So I finally have internet again!!! Honestly, the fact that I can get Wi-Fi in my apartment while serving in the Peace Corps kind of makes me feel like…
A lot has happened in the last month, so hopefully I can get it all down without making this post a novel!
I am going to start with a few funny stories that I have wanted to share and then move on to the serious work/project related news! Ready!?
This story is titled:
“You can’t do that! You have lady parts!”
So recently, I broke down and finally decided to get a gas tank for my stove because my electric burner just wasn’t cutting it.
Once the decision was made, I then had to find someone to help me lug the thing back to my house. Fortunately, my counterpart agreed to help but I was then at the mercy of his schedule and his priorities. In the end, it took 2 days to actually happen and then after we bought it, he decided he wanted to go look at the mountains for about 30 minutes which was nice, but I was pretty much like…
Just so you know, that entire process only needed to take 10 minutes… tops. Not being self-sufficient in Ecuador after being self-sufficient in the States can be pretty frustrating…
So after I got the gas tank to my house, I had to buy a valve to connect it to my stove. I told my landlady and she insisted that she accompany me to the hardware store. I was just like…
As we were buying the valve she asked, ¨Do you know how to connect it? ¨
And I said, ¨Yes, I’ve done it a couple times before.¨
Then she asked again, ¨Are you sure you know how to do it? You don´t need a man to help you? ¨
And again I said, ¨No, I can do it by myself. I’ve done it before.¨
And she just looked at me like…
Well, when we got back to the house I discovered that one of the parts was too big so we had to go back to the hardware store to exchange it. I told them the problem and a man in the store assured me that the part wasn’t too big, I just didn’t know what I was doing! He then insisted on coming over to connect the valve for me. At that point I was just like…
And my landlady was just thrilled that we found a man to help so the entire way home I just kept repeating, ¨Thank GOD we have a man to help us! ¨
When we got to my place we discovered that the part actually WAS too BIG! And I was all like…
and my landlady was just like…
Then out of nowhere a firefighter just showed up at my apartment (apparently our previous knight in shining armor works at the fire department). He then, went to the store, bought the parts we needed, installed the valve and connected the gas to the stove!
The entire time I was just like…
We have our own personal firefighter to do handy work!? In the States this would NEVER happen!
So I mean, I guess there are perks to being a lady in Ecuador?
This next story is titled:
“Please, Random Stranger, tell me more about my own country!”
This is the story of a conversation I had with a woman I had never met before.
I was making copies in an internet café for my English classes and then out of nowhere a woman was just like…
Woman: ¨Why are you so tall? ¨
Me: ¨Because my parents are tall.¨
Woman: ¨No, it´s because of your food.¨
¨Maybe, but mostly it´s because my parents are tall.¨
Woman: ¨No, I’ve seen foreigners before, you´re ALL really tall.¨
¨Well no, not ALL of us are tall, a lot of us are short like you too.¨
Woman: ¨No, you´re ALL tall, I’ve seen other foreigners before.¨
Woman: “And in America all of your food comes in bags and it´s all already prepared, right?”
¨Yes, that exists but we have fresh food too.¨
Woman: ¨I’ve seen it on TV, all of your food comes in bags.¨
Moral of the story… Sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Now on to the updates!!!
So the beginning of March was Carnival, which in Ecuador means one big water/food/foam fight for about 3 days!
Here for Carnival they sell these tubes of spray foam that looks kind of like shaving cream but the consistency is more like soap suds. People spray this all over anyone and everyone, in their face, hair, on their clothes… it’s just a thing.
People throw buckets of water on anyone, even strangers (trust me, I know) and apparently people will make mixtures of flour, dirt, paint and all sorts of other mess and throw it in people’s faces too! It’s pretty much what a battle with elementary schoolers would look like and no one is safe! The entire time you pretty much feel like…
Because of the water factor I decided to spend Carnival on the coast and I had a blast! The other volunteers and I were all pretty much like…
During the 3 days I managed to get foamed, get a bucket of water thrown on me, lose a pair of flip flops on the beach, find said pair of flip flops on a friend, lose my phone on the beach, find my phone on the beach, accidentally lock myself in a bathroom and get rescued from said bathroom by another volunteer. Needless to say it was a very interesting few days.
When I got back to Celica, it was time to try to resuscitate my projects from February. Fortunately my counterpart and I managed to salvage some of what we were working on and in March we gave 2 workshops about substance abuse prevention at a Red Cross camp and at the local military base!
This is the beginning of a larger campaign that I am trying to work on with the Red Cross youth volunteers, we’ll see how it goes!
Also, since March and April are Celica’s summer vacation, I have been teaching English classes! While I like to think that everyone loves learning English, I’m pretty sure that some of my students probably feel this way about it…
I have also started playing Ultimate Frisbee with some of the kids in town! At the moment, I am really trying to get to know more kids in Celica because the more kids I know, the more successful my future activities will hopefully be!
Also, playing sports is just fun!
So, overall it hasn’t been as successful as I had hoped, but it also hasn’t been a total failure like I had feared. So I pretty much feel like I deserve one of these…
I am honestly very pleased with how everything is working out and later this month we are meeting with the local schools so I can start working with them throughout the upcoming school year! So yeah! Plans! We have them!
As far as everything else goes, I am starting to really adjust to my new apartment. At first, the amount of spiders and lack of natural light (I’m pretty much living in a basement) was not something I particularly enjoyed. But I have been spending a lot of time cooking and I have pretty much learned the ropes of independent living here. So I feel a lot more like…
Until I see big spider and then I’m like…
But it’s getting better.
My landlady is also great and is pretty much my new host mom. She gives me free food, is teaching me how to Ecua-cook and finds/gives me random household supplies just because! She is very sweet and sometimes overbearing but always in a caring way. I enjoy having her around and she is definitely the best thing about living in my new apartment. We’re pretty much like…
Well that’s all I have for now!
I hope everything is great in your part of the world!