"How long are you staying in Cochabamba?" Asked the shoeshine man. "You can't leave now," he said. "Look. I brought this just for you." He held out a can of cordovan shoe polish. It must have cost him a day's wages, and for a moment I had a vision of myself forced to stay in Cochabamba until the polish ran out. And then perhaps he would buy another can, and I would be compelled to stay even longer."
In Bolivia, by Eric Lawlor
It is really hard to believe that my time in this country is coming to an end. I feel like I have not been here long at all. Maybe four weeks isn't that long of a time in the grand scheme of things, but usually by week three spent away from home, I start to lose my mind. The only time in the past 28 days that I've wanted to be somewhere else other than where I was, was when I was sitting on the cold, white examination table in the Clinica Los Olivos, awaiting my examination. (And in reality, if I were in a hospital in New York, I wouldn't want to be there either.)
Bolivia is unlike anything I've seen before, but at the same time, it feels so familiar that I never really want to leave. Since the very first night, I've dreamed in Spanish and since the very first morning, never did I wake up not realizing what hemisphere I was in. I have absorbed as much of this country as I could in the time I have and in turn, it has given me stories, photos, memories, and inspiration. I have learned to navegate the chaotic transport system of Cochabamba, braved the bumpy (lack of) roads from one city to another, learned to love potatoes (at every meal), and overcame a terrifying tropical illness. I don't want to leave this country because it has become a part of me. I have Taquiña in my veins and Cumbia in my soul And really, Bolivia is unbelievable (unboliviable).