What I like about you

As I went to write this, my Internet went out. As if Bolivia knew I was going to compliment it and decided to test my genuineness of the gesture. Well guess what, I’m going to write it anyways.

I find myself complaining a lot here. Something made me sick or the food had zero flavor or the weather changed unacceptably fast and I didn’t bring my umbrella. But tonight as I stared mesmerized out my window watching a storm seep over the distant mountains, I realized that I have a soft spot for this random city plopped 12,000 feet up in the Andes. I started making a list in my head of all the things I love about La Paz and then I had the genius idea to write them down and save them for a rainy day or maybe even the whole rainy season. So here goes.

I love that the storms are like clock-work, darkening my office at mid-day and creeping over the mountains toward my apartment in the evening.

I love the bright colors of the cholita skirts and how I don’t think I’ve seen two that are identical.

I love that my work day starts with a view of Illimani and ends with a view of Illimani.

I love the sound of laughter in my office, even when I miss the joke.

I love that Bolivia’s main bragging point – besides the mountains – are the 40 plus kinds of potatoes they have here.

I love the scruffy dog that wears a camo sweater and sits outside my office every day.

I love that the kids who come to our office sometimes call me “tía”.

I love adding “no ve?” to the end of a sentence, as if I could fool anyone into thinking I’m Bolivian.

I love the sound of rain on the tin roof outside my office window.

I love waking up on random mornings and seeing fresh snow on the mountains outside.

I love the adrenaline rush I get just from taking a taxi.

I love the $2 chai tea down the road from my office.

I love how excited I get when I find good chocolate.

I love seeing the city at night, the lights decorating the surrounding mountains like a Christmas tree.

I love how the phrase “because Bolivia” has become the equivalent to “bless her heart.”

I love how annoyed I get with life here but that it somehow still brings a smile to my face.

I love the impossibility of a place like La Paz and that I get the next seven months to be beautifully baffled by this strangely wonderful and wonderfully strange world.


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