(Happy late birthday, Megan!) (Happy early birthday, Kaytee!!)
So it turns out I really am bad at Ecuadorian parties. I had been told by some teachers and my family that my students would throw me parties and give me presents for "teacher's day" on April 13th. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I had the 13th, 14th, and 15th for vacation. So I guessed that maybe my students wouldthrow me a party on the 12th but I wasn't sure. My first class showed up and they didn't have anything planned. They said they wanted to have a party because lots of classes were. I said "sorry guys, parties come with planning and presents, try again another day." I wasn't going to waste class time so they could talk in Spanish with each other for an hour and a half.
Then my next class came in and they were going to have a re-test that day because they did pretty poorly on thereal test. I said if they made over an 80 on the first one they didn't have to come. I was a little confused why everyone showed up but no one said anything. Some of the students did their warmer and then left while the others took the test. About 5 minutes into the test one girl looks up at me and raises her hand and said "but teacher, we planned you a surprise party..." with the saddest look on her face. I felt really bad. Here they planned a party they just didn't think they could have it because I made them start taking the test. I still made them finishthe test but after everyone finished we got to hang out and have a party. It was a lot of fun. They gave me a very ugly scarf and a very sweet card :).
The next day some friends and I got on a bus and headed for Manta, a beach on the coast of Ecuador. In Manta we picked up a few more friends and went to Canoa, a really pretty beach in the north of Ecuador. We basically spent 3 days just relaxing on the beach and doing nothing. I got a pretty decent tan! We also ate some amazing food. There is a guy who lives in Canoa who moved there on his honeymoon with his wife. They just saw a bar and decided to buy it. So now he makes classic American food (like veggie burgers!) and all of the gringos eat there. It was great. The seafood at Canoa was also really good. I think we all needed 3 days of doing nothing. However, since we did nothing, we all came back to a TON of work.
Getting to and from Canoa was quite a hassel though. It turns out the bus drivers like to lie to you on the coast. We wanted a bus straight from Manta to Bahia (a town near Canoa) and the bus driver said "yea, we go to Bahia." After about a 2 hour bus ride we stop and he says it's the end of the route. We're super confused and not sure what to do. He says to wait on the side of the road until another bus comes and hope they go to Bahia. So we wait and luckily one comes. The on our way back we are told that a bus is going to Manta. Halfway through the bus ride the bus driver tells us to get off the bus and wait for another bus on thecorner that will go to Manta. I guess they just want the gringos on the bus or just want our money. Either way it was super frustrating. Because there is no way to tell if they are lying or not.
Then we took a very long bus ride back to Ambato on Sunday. On Monday my other class threw a party for me and gave me very pretty flowers. We're working on pronunciation this week, so that should be fun. They are having a karaoke contest and reciting Shakespeare. We don't have classes Friday because of Easter so I'm going to go to Quito to see a really cool parade. Apparently it is the second best Good Friday parade in the world, second only to Seville, Spain. I'm excited!
Ecuadorians are the crazy people who actually choose the rooster or cowbell for a ring tone. It is very rare to find an Ecua with a normal ring tone. The other day I heard Alvin and the Chipmunks and Donald Duck as ring tones. I've stopped finding it weird when a rooster randomly starts crowing on a bus...