, but I sure am grateful that the water in the states is safe!
- English. I admire these missionaries who are trying to learn English. Learning a new language is awful, and I am just not sure I'm motivated enough to really master Spanish! The embarrassment and frustration from my lack of communication just might do it for me though. We'll see where I'm at by the end of the summer.
- Cups, Miles, Fahrenheit, and other US forms of measurement. Go ahead and try to bake cookies using grams and degrees Celsius.
- Friends. Missing my friends back in the states. It's no fun to not have a cell phone and have to communicate via the internet. Thank goodness for social media.