24 September 2010

Life, or some of it.

So, I had promised my readers (all 22 of you!) that I would post photos and describe my life, now that I've moved into my VERY OWN APARTMENT (uh-huh. I pay rent and everything) and am into the swing of things at school. I've been super busy, and I'm not going to apologize for slacking in the blogging department because its my blog, and if I choose to sleep instead of describe my thoughts, so be it! (I am having this little independence epiphany right now...have you noticed?) Truly, though, one of the things I am learning to do (and reveling in) is making sure I'm able to relax. Its so easy to overextend--so much to see and do--that if I don't take a nap or spend a Saturday doing nothing except sitting at home reading, praying, cooking...I just would crash. So I'm pressing my limits while also making sure I don't crash. Because crashing sounds bad to me right now.

So: life. I am at home! It is a small (3 rooms: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) apartment that shares a wall with a Baha'i family who also teach at the school. They've been very good neighbors so far, helping us light our stove and hot water heater (with a match!) and dropping off mail and just being friendly in general. Their names are Jose Luis, Jaconda, and they have two children, Kendy and Dogma. Also, some relatives live there too...I'm not exactly sure who...but they're all very nice! Behind our kitchen, we have a little backyard which is full of chickens and children, who belong to the 3 or so houses which share our backyard.

The house has a few quirks, but we live with them. Some of the quirks we couldn't live with, so we fixed them:

Some unfixed quirks include slugs in the bathroom (we've only found a few, but we have no idea where they're coming from), a door without a unlockable latch (we have a padlock but can't actually latch the door without having to break in...don't worry, we're in a very safe neighborhood), and the interesting dilemma of having one working electrical outlet in the kitchen, and no internet in the kitchen, and only semi reliable in the bedroom (better near the ceiling, so we spend an absurd amount of time standing on top of the beds waving our computers around like we're looking for cell reception...yeah, we're cool). We also have no refrigerator (or cabinets, for that matter...but no problems with pests yet...) and so we've been very good about eating leftovers. The weather here is fairly chilly in the mornings and evenings (especially when your shower is randomly semi-lukewarm, another quirk) and because its shady inside, nothing gets warm and spoiled from sitting in the house. And because the weather here is pretty much the same, all year, we probably won't have to get a fridge. The odd food we throw out will be much cheaper than the 300$ expense of a mini fridge here. And we haven't bought meat yet (it looks decidedly unappealing to buy a chicken with feet and neck and head still attached) but we'll get protein from veggies and the once a week eating out (tonight is Chinese! They have a surprising number of Chinese restaurants here...its odd to hear someone speaking Spanish with a Chinese accent!).

So that's our apartment. My favorite thing about it is the bold colors: our bedroom is bright blue, our bathroom this skype-blue, porta-potty color, our kitchen three shades of yellow. We have a miniature kitchen table, bright red, and primary-yellow chairs. My second favorite thing is the thick blankets that keep me warm at night!

Now, school life:

I have a lot lot lot of classes. I am teaching English to las clases de prebasica, segundo de basica, tercero de basica, sexto de basica, octavo de basica, y colegio (preschool, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th, and high school) I also teach the preschoolers computers, and I learned today that instead of co-teaching the most advanced english high school class with Maryam, I'm teaching a beginning class (that means giving 50% instruction in Spanish!) of 15, by myself. And I write lesson plans for preschool and high school. So yeah, they keep me busy here.

I think that I am the most surprised of anyone at this, but I am starting to like kids. Yes, it is disgusting when after teaching preschool I discover a booger on my jeans (actually happened. Grossssss!) and yes, it is frustrating when the 6o de basica won't focus on writing and whine whenever we make them write out the date but on the other hand, its so so rewarding when the little 1st graders finally finally stay in their seat and complete the assignment! And its so touching when I miss two days because I went to Quito (ehgf. That's a story in itself. but one for a later day, we video diaried that one) and I come back and three come up and ask where I was, and if I'll still come to class. And for those amigas of mine that love looking at cute children: we have a ton. Here's a few photos:

Danae, a 2o de basica student
Mattias and Charis, two of my prebasica students at lunch
Cute, huh?
So there's what I have for school...when I'm in more of a writing mood, I'll add some more description...but now its time for me to get some dinner!

20 September 2010

The Pink Cacti!


We weren't even sure if this WAS a fruit. But apparently my dad knew that it was a fruit (thanks, dad, even 5000+ miles away you can help me!) and today, we learned from Paolo that the fruit is called a Tuna (not to be confused with the fish) and it is the fruit of a (get this) cactus!

19 September 2010

Laundry Day

Today I was able to finally clean my clothes.

I have not done laundry since I arrived. And before you get all grossed out, I'll have you know that its been 19 days, although it seems like way longer than that to me. So I was definitely in need of some clean socks.

Luckily, José Luis, our somewhat-landlord and friend who lives next door, was very welcoming. He let us use his washing machine. This was a relief to me, because I had seen the other people who live in this same area washing clothes in large tanks outside, by hand. This seemed like a lot a lot of work, especially because the water did not look completely clean. I was so happy to see the little Whirlpool sitting in their kitchen (the house has only a few rooms, and the kitchen apparently doubles as a laundry room). After we finished a load of whites, we hung up our socks in our room (conveniently there is a clothesline hanging diagonally so its always in your way!) and shirts along with the multitude of other clothes in the courtyard. Weekends are laundry days here, and everyone was hanging clothes, taking dry clothes down, washing, etc:

The courtyard behind our apartment

Our room with clean laundry
And so I just thought I'd tell the world: I have clean clothes! (although most are still wet, and its night, so hope it doesn't rain tonight.) I have cold hands! I have to read directions on dissolving laundry detergent better! I have school tomorrow!

Thats it for tonight!