So last week all the volunteers and I made our way to Quito for our End of Service Conference. It was awesome to see everyone but sad to know that it would be the last time I'll see many of these people. On Thursday we had a few meetings to talk about our time here and then some of us went out to dinner together and chatted about our futures. Friday was the big conference day and we discussed what teaching has meant for us and how we can use it in our future jobs. We also talked about who is staying (about 9 people are staying in country!) and who is leaving. That night we had a really nice dinner party at a famous Ecuadorian restaurant (the food was good Ecuadorian, but was still pretty bad). We all gave speeches about each other and thanked our directors for everything they had done for us. The on Saturday we all said goodbye and headed back to our sites. It was a really nice time together but it was clear that some people weren't there. In total, 5 people left before their year was up for one reason or another. Out of 33 people, I think having only 5 quit is a good sign. The new February group only had 15 volunteers and already 5 have quit. Crazy.
The craziest part of my trip to Quito came Saturday night. We all went out to a bar and one of my friends had someone put ethanol in her drink. We didn't know it at the time and just thought she got really wasted. But after several hours she still wasn't anywhere near okay. The next morning we took her to the hospital and her blood alcohol content was 1.6! (The legal limit is .08). So basically the doctor said she almost died. It was pretty scary for all of us to hear that. The doctor also said it was a common thing for bartenders to do. They just slip ethanol in a drink and no one knows until the person is incapacitated. She will be fine though. But in our adventures of running her around to different doctors and police we had to go to the police hospital (where Correa was held back in September). You can see all the bullet holes on the walls and I can see where several people died on the ledge between the streets. It was kind of surreal. And of course the police couldn't do anything for her because their system is so crazy. We went to 3 police stations to get all the necessary paperwork only to find out that she needed to have more bloodwork done to file a complaint and that the police doctors couldn't do that until Monday, when clearly the results would be different. Oh well, that's Ecua-police for you.
The on Sunday I was a little sick so I rested most of the day and geared up for my full week of teaching. I think I'm finally getting into a groove with my students and with the book because they did much better on this quiz than previous ones. And in my level 8 class we are reading "The Most Dangerous Game" and I think they really like it. It's a pretty awesome short story that grabs the attention of most people.
I also started a really stupid new job. My director asked me if I would teach the president of the University and his two friends English. I said sure but had no idea what I was getting myself into. For the first day they showed up 45 minutes late. Then the next day they didn't show up at all and when they finally came in they asked me to give them class (to which I said no because I was doing something else). They just really want things to be their way all the time and that's not how class and teaching works. So now they've recruited an Ecuadorian teacher to teach them English (through speaking only Spanish) and I just sit there and help with pronunciation. It's the dumbest job ever because I'm 100% not needed. But I'm getting paid for it so I guess it's okay.
This weekend I have a few birthdays to celebrate and a bunch of planning to get done. I can't believe I leave Ecuador so soon!! It's crazy to think about!