My blog hasn’t really caught up with my personal life and some imminent changes afoot, which I will blog about soon.. But this piece has been floating around a little while and captures some of my experience of living in the “campo” (countryside) in a format I used to describe life in La Paz a few years ago.
6.30am-ish: Blurred sounds and light filter diffused into the room and my consciousness. I squeeze up against Juliette’s slumbering back, limbs entangling to extract some heat against the early chill of the morning. Outside the door, I hear the scratching of one of our three dogs. I fall back to sleep.
7.20am: There is a knock on the bedroom door. I know instantly that it is our neighbour, Irineo. I grab some trousers and open the door, patting the heads of the three dogs we have somehow come to inherit as they enthusiastically jump up and I try to dodge their muddy paws. Our bedroom leads straight onto an outside first floor balcony which connect the two other rooms that we use of the house: the kitchen and the toilet.
Irineo’s face wrinkles into a laugh when he sees my sleep-crumpled face: “Look!” he points at the sun. “The sun is already there in the sky.” I mumble, “Yes, but you know I am flojo (lazy).” He invites us to his daughter’s fifteenth birthday (a big occasion in Bolivia) on Sunday. I offer to be padrino of the cake (godfather), a tradition here where neighbours help each other pay for the costs of special occasions. As he heads off quickly to pick up cargo from the Pil milk factory, I reflect on how much easier it is to get to know neighbours in the countryside.