Friday, November 16, 2007

Les presento a Kauri

Hola again. So...the birthday. I was actually having a pretty crappy day when my site mate texted me and insisted that I at least let him cook dinner for me. His gf and he made a delicious dinner and a bday cake for me and we even went for a sunrise hike. It was really touching that they both cared to do that for me. It also afforded me this really sweet view of my´ll have to tolerate the crumminess of my camera, but I hope this gives you a better idea of where I am, and maybe even makes you want to visit...;)

My site is the little green blob in the center of all that beautiful Altiplano nothingness.
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Although my site and the people are awesome, I have admittedly been in a bit of an adjustment funk. I´m sure it happens to plenty of volunteers and it will pass as I settle in more.

I watched “Our Brand is Crisis” this week and it was really good. I recommend it to all of you for a pretty realistic look at a lot of the conditions here. There was a part at the end that I thought was really interesting:

“Bolivia is a very divided place. I guess the thing is that democracy really depends on material results. If democracy can’t yield benefits for the average person, the average person is not going to have that deep philosophical commitment to democracy like we all do in a very sort of natural, almost genetic sense. You’d better find a way to make sure that it yields benefits pretty soon and that you, where necessary, provide the countries in transition with some support so the people feel like their life is improving as the democracy takes root.” Interesante, indeed.

Wednesday, Thursday, and today there have been festivals in town for the anniversary. Lots of dancing, some races, and very little transportation. Overall, a really good time.

Something I´d meant to mention was all the books I´ve been reading since I got here. These are the ones I´ve gotten through so far:
A Painted House, John Grisham
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs,Chuck Klosterman
The Beach House , James Patterson
A Bend in the Road, Nicholas Sparks
In the Company of Angels, Kim Vivian
A Knight of the Word, Terry Brooks (in honor of both Roger and Dan´s enthusiasm for the author)

I´m currently reading Atlas Shrugged, which I am enjoying decidely more than when I first tried to start it, which could have a lot to do with making myself simply read through it rather than try to mark and analyze it. Mr. Moeller would be so disappointed at my defeat. I´d like to read some more substantial books, like this one, seeing as most of the novels that filled up my leisure time during training were pretty much garbage. Then again, it´s not too easy trying to find good books around here.

With no further ado, I present to you all Kauri.

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As far as the cat goes, I know a lot of people aren´t very supportive of me having a cat, but I want you to reconsider. It´s actually really nice to have something to take care of, not to mention the obvious benefits of unconditional comfort and companionship. The thing that I like best about having the cat is that it makes it a lot easier to go out into the community on days when I might otherwise like to stay in my room and just read. It automatically opens people up to me in a way that has softened the transition a bit. Maybe they just like to pet my kitten because it´s cute, or maybe they just laugh at the way it rides around on my shoulder, but either way that´s a laugh or a smile that might otherwise have taken longer to encounter.

It´s scientifically proven; kittens make you 100% more kid-friendly.
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Anyway, I´m doing the best I can to take care of her, too, looking up all kinds of advice on raising kittens and such.

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¨Kauri¨ in quechua means ¨monster¨. It was not easy choosing a name; I got lots of other crazy quechua names suggested but they were all lame like the words for flower, white, or honey or were incredibly difficult to pronounce. Quechua can be like that, really difficult to pronounce. For example, ¨llajllaykamayuj¨ means "carpenter." Also, the cat is by no means sweet or a flower, so i thought "monster" was the most fitting, easy-to-pronounce word i could find. I wanted to name it Inti after the sun god Inti Raymi but everyone seemed to think that was super lame...

I have got to buy that cat a scratching post soon...
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Despite the scratches (I admit that most of the bad ones are from bathing her. The little ones are from when she attacks me throughout the night, which unfortunately has not been restricted to my hands and arms), she´s an incredibly adorable, sweet kitten. She´s just a little dependant on me, so I´ve been taking her out a lot more to interact with more people and animals.

It´s pretty cute but sad...anytime I leave without her she climbs up me like this.
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Well, my internet time is about running out again. Next time I hope to post a brief overview of some social and political situations that shape the way of live here in Bolivia. Hugs and such,



Mark and Betsy said...

Your cat is so friggin' cute! I got your letter, but we probably won't get to it until after Thanksgiving... sorry. :( We have half days due to conferences and we have to begin our pre-work for our novel story.

i just love this kitten. will it be coming home with you in the end?

LCpl Roger Willey, USMC said...

The cuteness of that kitten is overwhelming, alarming. And those pictures of it are incredible. She's very photogenic.

As for the books, I'm extremely excited and relieved that you're enjoying Atlas Shrugged. It can be pretty far out there at times and difficult to swallow whole, so it's excellent that you're actually appreciating it some. And it's also cool that you read the Klosterman book; I'm eager to hear what you thought of it. And as for Knight of the Word: you know it's the second book in a 3-book series, right? And I haven't read KotW, but I think you're missing out by not reading the first book (set in Sterling, literally in Nick's backyard). We'll have to see what we can do about getting you a copy, either soon or when you're home.

Hope you're doing well (an email is incoming for more).

Sarah said...

meh, i didn´t really enjoy knight of the word...disappointingly enough, i found the writing to be on about the same level as grisham or patterson but less exciting because i don´t really get into the fantasy stuff. i´ve got the third book, too, if i get really bored. i got them from the pc lounge, where volunteers leave books to pass around, so that´s why i didn´t get my hands on the first one.

LCpl Roger Willey, USMC said...

Ah yes, I'd agree with your assessment of Terry Brooks' writing. It's nothing terribly impressive, but for us sci-fi fans he's at least pretty entertaining.

monelson6 said...

Sarita - Hope your Bday was memorable. The pictures are marvelous and what a precious kitten. Let us know if we need to send any reading material. I am interested to see what the celebrations leading up to and around Christmas will be. If there is anything you want from here to give as gifts, let us know soon so we can send them.

TeddY2K said...

I am all about the cat. As for Terry Brooks, I also have a passion for his writing, although I agree it's not literary greatness. I think the current series you have access to might have more meaning if you'd read some of his other stuff which it is eventually supposed to tie in with, although, I personally feel his writing in order to make that connection made the series not on par with his other stuff. And I can't decide if knowing the landmarks in the books made them feel more real, or even more like fiction. Happy t-giving (20 minutes left!)


Lauren said...

Ah, that kitty is so cute, I threw up a little! I'd like to send you a package of sorts, so please let me know of some things you would like :)

Anonymous said...

hey was that Sparks book any good? i have it but never started it b/c i hated The Notebook.

and i love and miss you and Kauri is still too cute :)

~ Rhonda

Sarah said...


idk, it was a little too chick-y for me...just not my kind of book i guess.

Margaret said...

Hi, Sarah! My, your little "monster" is a cutie! Sure hope you have a REAL scratching post by now! So nice to be able to keep up with you through your Blog--and love the pix!

Love and prayers!
Aunt Margaret & Uncle Curt

Anonymous said...

why not...