This Week's adventures
- was dragged on stage at a traditional Andean dance performance
- received first free drink
- tried Ecuadorian cider and hot dogs
- played several short games of soccer- shockingly 'team USA' did not triumph
- visited several historic spots in Ecuador including the president's mansion in the historically restored section of Quito
- got a cell phone
- went to a professional futbol game where we witnessed several fighting and SOO many terrifying pyritecnic displays (the fan set off road flares and fireworks when their team scores) As for game itself, it was very evenly matched city rivalery and beautifully played.
- did laundry for the first time. This act requires strategy as you want to wash as many clothes as possible AND still have something to wear during the DAYS it could take for it all to dry.
- learned some salsa steps
I also learned about Ecuadorian gestures Saturday. While in the US to call someone to you one holds their hand palm up and curls their fingers in, in Ecuador the palm faces down. It looks like a cross between a shooing motion and 'come here' so when l was slow to respond to my host mom's use of this gesture she proceeded to assume I forgot to put in my contacts and was in fact mostly blind. I was eventually able to prove I could in see fact and that it was a cultural misunderstanding. I think she believes me...
Host Family- now that I've lived with them for almost 2 weeks I'd like to properly introduce my host family and others people from my daily life here in Quito
Genma is my host mom. She has hosted several students before me and is very good at explaining things slowly and being insanely patient. As a single mom she runs a fairly tight ship, especially when it come to school for the girls and cleaning. My current theory is that cleaning is how Genma de-stresses, which would explain why she takes it so seriously and does so much of it on the weekends. We also all eat very healthy because Genma is allergic to (get ready for this) lactose, gluten, eggs and sugar, so there's lots and lots of veggies and rice. She also claims to have an excellent nose and usually knows within minutes if the girls raid her lotion cabinet. Overall my host mom is very understanding with an excellent sense of humor and, while taking her job as a mom seriously, she is very affectionate and close with the girls.
Paulita (Paula) is one of my younger sisters. While her and her twin look almost identical I can tell them apart purely by their personalities, Paulita is still very much a kid and is happy to help me learn knew words and just hang out with me. Other key differences include; the color of her glasses (pink), that only she has braces (the result of a car accident) and she has a scar on the left side of her chin. Paulita likes reality and comedy tv shows, is a afraid of amusement park rides and loves to draw. She's open and excitable, which usually translates into to those around her getting a play but play of what goes on in her head. Thus far she seems to have more homework than her sister and she does it all very diligently. She always does her best to include me in things and checks to my sure I understand things, which is why I feel lucky to have her in the house.
Camila (Mila) is my other younger sister, who seems to inhabit the flipside of Paulita's childlike 13. She is always on facebook and seems to be pretty involved in her social life. She too, really loves to color, doodle and draw all over her notes and homework. Overall, Mila puts out a general sentiment of indifference towards me, but when it's not inconvienent for her, she doesn't mind teaching me words and correcting my grammar. She's very into fashion trends, makeup etc. and I suspect she helps Paula out in this area, as they both seem to be possessed by some strange obcession with "the Nightmare before Christmas" and loves to paint both their nails. School is easier for her than her sister, I think, because she get low As while her sister gets high Bs.
Vicky (Victoria) is a small white poodle. She is very affectionate and protective of the girls. From what I can tall she sleeps all day when no one is home and goes outside a couple times a day. She is adored by my whole family (they all passive aggressively fight for the privilage of sleeping with her) and on the whole, very well mannered.
At CIMAS (class)- I see all these people nearly everyday and am getting to know them quite well.
Beto (Luis) is my Spanish teacher, who claims to be eternally 33. He tends to dress like Chea when we go on program adventures and has an excellent sense of humor. As a teacher he's pretty demanding and wants us to better understand the general politic working of all of South America. He's worked with our program for a while and clearly enjoys it.
Emilla is in charge of helping us figure out our internships. She also teaches Spanish to the other half of my class. She tends to ramble a bit about whatever come to her head (the last one was about the dangers of the prison system here) She tends to take the only program VERY seriously, as she is in charge of organizing almost everything that happens at CIMAS.
Machicha is like a mother to all of us, since she's esponsible for selecting families suited to host students. She laughs easily and is always checking in with everyone and loves to dance.
Freddy is our 'tech' guy down here. He rules the computer lab and the wireless internet with and iron fist and keeps the lab free of food. He is a VERY classy dresser and despite being 36 we all easily believed he was 25. If Machichi is our mom he's our awesome older bother, who gives out advice on where to go to get cheap drinks and what bands are best live. To top it off he teaches salsa and tango after class in downtown Quito.