Archive for July, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things…

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
  1. The view: There is nothing more fabulous here than looking around at the mountains – whether it be a beautiful clear sunny day where you can see the snow capped mountains and volcanos (Cotopaxi!) some distance away, or the clouds wrapping splendidly around Pichincha and the mountains surrounding the city. It takes my breath away almost every day.
  2. Clouds of Doom: Quito weather is funny, you can have four seasons in a single day. The best is when it{s a bright sunny day, and then you notice the huge, ominous Cloud of Impending Doom gliding towards you, bringing with it an impending deluge. Then of course, right behind the dark black mass, is further deep blue, cloudless sky. Fabulous.
  3. Fruits and Veggies: All fresh, all grown within driving distance. Delicious.
  4. Fresh Bread: Bread from neighborhood bakeries is cheap, and cooked fresh several times a day. At about 3 or 4 cents a roll, with a cup of tea it makes the most declicious breakfast. Hot, cheap, delicious bread…all the time.
  5. Illegal movie stores: They{re so bold, they advertise themselves by displaying their illegal, incredibly cheap movies outside their stores. And, they{re everywhere. I donñt think i{ve seen a store selling legal movies yet. It{s hysterical. At 3 movies for 5 dollars, any requests?? :) lol
  6. Colonial Quito: Amazing. That is all.
  7. Freshly fried peanuts: It is impossible to tell you how good these were. Except that I couldn{t stop eating them.  Each bite is like being struck by deliciousness. Next time i{m in the colonial center I will def. get more.
  8. My host family: They{re so great. Over protective, yes. Is that hard for someone as independent as me, yes. But they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I{m really glad i{m staying with them.
  9. Artisenal Markets: Gorgeous. Lots of fun.
  10. Menu: Full course meal for between $1.50-3. And generally really good. A great way to eat.
  11. The language school: Great people, great students, very helpful.
  12. Futbol: World Cup Fever – you try being in a room with four Ecuadorans when Brazil lost and resisting the urge to laugh at their reaction – it{s hard. But seriously: Brazil, Argentina – WTF
  13. Museums and Helpful Museum guides: The museums I{ve been to have all been beautiful and really interesting. And they always seem excited to offer you a guide.

…more to come.

Acculturation to Quito

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Hello all again!

So, I survived me first week. I´m so glad that I had a week of Spanish classes from 8:30-12:30 each day first. Tomorrow, I jump right into having TESOL classes from 8:30am-6:30 pm each day. That, plus altitude adjustment the first week probably would´ve killed me. As it was, with everything, I just about collapsed from exhaustion thursday evening.

The battle of the shower continues. We got it fixed to what it´´s supposed to be – the problem is that that takes a lot of adjustment. Keep in mind that these are “suicide showers” aka – showers hooked to to so many electrical wires to produce warm water that it looks like a frightening maze. Thus, the dilema is this: water pressure or hot water? You can either: a) have plenty of water pressure as long as you don´t mind being drenched in ice cold water; or, b) have something between warm and hot water with barely enough water pressure to completely drench your hair. It´s quite difficult. Especially since the air around here stays between 50 and 70 degrees (gen around 60-65 in the house) and there´s no heat. Also – hot water only for the shower because otherwise it´s too expensive. So, dishes, hands, and laundry is all done in cold water – which has taken a lot of adjustment.

So, yes, this family´s great. Lupe (the wife)´s family owns the best two antique shops in Quito. THey are gorgeous – full of items from the late 1700-s to early 20th century. Everything is ornately decorated or carved, and for the most part contains mostly gold or silver. It´s like going to a museum each time I go. It´s so great. I´ve also met, I think, the entire family, and they are all equally nice – I even played with the grandkids. And, I finally got the freedom thurs and friday to walk by myself to the school (i´d been escorted or driven both ways before, leading to an hour long round robin in the afternoon between the school, the antique stores, and the grandfather´s house before I could finally eat lunch).

I´ve also finally gotten to tour the colonial center – AMAZING. I love it. But i´m not alloud to go there alone yet. Felipe´s girlfriend Glenda took me around, and to the Museo de la Ciudad and the Casa de Sucre, two great museums in the center. She´s great, with her interest in history she knew everything about the history of the neighborhoods, where and where not to go. Something interesting about it is how vibrant it is, not just with shops, but with everyday life – there were all sorts of people going to the old churches for services and for communion. Lastly, I want to live in an old colonial style upper-class home. They are amazingly beautiful.

Today, I went to the old Banco Central Museum, which, instead of being a banking museum, is a museum on pre-columbian and colonial art. The ancient ceramics were amazing, the coolest i´ve ever seen. I mean, pictures are one thing, but up close they were truly great.

So, my biggest problem with acculturation has to be: soup. I am only used to having soup when I´m sick. Having it every day has been the most severe culture shock of all – weird, huh. I got to a point last week where I was dreading eating soup by friday. Not because they tasted bad, they didn´t, just because i´m really not used to so much soup. Especially when it´s christmas puke green (although with cheese, it tasted the best of all :) ).

So, onward to four weeks on non stop classes………yay