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Mini Stuffed

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

I rode my first mini bus (or as my mom calls it, a mini stuffed) to go downtown. It’s really just a minivan with a sign in the window that says where it’s going. You go out to the main street and wave it down. When I got in, the entire back row was open, so I sat there… Big mistake. We began making our way downtown, collecting people as we went. At one point, there were 15 people in the mini-stuffed, and I was the very last sardine packed in this thing. I was prepared to tell the driver that I would like to go to Plaza De Estudiante, but he never asked. Instead, when someone wants to get off, they say in the quietest whisper, ”el esquina por favor” ( the corner please). Somehow, the driver hears them and the mini stuffed abruptly stops. It doesn’t pull to the side of the road because there are no lanes here. It just stops and the person gets out and pays at maximum 2.60 bolivianos which is about 37 cents. But I start to worry - how does he hear these people with their whispers? There is a group of teenage girls talking non-stop, the couple next to me is talking, and the women in front of me is yelling into her cell phone. Then it starts dumping rain, and it’s so loud on the roof of this metal death machine that I now know the driver will never hear me and I will die in this mini stuffed. The windows are all fogged up, so I keep wiping them with my sleeve to see if I recognize anything. Eventually, I see it! So I yell (because I honestly don’t know how else he would hear me) ”PLAZA DE ESTUDIANTE.” The bus comes to a halting screech and everyone turns to look at me with raised eyebrows like, “why is she yelling? We are trying to have a conversation here.” Six people have to get out in order to let me out. Oh, and during the ride, we only hit one car. The driver cursed him, even though we hit him, and then drove off.

My point you ask? We don’t need to move to Bolivia to get out of our comfort zone, to try something new, with bright eyes and fresh perspective. We can find that same exhilaration by testing our limits, chasing our goals, and saying yes to every opportunity. And as always, it's never about the actual outcome. Instead, it’s about the journey. It’s about the adventure. So this week, say YES, get uncomfortable, and take a ride in a mini stuffed.

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