I just returned from a splendid little vacation! We had today off because of elections (they´re rewriting the constitution...crazy ecuadorian politics!), so 7 of us left yesterday morning for Papallacta. We stayed at a gorgeous resort in the mountains and spent most of our time soaking (and playing marco polo :))in the natural hot springs, dancing and drinking wine on the porch of our cabana, and trying to figure out how to boil pasta and saute vegetables using a tiny fire pit (where it´s nearly impossible to start a fire because mountains=altitude=no oxygen) and a toaster oven...we were successful (after about 3 hours)! It was probably the best dinner I have ever had. It was great to get out of the city and experience more of Ecuador, but now I have oodles of planning to do for classes this week (funny how I´m at the internet cafe, procrastinating as usual!).
Despite most of us being really sick last week (general consensus in the house? "thank God we have our own bathrooms!"), we did a pretty darn good job of teaching our classes and celebrating 2 birthdays. It was nice to have some idea of what to expect when I stepped into my classrooms, but I also realized that Week 2 means no more nametags and getting to know you games - it´s time to actually crack down and teach! Which also means communicating more...in Spanish...with students, teachers, and administrators. I have found that I can speak and understand enough to get by in most cases, but if there is the slightest distraction (I´m nervous or in a hurry, kids are yelling, etc) it severely hinders my ability to communicate. Thankfully, there are a lot of people around who are more than willing to help in those instances, but I can´t wait for the day when I can have a conversation and walk away KNOWING, 100% for sure, what was just said. The day HAS come for me to start talking to myself in spanish! I noticed repeatedly last week that I would be thinking about something in english, then respond to myself in spanish. It´s very strange.
For some reason, I am really good at cards in Ecuador. My first 2 weeks here, when it was just Dan and I, we played A LOT of cards (to avoid having to talk to each other, as he says...haha). I beat him in almost every game almost every time. I really like to win, but it got kind of boring! Anyway, I thought for sure my luck would run out (or I´d at least encounter better competition ;)) once we started playing cards at the house. Euchre is a favorite (it´s kind of like 500), and so far I am undefeated with one partner and I´ve only lost one game with the other! I´ve had quite a few offers to accompany people to Vegas when we return to the states :)
Other interesting occurrences/observations from this last week:
-watching adults color and cut with scissors for the first time in their lives
-riding home from the downtown Center (approx. 45 minutes) in the back of a pick-up truck because our bus was broken
-running into 4 friends from language school at church yesterday morning, when we live on opposite sides of the city and there are about 85 other churches they could have chosen to attend!
-plans are in the works to build a garden on the rooftop of the downtown Center - it´s going to be awesome.
-I have rediscovered my love for puzzles
-the boy I started tutoring can fiure out the answer to most math equations, but cannot write or recognize most 2 digit and all 3 digit numbers
Well, I suppose, it´s time to crack down and figure out what exactly my girls are going to do for 4 hours in computer class tomorrow...any and all suggestions are welcome! haha. Thanks for reading, and check in again soon!