A Day in the Life

Sarah Montross - Ecuador


November 21, 2018

I haven’t written a blog in a little over a month, and while I could have
written about my new life in Biblián, or my apprenticeship in the *escuela
inicial* (daycare) where I work, I really wanted to share with you all a
story from today – one that perfectly describes a day in my crazy,
unpredictable life.

I’ll preface my story by telling y’all that the rainy season in Ecuador
began just a few weeks ago. Since then, it has been nearly impossible to do
laundry, given that every day at around 2:30pm, the skies open up and
sheets of rain and hail pour down until dark. Unfortunately, being in
Ecuador has not changed my procrastination habits. As of yesterday morning,
I hadn’t done laundry in almost two weeks. Yet due to necessity, I had to
wash my clothes around 1:00 after work, even if that meant they wouldn’t
dry completely before the rain started. As of this afternoon, my two pairs
of running leggings were still on the roof, damp on the clothes line after
a full day of hanging up.

This afternoon around 2:00, I asked my host mom – Elsa – if she wanted to
go down to the river, where we have our routine of her walking while I run
ahead. I wore shorts and a t-shirt as we walked out of the house, and tried
to explain to her why I couldn’t put on my drenched pants from the roof,
and that no, I was not going to catch *el gripe *from the wind chill. As
soon as we got down to the sidewalk by the river – about five minutes from
our apartment in the center of town – small water droplets began to fall
from the sky. Not concerned, my host mom told me to go ahead and run, which
was probably where we made our first mistake. About five more minutes
passed, and then the real storm began – I kid you not, at 2:30pm on the
dot. Seeing as I was the only one with the house key, I quickly retraced my
steps in hopes of finding my host mom and returning to the apartment
together. But of course, no such luck. Desperately running through every
part of town, I slipped around on the unfinished pavement, searching just
about everywhere I thought a 70 year old woman might go during a rainstorm.

To provide a bit of context, the five minute walk from the river to our
apartment is uphill. Or rather, up the mountain. I quickly scaled the steep
incline to find no one waiting at the apartment door. Getting more worried
(and soaked) with every passing minute, I ran back to the river and crossed
the slippery bridge to the other side of town. Out of breath with water
streaming down every part of my body, I asked store owners and people under
the shelters in the park if they had seen Elsa. With my luck, I’m not sure
why I expected someone to say yes and lead me right to her. At this point,
I had run up and down between the apartment and the river approximately
four times. An hour later, with mud streaking my knees (yes I did fall
multiple times), I returned to the apartment, shivering in the cold,
feeling defeated. After standing at the door for fifteen minutes, craning
my neck to try and see any sign of her, I finally decided to dry off and
come up with a plan to find her. As I trudged up the stairs, squelching on
the linoleum tiles, the doorbell rang. I had been wildly running around for
the past hour, yet in that moment I absolutely flew down the stairs in
hopes of finding my host mom. I yanked open the door and there she stood,
just about as dry as someone who had been indoors for the past hour. I’m
sure I looked like a rugged mess, with my dripping hair and red cheeks, but
she simply just walked in chuckling, confused as to why I was so wet.

Twelve weeks ago if I’d been in the same situation, I honestly can’t say
for sure what I would have done. I probably would have been annoyed, or at
the very least a bit upset. Yet today, I simply laughed, shrugged my
shoulders, and went upstairs to boil some water for tea, as I thought about
just how “Ecuador” the whole situation was. As it turns out, my host mom
had walked to a friend’s house as soon as I began my run, where she sat
drinking coffee in the warmth of the kitchen, while I was out searching for
her in the downpour. Later tonight over dinner, we joked with my host
sisters – 22 and 35 – about how if I caught *el gripe, *it would be Elsa’s
fault, not that of my shorts.

Not every experience here is a learning experience, and it can’t always be
turned into a lesson. Sometimes, my life in Ecuador is simply just that:
life. It may not always be easy; in fact, the majority of the time, my life
here is pretty difficult. Yet, sometimes, you just have to boil some water
and laugh with your host sisters about the clothes on the roof that are
without-a-doubt going to smell sour in the morning.

Chao,

Sarah

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One of my students and me

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Jardín Tomas Sacoto – the day care where I work

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My host brother-in-law cleaning the mausoleum for *dia de los difuntos (Day
of the Dead)*

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Some indigenous Cañari women cooking cuy (guinea pig) as a delicacy for a
baptism party




Sarah Montross