I have received a few request to describe what my days look like here, so in honor of that, here ya go!! It is a little bit hard to describe an “average day” because those don’t really exist… I have two jobs, so depending on what day of the week you catch me, I have completely different tasks.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I work based in the municipal government building in San Miguel de Los Bancos. I am going to describe a Monday, but keep in mind that every day is a little different and that things change pretty often, so while this sounds super set in stone and exact, it is very rarely so….
6:15- wake up, meditate, do a little yoga, get dressed, ect.
7:00- make myself breakfast (eggs, oatmeal, tea, yogurt, basically whatever I can find)
7:20- wait for and get on a bus to Pedro Vicente Maldonado (sometimes doesn’t come for 30 mins, so I’m late to class)
8:00- Spanish class with two fellow Fellows in Pedro Vicente Maldonado
10:00- wait for a bus to come back to Los Bancos
11:00ish- arrive back in Los Bancos, go to the library to plan for English classes
12:30-1:00- go home for lunch and sometimes a nap 🙂
2:45- walk back to library to set up for English classes
3:00-4:00- English class for the niños (think songs, dancing, games for 10 year olds)
4:00-5:00- English class for the jóvenes (think dialogues, recipes, drawing for 15-18 year olds)
5:15- head home, spend time with my family, play with Dana (my niece), hang out in the store and watch TV
6:00- do my excercises, meditation, and yoga (if I didn’t get to it in the morning)
8:00- take a nice chilly shower (I have taken 5 warm showers in Los Bancos to date)
8:30- chill with family, read, relax, watch a movie in Spanish with the fam.
On Thursday and Friday, I work at a rehabilitation center for special needs people through the Patronato in San Miguel de Los Bancos. As a result of Correa’s very liberal political agenda, tons of social welfare programs have started. The center where I work is one of them. We provide free therapies (occupational, physical, and language) and lunch to any ecuadorian within the county who holds a “carnet” (a card indicating the percentage of disability they have). My job there has been filling out the “asistencias” (attendance sheets) for the language therapist and sitting in as an assistant to him during therapy sessions. Each patient needs to have their name, the time they entered, their representative’s name, representative’s signature, diagnosis, and therapy on three sheets of paper (all going to different places to document the therapy). I am responsible for filling all three sheets out correctly for all the patients the doctor sees all day, as well as helping him with some aspects of the therapy itself. So…. My day looks like this:
6:45-wake up, meditate, yoga, get dressed, etc.
7:30- eat breakfast
7:55- walk to the center
8:00- start work!! (Patients come in 30 minute rotations, so depending on how many returning patients actually come and if we have new patients coming in, I have to adjust the therapists schedule to accommodate all of the patients. Sometimes we are completely booked and then some (19 patients a day), sometimes no one shows up and it’s a ghost town (5 patients a day).)
12:30- walk home for lunch and sometimes fresh brewed coffee! 🙂 (the provided food is never vegetarian, and is usually a soup, a huge plate of rice and chicken)
1:25- walk back to work
1:30- work! (Same deal as before)
5:10- hang out with family, relax, “dar la vuelta” (take a walk with my sisters or niece)
6:15- do excercises, mediation, yoga
8:00 eat dinner
8:15- hang out, relax, read, etc.
I am having a great time here, getting the hang of things slowly but surely I have found myself feeling homesick less and less frequently, if at all, on a daily basis! I think that a lot of that has to do with the fact that I am keeping myself really busy with things that I care about and am interested in. I also feel like I am finally getting to know the people in my community and can almost 100% of the time find a familiar, smiling face. My Spanish (I think, and hope!) is improving. I have started to catch thoughts drifting through my mind in Spanish, which is really cool and exciting. I don’t remember my dreams very well, but I am pretty sure there have been numerous dreams in Spanish. There are also some things that come faster to me in Spanish, so my instinct is to speak in Spanish.
As we approach the holiday season (which I will admit for a long time made me feel physically sick to my stomach to think about), I am getting excited to see how another culture celebrates Christmas. So far, it doesn’t seem like it will be all that big of a deal in my house, but I have been told that New Years is a big deal in Los Bancos. While it won’t be the white Christmas spent with family that I am used to, I look forward to going into the holiday season with an open mind and readiness to do it the Ecuadorian way!
keep more currently updated with pictures here: http://abbysayhey.tumblr.com/