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Category Archives: TRAVEL

Photography: Surreal snapshot of the ‘Laguna Colorada’, Bolivia.

Red Lagoon - the 'Laguna Colorada' in Uyuni, with its characteristic surrounding flora and fauna...

Red Lagoon – the ‘Laguna Colorada’ in Uyuni, with its characteristic surrounding flora and fauna…

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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in BOLIVIA, FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photography: Árbol de Piedra [The Rock Tree]

Árbol de Piedra (“rock tree”) is an isolated rock formation in the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve of Sur Lípez Province, Bolivia. Much photographed, it projects out of the altiplano sand dunes of Siloli in the Potosí Department, about 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Laguna Colorada. Also known as the “Stone Tree,” it is shaped like a stunted tree, and is formed into a thin rock because of strong winds and the material is sand stone.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in BOLIVIA, FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL

 

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[Photography] Watching the sun rise over La Paz, at 30,000 ft.

Heading to our recent vacation destiny: flying out of La Paz, and being greeted by the sunrise!

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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Hot off the Press! Featured Expat: Interviewed by the ExpatsBlog.

Expat InterviewsAfter reading, if you have any comments about the interview, or any questions to ask, hop over to the ExpatsBlog and share your thoughts there! Thank you!

American Expat Living in Bolivia – Interview with Raquel

The mastermind behind 3rdCultureChildren Blog is a Foreign Service spouse, mother of 3 third-culture children aged 8 and under, with an endless passion for discovering and learning new languages, cultures, traveling and photography. Before joining the foreign service lifestyle, her background in Science and research took her to understand that world is much more than the geographic and physical boundaries may display it. Se enjoys teaching, talking, and, as an avid blogger, sharing hers and her family’s stories and lessons learned with other expat families. She’s contributed her experiences to the Foreign Service Journal, online publications and to a recent book on expat resilience. She initially began blogging to share impressions, observations and along-the-road experiences with families and friends, and later other expats experiencing similar challenges/adventures. So the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. Raquel’s expat blog is called 3rd Culture Children (see listing here)
Archipelago Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Archipelago Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Here’s the interview with Raquel…

Where are you originally from?
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In which country and city are you living now?
La Paz, Bolivia

How long have you lived in Bolivia and how long are you planning to stay?
Since August 2012. Planning to stay until June 2014.

Jericoacoara Beach, Brazil
Jericoacoara Beach, Brazil

Why did you move to Bolivia and what do you do?
Because of my husband’s assignment with the US Foreign Service. I also have a full-time job with the US Embassy La Paz, and have been working since March 2013.

Did you bring family with you?
Yes. The two of us and our three children, aged 8, 6 and 3.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Extremely easy, as a matter of fact. I grew up in Brazil, where my parents also worked for the Brazilian government. Our original family of 5 [my parents and my 2 brothers] were often requested to move to different cities, changing schools every couple of years. As an adult, working as a laboratory researcher, moving was also part of my normal routine. After marrying my husband, and due to his assignments with the State Department foreign service, the cycle ‘moving/adjusting/changing/re-inventing’ has become a regular task on our lives [smiles!].

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It’s never as easy as one expects. There are always challenges, being those related to language [although in our household we commonly switch between Portuguese-English-Spanish], culture, new schools, new jobs [for me, especially!]. Leaving old friends behind, and aiming to make new ones is never easy. I try to think of myself as a ‘serial-social being’. I’m always on-the-go, and throughout the years, I found myself displaying social skills I didn’t really know I had. I’m social because it’s a necessity. But I also enjoy the change, which tends to make the moves a bit easier. Especially on the family – it’s less difficult to face challenges when one has an idea what could be ahead of them, and has the time and the emotional support to deal with them…

Kruger Park, South Africa
Kruger Park, South Africa

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Bolivia is a country with beautiful landscapes. Any outdoors activities are highly recommended, if the basic precautions [with the high altitude, especially] are taken. The Bolivian people tend to be warm and welcoming. Shopping for arts and crafts should be included in any expats visiting list, as well as, reserving some time to enjoy the typical food, and the dancing and musical expressions, only found around the Andean region.

What do you enjoy most about living in Bolivia?
The climate is great – it feels like a nice Fall day all year around. We live surrounded by mountains, which offers us a very soothing scenario – if one likes to lounge around, reading a good book, or enjoying a glass of wine by the fireplace, that’s definitely a place to be. The crime rate [a crucial point for any expat list!] is very low, and La Paz is a friendly city for families – lots of parks and activities to do with/bring little kids along. Again: safety is key.

How does the cost of living in Bolivia compare to home?
Much less than in the USA, or even in Brazil.

Reed Dance in Swaziland
Reed Dance in Swaziland

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Bolivia?
It’s a landlocked territory – we’re far from the water. Also, the high altitude can play not-so-funny games with one’s health. Our family, so far, hasn’t suffered much from those effects, but we’ve heard others complain about getting sick all the time… Each one is different, and again, the regular, recommended medical/health advices should be taken very seriously.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Bolivia, what would it be?
Bring your best adventurous spirit – you’ll need it! Also, keep your expectations low: it’s the bet advice to a prospective expat or visiting fellow – expecting less, one may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The difficulties to fly out of Bolivia to other countries, presently. From previous posts, the physical distance between our family nucleus and our parents.

When you finally return home, how do you think you’ll cope with repatriation?
Communicating with others, we hope! We have a very good group of friends and former colleagues at home [it's Washington DC, and we all work for the government, so, it's pretty common to have people coming and going, all the time!] It’s all part of work: the moving, the paking-out…

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?

  1. Dream away. And dream big. Dream of traveling to unknown places, learning from new people, immersing into new cultures.
  2. Keep your expectations low. Many surprises should come your way if you’re not waiting for anything!
  3. Be social. Be friendly. Be smart. Street Smart! Be conscious and be aware of your surroundings, as well. Teaching lessons come in different envelopes, sometimes, in a not-so-nice ones!
  4. Try to learn a new language, try to communicate with the locals and understand their stories and their culture. Communicate. Listen and be heard.
  5. Attempt to comprehend the new country’s traditions, faith, and fears… The harmonious relationship between the local community and Mother Nature. Learn from their experiences and build your own story. It’s worthy every second in invest in!

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
As a traveling family, we’ve lived in Mozambique, South Africa, Brazil, Bolivia, and during our work assignments, we traveled to England, Chile, USA and Swaziland. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “Third Culture Children” are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth. “The result of this transcontinental growth can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it. The developing child takes the culture of their parent’s passport country, or their first culture, to a foreign land. The result is that the child (and later on, the adult) adopts the qualities of the Second Culture into their preexisting First Culture, creating a unique cultural perspective known as the Third Culture”. As an expat who is now raising three children, all aged 8 and under, the titled seemed a natural fit! I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, not only the beauty and excitement of traveling, but also resources regarding languages, social and cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Feel free to send me a note thru Twitter, or visit our expat blog, http://3rdculturechildren.com, sharing your comments on any recent post or pages – I’d love to hear from you!

 

http://www.expatsblog.com/articles/1722/american-expat-living-in-bolivia-interview-with-raquel

 

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Mothertongue, first language, native language or dominant language?

Originally posted on expatsincebirth:

In the strictest sense, we all have a mothertongue as we all have only one (biological) mother. – But does this mean that the language our mother did talk to us is automatically our mother tongue? What about this friend I had in school, who was adopted when she was 2 and grew up in a Dutch family: would her mother tongue be Swahili because her mum was talking Swahili to her or would it be Dutch, because this was the language the mother who adopted her did talk to her?

Usually, mothertongue defines the first language we were exposed to, our L1, the first language we speak, the one we grew up with or that our parents (or caregivers) did speak with us. And usually people tend to speak this language for a long time.

It doesn’t have to be the language of our mother – or father –…

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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in TRAVEL

 

The Jesuit Mission of Santa Ana de Velasco, La Cenicienta Chiquitana…

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An extraordinary discovery was made in 1972, at one of the old Jesuit missions of Bolivia. There were 3,000 sheets of Baroque music in a trunk kept in the priest’s lavatory and used as toilet paper. Most of it was by an almost forgotten Italian-born composer called Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726). “How on earth did Baroque composers end up in South America to produce this extraordinary fusion of classical and local traditions that is still being discovered?” Question asked by Simon Broughton – worth a read, for sure!

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Apart from its beautiful church (the most indigenous of the mission templos, as it was built entirely by natives without Jesuit assistance or direction), Santa Ana is famous for its music. The church’s organ and diatonic harp (the latter of which was built by native hands) are still functional, and during restoration, thousands of missionary-era musical scores were discovered.

Music played a special part in all aspects of life and in the evangelization of the natives. Realizing the musical capacities of the Indians, the Jesuits sent important composers, choir directors, and manufacturers of musical instruments to South America. The most famous was probably the Italian baroque composer Domenico Zipoli, who worked in the reductions in Paraguay. Fr. Johann Mesner and Fr. Martin Schmid, two Jesuit missionaries with musical talent, went to the Chiquitania. Martin Schmid built an organ with six stops in Potosí, disassembled it, transported it by mules over a distance of 1,000 km on a difficult road to the remote mission of Santa Ana de Velasco, and re-assembled it there from hand. It is still is use. The Jesuits used musical lessons as a first step to the Christianization of the natives.

Now, we’re on 2014: Directly from the Mission in Santa Ana, although quaint, discreet, a favorite for our family, because of its humble beauty. A bonus added to our visit to the Mission Jesuitica de Santa Ana de Velasco? Listening to a real play on this simple, yet so magnificent organ. Enjoy as much as we did!

 

And guess who just decided to sit down and play a bit for her [so-very-proud!] children – after the very-gracious young girl Antonia finished her piece? :o You guessed right! Thank you for joining us on this beautiful journey through art, music, history and emotions!

 

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Photo Journal: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bolivia – The Jesuit Missions.

Clearly, I haven’t had a lot of time lately to devote the deserved attention to our family’s travel blog. Shame on me! :o But really: we’re getting ready for an upcoming pack-out/home leave in the US/next country assignment – Brazil. All that, while still working as a full-time professional, around-the-clock mom, wife and friend! Well, will do my best from this point on! Here’s a ‘photo jounal’ of our week-long trip to the Department of Santa Cruz, including several worldly recognized cultural and ecological sites:

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

Trying to offer a bit of ‘catch up’ with our travel posts [before many more begin pilling up !] Our family still has a big trip planned before we depart Bolivia – somewhere around the school Easter break, but for now, let me share a bit of our visits to some of the Bolivian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first one refers to the Jesuit Missions [Misiones Jesuiticas] in Santa Cruz de La Sierra.
In a very near future, I’ll aim to tackle another heritage site: the wilderness and unique culture of Samaipata, also located in the Department of Santa Cruz.

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are located in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. Six of these former missions (all now secular municipalities) collectively were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Distinguished by a unique fusion of European and Amerindian cultural influences, the missions were founded as reductions or reducciones de indios by Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries to convert local tribes to Christianity.

Between 1696 and 1760, six ensembles of settlements of Christianized Indians, also called “reducciones” inspired by the 16th-century philosophers idea of an urban community, were founded by the Jesuits in a style that married Catholic architecture with local traditions.

 

The six that remain – San Francisco Javier, Concepción, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael and San José – make up a living heritage on the former territory of the Chiquitos [Source: WHC UNESCO].

 

The interior region bordering Spanish and Portuguese territories in South America was largely unexplored at the end of the 17th century. Dispatched by the Spanish government at the time [towards the New World], Jesuits explored and founded 11 settlements in 76 years in the remote Chiquitania – then known as Chiquitos – on the frontier of Spanish America. Our family flew from our home, La Paz to Santa Cruz de La Sierra. From there, we drove some 1,500 km in order to visit most of the Jesuitic Missions still standing – only one was left unseen, due to been too far from our planned route – close to the Northeastern boarder with Brazil – the Jesuit Mission of San Jose.

They built templos with unique and distinct styles, which combined elements of native and European architecture. The indigenous inhabitants of the missions were taught European music as a means of conversion. Obviously, when we remember learning about the Jesuitic times in school, there’s the controversy around the Jesuits original goals – some would believe in a not-so-positive influence; others still remain faithful to the good-hearted intentions praised by the Spanishmen… I, for one, admire the work and teaching left here – and invite to continue the journey with us!

The missions were self-sufficient, with thriving economies, and virtually autonomous from the Spanish crown.

After the expulsion of the Jesuit order from Spanish territories in 1767, most Jesuit reductions in South America were abandoned and fell into ruins. The former Jesuit missions of Chiquitos are unique because these settlements and their associated culture have survived largely intact.


A large restoration project of the missionary churches began with the arrival of the former Swiss Jesuit and architect Hans Roth in 1972. Since 1990, these former Jesuit missions have experienced some measure of popularity, and have become a tourist destination. A popular biennial international musical festival put on by the nonprofit organization Asociación Pro Arte y Cultura, to be held this coming April 2014, along with other cultural activities within the mission towns, contribute to the popularity of these settlements.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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A Traveler In The Foreign Service: The Best Foreign Service Blogs, by Dave Seminara.

Guest Post by Dave Seminara

smoking huge joint womanThe World Wide Web is saturated with amateurish blogs created by people who’d be lucky to command the devoted readership of their immediate family members, let alone the wider public. There are scores of blogs managed by Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and while many of them are worth reading, some aredownright bizarre. This post will steer you toward some Foreign Service related blogs that are well worth your time.
I started this series nine months ago to help people get a better understanding of what life in the U.S. Foreign Service is like. Many of the posts have been about my experiences but I’ve also introduced readers to an intrepid, single female diplomat fresh off of tours in Syria and Pakistan, a diplomatic courier, a USAID Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Afghanistan and others. But spend some time at the sites listed below to get a flavor of what it’s like to represent the U.S. Government in The Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Pakistan and dozens of other exotic locales.

One major caveat here is that FSOs have to be careful what they write because free speech only takes you so far in the precarious, uber-cautious world of government service. Most FSOs have disclaimers on their sites warning that the views expressed are their own, but many still tend to steer clear of tackling political issues or anything controversial.Peter Van Buren, a now retired diplomat who wrote “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,” was effectively driven out of the Foreign Service partially because he posted a link to a cable on WikiLeaks and made some disparaging remarks, which he later apologized for, about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on his website.There’s no doubt that his experience has had a chilling effect across the board, so visit the sites below to get the low-down on the Foreign Service lifestyle and the travel opportunities, not the dirty underbelly of how diplomacy plays out overseas.Some of the blogs below contain little, if any biographical info, and I wasn’t able to read each one in its entirety, so my apologies in advance if my impressions of these blogs below miss the mark. That said, I would invite the authors of these fine sites to tell us more about themselves, if they dare, in the comments section.DiplodunitDomani Spero has no U.S. government connection and thus has the freedom to write about the world of diplomacy without having to worry about his career. Diplodunit is as close as you’ll find to one-stop shopping for a candid look at what’s going on in the Foreign Service community.

Adventures in Good Countries- Getting Along In The Foreign Service

I love this blog. The author, apparently a single female public diplomacy officer who, “doesn’t date outside the visa waiver program,” blogs with style and passion about life in Japan, Pakistan, Jordan and elsewhere, coping with Multiple Sclerosis and whatever else pops into her head. How can you not like a writer who offers advice to protesters on how to construct a good effigy? (“Don’t just throw something together with the rationale that you’re only going to burn it anyway – take some pride in your work.”)

We Meant Well

You might not agree with Peter Van Buren but you will want to read his blog, which is sometimes offensive but never boring.

Third Culture Children

This blog, which details the lives of a family of five living in Recife, Brazil, La Paz, Bolivia and elsewhere, is one of the very best Foreign Service related sites out there. It’s a particularly good resource for parents who are wondering what the overseas experience will be like for their children.

amy gottlieb usaidAmy Gottlieb’s Photography & Blog

Gottlieb is a doctor and a USAID FSO currently serving in Vietnam. Her portraits from Jamaica, Nepal, Vietnam, South America, Africa and beyond are as good as any you’ll find anywhere.

Adventures Around the World- A Foreign Service Officer’s Tales of Life Abroad

The author of this refreshingly candid and well-written blog is currently in Kabul and has previously served in Iraq and Nepal. Here’s how she described the “honeymoon” period at a new post: “The honeymoon period is the time frame after moving to a foreign country where the excitement of being somewhere new overshadows certain harsh realities of living in a foreign country. People burning piles of trash in the street give the place ‘character’ and bargaining with a taxi driver is part of the ‘adventure.’”

Worldwide Availability

This is a stunning photo blog from an American diplomat who was born on a farm in China and is currently serving in South Korea. Visiting this site is the next best thing to booking a ticket to Seoul. Also, for those who are curious to know how long it takes to join the Foreign Service, take a look at his instructive personal timeline for some clues.

Wanderings of a Cheerful Stoic

Anyone who features a photo of themselves (I presume) with a Gambian poached rat on their homepage is all right by me. This is a blog from a FSO posted in Conakry, Guinea, a place where “you tend to find yourself without a really specific reason.”

The Slow Move East- Thoughts on Being an Expatriate

Hannah Draper, a FSO currently serving in Libya, might be a “Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East,” but her writing is compulsively readable.

Where in the World am I? Notes from the Streets of Hyderabad, India

A FSO in Hyderabad who previously served in Burundi blogs about food and life overseas with gusto.

Cross Words- A Blog About Writing and Anything Else That Comes to Mind

Ted Cross, a FSO currently living in Budapest who apparently just signed up for Facebook last week (Friend him!), tells us on his homepage that his “dream is to be a published author.” I like someone who isn’t afraid to tell the world what he wants. He’s into fantasy and science fiction, neither of which interests me, but his blog is unique and his writing is lucid.

Four Globetrotters- The (Most Likely) Incoherent Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Single Mother Living Overseas with her Trio of Kiddos

Anyone who can pull off being a single mom in the Foreign Service is someone I want to meet. This blog, written by a former Foreign Service brat, isn’t nearly as incoherent as advertised.

Beau Geste, Mon Ami- The Chronicle of my Journey to and through The Foreign Service

Even a quick breeze through this visually appealing blog will give you an idea of how varied and interesting life in the Foreign Service can be. If nothing else, do not miss the photos of the tribal warriors in Papua New Guinea.

Zvirdins at Large- Jamie and Andrew’s Excellent Adventures

If you want a slice of life from the Marshall Islands, this is the place to go. I love this blog but I couldn’t bring myself to click into the video entitled “Pig Shooting” in a post on “Pig Butchering.” Yikes.

Let me know in the comments section if you think I’ve missed any great FSO-related blogs and if you’re the author of ones of the sites mentioned above, tell us a bit about yourself.

Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.

(Photos courtesy of Amy Gottlieb)

Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.

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This year’s April issue of the Foreign Service Journal (FSJ, April 2012) discussed the Family Member Employment, and the search for meaningful work overseas. Reading through the whole edition, you’ll find great stories about living and working as a Foreign Service spouse. Several FS spouses shared their experiences and impressions regarding working overseas. It’s an honor to be one of the contributors to this edition. Congratulations to all who contributed to that month’s issue. Here’s the link to another FS blogger, also sharing her impressions about family member employment.

Giving expats a hand

A Traveler In The Foreign Service: A ‘Trailing Spouse’ Speaks Out (gadling.com)

Career options overseas (anagentswife.wordpress.com)

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in expat, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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Gallery

Photography] Visiting the Inca Ruins in Samaipata, Bolivia.

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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, TRAVEL

 

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[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in TRAVEL

 

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[Photography] Back to the Past: The world’s largest site of dinosaur tracks!

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This is the second post on the historical Bolivian city of Sucre – now, stepping a little deeper into the past… some 65 million years ago, to be more exact! :o

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Another opportunity for our traveling family to enjoy some kid-friendly activity during our end-of-the year holidays.

After spending a full day in Sucre, we decided to venture out. A quick bus trip took the 5 of us to the Parque Cretacico – and I understand if you’re not able to replicate our day, so, feel free to take the park’s virtual tour here!

It seems that 65 million years ago the site of, 5km north of the center, was the place to be for large, scaly types. When the construction grounds were being cleared in 1994 for Sucre’s Fancesa (Fabrica Nacional de Cemento SA) cement quarry, some 40 minutes out of town, plant employees uncovered a nearly vertical mudstone face with some 5000 tracks of, at least eight different species of dinosaurs – the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world.

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Take a look at this, and imagine these images been turned inwards some 90 degrees – now it looks vertical, but this area used to be flat, horizontal, the perfect path for some, let’s say… dinosaur strolling! :o

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Though you can see some of the prints from outside, entering the family-friendly Cretaceous Park gives a better panorama, and that’s exactly what we did, after paying a very ‘family-friendly fee’- gotta love the expatriate life down here in Bolivia!

From downtown Sucre, right across from the Cathedral, we took the 2:30 bus – we’d been told the best light for photographs is during the afternoon. Enjoy the images!

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A general view of the surroundings, just outside of the park [the past looking into the present!]

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[Photography] 65 ways of Sucre, Bolivia.

 

2013 was ending, and our traveling family was in deep need of a quick trip before the new year rang in…

…it had to be to a kid-friendly place, not too far from our home, La Paz, and yet, a place that offered great sights, tons of history, tales and stories to write home about… We were looking for a visiting site that wouldn’t break our end-of-the-year budget [between the Christmas holidays and the New Year’s!].

We found it – Bolivia’s historical capital, the [sweet!] city of Sucre, whose name, coincidently means ‘sugar’, in French [completely unrelated to this blogpost, but a nice send-back to my high school French lessons!] Again, nothing to do with our trip, so, forgetting now my long-lost French lessons, and back to our reality – family life, parenting & traveling!

All that said, our family of 5 headed out to Sucre, a comfortable, affordable short flight from La Paz, right after Christmas Day, for a long and well-deserved weekend.

This post showcases several images we were able to capture with our constantly-switching-hands camera. More yet to come: a visit to Sucre’s Dinosaur Park, the largest one in South America – but I’ll leave it for later… too many beautiful sites/snapshots to enjoy for now!

And, if curious about things to do in Sucre [according to the Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bolivia/the-southwest/sucre/things-to-do, there are some 112 items to add to any expat visiting list!], feel free to hop over to another friendly site, from a Twitter follower, @SucreLife, and get insider tips, info and advice on traveling to the “White City”[www.sucrelife.com]

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bolivia/the-southwest/sucre/things-to-do#ixzz2pRfOUGq5

 

 

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Sucre I – The City of Four Names [Reblogging]

3rdCultureChildren:

Please scroll down for the English version. thank you so much for letting me share your so-educational post! :o

Originally posted on Bolivia ''In My Eyes'':

Sucre jest miastem na tyle waznym w historii Ameryki Poludniowej, ze warto szerzej zapoznac sie z jego historia, architektura i innymi atrakcjami. A wiec zacznijmy od poczatku.

Dzisiejsze Sucre zostalo zalozone w roku 1538 pod nazwa Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo’czyli Srebrne Miasto Nowe Toledo. Wkrotce La Plata zostala stolica ‘Audiencia de Charkas’, ktora sprawowala piecze nad rozleglym terenem Ameryki Poludniowej (dzisiejszy Paragwaj, Peru, Chile, Argentyna i Boliwia) – pod patronatem kolonialnego Wicekrolestwa Peru. Pozniej przeksztalcila sie w Wicekrolestwo ‘Rio de La Plata‘.

W 1609 w miescie powstalo arcybiskupstwo a w 1624 – Uniwersytet Sw. Franciszka Ksawerego (drugi najstarszy w Ameryce Poludniowej). Do dzis Sucre jest duchowa stolica Boliwii, z ponad 100 kosciolow i licznymi konwentami oraz mekka studentow, takze zagranicznych.

Kultura andaluzyjska, ktora przyniesli konkwiskadorzy, ma swoje odbicie w niezwykle bogatej architekturze prywatnej jak i koscielnej. Domy jak i urzedy…

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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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[Photography] Back to the Past: A visit to Sucre, Bolivia [Part I].

Well, this is the very first blogpost of 2014 – a promising ‘blogging year’…

Let’s wait and see!

2013 was a fantastic year for our family, and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it – life in Bolivia has proven to be warm, friendly, healthy and joyful. We’re now ready for embracing our last few months here, prepare for home leave back in the US and for our future assignment, Brasilia, in Brazil.

A bit of a regular day in the beautiful city of Sucre: can’t beat a sky like this, right?

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Closing up our travels in Bolivia in 2013, our family had the pleasure to experience the country’s capital, the original historical place, its stories and tales – the city of Sucre.

The city's main plaza

The city’s main plaza

Right after Christmas Day, we flew out of La Paz for several restful days in the country’s original capital – more on this visit will soon come, but for now, I’ll leave you all with this ‘placeholder’ for future posts.

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Sucre (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsukɾe]), also known historically as Charcas [ˈtʃarkas]La Plata [la ˈplata] and Chuquisaca [tʃikiˈsaka](population 247,300 in 2006) is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, the capital of the department of Chuquisaca and the 5th most populated city in Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2810 m. This relatively high altitude gives the city a cool temperate climate year-round [Excerpt from Wikipedia].

 

 
 

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2013 in review – according to the WP Stats Monkeys!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Joy'], for the last Sunday of 2013!

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hammock

fun by the boardwalk in Chile

fun by the boardwalk in Chile

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Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and finishing up with our personal year-long photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a joyful interpretation [and super bias, 'cause, I do live for these little 3 kiddos, pictured here with a couple of their friends...] for this last Sunday of 2013′!

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♥ EnJOY as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥ Happy New Year to All of Us!

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Read the rest of this entry »

 
31 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2013 in BOLIVIA, children, FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL

 

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{Weekly Writing Challenge} Ghosts of Christmas Past…

Like many around here, I’m working right now.

Yeap. It’s December 24th, I live in a South American country – Bolivia, to be more specific, and yet, I’m at work – but not for much longer, I dream… We’re all hopefully waiting for some good news from above, letting us know we may go home. and get ready for Christmas eve. At end, in a latino country, it’s more than expected. Large family meals, moms will be cooking all afternoon for the well-deserved supper.

Oh, forgot to mention: I’m also the mom, right… the one who should be at home, cooking a feast, at this very moment! :o

But it’ll get done. Sent my dear husband on a ‘shopping mission’ (did I mention he is not working today?). I’m sure he’ll find everything I’ve asked him to search for. And once I’m home, there’ll be some cooking!

Now, talking about Christmas ghosts. My ghosts of December 24th are all sweet little creatures. All my past Christmas memories seem to be filled with happy moments, even the ones who were somewhat challenging, due to family difficulties… The ghosts in my life are lively and loving.

December 24, 2012, last year. Our first family Christmas at our new Bolivian home. Our household effects [aka stuff being held hostage by the moving company] had arrived. We decorated the house. We had a lit Christmas tree and our bundle of joy had their first Navidad Paceno.

December 24, 2011, we’re in Fortaleza, Brazil. Got to spend Christmas eve with my parents, my brothers, their wives and my niece. Chaotic as any Brazilian holiday should be. Every one talks over each other, and nobody can really hold on a conversation. But life’s still good. Kids running around, screaming… some crying here and there. My parents giving us unsolicited advice on how to raise our children [cause, you know.. we really don't know how to keep 3 children alive, move around every so often, adjust to different countries/languages/cultures...]. And we listened to the advices, while mentally preparing our grocery list for the next day… :o

December 24, 2010, we’d arrived in Recife, Brazil, a couple of months prior. We’d also welcomed into our lives our youngest baby girl, our only child born in Brazil, like her mama. Not much of a shut-eye, restful holiday, especially with a new born, but the ghosts of Christmas were merciful, and allowed our family of 5 to enjoy the season… At the end, after being gone from Brazil for almost 10 years, I was back…

December 24, 2009, welcome to the Foreign Service Family! The Washingtonian ghosts of Christmas were applauding, secretly smiling while setting out their plans for our soon-to-be a full-time nomadic troupe! And we got trapped home, thanks to the East Coast Snowmagedon! :o

December 24, 2008, family, now with 4 members, came back to DC, after our tour in Africa. Christmas with the in-laws, and plans for the future.

December 24, 2006-2007, our family of 3 celebrated the holidays with the the colorful Mozambican ghosts of Christmas, our first overseas post as a family, as it’s dearly called ‘a hard-to-fill assignment’.

December 24,  2005, the Lima-Miranda couple enjoyed the lovely sleepless nights, while rocking our first-born. The cold DC weather brought us the ghosts of Christmas as a family. Between bottle feedings, changings and lullaby singing, the ghosts held our hands and kept us on our toes!

December 24, 2004, husband and wife are reunited, after the man-of-the-house came back from a temporary-duty at a far land… Does this sound familiar to anyone? :o The ghosts of Christmas past made sure he’d come home safe and sound, with a nice gift to his dear wife!

December 24, 2003, we just got married [a couple of months back, but still!]. Plans for the future, naive minds, ideas of how good we’d be as parents… :o The ghosts of Christmas made sure our newly joint bank account would have enough for a decent holiday season… And we were grateful to them…

As I started this post by saying, the ghosts of Christmas past have been nothing but nice to us. As a couple, as a beginner family, as a traveling serial expatriate bunch. We’re working well together – the ghosts and us…

Merry Christmas to you all! May your December 24, 2013 be merry and bright. I’m sure mine is!

And for the ones who are still at work… the time is coming! The clock keeps ticking, and soon, we’ll be back home… enjoying our Christmas Eve feast! :o

my 3 little ghosts

Thanks for the inspiration!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 24, 2013 in children, foreign service, humor, TRAVEL

 

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This Blog won Top Tweets on ExpatsBlog! “Twenty reasons for adding Bolivia to your expat visiting list – and maybe sticking around for a while!”

Expat blogs in BoliviaExpat blogs in BoliviaThank you for all the comments, and shared tweets! Not only this blog is bringing home a sweet shopping voucher from Amazon, but the Silver Badge on the side – great way to begin this Christmas Week! :o

[Could not repeat the same feat as last year, when this blog was awarded Gold. Congratulations Jessica for representing so well this year the beautiful country of Bolivia with her 'Bohemian Diaries'! Keep on blogging!]

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Top List Contest Winners is pleased to announced to the winners of this year’s Expat Blog Awards! The standard was simply breathtaking, with such a diverse range of talented bloggers quite clearly pulling out all the stops to bring you the best they can! Without further ado, here are the Expat Blog Awards 2013 prize and award winners…

Our Top 3 Prize Winners

Overall Winner: Kathleen Siddell
Contest Entry: The Top 8 Ideas Worth Adopting From the Chinese

1st Runner Up: Becky the Great
Contest Entry: N is for Nomads

2nd runner Up: Emily Calle
Contest Entry: Top 50 Ways You Know You’re an Expat Living in Vienna

Our Fave Reader Comment: Mrs Partly Cloudy
Contest Entry: Welcome to Singapore:don’t look down
Blog Listing: Partly Cloudy

Top FB Likes: Paul Giles
Contest Entry: The Top Six Dangers You Face When Travelling to Colombia
Blog Listing: Colombia Travel Blog

Top Tweets: 3rd Culture Children
Contest Entry: Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List
Blog Listing: 3rd Culture Children

Random Winner: Christie Montague
Contest Entry: 6 Things You Should Know About the South of France if You Want to Blend in
Blog Listing: You can go your own way

Now, here is the Top Tweets Winner Post – with all its colorful images! Thanks again for all who read, commented, shared the link, and learned a bit about Bolivia – and maybe, the ones who are now considering adding the country to their Expat Visiting List! :o

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From the ExpatsBlog team of editors: “After our hugely successful Expat Blog Awards 2012 last year, we thought we’d take a different spin on this year’s awards! Realising that last year’s scenario would be unfair to recently-joined newer bloggers, we’ve decided to combine the Expat Blog Awards 2013 with a big expat writing contest!
Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry That said, here’s my pitch… If this blogpost here makes you a bit curious… hop over to ExpatBlogs and check out a list especially prepared for this year’s writing contest: Suggestions on why expats should add Bolivia to their visiting list… they’ll be so in love that may want to stick around for a while! And remember: your great comment will help this blog go for Gold… two years in a row… why not? :o

Bolivia is a culturally diverse, geographically unique and strange in so many other ways that it’s hard to find another place/country quite like it. And this statement is coming from a ‘serial expat’, a traveling mother of third-culture children, a trailing spouse married into the US Foreign Service, and a Latina-born woman.

Hummm… need more examples of the colors and textures? Take a look:

The worldly recognized, the Andean rugs…

bolivian-rugs

Also, here one may enjoy the  typical “salteñas“, recipes borrowed long ago from neighboring Argentina

saltenas

Craving for more? Let’s go on a quick trip towards this unique place on earth!

What you may find in Bolivia? Take a look at these images, and don’t forget: go visit the Expat Blogs and share your wonderful comment about this travel blog! [Thank you!!!]

dressed in patterns

dressed in patterns

Madre Luna, from the Moon Valley

What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

Here are more images of this unique country… looking for a bit more explanation? Check the full text prepared for this year’s contest

IMG_5671

death road bikers...

Mountain biking trip

Mountain biking trip

DSC_0006

comadres

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Kal7

bolivian unusual

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Aguayo

Aguayo

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Laguna Verde ['Green Lagoon']

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Singani in Tarija

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Pre-Inca Ruins

Pre-Inca Ruins

The Table of Sacrifices

The Table of Sacrifices

Pre-Inca Ruins

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Immerse into the local culture and traditions

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Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

[Photo credit: Wikipedia.com]

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The famous “trufi”!

Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

muela del diablo

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['One']

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"Llamas Crossing"

“Llamas Crossing”

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘One’…

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♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
11 Comments

Posted by on December 20, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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From the ExpatsBlog: What are people talking about our take on Bolivia?

This is the second part of the ‘contest post’ – the article published on ExpatsBlog about our ‘list on why expats should add Bolivia to their bucket list… and maybe sticking around for a while!’ is getting some feedback! See below what others are talking about the article, and don’t forget to hop on over to Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List!, leaving your comment about our take on Bolivia for expats.

Thank you! :o

Contest Comments »  

Reader 1 wrote 20 hours ago:
 
 I’m intrigued: I thought Lhasa was the highest capital in the world. I’ve been there, and the mountains and the light in your pictures, and the way the people look remind me of it a lot. I hope you have a wonderful two years.
 
 
Reader 2 wrote 18 hours ago:
 
 I love your writing style and your suggestions make me want to visit Bolivia now! Enjoy your tour
 
 
Reader 3 wrote 8 hours ago:
 
 Wow! What a delight to find out about your blog from this contest. Too bad your entry as posted here doesn’t show your wonderful photography. Best to you and your family as you travel across Bolivia and the world with you open loving hearts.
 
 
Reader 4 wrote 2 hours ago:
 
 ADOREI SEU BLOG!! Meu Deus…you made me cry, I MISS Bolivia like crazy, everything you posted is SO TRUE…I am glad that you guys are having a great time. Being in EUR its so different from Bolivia, 180 degree change for me…the culture, the people, the weather and the community- there are no comparison, I enjoyed my time there. I miss the warmth and kindness of the people, and that I was called “señorita” by everyone made me feel very special. Great photos, keep it up, GRACIAS! for sharing. Good luck to you! Beijos!
 

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

muela del diablo

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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Twenty reasons for adding Bolivia to your expat visiting list – and maybe sticking around for a while!

unplugged4

From the ExpatsBlog team of editors: “After our hugely successful Expat Blog Awards 2012 last year, we thought we’d take a different spin on this year’s awards! Realising that last year’s scenario would be unfair to recently-joined newer bloggers, we’ve decided to combine the Expat Blog Awards 2013 with a big expat writing contest!
                                           

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry That said, here’s my pitch… If this blogpost here makes you a bit curious… hop over to ExpatBlogs and check out a list especially prepared for this year’s writing contest: Suggestions on why expats should add Bolivia to their visiting list… they’ll be so in love that may want to stick around for a while! And remember: your great comment will help this blog go for Gold… two years in a row… why not? :o

Bolivia is a culturally diverse, geographically unique and strange in so many other ways that it’s hard to find another place/country quite like it. And this statement is coming from a ‘serial expat’, a traveling mother of third-culture children, a trailing spouse married into the US Foreign Service, and a Latina-born woman.

Hummm… need more examples of the colors and textures? Take a look:

The worldly recognized, the Andean rugs…

bolivian-rugs

Also, here one may enjoy the  typical “salteñas“, recipes borrowed long ago from neighboring Argentina

saltenas

Craving for more? Let’s go on a quick trip towards this unique place on earth!

What you may find in Bolivia? Take a look at these images, and don’t forget: go visit the Expat Blogs and share your wonderful comment about this travel blog! [Thank you!!!]

dressed in patterns

dressed in patterns

Madre Luna, from the Moon Valley

What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

Here are more images of this unique country… looking for a bit more explanation? Check the full text prepared for this year’s contest [shameless, right? :o]

IMG_5671

death road bikers...

Mountain biking trip

Mountain biking trip

DSC_0006

comadres

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_0407

Kal7

bolivian unusual

unplugged2

IMG_0805

IMG-20130816-00021

Aguayo

Aguayo

IMG_4668

Laguna Verde ['Green Lagoon']

DSC_8066

Singani in Tarija

IMG_5777

IMG_5763

Pre-Inca Ruins

Pre-Inca Ruins

The Table of Sacrifices

The Table of Sacrifices

Pre-Inca Ruins

IMG_5708

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

IMG_5663

IMG_5669

IMG_5623

IMG_5622

IMG_5658

IMG_5562

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

[Photo credit: Wikipedia.com]

 

IMG_4960

The famous “trufi”!

 

Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

muela del diablo

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Community']

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Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Community’: reaching out to the Bolivian community through a common passion – soccer!

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PS: I'm proudly married to the team's captain... :o Community Outreach while exercising his passion for soccer!

PS: I’m proudly married to the team’s captain… :o Community Outreach while exercising his passion for soccer!

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 
16 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, sports, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Grand']

Largest freshwater lake in South America

Largest freshwater lake in South America

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Grand’:

Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana, Bolivia

touring the Yungas region...

touring the Yungas region…

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

The Ilimani

The Ilimani

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
31 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Great Bidding Victory! Guess where we’re going?!

The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral

The founder, President JK

This city is well-known for its unique architecture, and the use of other media, like the water, to create architectural and sculptural illusions. Here is a bit of the city, showing that, even with the lack of focus on the main feature, the city constructions and its urban art remain unique, powerful and fabulous!

The Cultural Center

Have you guessed where will be heading out to next Summer? :o

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in BRASIL, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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64 weeks at Post. Great bidding victory – we got our #1 choice [again]!

We’re a couple of months into our second year at Post, and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it.

Soon we’ll have news to share: The Mirandas are going to their #1 Choice – once again – hard to believe! The stress is over, and now, we oughta begin looking into our future – gotta love the Foreign Service – never a dull moment!

No, not sharing much at this time… Just wanna leave these images here… maybe it’s a clue?  :o

greenpeace

caldinho

Let’s just wait and see… :o

 
 

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A snapshot from mystic Copacabana: Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 44, 'Eerie']

“Something eerie has a story to tell — one you aren’t quite sure you want to know.” [The Daily Post]

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My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 44... 2 more little months to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. Today, an interpretation of ‘eerie’, as we look at a snapshot of the religious, mystic and mysterious city of Copacabana. People worshiping along the altars hallway seem like ghosts in this scenario…

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
7 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Horizon: Where sky meets earth. Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 43].

Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

HorizonThe space or line where the sky meets the earth”. [from the Daily Post]

Sunset by the lake Titicaca

Sunset by the lake Titicaca

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

The city of La Paz, at night, seen from El Alto.

The city of La Paz, at night, seen from El Alto.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
32 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 42, 'a Hue of Color, from Tarija']

Singani in Tarija

This past week, our family took advantage of the children’s school break and flew out of La Paz, seeking warmer temperatures, good hiking, and a relaxing scenario. Tarija is famous for its warm weather and the colorful winery settings. More to come, as we get our photos organized in the ‘shoe box’. For now, a quick example of what we saw/experienced/enjoyed over there:

The orange shades displayed by the glasses filled with Singani drinks – one of Bolivia’s trademarks – seem to perfectly fit the bill for ‘a hue of me‘… a lovely combination of orange and wood tones…

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
42 Comments

Posted by on October 19, 2013 in BOLIVIA, FOOD, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 41, 'Infinite']

“Infinity can produce contrasting effects on (and in) us: it might make us feel dwarfed or amplified, afraid or empowered.” [The Daily Post]

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 41... 11 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. today, an interpretation of ‘infinite’, as we look down into the Road of Death in Coroico [Yungas Region].

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
33 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Expatriation and Relationships — Intercultural Blog Carnival

3rdCultureChildren:

 “Moving on to relationships with children, Reflections on the Expat Life by 3rdCultureChildren touches upon the difficulties that children experience when following their parents around the world — and the approach that parents can take to make those moves easier.”

Great collection of posts – thanks Margarita for the inclusion!

Originally posted on "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...":

by Margarita

The fourth Intercultural Blog Carnival is finally here and today we will be focusing on ExpatRelationshipsExpatriation and Relationships. A huge topic for sure since it can include relationships with just about anyone (and anything!) — and luckily for our readers, today’s collection does. So without further ado, here are our participants:

Learning a language for love — Cat Gaa starts us off with a personal story of how learning the intricacies of a foreign language can make your romantic relationship evolve and flourish while also saving you from those awkward moments when you think they said/meant something that they actually didn’t.

In an appropriately titled Expatriation and Relationships, Susan Cross explores what it’s like to make a friend while an expat, then say good-bye to that friend, and then have to make friends again. A regular expatriate conundrum, isn’t it?

The topic of friends — and…

View original 326 more words

 

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Unplugged!

Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

Taking a look at these, I believe it’s pretty easy to ‘guess’ when it’s time to unplug! :o

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 40, 'Good morning, Sunshine!']

good morning

We all start our days in different ways: going for a run, hitting snooze 17 times, or watching the morning news, among many, many others. [from The Daily Post, WordPress].

Why  not start the day by greeting the Sunshine?

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 40 finally arrived... 12 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project: being greeted by a typical ‘Good Morning’ – yes, we’ve got a garden! :o

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
9 Comments

Posted by on October 7, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, TRAVEL

 

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How much clutter is… too much clutter?

Not sure if I was fortunate or not, to marry a typical ‘type-A’ person, almost obsessive when it comes to organization…

On the other hand, I’m not as organized, but I love seeing things “in boxes”, or at least, stowed away (out of my sight!)

That said, and considering that we’re constantly moving because of work, one can image how difficult it become when it’s mandatory to deal with “excessive clutter and paperwork”.

Inspired by Becky - from Small Bits - for one of the long-lost weekly State Dept Foreign Service Blogs Round up, and also trying to answer the question I’d initially proposed; I guess for my husband and I, the answer is: “any clutter is way too much clutter”…. junk is junk, and a clean house [leading to a clean soul!] is always welcome in our lives! :o

At times, the definition of “excessive” has created some tension in our household, due to the fact that the “duo of managers” end up disagreeing on what should/could/would be discarded/trashed/shredded!

And the common result is: “darling, do you have any idea where the envelope, I left here last week, is?”

If it takes more than 10 seconds for the answer to come out, it’s a bad sign… If the answer contains anything like “you know… I was just organizing these drawers… and…” it’s even worse! At that very moment, the very “diplomatic answer” is a clear sign that your print outs/documents/personal notes are gone!! So, in order to avoid conflicts, the best solution is simply reduce the amount of clutter, or, if possible, store it away before your mate has a chance to find and “re-organize” it!

Currently, our lives are filled with useful and not-so-much paperwork, which we MUST care with our hearts, whenever we travel or move. Here’s a brief idea:

5 members of the household;

14 active passports (a couple of those in deep need of renovation.. oh, boy!);

5 medical folders, med-evac reports, consultation reports, requests for exams, and corresponding international vaccination cards;

5 birth certificates, a couple of CRIBA reports, with official/notaries translations, personal academic info, diplomas – again, translated;

Ν school reports (so far only 2 kids in school), sports progress evaluations for each kid; report cards, teacher’s notes, selected school artwork, love letters and cards (when we began with our ‘across-the-hemisphere’ dating scene, there was only the msn messenger, and of course, the good old Post Office!) printed photographs, tax files, software update CDs, performance evaluations, receipts from clients, contacts for future 360s, house rental paperwork, mortgage docs, health insurance papers, receipts for storage, bank statements… oh, my!

It is not all of it. Some documents were photocopied before the initial move, and originals are safely kept, while the photocopies travel the world.

Safeguarding your personal belongings is a must for the traveling-pants family: preparing “video inventories” is a great, paperless strategy. So far, it’s been working for us, and the best of all – it is clutter-free!

Phew! It makes me tired just thinking about boxing it all out for the next move…

Luckily, there are ways to make sure our most important folders are safe and well-taken care: pay close attention to them. All times. Anywhere.

Right now, I’m not organizing anything. Just trying to keep our documents drawer “bug”- & “fungi“- free. That’s right! One of the “bonuses” of living in a tropical setting… I’m an environmentalist, but not as much!!

Hey, I feel like I’ve already done a lot of “mental organization” and planning. I believe I deserve a break from this hard work!

Since we’re talking about paper”(work), let me “wrap” this post up by reminding myself it’s ‘bidding season’. For the ones not too familiar with the term, let me just say it takes the ‘stress levels’ up a couple of notches, and it pretty much tends to define our family’s future for the next couple of years! :o It’s also ‘promotion season’… Luckily, hubby did well on that front, which is a relief, at last… 

Now, just sit tight and wait for the [hopefully positive!] results of bidding!

 
21 Comments

Posted by on September 29, 2013 in humor, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 39, 'Saturated': the Quena Case].

The Quena Wood Case

Saturated. With colors. My offer for this week’s photo challenge, still sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project! :o

This photo was taken during one of our recent hikes, just outside La Paz, through the Valle de La Luna unique geological formations. Flute players, Andean musicians usually come over and greets adventurers and pass-byers with their art… in more ways than one!

This beautiful wood case is commonly used to carry the Quena set, the traditional Andean flute. Note the unique wood work inside the case, all the colorful faces, carefully design to represent different Bolivian pueblos.

The quena is a South American wind instrument, mostly used by Andean musicians.

And here, a little bit of ‘cultural’ background:o

The quena (Quechua: qina, sometimes also written “kena” in English) is the traditional flute of the Andes. Traditionally made of bamboo or wood, it has 6 finger holes and one thumb hole, and is open on both ends or the bottom is half-closed (choked). To produce sound, the player closes the top end of the pipe with the flesh between his chin and lower lip, and blows a stream of air downward, along the axis of the pipe, over an elliptical notch cut into the end. 

Quena is mostly used in traditional Andean music. In the 1960s and 1970s the quena was used by several Nueva Canción musicians, this use was in most cases for particular songs and not as a standard instrument but some groups such as Illapu have used it regularly. In the 1980s and 1990s some post-Nueva Canción rock groups have also incorporated the quena in some of their songs; notably Soda Stereo in Cuando Pase el Temblor and Los Enanitos Verdes in Lamento Boliviano. The quena is also relatively common in World music.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 38, 'From Lines to Patterns'].

Lines and patterns through the traditional Andean Aguayo…

Today’s challenge is inspired by Evan Zelermyer‘s stunning urban, abstract, and architectural images from his “Shape, Line, Texture, Pattern” post published earlier this week. I’d love to see your interpretations of these elements, so grab your camera, get outside, and snap a great shot of shapes or lines that you stumble upon, or a cool texture or pattern that catches your eye.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 
36 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Daily Prompt: Luxurious

Concha y Toro

 

Luxurious… or guilty pleasure? You be the judge… I already know my answer! ♥

Concha y Toro

Read the rest of this entry »

 
14 Comments

Posted by on September 8, 2013 in ART, TRAVEL

 

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Photography: A trip into the Moon Valley – El Valle de La Luna, Bolivia

Valle de La Luna

A good way to begin a peaceful week is to take advantage of a US holiday on Monday, and explore our surroundings… while the kids are happily spending quality time at the local school! The next step is sharing images from our recent visit to the Valle de La Luna, in the municipality of Mallasa, a town 20-30 minutes from the city of La Paz, is a place of family entertainment with a pleasant climate, nature and tourist attractions.

Valle de La Luna

The land formations that resemble the lunar soil, where erosion over the years has formed a group of astonishing rock formations, which give the visitor the sensation of having discovered an unknown world. Truly an almost real lunar landscape.

Madre Luna, from the Moon Valley

Hard to decide which geological formations caused by soil erosion is the best shot… still trimming down the photo gallery!

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What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

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The earth peaks and crevices creates a surreal landscape that lends itself wonderfully to unique and intriguing pictures.

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Like many mountains surrounding the La Paz area of Bolivia, the gutting formations contain rich variations of mineral content, creating colorful composition throughout the drastic landscape.

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The Valley of the Moon is located about 10 km southwest from La Paz, near the small town of Mallasa, and while a portion of the valley has been preserved, housing is steadily popping up on the unstable soil.

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While trails are provided and clearly marked for explorers, they are narrow and a bit treacherous, come prepared for sharp edges and uneven paths.

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There isn’t much in the way of wildlife to see, other than some cacti and a few small flowering plants. Locals have named some of the rock formations after shapes they believe to symbolize: La Madre Luna (mother moon), El Sombrero de la Dama (lady’s hat), to mention a few examples.

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5 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Guest Post: Island Life and the Pursuit of Diversity.

by Jessica Girard

Everybody deserves respect. As families this should be a value high up on our priority list as embracing diversity is not only important for helping children to respect other people, it also helps them to accept themselves and celebrate the variety of people the world has to offer.

Exposing ourselves to diversity not only widens our worldview it helps us better understand our connections to each other, helping us to become more globally aware.

The challenges of diversity

Opportunities to experience different cultures and embrace diversity can be somewhat limited when living within a small town, particularly when that small town is on an island, physically detached from the rest of the world.

This would be my experience of living in Guernsey, a small British island located in the English Channel, only 30 miles away from the coast of France. Now, when I say small, I actually mean tiny. The total area of the island is almost 25 square miles, which means you can drive around the entire island in about an hour!

[Image Credit] Wikipedia

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the island. I love the beautiful scenery and the fact that the beach and the countryside are only a mere fifteen minute walk from my doorstep. 

I do however, hate the smallness of Guernsey, not only in size but sometimes in thinking. Small towns can have rather insular mindsets as there is often a (physical and mental) disconnection from life elsewhere. It would be fair to say that this can be true for Guernsey. Living here at times can feel like living in a bubble, there is limited choice and a lack of variety and this can be stifling (to me).

You could not describe the island as a culturally rich environment. Guernsey has a very homogenous population. The vast majority being white, middle class, Brits who, if they profess to any faith it would likely be Christianity as you will find over 50 churches on the island but not one mosque, synagogue or temple.

If variety is the spice of life, then Guernsey is lacking in flavor. 

There are expat professionals working on the island, however they tend to be on short-term licence (the Guernsey version of a visa) and stand little chance of gaining permanent residency. We do however, have a small but established Portuguese community on the island and a growing number of Eastern Europeans, mainly from Latvia and Poland which adds to the cultural mix. This growing cultural diversity is not welcomed by all and unfortunately these communities are often stereotyped, surrounded by stigma and alienated from mainstream life.

(Town Centre, Guernsey. Photo Credit: Visit Guernsey)

If not careful, the disconnection that many small towns like Guernsey have with the outside world and even the cultures within it, can lead to insular thinking and an ignorance of other world cultures. This in turn can lead to a lack of understanding and disrespect of diversity.

I have found that within the small town context the point is not only a matter of embracing diversity, but rather the fact that we need to pursue it in the first place. 

Foundations for pursuing diversity

Even in cosmopolitan cities people tend to gravitate towards homogenous communities. Small town dwellers therefore, have to be all the more intentional about pursuing diversity when there is less of it to go round.

Opportunities to immerse ourselves and our children in different cultural experiences may be rare but are worth pursuing, if we want to help our children grow to be compassionate global citizens.

As a family we have created five foundations that will hopefully help our family, and yours, in the pursuit of diversity.

1. Model relationships across cultures/religions/genders/abilities etc

One of the most important ways of promoting a culture of diversity is to show your comfort in relating with people of a different race, faith, culture, gender, age, ability and sexual preference. Children mimic their parents’ behaviour and if they can see you confidently interacting with people and celebrating your differences, they are much more likely to do likewise.

This also means not shying away from talking about differences, even in public. Children are naturally inquisitive and yes, their questions are sometimes poorly timed! Try to see these (awkward) situations as an opportunity for discussing and celebrating differences with your children. Shushing or distracting your child can actually make you appear unwilling to discuss these differences and can lead to your child thinking it is wrong to do so.

2. Be aware of your own ”diversity deficits”

It is important to be aware of what Christopher Metzler, Ph.D describes as, “diversity deficits”. No one is immune to making judgements and/or holding negative feelings about people who are different from ourselves. Whether it be a negative stereotype, judgemental attitude or apprehension of a particular country or people group, children can easily pick up on these. It is therefore even more crucial that we understand where these feelings may stem from so that we can avoid passing the “deficits” on to our children.

3. Breakdown stereotypes

Stereotypes are dangerous things. They label people unnecessarily and lead to people making judgements about entire countries, cultures, races and genders that can often be offensive and misleading.

It is important to work to breakdown these stereotypes, especially for children who are impressionable and still trying to understand the world around them. Removing books and toys that promote stereotypes is a good place to begin. Model positive language and listen to the words your children use and if necessary, discuss how their language could be hurtful.

4. Get out of your comfort zone

When living in a homogenous society it is important to try and get out your comfort zone and intentionally explore diversity.

There are many ways of doing this, most of which can be done in your hometown, here are some of the ways we have gotten out of our comfort zones:

  • Eat ethnic foods (preferably with people from that country) – we’ve eaten nsima (maize), the Malawian staple with Malawians living on island
  • Celebrate cultural events and religious festivals - We have joined our Chinese friends in celebrating Chinese New Year
  • Read multi-cultural books - We’ve gathered a small collection of books to read with our daughter that explore different countries, races, religions, genders and abilities.
  • Befriend and learn from expats in your community - We’ve made friends with some wonderful expats. The bonus being that we get to sample their cultures and challenge our own way of doing things, on a regular basis.

5. Create opportunities for discussion in the everyday

Gear your home up in a way that it naturally creates opportunities for discussions on diversity. Our daughter is only a baby so discussions are a little way off yet, but by bringing a little bit of the world inside our home we are developing a more culturally rich environment that will, in time, generate more questions.

In our home we create opportunities by having piles of travel books, maps and globes readily available to research countries, people groups and religions. We also have lots of hand crafted items on display, including handmade toys for our daughter to play with.

 
 [Photo Credit] Diversity MBA Magazine

 

The important thing to remember is that whether we live in a small town or multi-cultural city, when it comes to pursuing diversity, reading books and eating ethnic food, simply is not enough. Our attitude is what is important. We need to show our children (and communities) that we are intentionally trying to engage with people and promote social inclusion.

 

Have you experienced similar challenges of small town living? 

In what ways have you pursued opportunities for diversity?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Related articles

Bio:

Jessica Girard is currently a full-time mother and spare-time blogger over at The Open Home, where she writes about faith, mission, travel, world culture, simple living and getting back to nature.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2013 in children, expat, FAMILY, TCKs, TRAVEL

 

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The emotionally resilient expat [by Linda Janssen].

Oh, well, why not mention here a great book that just came out [July 2013], by the author Linda Janssen?

And the reason for that? Linda interviewed several expats, families, collected their experiences, challenges, suggestions, stories and tales. All together, bound in one book – and I’m happy to say I’m one of the proud contributors to her compendium…

[insert a shameless smile here! :o]

My little 2 cents: lessons learned from our ‘nomadic life’ with the US Foreign Service – as a professional, a around-the-clock mother, a traveler, an FSO spouse… a serial expat… ♥

Happy reading!

Linda A Janssen, The Emotionally Resilient Expat

The Emotionally Resilient Expat: Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures

Living abroad offers enriching experiences of growth, broadened perspective, enhanced cultural understanding. Yet its transition-rich, change-driven, cross-cultural nature can place considerable demands, leaving us stressed, disconnected, our identity in flux. Building on existing literature and benefitting from recent developments in psychology and brain-body connections, The Emotionally Resilient Expat: Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures shows the key to successful transitions and beyond lies in emotional resilience to adapt, adjust or simply accept. Linda A. Janssen combines candid personal stories from experienced expats and cross-culturals, with a wealth of practical tools, techniques and best practices from emotional, social and cultural intelligence, positive psychology, mindfulness, stress management, self-care and related areas. FACTORS™ offers a way to live a healthier, more positive, emotionally engaged, culturally connected global life.

Curious to learn more about the book? Follow this link:

www.theemotionallyresilientexpat.com

REVIEWS

“Using personal story and solid theory in her groundbreaking book on emotional resilience, Linda A. Janssen guides those facing the challenges of cross-cultural living to dig under the initial rocky surfaces of overseas life to discover – and use – the rich gold of their own experience. A great resource for expats of all backgrounds.” Ruth E. Van Reken, Author, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

“Janssen’s work is sure to be a stand out in any expatriate or cross-cultural arena. She eloquently, articulately and incisively delves into areas previously considered taboo in order to highlight how we can all gain mastery over whatever life throws our way. I will definitely be referencing Janssen’s material when working with TCKs, expat parents and international students.” Tina L Quick, Author, The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition,www.internationalfamilytransitions.com

“A practical guide in the art of managing the risks of overseas life in ways that will promote endurance and effectiveness. Full of honest and hope-filled stories from the lived experience and life-long learning of Janssen and her dozens of expatriate contributors. An invaluable companion for expats who want to know that they are not alone.” Duncan P. Westwood, PhD, (C)OACCPP Clinical Director of Expatriate Care & Development, International Health Management

“As with any food rich in nutrition, this book is best sampled regularly and digested slowly.” Drs. Douglas W. Ota, NIP Psychologist, NMI Mediator, Family Therapist, www.dougota.nl

 
 

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Pictorial Journal: Hiking adventure throughout the “Devil’s Molar” [Muela del Diablo], Bolivia.

On top of the Devil's Molar - quite a view!

On top of the Devil’s Molar – quite a view!

Thank you for stopping by… 

Promise: there’ll be no regrets at all!

The city of La Paz seen from the Devil's Molar [Muela del Diablo]

The city of La Paz seen from the Devil’s Molar [Muela del Diablo]

But, first, let me showcase here my newest discovery: The Media Explorer

Embedding Tweets!

How cool is that? :o

Now, go for it: enjoy the image gallery, our so-called ‘Pictorial Journal’!

 

 

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Photography: Nuestra Señora de La Paz, seen from 12,000 feet above…

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The observation point: below here is where the hiking began:

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The busy city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz seen from the Muela del Diablo Mountain, houses and buildings looking like toy pieces:

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4 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Blogpost ‘Place Holder’: Hiking through the ‘Muela del Diablo’, Bolivia.

muela del diablo

I know, I know…. Procrastination seems to be word of the moment… :o

Evnetually, I’ve gotta get the images from our recent hiking adventure out, the drive to the Muela del Diablo ["Devil's Molar", and its 150 meters, on a 3,800m of altitude]; but feel like we’re always caught up, keeping ourselves afloat while cruising through daily homework [kids], attending to the demanding toddler and obviously, going to work [outside the house, for the grown-ups!]

This wild rock ["Muela"] can be seen from almost every where in the southern part of La Paz. The giant appears steep und unapproachable right within its bizarrely shaped erosion landscape and green lands.

Muela del Diablo, Bolivia

For the time being, I’m leaving here a little ‘place holder’ for what’s to come. Hopefully, very soon. :o

And, as a bit of a spoiler [text borrowed from The Gadling], “Devil’s Tooth is an inactive volcano that is approximately 492 feet high. According to our guide, it got its name because indigenous people believed it looked like the tooth of Satan.

The command for our past Sunday was: “are you ready?” I’m sure these ones here were!

Muela del Diablo

More images to come in the near future… stay tuned!
Related:

http://strollingsouthamerica.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/hiking-la-muela-del-diablo/

http://en.wordpress.com/#!/read/topic/muela-del-diablo

http://triptobolivia.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/muela-del-diablo-y-valle-de-la-luna/

http://icsboliviavolunteers.wordpress.com/tag/muela-del-diablo/

http://hakanronnblad.com/2012/01/12/la-muela-del-diablo/

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 31, 'Foreshadow'].

"Llamas Crossing"

“Llamas Crossing”

Warning drivers for what’s about to come… and cross… :o

Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 
 

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Bolivia bucket list addition: ‘Laguna Verde’.

beautiful planet Earth

 

This inspiring image/photo came from another travel blog - Thanks for sharing! :o

From Wikipedia: “The Laguna Verde, meaning neaon Green lake,[1] covers an area of 1700 ha, and a narrow causeway divides it into two parts. It is at the southeastern extremity of the Reserve Eduardo Avaroa and Bolivia itself. It has mineral suspensions of arsenic and other minerals which renders colour to the lake waters. Its colour varies from turquoise to dark emerald depending on the disturbance caused to sediments in the lake by winds. In the backdrop of the lake is the inactive volcano Volcan Licancibur (elevation 5868m), which is the near perfect shape of cone.[2] It is believed that an ancient crypt used to be at its peak. Icy winds are a common phenomenon here and lake waters can attain temperatures as low as -56 degree C but because of its chemical composition its waters still remains in a liquid state. It is 30 km from Laguna Palques.[3][4]

The laguna verde is well known for its spectacular scenery and hot springs.”

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 2, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Raising children in the Foreign Service – a brief talk about diversity.

FSJOriginally published as a Letter to Editors [The Foreign Service Journal, March 2013].

Diversity at State: Helping our Children.

The value of diversity promotion in the State Department was well emphasized by EEO Counselor Krishna Das (Letters to the Editor, January issue). As a parent, I see the discussion regarding how we bring up our children within the diverse Foreign Service lifestyle as equal parts interesting, challenging, and crucial. It is, of course, necessary to serve as role models for our children right from the start, particularly in teaching the lesson that everyone, despite appearances or stereotypes, deserves respect.

As noted, State Department children are highly exposed to diverse cultures, and we as parents should demonstrate why this is such an advantage to their own growth as human beings.

Building a culture of diversity starts at home, a literal reality for many State Department families. We speak different languages, come from distinct cultural backgrounds, and practice different religions. And yet in most cases, our children are growing up in a culturally richer environment than we (parents) were brought up. Children in the Foreign Service live the concept of diversity and its social implications – on a daily basis.

Seal of the United States Department of State.

Seal of the United States Department of State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That said, it is often necessary for us to question what is our role as parents in this process? How can we assist our children regarding the issue of diversity? It would appear as far as diversity is concerned, we need to be extra involved in their lives: listening to their stories, learning about their ventures and challenges adjusting to new, countries, discussing their questions and social frustrations, establishing a healthy communication channel, building positive identities and respect for differences. Further, we should seek ways to insert these concepts into the routines of our children’s everyday lives and help convince them through our actions that a society without discrimination is possible. It is critical for us parents and caretakers to develop ‘cultural sensitivity’ regarding our surroundings; otherwise, without specific cultural information, we may inadvertently promote practices and approaches that could counter other parents’ efforts.

One great piece of advice I once received was to “encourage your child’s friendships with others across race, ethnicity, class, religious practices, background and ability.”

The more personal experiences children have with other groups, the easier it will be to dismiss stereotypes and misperceptions.

******

Want to add to the discussion? Please feel free to share your comments/opinions/suggestions here!

 
 

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Pictorial Journal: Cotapata Park, Bolivia.

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Want more from this week’s gorgeous ‘Masterpiece’ Photo Challenge? Here they are!

Around 20km north of La Paz, some four hundred square kilometres of the north face of the Cordillera Real are protected by PARQUE NACIONAL COTAPATA (otherwise known as Parque Nacional y Area Natural de Manejo Integrado Cotapata).

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Ranging in elevation from 1000m to 6000m, Cotapata encompasses many of the astonishing range of different ecosystems and climatic zones formed as the Andes plunge down into the valleys of the upper Amazon Basin.

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Within a remarkably short distance high mountain peaks, snowfields and puna grasslands give way to dense cloudforest, which in turn blends into the humid montane forest that covers the lower slopes of the Andes in a thick green blanket.

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The cloudforest – also known as the ceja de selva or “jungle’s eyebrows” – is particularly striking, made up of low, gnarled trees and home to many unique bird species, and elusive pumas and spectacled bears.

From Wikipedia:
Map showing the location of Cotapata National Park and IMNA

Cotapata National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area (Parque Nacional y Área Natural de Manejo Integrado Cotapata) is a protected area in the Yungas of La Paz DepartmentBolivia.

Read more: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/south-america/bolivia/lago-titicaca-the-cordilleras-and-the-yungas/the-yungas/parque-nacional-cotapata/#ixzz2Unqluc2H

 
 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 30, 'Masterpiece'].

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

out of this world - masterpiece

masterpiece

masterpiece

Moon Valley - "Valle de La Luna"

Moon Valley – “Valle de La Luna”

The urban peacefully co-existing with the natural

The urban peacefully co-existing with the natural

Nature’s masterpieces at their best expression… a few examples of unique works of art throughout the Bolivian country. Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 
32 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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My closest friend is…

…the person with whom I share my dearest passions: traveling, photography, story-telling. We’ve become life partners, we’ve developed a strong relationship that goes beyond passion – we’re friends, we’re lovers, we’re secret keepers, and we haven’t gone at each other’s thoat after all the difficulties inherent to this most-challenging job: we’re parents to our children! :o

We share our lives together, and we’re helping each other raise our ‘little worldly citizens’.

We share our joys and our sorrows. We’ll be together for the long haul – wherever life takes us.

No challenge should fase us – we’ll always be in good company – our own. And as close friends should be, we’ll laugh and cry in each other’s arms…

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2013 in LOVE, TRAVEL

 

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Day 360 in Bolivia: Suggestions for entertaining the little ones.

A male Green-and-rufous Kingfisher on Chalalan...

A male Green-and-rufous Kingfisher on Chalalan Lake, Tuichi River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miranda Family arrived in La Paz in the beginning of August, 2012.  assignment. Our familial “nucleus” is constituted of 2 adults, 2 kids (7 1/2 and 5 1/2 yrs-old) and a 2 1/2 year-old toddler. Being a parent/caretaker requires lots of diplomacy, negotiationpeacekeeping, policy implementation and strategy skills. That said, managing a household, its respective juvenile population and the consequent budgetary implications, is a… HUGE, EXPERIMENTAL and UNFORESEEN task!

There is a never-ending need to keep kids and parents sane (as much as possible). Family outings require loads of planning and logistics management – even if we’re just talking about a Sunday lunch!

  • Here are some suggestions for entertaining the kids (without pulling our hair off), we’ve learnt along the way:
Take weekend trips with other families with kids -it's a life-saver!

Take weekend trips with other families with kids – it’s a life-saver!

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

Go hiking through the Isla del Sol

Go hiking through the Isla del Sol

Host a kids Halloween Blast!

Host a kids’ Halloween Blast!

Join the traditional 'water balloon fights' during Carnaval!

Join the traditional ‘water balloon fights’ during Carnaval!

Go bowling!

Go bowling!

Go Zip-lining at the Yungas!

Go Zip-lining at the Yungas!

Throw impromptu 'theme lunches'

Throw impromptu ‘themed lunches’

Family and friends spend the Sunday together at Oberland.

Go out! Family and friends spend the Sunday together at Oberland.

Go on a boat trip along the waters of Lake Titicaca

Go on a boat trip along the waters of Lake Titicaca

Join a 'greening initiative' for a weekend of activities

Join a ‘greening initiative’ for a weekend of activities

Throw impromptu costume parties!

Come up with impromptu costume parties!

Days spent at close-by parks and playgrounds

Days spent at close-by parks and playgrounds

Family luncheons and walks thru the neighborhood of Calacoto

Get out of your comfort zone! Family luncheons and walks thru the neighborhood of Calacoto

Escape to the neighboring Santiago...

Escape to the neighboring Santiago…

Visit to Museums in Prado, La Paz.

Visit Museums in Prado, La Paz.

Mountain biking trip

Take a mountain biking trip

Family trip to the Isla del Sol, Copacabana.

Unplug! Family trip to the Isla del Sol, Copacabana.

Family day trip to the Cotapata Park

Out again! Family day trip to the Cotapata Park

Weekend with friends at the Yungas Region

Weekend with friends at the Yungas Region

 

Surprise your children. Here are some links on good stuff to do around La Paz:

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallardo “Nayra Inti” interpretando con sus tarkas una tarkeada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children’s Activities

Bolivia does not boast an extensive selection of activities for children, but what it does offer is stunning national parks and the chance to get close to nature and see scenes that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

La Paz Zoo
La Paz Zoo has recently relocated from a tiny plot of land in the south of the city to a much bigger area in Mallasa, which can be found just outside of the city. The bigger space has allowed new enclosures to be built as well as a children’s petting area and an information block. Children will not fail to be impressed by the menagerie living in natural surroundings. You will find many animals in a park-like setting, living life as they would in the wild. After a morning’s excitement with the animals, try out the on-site café for some lunch and treat the kids to a souvenir from the gift shop.

Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Madidi National Park, Bolivia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Parks
Bolivia is home to some of the most unspoilt national parks in the world. These parks boast a tremendous variety of wildlife, although you have to be lucky to see a lot of animals as most of them hide deep in the densest of forests. Madidi National Park is recorded by National Geographic as being one of the world’s largest biologically diverse reserves. One of Bolivia’s richest forests can be found here as well as over 988 species of animals. It stretches from the Andes to the western Amazon Basin and allows people to watch animals, trek through woodland and explore the many nature trails. The children will love this unique chance to get back to nature.

Toro Park fountain

Toro Park fountain (Photo credit: Rob Michalski)

Toro Toro National Park is located close to Potosi and is ideal for dinosaur lovers. You will find giant dinosaur footprints and fossils as well as the caves of Umajalanta. Carrasco National Park is an enormous rainforest park located in the Andes’ foothills. It is a great park for children as there is so much space to run around in.

Witches’ Market
This market is also known as Mercado de Brujas and is full of magic and mystery. Goods sold here include herbs and remedies as well as other components used in ancient Aymara traditions. It is La Paz’s most colourful site, with many sights to amaze and excite children.

Witches Market

Witches’ Market (Photo credit: callumscott2)

 

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{Guest Post} Exploring Popular Perceptions about the “Serial Expat”.

by Chloe Trogden

In the Midst of This

In the Midst of This (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though more people are starting to travel for their job, and more people are embracing the idea of “lifestyle design,” the serial expat is still a relatively rare creature. Maybe you know someone who taught English in Asia for a year – I’m one of them – but few of us know people who spend their whole lives living abroad, maybe even bouncing from country to country, seeing the world while they work.

Perhaps because so few people actually know a serial expat, there are a lot of misconceptions about what serial expats are like and what their lives are like. Many of them are negative, though a couple are positive. Either way, they all miss the mark in some way. Here are a few of the myths about the serial expat compared to the reality of the expat lifestyle:

They Don’t Want to Grow Up

One of the most common perceptions about the serial expat is that they are Peter Pan types who don’t want to grow up. They party all the time, and they hold down a job only long enough to finance their next trip to some tropical beach where they can party the days and nights away. The perception is that serial expats can’t face the reality of a job and a mortgage and a family, so they defer the inevitable by literally dropping out and moving to another country.

The reality is that – just like with any group of people – this is true for some expats, but it is not true of them as a group. Many serial expats are working in serious jobs that are a part of achieving their long-term career goals. They are working in senior positions or working their way up to them. They are living the same kind of lives that anyone else lives – except they’re doing it in another country. In many cases, they may even be buying real estate or raising families.

They Can’t Commit

Serial expats are often thought of as serial bachelors. Many people think that they don’t want to commit to a partner, to get married, or to raise a family. The logic is that if they were settled down with a spouse and children, they wouldn’t be moving around to other countries – they’d be saddled with a mortgage State-side near their extended families.

However, the reality is that many serial expats are traveling with their partners and their spouses and that many of them have children. There are expats taking round-the-world trips as they homeschool their children. There are expats who are pursuing career opportunities as they put their children in English-speaking schools.

They Can’t Get “Real” Jobs

Going overseas to teach English is a popular choice for recent college grads who can’t find work in their home state – or who aren’t quite sure what they want to do for a career. Yet many people think that serial expats – especially teachers – decided to go overseas because they couldn’t or didn’t want to get “real” jobs.

The truth is that there are expats working in all types of jobs overseas. There are some working in NGOs, working as reporters at English daily newspapers, working as business leaders and so on. Even those working as teachers are working “real” jobs – many are committed to careers teaching ESL and developing curriculum.

They’re Adventurers

Expats are seen as adventurers who are traveling the world, learning about new cultures, tasting new cuisine, and meeting new people. Many people think that every day for them will bring something new and exciting. They may look to the lives of serial expats with envy.

There is some truth to this perception, as expats do get to experience many adventures and learn about new cultures and new people. However, every day doesn’t bring something new and exciting. Many expats are living the same kind of lives as their friends and family back home – going to work, paying bills, keeping doctors’ appointments and so on.

They’re Risk Takers

Many people think that moving to another country is a big risk and that only those who are spontaneous and used to taking risks will make that choice. While moving to another country may be a big risk for some, it’s not for others. There are many expats who consider the move to be on par with moving to another state for a job. They may be comfortable making the move yet be risk averse in other areas of their life.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for the expat lifestyle. There’s as much diversity in the expat community as there is in any other community. Perceptions are just that: Perceptions, not necessarily reality. The truth is that serial expats are living the same kind of lifestyles as any other group of people – just in a different location.

Bio:

Chloe Trogden is a seasoned financial aid writer who covers specific opportunities such as grants for school. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and volunteer work.

What perceptions have you encountered about serial expats? Share your thoughts on them in the comments!

 
19 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2013 in expat, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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