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Showing posts from October, 2011

A Day in the Life

What is my normal day like in Quito?

Morning:
I wake up at 6 AM every day. My roommate and I both shower, make coffee and toast, and run to catch the bus at 6:45. The school bus picks us up a block away from my house, and we ride to school with students. We get to school around 7:20 each day, and most mornings I use that time on the bus to get some more sleep.

Work:
I am loving my job at Colegio Americano. The other teachers are so friendly and welcoming to us newbies, and the administration is really supportive. My students are all super nice, even if middle schoolers can be emotional or attention starved sometimes. I teach between 4-6 periods each day out of 8, which gives me plenty of time for grading and planning. The school cafeteria has variety and delicious, cheap, authentic Ecuadorian food. It has a sandwich bar and a really great salad bar, as well as hot meals, soup, desserts, and a snack bar. The school bus on the way home leaves school around 3:45 and I get home at 4:20.

A…

Halloween in Quito

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There have been all sorts of Halloween festivities, despite the President speaking out publicly against celebrating this "American" holiday. Then again, I teach at Colegio Americano where many of the students have at least one American parent who want their child to grow up with both Ecuadorian and American culture.

It started last weekend, when the teachers celebrated Halloween, because most people will be out of town this long weekend. A bunch of the teachers went together as the gang of Clue. My roommate and I worked really hard on her Clue game board costume; it even came with the confidential envelope where people could leave her secret notes. For living in a city with no thrift shops or Goodwills, they did an amazing job! Every character paid so much attention to detail. I had my own diabolical costume planned and in the works. The hosts of the party pulled off an amazing Wayne and Garth, and the award for best costume went to Animal from the Muppets. I was pretty amaz…

InterNations

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One of my goals for this year was to attend an InterNations event. According to its website, InterNations is an "Expatriate Community for Expatriates worldwide." You sign up on the website and each local InterNations community tries to hold events at least once a month to get to know some of the other foreigners in your situation abroad. This weekend they had a brunch at an adorable cafe called Caffeto down the street from my house.
Every one was so friendly that it made me sad that I can't attend the next event. They are hosting a gathering at a new bar in town on Friday, but I have to chaperone my school's Halloween party.
There were people from all over the world at the brunch, and they made us feel like family right away. I will definitely be taking advantage of what InterNations has to offer in the future.
InterNations Brunch
InterNations' Website

Afternoon in Old Town

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Yesterday, six of us went to Old Town for the afternoon to find Halloween costumes. Old Town is full of random shops with the most varied collections. Most of the streets have some sort of specialty, which means ten shops in a row selling the same thing. After asking around for about an hour, we found a street with all party and costume stores. They had balloons, face paint, masks, costumes, accessories, hats, Dora the Explorer plates, and lots of other great stuff. 

 Watching the afternoon rain clouds come over the hills towards us While we were walking there, we stumbled across the most politically incorrect procession I have ever seen. A parade came from around a corner and filled Plaza San Francisco. The people up front held a banner that said, “Los Negros Saludan.” It was a line of about a hundred people, the first twenty or so in black face! They were wearing black mesh over their faces and had black masks. They started to dance, and we realized one of them was wearing an ape cost…

Tribute

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I have been in Ecuador for 2 months now! I have met so many new people, explored some crazy new places, tried new foods, made great friends, and I have been trying to blog about it consistently. Today though, I am feeling sentimental so I decided to write a tribute post to all the people back home who have a special place in my heart.

MY COLLEGE GIRL FRIENDS These were the newest additions to my life, but you guys are just as much family as the friends I grew up with. Whether we were hatching plans to tape dildos to statues on campus, eating hungover Saturday breakfasts, experimenting with veganism, failing at making fondue, traveling to Europe or Voodoo Fest, watching Natalie pee, helping Kelly plan her wedding, teasing Vanessa about being an alien, laying around in bed all day with Nicole like an old married couple, we always could be weird selves and have so much fun together.

MY HOME GIRL FRIENDS
We grew up together! Nina, you taught me how to use a tampon and I will never forget it. …

Cultural Differences

There has been one glaring cultural difference lately that has stood out to me. I'm going to share some examples before diving right into the issue.

1. On my school bus the other day, a truck driver plowed into the side of our bus, knocking off the mirror, and took off. Our school bus driver sped up in pursuit and got the truck to pull over, but then the truck driver and everyone in the truck proceeded to deny it, even with 20 teachers on the bus who had clearly witnessed, felt, and heard the crash. Once the police arrived, the truck driver handed over 15 dollars to our bus driver.

2. One of my students has to wear a neck brace for 2 weeks because she sprained her neck. How, you may ask? Just riding the school bus to school. That's how crazy the driving can be here. Whipping around a corner on the bus sprained her neck.

I am not about to complain about the driving here, although that may seem the case. What is stranger to me is the lack of accountability in both cases. Any gir…

Canoa- Beach Getaway

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Thursday afternoon we had an unexpected announcement at work: Due to potential rioting and traffic issues on the one year anniversary of the police riots, school would be cancelled. It took us teachers about an hour to plan an impromptu beach trip to Canoa for the 3 day weekend.

 All of the girls and one of the guys Photo cred: Tamara Fernandez We left Quito at 11 PM and arrived on the beach at 6 AM. It was too early to check into our hostel, so we changed into our bathing suits and plopped down on the beach with some rum and fruit juice. Canoa’s beaches are really swimmable, as in not too cold or hot water, no sharks that I saw, decent chest sized waves, some surfers, and smooth sandy ocean bottoms. The town itself is small and kind of dead on Fridays, but on Saturday it picks up as everyone arrives. Lots of hippies, families, creepy men in Speedos, backpackers, and Ecuadorian surf teachers hitting on gringas. We had a ton of fun dancing our last night in a tiki hut. We were dancing in …