Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ambato and Quito training

On Sunday I arrived in Ambato. I picked the house I wanted to live in because it had a full apartment that I would use. But when I got there I found everything except the bed was taken out because she wanted me to "use the house" and "feel like I was part of the family." I think when I looked a little shocked she changed her mind. So she brought everything back out of the bodega and into my apartment. It's really nice now! I have a full kitchen, bedroom with a dresser, and soon I'll have chairs for the living room. I still go down to the house to eat most of my meals (they don't eat dinner) and to watch TV with my host mom. She is really sweet and I like talking to her.

My first few days in Ambato were pretty boring because everyone I knew was working or out of town. So I just explored the city. Then starting Wednesday I went to Quito to help train the new volunteers. That was a lot of fun! It's crazy how in just 6 months I've become an "authority figure" on subjects like student-run activities and classroom management. They all had some great questions and hopefully I helped them learn a little. Best of luck to them as they head to their sites!

Then I came back to Ambato and it was the weekend so my friends were free. We went on essentially a pub crawl over two nights so I could see the different places. I'm just happy there are more places than in Ibarra to go out! There are really cool bars and then dance bars. One that I really liked was called Crazy Horse and plays classic rock videos and has super cheap drinks. The crowd is interesting though.

On Saturday a few of us wanted to see the "Reina de Ambato" pageant. We arrived 2 hours early to get tickets and seats but found out that the tickets were on sale yesterday and had sold out. So the only available tickets were being scalped for 5x the price. We heard from some locals that if we waited it out that the prices would go down but unfortunately they didn't and we decided not to go. $20 for a pageant is nuts! And, alas, it was rigged, the mayor's daughter won. Everyone expected that.

Yesterday I went to Tecnica (where I'll be teaching) to meet with my director. I don't know why I had the expectation that I'd find out anything. He basically waved to me, had me wait for 45 minutes, gave me cake at a "welcome" party, and then told me to come back tomorrow. The cake was awesome and a surprise. But it would have been cool to find out about my classes. So today I went back and again learned nothing. They are doing "registration" right now and so they don't know any more than I do. They are hoping by tomorrow they can at least tell me my classes and I can stop by and get my books. Seeing as Friday-Tuesday are holidays and class starts Wednesday. We'll see. I've learned to be flexible.

I did meet a nice french chick at Tecnica. She is going to be a french teacher. She speaks french and spanish and a tiny bit of english. I speak english, spanish, and a tiny bit of french. Therefore our common language is spanish. It's cool to have to speak spanish with someone who is not a native speaker and knows how hard it is to want to say something and not be able to express it. I think talking with her will be really good for my spanish.

Tomorrow I'm going down to banos to see if I can offer my services in their tourism office. That will give me something cool to do on the weekends. And then Thursday I'm going to San Miguel and Guaranda for Carnaval. Apparently it is crazy down there! But I'll be back in Ambato for the big parade on Sunday.

I'm feeling very homesick for my bed and my cats right now. Lily had a harrowing adventure yesterday. Luckily she springs back quickly. Only 5 more months in Ecuador. Crazy...

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