23
Jun
09

Adios Mis Amigos y Cochabamba. Hola California!

The time has finally come for me to leave Cochabamba.  It is so strange to think that I will be home in less than 30 hours.  When I arrive back in Los Angeles I think I might go in to culture shock.  The shocking sight of people obeying traffic laws and signals will take some getting used to, but I am sure I will adapt.  I have had such a wonderful time here that it is really hard to put in to words my experience.  The time I have had here cannot be compared to any other travel or work experience I have had.  It has been a learning experience as well as more fun than a person should have during an internship.  =-).  Despite my sadness for leaving, I am very happy to be going home to be with my family… and I know they couldn’t be happier for my arrival.  

Things I am going to miss:

1.  The freedom of being in a new place and doing whatever I want and whenever I want.

2.  MY HOUSEMATES.  (Especially – Sitting in the living room drinking tea and all simultaneously working on our blogs, and the constant joking about how our house is falling apart or how we got shocked in the shower today.)

3.  The children and the staff at CAICC.  

4.  Cochabamba.

5.  Spanish.

6.  All of those little things that may bug me on a regular basis, but when I get home will not be there… I will miss.  (My ridiculously hard bed, the outdoor shower, the lady yelling, “Manzanas, manzanas, manzanas!” every morning outside my window, the very little privacy of my doors to my room, slow internet, Skype calls that constantly hang up, almost getting run over by a car or bus on a daily basis, the teenagers making out in every plaza in town, trying to find good cheese, and last but not least throwing toilet paper in a bin next to the toilet.)

Thank you – Sustainable Bolivia, CAICC, Cochabamba and all of my housemates for wonderful time here… my experience would have not been the same without all of you. 

Adios Cochabamba… Hola California!

Love.

21
Jun
09

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads, especially my Dad (Fasha) and both of my Grandpas (Papa and Grumps).    

Only a couple of more days until I start the long journey home.  I will be leaving Cochabamba on a night bus to La Paz.  From La Paz I will fly to Santa Cruz, Bolivia and then to Miami.  From Miami I will embark on the last leg of my trip to my final destination (via flying) Los Angeles.  Then another couple of hours to Bakersfield and I will finally be back to reality.  

Because I have had a cold, basically since I have been in Bolivia, I have been warned by all of my friends not to cough while going through customs.  I don’t want them to think that I have Swine Flu or some other horrible disease that the media is deciding to obsess about.  It will be a long couple of days, but totally worth it.  

Tomorrow will be my last day at CAICC.  Whenever a volunteer leaves they have a little celebration, where they play music and everyone dances and whoever is leaving gets a little gift from the kids.  I am looking forward to the fiesta, it is always nice to see the kids having a lot of fun, and to dance and sing their little hearts out.  I am definitely sad to leave the kids though, I feel like I have really gotten to know some of them and I feel like they have really gotten to know me as well.  I am so lucky to have meet some really amazing children, that despite all of the setbacks they may have had they have the kindest hearts.  I will truly miss them.  

Wish me luck with all of the packing and getting everything to leave, it will be a busy couple of days.

Happy Father’s Day again!

Love.

18
Jun
09

Muchas Gracias

I would like to thank everyone for their kind words in this difficult situation.  Papa is doing well and will be having surgery today.  The doctors say that he is good for surgery and I am sure that everything will come out flawless.  Under the circumstances I know it is not the ideal reason to come home, but I am actually looking forward to it.  I will be there to help my grandma with anything that she needs and I get to now attend my brother’s golf tournaments.  Which by the way he just placed 1st in both of them this week and is currently playing in his third.  I couldn’t be prouder.  Michael Tolladay Jr. is going to take the golf world by storm and soon enough I am going to be asking him to be my spokesperson for whatever NGO I start… haha.  

Thank you again everyone and I will be seeing you soon.

Love.

16
Jun
09

Change in Plans

Hola Mi Familia y Mis Amigos,

I wanted to inform you all that I have had a slight change in plans for the remainder of my time here in Bolivia.  Instead of staying in Cochabamba for another two weeks and then heading on a little adventure through Peru and Brazil I will be returning to California for personal reasons.  My grandpa (Papa – maternal side) is having surgery and I would like to be home and do anything that I can to help him and my grandma.  I just booked my flight and I will be returning on the 24th of June.  I do not want anyone to worry, I know that Papa will be fine, but I would just feel better to be back at home with my family.  Brazil and Peru are not going anywhere and I have plenty of time to go and travel around, family is much more important.  

Keep my family in your thoughts… and I will be seeing you all soon.  I will continue to blog about Bolivia while I am here and maybe if you are lucky I will write some thrilling blogs about Fresno and Bakersfield, California.  Stay tuned for those. 

Adios.

15
Jun
09

Salar de Uyuni

15
Jun
09

I Am My Father’s Daughter

For those of you who know my Dad (aka Fasha) he is not the most patient when it comes to tours, or really anything for that matter.  A perfect example of this is going to the Louvre in Paris.  I think the Tolladay family might hold the world record for least amount of time in the museum.  We were sprinting after the Fasha trying to catch up to him and barely catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa and before we know it we were back on the street eating a baguette.  The Michael Tolladay moto for traveling and for many life matters is , “In and out” or “R.T.G” (ready to go).  I have prided myself throughout my travels of not having this “in and out” attitude, but of course right when you think you are not like your parents…BOOM!  You end up being just like them.  The point of this long introduction is to explain to you my time at the Salar de Uyuni.  What was a three day trip through the Salar could have easily been cut down to one day for me.  Now I will explain.

The first day of the trip started at around 9 am.  We ended up not leaving until about an hour and half later, which is very typical of Bolivia.  We went to the Salar and had a great time took a few pictures went to a few other sites, watched the sunset and were on our way to our first accommodation.  We stayed in a “hotel” made of salt, and yes everything was made of salt.  From the beds to the walls…everything!  It was actually pretty neat and a worthwhile experience.  This is where the trip started to go down hill, two sum up the next two days as simply as possible I will make a short list:

1.  Dessert.

2.  Lake.

3.  12 hour days in a car!

The real thing that was the most upsetting is that we never went back to the Salt Flats.  The time we spent there, the first day, was the only chance we had to go, which was not apparent to any of us on the tour.  This was the biggest disappointment because we all didn’t take that many pictures and especially didn’t take that many funny pictures.  On top of being disappointed about not being able to take more pictures, it was absolutely freezing!  I have never wore so many layers in my life.  

Overall I am glad that I went, but I would highly recommend just going for a day or maybe two, but 12 hour days in a car is a bit much for me.  I have never been so happy to be back in nice warm Cochabamba.

Adios!

10
Jun
09

My Biggest Accomplishment Thus Far…

I know that I should constantly be writing about how much I am learning and how much these grants will impact the lives of the children at CAICC, but lets be honest you can only write so much about those things.  And the purpose of this blog is to give an accurate portrayal of what an Internship is like in another country and all that you in that country.  Whenever I have substantial news regarding the grants I will inform you at my earliest convenience and give you the full details.  

The real big development that has happened this week though is…. I ALISON TOLLADAY MADE DINNER FOR MYSELF AND MY ROOMMATES, and it was not pasta, which is a definite first in my 23 years.  Now to some of you this may not come as a shock, but to those who know me well and to those especially that have lived with me… they know that my cooking abilities pretty much consist of pasta, edamame and popcorn.  I can not take all of the credit of the fine meal that was prepared last night, it was definitely a group effort from my other roommates, but this is a definite accomplishment for me.  

Now I am sure everyone is wondering what we made.  Well we made hamburgesa sin carne, papas fritas y ensalada (En English:  veggie burgers, french fries and salad).  Not to brag, but everything turned out delicious.  No good thing comes thought without a few bumps.  The main problem we had while cooking is not estimating the time that everything took (we blame the altitude).  We ended up eating our delicious meal around 8:30, and Emily and I began the preparations around 4:30.  So now I officially know why when my Mom made food and did not get a thank you after the meal it means she could have been in the kitchen for 4 hours.  Despite being very proud of my accomplishments in the kitchen I am still not a cooking convert, but I will make more attempts in the kitchen in the future.  I don’t think my skills of being a fabulous orderer will go to waste any time soon though.

Tomorrow I am off to the Salar de Uyuni for 5 days, it should be a fabulous time and I look forward to sharing it with all of you.  Until then have a great rest of the week and a great weekend.  

Adios.