Sunday, August 29, 2010

Otra Semana...

So I have made it through another week in Ecuador and have quite a few stories to tell...

I have settled in nicely with my host family and can't believe I have to leave them in 2 weeks. My host sister and neighbors are so sweet to invite this gringa to do all kinds of things with them... mainly experience the night life. It is great because I feel safe going out with them and I get to practice my Spanish that much more. They also came with me to the "family BBQ" for all of the volunteers and their families. We had a blast and even got to play some soccer. I am loving being surrounded my soccer here... we watched the ¨la Liga¨ game on Wednesday which is the Quito team. My neighbor happens to be a fanatic and we won!!!! so much fun. This afternoon I am meeting some friends to play a little pick up soccer.

After the family BBQ last Sunday my neighbors took my housemate and I to the Equator! It was quite the trek to get out there but it was bacán (I keep learning new ways to say cool). There was live music and lots of picture taking. I will hopefully post some pictures soon.

Speaking of adventures... yesterday I took a trip with about 7 other volunteers to a town called Otavalo. They have a huge market there where I got a pelota (ball) to use in my classroom and a little jewelry. It was fun to haggle a little with the merchants and see all of the random stuff that was sold. We also went to a few of the neighboring towns where we got to see a beautiful waterfall, eat some fresh boscochos (biscoti), and see a lot of scenery along the way. For lunch, one of the people in my group ordered Cuy (Guinnea Pig)... an Ecuadorian specialty. Quoting him, "it tastes like chicken."

Salsa classes last week were a blast! However, they also showed off my inability to dance. According to one of my Ecuadorian friends the class made a big difference so I am scared to know how bad I was prior to the class haha. I signed up for another class on Wednesday so hopefully I wont be embarrasing myself for too much longer :) They also play quite a lot of American "popular" music in the clubs such as the song we all know and love... Vanilla Ice. The dance moves and excitement that I saw accompany that song will forever be burned into my memory haha

We have two more weeks of training left and I start practice teaching tomorrow!!! ahh... I have the advanced 1 group but I am not sure yet how advanced they will be. The first day is group teaching and we are just doing get to know you type games to get a feeling for their abilities and are setting the rules. I teach solo on Tuesday and Wednesday and our group has decided to base the two weeks on an Ecuadorian theme. The students will teach us about Ecuador using grammer/vocabulary/etc that we want them to learn. I am nervous, but it will be nice to have a little time to get used to teaching before I have my own class for the whole year. I will also have the chance over the next two weeks to observe other teachers and to get feedback from my directors/fellow teachers.

This week is going to be super busy and filled with lesson planning, but hopefully I will have another report at the end of the week saying that I didn´t crash and burn.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Hola de Quito!

So I made it to Quito safe and sound... so far it seems kind of like freshman year of college meeting the 32 other volunteers and traveling in packs everywhere we go. I just moved in with my host family and it is finally starting to feel like I am in another country. My host mom´s name is Piedad and she has a 20 year old daughter named Andrea who is "chevere" (cool), but she is super busy. I have another volunteer living with me for this month and Andrea has promised to take us out on the town one night :)

The biggest adjustments so far have been the altitud and the shower... I had a continuing headache for about two days but that was cured after drinking TONS of water. It is also winter here and "esta ay chay chay" aka its cold. During the day it is actually pretty warm, but my house is in the mountains and does not have heat. I have been layering on about half of the clothes in my suitcase while I sleep, but it does the trick. The shower... well it turned off today before I was able to rinse out the shampoo in my hair, but after a few minutes I was able to get some nice cold water to finish my shower. Fun stuff

My orientation schedule is pretty busy and so far they have spent about 2 days teaching us all the possible scams that could occur while we are here. This includes the possibility of getting "mustarded" where I could be walking down the street and all of the sudden have mustard squirted on me... the nice people that come to help with then rob me. Yay cant wait.. it made us all very aware which was the goal, but I am ready to stop discussing the dangers and move on to why we came here. Tomorrow we start getting teacher training! yay

On an exciting note, we have salsa lessons tomorrow and then are venturing out to a salsa club! Yes, 33 gringos at the salsa club...

Here comes the nerd in me... we started Spanish class yesterday and I am loving it! We are divided by level in small groups and we only have 5 in our group which is nice. We will have class for 1 hour each day! We have been discussing specific tenses in detail and today learned a ton of Ecua-isms. We had to go out on the street and ask Ecuadorians to explain words like "poser", "wasted", "friend with benefits", and "mama's boy". haha soon I will be talking like an Ecuadorian :)

Thats all for now... ¡te le vaya bien!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Here goes nothing...

I am headed to the airport at 8 am tomorrow... I just spent a great (although rainy) weekend with my family at the lake followed by a trip to the movies with mom to see Eat, Pray, Love. I can't imagine a better send off!

I don't have many more details now, but here is what I do know:
I will be living in Portoviejo, a small University town near the coast (about 45 minutes). I will be teaching Beginner and Intermediate students at La Universidad Tecnica de Manabi. Apparently I will have up to 40 students in each of my classes... this idea frightens and excites me all at the same time.

I might not have internet for the first couple of weeks but I will fill everyone in more as I get more details.

I love you all! Keep me in your prayers.