Monday, November 29, 2010

One of those days...

So today has been one of those days. It was great until I came back to Ibarra. I woke up this morning and actually ate a bagel (like a real one, there is a place in Quito that has them). And then I took the bus back to Ibarra. When I got here I realized the internet was down and I needed it to prepare for my lesson today. Then I noticed my notebook was gone. This notebook has my life in it. All of my lessons and all of my Spanish notes. And after that I was making copies and ran into the girl who has now decided to hate me for no reason. Thankfully, I found the notebook and I´m sure the rest will work itself out.

This weekend was a lot of fun. I had Thanksgiving dinner at my director´s house. We had all the traditional Thanksgiving things, minus what is impossible to find in Ecuador (pumpkin pie and cranberries). I even ate the turkey. Then on Sunday Claire and I sat around and watched TV shows and then went to see Harry Potter. It´s super intense!

I realized I forgot to write about helping out at a spelling bee. An all boys school asked Shari and I to judge a spelling bee. It was actually really hard to do because they make a lot of mistakes with pronouncing the letters. So here I was, it was the final word of the spelling bee and I asked a boy to repeat his spelling. He ended up getting it right and I was about to announce him the winner... Until the father of another boy said it was unfair to do repeats and that his son should have won. So then we had to do another like 10 rounds and eventually call it a tie. I felt so bad! The boy clearly won! But the principal told me the dads were about to get in a fight so I wasn´t about to argue with that.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


So here is what I ate today:
Breakfast: rice and beans
Lunch: noodles and potato soup
Thanksgiving with my classes: Crackers, chips, and candy
Dinner: rice, french fries, and an egg
... a very ecua-thanksgiving (full of carbs)

Thanksgiving with my classes was really fun. They made turkey hands and wrote down what they were thankful for. A lot of them said they were thankful for me being their teacher (so sweet!). We also talked about the story behind Thanksgiving and they watched an episode of Friends about Thanksgiving. Then we sat down at a big table and ate and talked. This might have been one of my best Thanksgivings yet because I got to share the joy of the holiday with people who knew nothing about it. :)


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

So as of now I have 4 students in my intermediate class and 11 in my basic class. It is getting better but still definitely not where it needs to be. Because of that, at my site visit this week, we told the director of CECAMI that I will not be coming back. So right now it is about 80% that I'm moving and 20% that I'll go to SECAP. Either way, I will definitely not be at CECAMI anymore. Darn...

This weekend was a lot of fun. I spent a good amount of time with my family because a niece from the jungle was in town. She is 20 years old and super nice. I went to Otavalo and stocked up on Christmas presents. And I went to a concert and looked at some wood designers. I also got to see my family's new store for selling clothes from catalogs and eat at this awesome coastanian food restaurant.

Then Monday was my site visit. Steph (the assistant director of WorldTeach) came and observed my class and met with my family. She said that I was a good teacher and that my students like me. Awesome. Now if I could just have more students...

Natasha has been sick all week and CECAMI keeps asking me to cover her 3-4 class. I said yes one day because I had time. But yesterday Natasha asked if I could do it again and I didn't have time. She conveniently forgot to tell the office this and so they thought I was coming. They called me at 3:10 asking where I was. Not so professional on her part...

Today I'm having a Thanksgiving party in my classes. We are going to make turkey hands and eat food and watch episodes of Friends about Thanksgiving. It should be fun!

Then this weekend I am going to Quito to celebrate Thanksgiving with some WorldTeach people. I'm making brownies. I tried making them yesterday for the Thanksgiving parties in my classes and they turned out well. The high altitude directions really come in handy here. On Sunday I have to stay in Quito all day because it is the census. In Ecuador everyone has to stay in their homes for an entire day and absolutely nothing is open. Then high school students come around and perform the census. Should be interesting!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Three randoms for the day:

  1. I looked at Itunes the other day and realized I didn't know a single one of the top songs. I have no idea what is happening with American radio.
  2. My family put boiled potatoes in purple liquid an added cloves and cinnamon. Then they asked me to eat one of the potatoes. I almost choked it was so disgusting. My host dad loves it and says it is "muy rico!"
  3. There are ice cream carts here. But there are no ice cream trucks that make noise. Instead there are propane trucks that play the ice cream truck music. They play the music and drive around streets with propane tanks. So weird!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Going Home

Today I bought a ticket to go to Cleveland for Christmas! I'm excited! And it's a good thing because I found out today my family is going to Santo Domingo (not my favorite place) for Christmas.

So last week I went to Cuicocha with a few friends. It is this beautiful crater lake near a town called Cotacachi, which is known for leather goods. I'll definitely have to take anyone who visits me to Cotacachi. Cuicocha is cool but I'd rather go see Quilotoa (a much bigger and prettier crater lake). Hopefully my sister, max, and I can go there.

Then I headed to Quito for the weekend. On Friday I caught up with some WorldTeach friends. We all seem to be having a good time and having similar experiences. We all have a hard time making friends with locals and miss a lot about the United States. I also had a meeting with Kate about Ambato and SECAP. Ambato seems to really want me to move there. Maybe it could be a good thing for me. It's a lot more central which means I could see more of Ecuador. And it is a bigger city so I could meet more people. Perhaps Ibarra is getting to small for me. I will keep you updated on any news about me moving. I also played a very long game of monopoly on Friday night and lost after 4 hours. Sad game. But I did find an Ecuadorian Monopoly! It's $30 but I'm thinking it's worth it.

On Saturday I went out for Kate's Birthday in a Chiva. It is a large bus/truck combination with no seats and a dance floor. You drive around the city drinking canelazo (the hot drink with a special alcohol) and dance. It was so much fun! Then we went out to other clubs to dance some more.

On Monday I had my first classes of the new module. I had 8 in my basic class and 0 in my intermediate. On Tuesday I had 11 in my basic and 1 (who showed up 45 minutes late) in my intermediate. And today I had 9 in my basic and 2 in my intermediate (one still showed up 45 minutes late). This is why I need to leave Cecami. I have NO students! I came here to teach... not to putz around and hope I have students.

Tomorrow Shari and I are going to judge an English spelling bee at a high school. I'm excited! But spanish speakers always mess up P, B, and V. I hope I don't kick a kid out of the competition because I heard him/her wrong!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things I have noticed about Ecuador

So here I am, almost 3 months into my trip. Here are a few things that I´ve noticed about Ecuadorian life:

  1. you can add -ita or -ito to any word. Sarita, aguita, perito, empanita. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what anyone is saying until I take off the ita or ito and realize that it´s actually a word.
  2. They only drink juice and coffee and sometimes tea. I spend a ton of my money just buying bottled water because I have no idea how they stay hydrated drinking only juice and a little coffee or tea.
  3. They eat rice everyday. EVERYDAY.
  4. You can also add -que in front of any word. Que chevere, que bestia, que frio, que pena. It takes awhile to figure out what these phrases actually mean. Like que bestia literally translates to that beast. However in Ecuadorian spanish it means both awesome and sucky.
  5. You ride buses a lot. I have never riden a bus so much.
  6. Ecuadorians take the nature around them for granted. To me everything is breathtakingly gorgeous but to them it´s okay because they´ve seen it all their lives.
  7. Communication is a challenge. They only call you back if they have something to say to you. It doesn´t matter how badly you need to talk to them.
  8. The weather really does never change. Sometimes it rains and sometimes it is sunny but beyond that it is the same temperature and same number of daylight hours all year.
That´s all for now because I´m out of time. Write again soon!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

banos, moving, and santo domingo.

Santo Domingo: Very ugly. The people speak Spanish super fast and I don´t understand much of it. Other than that the trip was cool. I ate terrible food and got to see the day of the dead. (They served me fish and ceviche for breakfast, haha). All in all I´m glad I don´t live on the coast but it was nice to travel with my family. They are crazy! I never knew what was coming next or where I would be sleeping. And I saw the smallest dog I have ever seen. It weighed about 3lbs and was a chiuahua. So small and named Princessa. (Dad you would have hated her, she yapped).

Baños: Super fun! I went horseback riding, to hot springs, up a volcano, ate great food, saw waterfalls, and had a massage. Activities, transportation, lodging, and food all for about $130! Can´t beat that! It was also great to see everyone that I hadn´t seen in a long time.

Moving: Cecami is still being stupid. SECAP said they can only take one volunteer and Natasha will likely take that spot. I don´t want to stay with CECAMI so I might be moving to Ambato. If Natasha doesn´t take the spot at SECAP then I will probably go there. I´ll keep you upadated. Ambato is nice and in a great location (2 hours south of Quito) and there are a few other volunteers there. It wouldn´t be the end of the world but I´d be super sad to leave Ibarra. Stupid CECAMI...

This week is my vacation. CECAMI is making us pass out more flyers tomorrow in hopes of getting more students. Then Thursday I´m hoping to go somewhere with Shari for a day trip. Then Thursday night through Sunday I will be in Quito for Kate´s birthday! Then Monday I´m back at CECAMI...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'm headed to baños for the weekend with a bunch of other volunteers! It's a gringo town with lots of hot springs, hiking, waterfalls, and mountains. It also has international food so I might not be eating rice for 3 whole days!!!!

run in with the police (sorry kaytee it´s another scary title)

yes, i had a run in with the police today. here is the story:

natasha (another volunteer here) woke up this morning and her host mom told her she was kicked out of the house. she has lived with this lady for 9 months and today she decided to kick her out. natasha packed her things and then met me for coffee to talk before she was going to move in with the other family. she asked me to help her move her things and i said of course. so i´m waiting with the taxi while she is inside getting her things and she comes out and tells me her host mom is throwing things at her and being agressive. i decide to ask the lady if natasha can have her things and we can go and she starts yelling at me and slams the door in our faces. then the maid comes out and tries to talk to us and the 4 of us are trying to talk but then the host mom gets mad and slams the door in all of our faces. (she didn´t want natasha to get her stuff because natasha needed to pay her the rent but natasha didn´t have the money at that point and her host mom was holding her credit cards hostage). so her host mom called the police because the maid, natasha, and i wouldn´t leave her house. the police came and talked to the mom and natasha and basically said ¨why am i here?¨ he told natasha to take some of her things and then come back with the money and get the rest of her things. the mom then decided to tell him that i was trespassing and being agressive to her. luckily he said he didn´t care and the whole situation was stupid.

... this is a crazy country. now my poor friend is kicked out of her house and she has to overpay in order to get her things back...

i´ll post about santo domingo later.

Monday, November 1, 2010

more kidnapping

i'm headed to santo domingo for 2 days with my family. they told me 5 minutes ago. we are leaving in 5 minutes. ohhh ecuador....