1. You play chicken with cars when you cross the street…. but refuse to be the one that speeds up even if you almost get hit. It’s better to not look like a complete gringa.
2. You get to eat fresh bread for breakfast at the whopping price of thirty cents.
3. You learn to walk with a scowl/don’t mess with me look on your face in high hopes that you will make it to your destination without an adoring whistle.
4. You learn to only carry what you need… you learn the feel of your cell phone and keys and change in your pockets.
5. You learn to like cultural snacks like popcorn, salted peanuts, sugar coated peanuts, yucca chips, chocolate milk, yogurt, pan de yucca, ice cream, random venders selling snow cones or plantains.
6. You learn to take an umbrella with you wherever you go or a rain jacket … because the day you don’t, it rains!
7. You only wear reasonable walking shoes… all of which become filthy.
8. You learn to look down when walking… never know what’s on the sidewalks of a third world country… usually animal droppings or puddles of some unidentifiable liquid.
9. You learn to greet everyone with an air kiss on the right cheek… not the left!
10. You learn to always greet people you are passing with some sort of, “Buenos…”
11. You learn how to give directions home to a taxi driver from all different parts of the city.
12. You learn to maybe not talk to friendly men… because sometimes they will want to see you again… and you don’t really want that.
13. You learn that scarves are essential for you keeping your body nice and warm.
14. You learn to sleep with layers of blankets because there is no heating.
15. You learn to wear sunscreen all the time… because you get burnt just by walking outside. (Always carry a pair of sunglasses.)
16. You learn to wear tighter clothing just to fit in with the locals and not look like a slob.
17. You start wanting to wear heals everywhere just to fit in… but really you standout because you become 100 feet taller than everyone else!
18. You learn to laugh when others laugh even if you have no idea what’s going on… just act like you do!
19. You learn to be confident in yourself because if you let being different get in the way you will never be able to do anything.
20. You learn to let yourself love being where God called you to be… God loves a cheerful giver… You learn to give cheerfully.
21. You learn to look up at the mountains and fall in love with God’s creation.
22. You learn to make friends with everyone no matter the pain when they leave because it’s so worth it to learn and grow with others just for a time.
23. You learn how to say goodbye to people you love.
24. You learn the meaning of sacrifice like never before… especially when you miss birthdays and weddings.
25. You learn that you are never alone… God is faithful in His calling you!
26. You learn all the websites to watch basketball games or your favorite series… even if it’s not legal in the States… You live in another country and sometimes you just need an escape in your favorite show!
27. You try and learn how to dance… but you will forever look like a fool… but its fun!
28. You learn that fake Christmas trees are okay because they are all you got!
29. You learn to laugh when things just don’t go right!
30. You learn never to shop at the grocery store on Saturday or Sunday because the line alone will take you a good thirty minutes to an hour!
These are a lot of the things I have learned… It’s been an amazing year and a half… I can’t wait to see what I learn next!