Day three in Shrequador:
This place, this city, this cultural meltingpot of volcanophobia and awkward bus rides is incredible to say the least. I wake up every morning at 5:30 to the house shaking from large vehicles speeding down the narrow street outside. “I could try and go back to sleep but I think that the neighbor’s rooster is gonna start *cockadoodledoo*! dammit too late”… I grab my semi-complimentary United airlines blanket (which is more of a glorified scarf) and get out of bed.
My bedroom is about 7’X12’ and contains a twin bed, a desk and shelves to host clothes and jewish artifacts. It seems kinda like an awkward addition made to the house for the specific reason of hosting foreigners. My bathroom is a small cement enclosure outside on the back patio surrounded by fences and sides of other people’s houses. The toilet takes up pretty much all of the room in the standing room in the bathroom so if I use it I have to sit sideways and just awkwardly look myself in the mirror wondering what the hell I’m doing here. I’ll grab a piece of bread and a highly acidic fruit for breakfast and grab my lunch before walking out of the house at 7:30.
I walk in the brisk morning air with my backpack filled with contact forms, a Spanish grammar packet (it’s so small and we don’t even use it!), a volcanic emergency kit, two cigars, and other junk I would carry for an emergency. My host family’s house is on the west side of Quito, in the heights as I like to say because just a little farther up the street the hills start to become actual mountains. I walk downhill dodging cars, kids in uniforms, stray dogs, shards of glass and piles of literal crap in the streets. I find the walk very relaxing though, while the chaos of the city rages around me I feel unimportant and isolated behind my glasses and FL baseball cap capable of just observing and learning. I get to EIL for Spanish class about 45 minutes too early and am pretty much the only person in the building. Its nice to see my friends walk in in the mornings and to hear how they love their families but might develop a bulimia habit in order to keep up with the mountains of food they receive daily. Classes start at 8:30 and I’m in one of the higher Spanish classes so days usually go as such:
Review grammar 20 minutes, talk about culture and other stuff in Spanish until 12:30. Wednesdays we take field trips to churches and around the city. Homework: learn Spanish words… my teacher is getting an award when I leave. We eat lunch then generally walk 10 minutes to the park for GYC sessions at 13:00 with the Ecuador cohort that can range anywhere from culture shock and coping skills to deep talks about open minded thinking to indigenous awareness and history.
At 17:00 we finish and I can either go out with my friends, go on a run around the park, or walk up this big ass, steep inclined hill for 45 minutes to get home (reverse commute is a bitch). getting home drenched in sweat and out of breath is a sight to behold and usually lands me a “duchárte y despues vamos a cenar juntos”. Host mom dad (60s) sister (28) and I will eat and talk for hours and watch tv to find out whats up with the volcano. After dinner I feel obligated to do the dishes to help out. Then I disappear to go sit in the living room with the wifi until kamillah, another fellow, calls me crying about how much she misses chipotle and Netflix.
I feel like this post was kind of a huge waste of time to write though cause while I can inform you on all of the stuff that goes on in my day, I can’t even begin to touch at the intricate details of how Im slowly becoming a hipster and being fitted for a man bun. or how the graffiti on the grand basilica confused the shit out of me. or how every time I hear salsa music I start dancing and look like the biggest loser on the block. Regardless everyday is truly a gift to be here.
“Messiah imagery” photo credit to Brianna who conquered her fear of heights so I could get this shot and ruin a couple’s date in the tower.