A Listen Into my Life

Sundhya Alter - Ecuador


February 3, 2019

7am: “I’m Into Something Good” by the bird and the bee

Every morning I wake up to frost covering the window, the banging of pots
and pans coming from the kitchen and if i’m lucky a view of the mountains
just outside my window. As I am the last one in my family to get up, the
early morning routines of my host family are well under way. In the kitchen
breakfast is being served, which includes colada, this varies every morning
but usually some kind milk mixture, and juice, also varies but lately its
been Tomate de Arbol, served with rice, chicken and potatoes.

8am: “Best Friend” by A Boogie Wit da Hoodie

From 8am to 9am every morning I ride the bus to Otavalo where I work at a
kichwa audiovisual organization. I pass deep green hills, big powerful
volcanoes, and little roadside food stands serving empanadas. On my walk to
work the smell of fresh bread from panaderias melts the air and little
tiendas open up to sell everything from cell phone data to dish soap to the
juiciest strawberries.

9am-12pm: “Say it” by Tory Lanez

At my apprenticeship I am usually one of the first ones there as it seems
everyone is always on Ecua-time (always late). Throughout the day I help
complete tasks related to maintaining their social media, sometimes
uploading videos and promotions on different pages. From my colleagues who
are all indigenous I have been able to pick up on a couple kichwa phrases
such as Alli puncha which means good morning, Alli shamshuka is welcome and
yapaychani is thank you.

12pm-1:30 : “Mala Mía” by Maluma

This is the time I usually take my lunch with the other fellow I work with.
Lunch varies everyday, sometimes its bread and fresh fruit from the market,
or seco de pollo or maybe an humita if they are looking good that day. We
always end up in the park soaking up as much Ecuadorian sun as we can.

3pm-6pm: “Light On” Maggie Rogers

This time constitutes my down time and as it seems for every other
Ecuadorian. Not much happens in the afternoon. After work and my commute
back home I take this time to journal, or work out, or run around with my
two little host brothers playing until the sun sets and at that time we
finally go inside. Sometimes i’ll help cook dinner while I tell my host mom
and host aunt about my day and listen while they talk about theirs.

6pm- Bed: “I Will Be Ok” by Mimi

We usually eat dinner around 7, usually its something small such as
Cafecito, bread and coffee, or rice and a fried egg, or if my host brother
begs enough- salchipaps. After dinner is Telenovela and evening news yet by
this time I am ready to collapse in my bed.

For the first in time in what feels like my entire life I am listening to
my body. This means feeling everything it wants me to feel whatever that
may be. This has allowed me to really think about what i’m doing and why
I’m doing it. And although I haven’t quite figured it all out yet I know
for a fact that right here at this moment, this is where I am supposed to
be.

Sundhya Alter