Showing posts from January, 2013

Missing The Third World

I am currently in London, and will be spending the next week or so in London, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. The most surprising thing about this trip? I miss the Third World! I'm not used to all this first world luxury and it's messing me up. Here are some things that have been bothering me in Europe:
1. People and trains are on time. I keep wanting to show up late because schedules are so casual in Quito. Because I am here for a work conference, I better snap out of this bad habit really quick! My friends in Ecuador make fun of me for being too punctual, but it seems that is relative…
2. Europeans dress well, which in turn makes me feel frumpy. Oh, I love the fashion here, but it's hard not to feel out of touch with modern style when you have been living in Latin America for two years. Quito is many things, fashionable is not one of them.
Saw this group on the street the other day and they just screamed Ecuador to me- Tight pants and stiletto boots

3. There is too much order her…

Top 5 Songs of 2012

Here are my 5 favorite songs from 2012. I discovered lots of new music last year that wasn't released in 2012, so for the purpose of this list I am only going to post songs that came out last year (or on an album that came out last year). These are songs I have played on repeat all year long, whether I was drifting in and out of sleep on a bus, getting ready to go out in Jerusalem, hiking in Colombia, grading essays in the Andes Mountains, you name it!

A lot of this is thanks to my good friend Sean, so check out his awesome taste in music here:

My Pudding Club
Indie Shuffle- Sean O
Disparate Youth- Santigold

Give Out- Sharon Van Etten

Real Life- Tanlines

Breezeblocks- Alt-J

Sweater Weather- The Neighbourhood

Government of Ecuador

Elections are coming up on February 17 here in Ecuador. The President, Rafael Correa, is up for reelection and the whole country has turned into a giant advertisement. People paint their preferences on their houses or on highway fences. You can't drive anywhere without seeing giant endorsements. Here are some photos I snapped recently along the highways of Ecuador:

Political Advertisements painted alongside the highway
Political Advertisements painted alongside the highway
Political Advertisements painted alongside the highway
Political Advertisements painted alongside the highway

I thought this would be a good time to share something interesting about the government in Ecuador. Last year, when I was teaching democracy to my middle school humanities class, we discussed the 3 branches present in most governments today. I realized through a little research that Ecuador actually has 5 branches of government! Kooky!

1. Executive- Rafael Correa is an interestin…

Family Time in Baños

I went with my mom, her boyfriend Doug, and my brother to Baños recently and had a lovely, relaxing couple of days. Except for the part where my brother and I went waterfall rappelling, that is. But we did take lots of naps and strolls through town. I think Baños is a great little town with something for everyone: spas, biking, atvs, canyoning, jungle tours, great restaurants, bridge jumping, nightlife, microbrewery, hiking, etc.

Walking around one of Baños' city squares
Dinner out, my brother and I
My mom and Doug
Bars sometimes come with unexpected guests in Ecuador
I had not one, but two cats, sit on me at a bar in Baños
For Christmas, I bought my mom and Doug a day at the spa above Baños. They spent the whole day soaking in hot springs, eating gourmet food, and getting massages. My brother and I decided to spend that afternoon jumping off waterfalls and signed up for a 4 hour canyoning tour ($25 a person). I don't remember the name of the tour company, but they are just off the…

Dog-Eat-Dog World in Ecuador

Dogs are at risk in Ecuador. Many Ecuadorians have no qualms about lacing a dog bone with arsenic and leaving it near a neighbor's fence if a dog is yapping too much. I saw this phenomenon in Guatemala as well. I have seen dogs locked on windowsills or rooftops for an entire day.

 I wonder what's going to happen to these  dogs I spotted on my way home from work
My roommate just adopted a cute german shepherd puppy and we are already wary. She was riding in a taxi from the vet's office the other day and someone popped their head into the window of the cab to ask what type of dog it was. Our friend who was riding with her warned my roommate to say a smaller breed because there is a chance they would follow the cab to kidnap the dog and sell it to someone looking for a guard dog. Yikes!

Our new puppy, Sadie, playing at the park

Ghetto-Rigging Our Apartment

We recently moved into a super funky apartment closer to all of our friends. It's also slightly older, and in some ways, in a state of disrepair. Case in point:

The only working outlet in my bedroom
Our shower head has one too many wires and tubes

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome sounds like something straight out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, right?! Wrong. It’s basically the idea that you are faking your way through everything. A psychological syndrome in which you don’t think you deserve the success you have.

This is something I struggle with occassionally, although luckily I’m not plagued with immense self-doubt. I think a healthy dose of impostor syndrome is fine because it pushes you to prove yourself and work harder. I was talking about this with a friend the other day and thought I would do a blog post on some of the different ways impostor syndrome affects my life.
Traveler- On the road, it can sometimes be hard to feel like a real explorer when you are surrounded by people who are traveling longer than you and have seen more of the planet and couchsurfed 40 times and went to a local wedding in Tanzania and saw Bob Dylan in concert in Taiwan and speak more languages and scuba dived with endangered turtles and ate shark testicles a…

King Leonidas Takes Quito By Storm

On New Years Eve here in Quito, you take a doll/mannequin thing that is stuffed with newspaper, light it on fire, and jump over it (hopefully sober enough not to fall into the flames). These come in all different sizes and you can either buy one or make one. They are called 'año viejos' because they represent someone/thing you want to forgive or move on from in the upcoming year. I grew very attached to my año viejo and named him King Leonidas. Here is a picture post giving you a short summary of his New Years Eve.

This is the station in the middle of the street where I bought King Leonidas
King Leonidas hanging out in my dining room

King Leonidas riding in a taxi cab
King Leonidas drinking wine at a friend's house

Me and King Leo
King Leonidas chilling with his friend, The Hulk
King Leonidas getting stabbed with sparklers
King Leonidas lined up with his buddies
King Leonidas getting dog piled by other año viejos
Jumping over King Leonidas
King Leonidas getting jumped over

King Leonid…