1. Starbuck’s…oh how I miss you, chai tea latte!
  2. Television…don’t have one, and don’t need one!
  3. Driving…public transportation is the way to go!
  4. Microwave…nope, don’t have one of these either. A friend and I were just talking about all of the years we could add onto our lives by avoiding potential dangers associated with microwaves…even though they are much more convenient!
  5. Washer and dryer…I was tempted to count these as two, but since I have mentioned them in a blogpost before, I’ll refrain.
  6. Air conditioning…after living fifteen years in Florida, you’d better believe I’m counting these as two. And I bet you can guess what’s coming….
  7. Heating…yes, as a non-native-but-true-Floridian, I miss this one more than the other.
  8. Doctors who speak my language…have you ever tried explaining your health symptoms in another language? Phrases I have actually used are as follows:
    1. “My stomach is like a balloon” and
    2. “There’s a fight inside.”
  9. Fresh fish or any turkey…since Bolivia is land locked and many of the country’s problems stem from a lack of port access, fresh fish is pretty unattainable (unless it’s from a river and I am a fan of ocean fish!). Turkey is not a common staple here, and you can get a lot of weird looks asking what to eat on Thanksgiving (which is not celebrated in Bolivia).
  10. Shoe shopping…which is impossible when “no tengo los pies de una Boliviana” which translates to “I do not have the feet of a Bolivian,” because I am two shoe sizes shy of finding my size here.

When I was writing this list, which is meant to add a bit of laughter to your day, I realized how many things I would not want to give up in Bolivia: the open culture, beautiful mountains, and all of the Lenten inspirations I have found in expressions of faith ever-present in my Bolivian faith community.

Valerie in her community at the Franciscan Social Center (the letters say "Violence Never Resolves Conflicts")

Valerie in her community at the Franciscan Social Center (the letters say “Violence Never Resolves Conflicts”)

What would be easy for you to give up during Lent?