There's a first time for everything!

When I first came to Bolivia, everything was new.  Every food I ate was new. Every place I went was new. Every cultural experience was new. Everything was new.

Over time, the newness of Bolivia has worn off. It is still exciting, and there is still a TON to learn and experience, but everything is not new anymore. In some ways this is comforting. While I enjoy the adventure of new things, I also enjoy the feeling of being “at home”.

That being said, this week has been full of “firsts”. I held my first baby in an Aguayo ( a tablecloth type fabric that Bolivian women use to carry their babies. )
I thought people stared at me before. With a Bolivian Baby in an aguayo I was like a walking freak show. 
I took a baby on his first escalator ride. And then, several weeks ago I realized I haven’t had my hair cut since I left the U.S. Since that was almost six months ago, I decided I should probably at least get a trim. It took 3 weeks, but finally yesterday afternoon I went with two friends to find a hair dresser.

In Bolivia, most shops are located together. On one street there might be 15 eye doctors, on the next 25 mattress store (and coffin stores. I find it a little ironic that the mattress stores and coffin stores have grouped themselves together.) And so on. So we went to the beauty salon street and looked for one that looked reliable. When we found one named Q’ Look, with pictures of Selena Gomez all over the walls, we knew we were in the right place. When we asked how much it would cost, and the lady told me 15 BS ($2), I was even more excited.

I watched the young girls sweep the floor, and realized how out of place my blonde hair was going to look on this floor. When it was my turn, I sat in the chair, and the lady cutting my hair exclaimed, “Wow, you have so little hair.” When there are no tips, there is no flattery.  As she cut my hair,I felt like I was dreaming. Here I was in Quillacollo, Bolivia, making small talk with my hair dresser in Spanish.

Although this was a “first” to have my hair cut in Bolivia, it also made me feel at home. Tourists don’t get their hair cut in foreign countries, but I really LIVE here now.

Then, as I was finishing, another young girl came up behind me and asked, “Is that you’re real hair color??” I assured her that it was, and she stood there watching and commenting every now and then about the color of my hair and eyes. As I sat trapped in the chair, it occurred to me (The Lord convicted me), and I started to ask her questions. As I asked about her work, she told me that she is here in Cochabamba from La Paz to study at the university. Then she asked if I was a Christian! I told her that I was, and asked if she already has a church here. She didn’t, so I got her number and gave her mine.

By the time I left, I had a new haircut, and a new friend. Next time maybe I won’t wait 6 months to get  my hair cut. Please pray for my new friend L as she settles into life in Cochabamba!


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