Monday, January 30, 2012

Canguil is the best thing ever!

First of, Canguil is the word used to describe popcorn in Ecuador. I love how they make it here and enjoy how the tienda lady at my school always is selling it, always. Its the best snack food every.

. . . . .

All last week has been an okay week. Not really busy.  My students are done and so are my teachers, school is on break at the moment. On Friday we had the senior graduation, it was very lovely and interesting. The girls wore white dresses while the boys wore black suits. It was the most interesting graduation I have ever attended. I am happy all of my students graduated.

Here are some pictures, enjoy!

Yesterday, January 29th
Well yesterday was my daddy's birthday. He turned 68 :) Got to talk to the family on skype for an hour or so. it was great I can't wait to see them all in March.

My dad is the guy with no beard

I got to talk to Mara and Alese yesterday as well and it was amazing, I just needed that! To just hear their voices and talk to them. I can't wait to go visit them soon.  I also talked to cupcake for awhile which was fun. I enjoyed it, hope we get to converse again very soon. 


I finished up my VRF forms and my revised version of my CAT tools. Fun fun. Now I am watching Modern Family with Benja and Katie, having some Canguil/popcorn, and some wine (Chilean wine!). 

Anyway that's all, not a lot of updates at the moment.  Hopefully things pick up pretty soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In the Forest of my Heart

Nights like these make me miss home, wherever that it. People say home is where your heart is, if that's the case then my heart is scattered around in many places (wherever my family and close friends are).

Its going to be 9 months since I have been here in Ecuador and I think its about that time when volunteers start feeling homesick.  So yeah I am homesick. I miss my family and certain people a lot. Just one of those weeks, months that things just feel uneasy and unstable.

Anyway long last week and this week of not doing much. Hopefully things pick up soon.

Anyway song for the night:

Puscifer - Tumbleweed

You're so far away, come on home. 
A candle you can hold, you're not alone. 
So far away, come on home. 
A voice from within, you're not alone. 
A candle you can hold, you're not alone. 
You're so far away, come on home. 
A voice from within, you're not alone. 
You're so far away, come on home.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happiness is like a bullet going through my heart

Thought This needed to be blogged ....

This past Tuesday afternoon we had our first flood. Yup ladies and gents, the rainy season has started in my site. Oh joy! Our apartments, not to mention the streets, were flooded. My bedroom had an inch of water, my balcony had probably an inch ½, and Katie's apartment had an inch of water just pouring in from the windowless tiny hole that our landlord promised to fix ya mismo. Yup famous Ecuadorian phrase, “Ya Mismo” will drive you mad, angry, and push your patience to its limits. Ya mismo = wait 4-5 hours (when at a party or going out) and when dealing with house issues, you will probably wait a month maybe two for them to fix the problem, get irritated and try to get the problem fixed again. As I am writing this, the windowless hole is getting fixed, finally after two months and a very angry Katie, we got progress. 

Well that was an interesting Tuesday, we had our first real Peace Corps moment of Oh shit this is really happening to us, this is our life now. Funny how one moment can change your perspective on a lots of things. I am a horrible person when it comes to letting friends get close, even getting to know the real me, I am worse in relationships, haha. There are a few people who I am close to and whom I trust completely. But being thrown in with people you never knew and experiencing things like floods, a whole new culture, and illnesses changes you and I realized how much I have opened up to Katie and Benja. Yeah I know lots of people go through these realizations, but its a big first for me, specially when it concerns trusting people. And I hope that I have more epiphanies through my Peace Corps service. I am glad to be here with new amazing friends, even when shit happens I am glad they are there with me. My motto, Keep moving forward just like in Meet the Robinsons (I adore that movie!) keeps me going.

I wish I had pictures from that night, Benja took some but hasn't posted them up yet, so I gotta wait. My host moms house flooded and so did many of my students homes. Our street had water up to our knees, it was the most disgusting water ever. 

Wed. - Friday

Anyway, M.D was here for the last 2 days, giving us updates on stuff and also talking to the schools that will be getting a volunteer. Fun piece of news, Katie and I will be meeting the new volunteers come February, I cant wait! Haha we will play nice, we promised. It will be fun to spend half of Feb. in Quito-Tumbaco at the training center and also talk/hangout with the new volunteers. I also get to visit my Tumbaco host fam again, I cant wait. I am also excited to get some training for the Teacher training workshops we will be doing soon. We get to travel once a month to a TEFL site and have a workshop with all the English teachers from that area. Yup massive English teacher training workshops are on there way very soon. These workshops are much needed and it is also a great learning experience for us as TEFL volunteers.

Oooo I am going to learn how to play the cello, even if I am not that good at it, I want to learn it. I need a new hobby and playing an instrument will be a good way to center myself, that and doing yoga/exercise will help. Ah cello, just thinking about playing that instrument sets my heart on fire:
Watch and you will understand why the cello affects me so.

Oh oh one last thing small achievement of the week getting my students to say "May I go to the bathroom" and "Can I come into the classroom." Yup I am so proud of them.

To two of my closest friends, miss tank and miss gaiaskully, I am so sorry for your loss and the hurt you must be feeling. I wish I could do anything to make it go away but all I can say is I love you both very much. Hugs <3<3<3

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

You set fire to life

Its has been awhile since I wrote on here. So far, I have done a lot of things since that time and have enjoyed myself greatly.

December has been a month of traveling. I went to Manabi for Christmas and ended up staying in my site for New Years, which I might add was a great decision.

School Holiday Spirit

I love my high school, specially the teachers and staff. They are so nice to their students and always thinking of new ways to push them academically. The week before Christmas was a busy week, with the students preparing for a nativity play and Christmas day the following day. I missed the Nativity play because I was baking Christmas cookies and oatmeal cookies for my students. I made 250 cookies, yup I did. I spent all Thursday morning and part of the afternoon baking, baking, baking. I never in my life baked so many cookies it was exhausting. But it was worth it, my students and teachers loved them. They ate them all and asked for more, haha, which made me very happy. I can finally say I am good at one thing in the cooking scene, that is cookies and cakes. Next year I am going to make Ginger bread cookies and ginger bread houses for my school, they love tasting my home made baked goods and it is fun learning how to make them. Swear to god it is an addictive hobby. If you have any great recipes for baked goods and healthy recipes for cookies/cakes/snacks send them my way, I would appreciate it so much – or post them on my blog. Thanks!

Manabi – Puerto Lopez

I spent Christmas with the Loja girls and Katie in Puerto Lopez, Manabi. Most of our time was spent on a beach sun bathing and resting. We did go on a boat to see other islands near the small town of Puerto Lopez. We got to see blue footed boobies! It was so much fun, they are tiny birds. We got to spend time on a deserted beach on an island and I made my first Sandcastle with Katie's help :)

Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas to me. It lacked something, perhaps I was feeling a little homesick, perhaps I was missing family and friends. I honestly don't know. The Christmas spirit wasn't there for me, so I spent most of my trip resting and enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery and delicious seafood. Did I ever mention how much I love Octopus/Pulpo ceviche and fried calamari, I love it! And having Rum and Coconut mix drinks was such an added bonus. I think next year we will be back to spend a longer time in Puerto Lopez.

If you are traveling to Puerto Lopez, Manabi this time of year and don't have time to go to the big island and can't afford the $40, I suggest you take a $25 boat ride out to the smaller islands and other beaches. Hostels range from $6 to 10 a night and you can find good places to eat around the Malecon. Anyway, write to me if you got questions about Puerto Lopez or other places in Ecuador, mainly the coastal regions.

More pictures from our trip to Manabi:

New Year/ Ano Nuevo

All day Saturday I spent with my host mom buying fruits, an ano viejo figurine to burn at midnight, and getting some fritada for lunch. We also spent some time with her family, which are a very nice group of individuals, specially the grandma. While walking home we encountered roads blocked off. Apparently most neighborhoods block certain roads for soccer games. The teams are composed of the neighborhood men and women. Families come out and watch them play and enjoy a beer or two with each other. Some neighborhood have huge and I mean COLOSALL paper figurines, waiting to be burned. Apart from burning these figurines they also have many and I mean many New Year traditions. For luck, both sexes wear yellow underwear. Others eat grapes and raisins at midnight. While others put coins in rice, warp them up in gold paper and save them until the next new year. I only burned the paper figurine, it was shaped like a duck and it was about 3 ft tall. It was fun and just odd to see all of these small fires on all the roads happening, reminded me of some wartime movies.

I had a hard time with my emotions that day. I was waiting for midnight to come around I thought of my previous New Years with friends and family. While reminiscing on the past, I thought of one New Year I had with my parents, all of us were watching CNN New Year coverage and just sitting in the living room in our pjs waiting for the New Year to come to the reservation. It was the most boring New Year ever and I couldn’t care less. I don't know why but for some reason that memory made miss them dearly. I am glad I will be seeing them soon when I go to Bolivia to visit in March. I cant wait.

The host Mom and I :)


Sunday, I spent all day cleaning my apartment. I needed to do laundry, it has been two weeks and I had so much laundry to do. Agh I hate doing laundry by hand but hell it needs to get done. Anyway, I hand wrote letters to my friends, which I have yet to send out. I don’t like writing I hate my penmanship and somedays I hate my writing, but I thought it would have a more personal touch then writing them an email. It also costs so much to send mail from here and it takes such a long time to arrive other there. …Anyway....

While looking for inspiration to write this blog, I read some of Pablo Neruda poems from the book I explain a Few Things, which a beautiful man gave to me as a parting gift. Thank you dear, it has brought a smile to my face every time I read a poem from that book.

I found a poem that I love and I am sure whomever is reading this will enjoy it as well.

Plenos Poderes – Fully Empowered by Pablo Neruda

I write in the clear sun, in the teeming street,
at full sea tide, in a place where I can sing;
only the wayward night inhibits me,
but, interrupted by it, I recover space,
I gather shadows to last a long time.

The black crop of the night is growing
while my eyes in the meantime measure the plain.
So, from sun to sun, I forge the keys.
In the half-light, I look for locks
and keep on opening broken doors to the sea
until I fill the cupboards up with foam.

And I never weary of going and returning.
Death in its stone aspect does not stop me.
I am weary neither of being nor nonbeing.

Sometimes I wonder where -
from father or mother or the mountains -
I inherited all my mineral obligations,

the threads spreading from a sea on fire;
and I know I go on and go on because I go on
and I sing because I sing and because I sing.

There is no way of explaining what happens
when I close my eyes and waver
as between two underwater channels -
one lifts me in its branches toward dying
and the other sings in order that I may sing.

And so I am formed out of nonbeing,
and as the sea goes battering at a reef
in wave on wave of salty white-tops
and drags back stones in its ebb,
so what there is of death surrounding me
opens in me a window out to living,
and, in a spasm of being, I am asleep.
In the full light of day, I walk in the shade.

In Spanish:

A puro sol excribo, a plena calle,
a pleno mar, en donde puedo canto,
solo la noche errante me detiene
pero en su interrupcion recojo espacio,
recojo sombra para mucho tiempo.

El trigo negro de la noche crece
mientras mis ojos miden la pradera
y asi de sol a sol hago las llaves:
busco en la oscuridad las cerraduras
y voy abriendo al mar las puertas rotas
hasta llenar armarios con espuma.

Y no me canso de ir y de volver,
no me para la muerte con su piedra,
no me canso de ser y de no ser.

A veces me pregunto si de donde
si de padre o de madre o cordillera
herede los deberes minerales,

los hilos de un oceano encendido
y se que sigo y sigo proque sigo
y canto porque canto y porque canto.

No tiene explicacion lo que acontece
cuando cierro los ojos y circulo
com entre dos canales submarinos -
uno a morir me lleva en su ramaje
y el otro canta para que yo cante.

Asi pues de no ser estoy compuesto
y como el mar asalta el arrecife
con capsulas saladas de blancura
y retrata la piedra con la ola,
asi lo que en la muerte me rodea
abre en mi la ventana de la vida
y en pleno paroxismo estoy durmiendo.
A plena luz camino por la sombra.


One more thing i hope this year turns out to be a great year for all of us. 
Don't forget to have fun, be silly, and enjoy life!

Ciao :)