Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The home stretch

What's better than a 4 day vacation? A 4 day vacation followed by a 2 week vacation!! Less than 48 hours til I hit chicago!!!!

I made it back from the beach this morning at 5 am, after taking a night bus. Despite the hassle of figuring out transportation and lodging in the #1 carnaval destination spot, a good time was had by all. The town (a party town to begin with) is wild during carnaval, but not in a stressful way. It was mostly families vacationing - even the bars and discos at night are packed with babies and grandparents. Sara and I took the night bus on Friday and were met later that day by Jody and Cayanne (who flew) and Allison (who hitched on a ride on the bus coming from her spanish school.) I'll have pictures later, but basically imagine us laying on the beach with infrequent trips to the bathroom or to get another round of tropical juice or batidos (smoothies) to spike with rum from the bottle we brought with us. And reading Harry Potter :) It wasn't very sunny, which was nice because even without the sun it was plenty hot. But I did manage to pick up a tan! Though probably no one can tell since my skin is so pale to begin with. We survived power and water outages (a problem when you generally take at least 3 showers a day!)and the constant attacks of water and foam. The way people celebrate carnaval here is suitably ecuadorian... no parades or anything, just dumping water on people and spraying this foam (like silly string but foam) all over you. This was particularly annoying in Quito when you are walking around in business clothes and its cold. At Atacames, since most people are in beach clothes and its hot, the water isn't such a big deal, though some people dump buckets of it off of balconies and such. The foam got REALLY old, especially when you get it in the face/ear/mouth, but the WORST part of being at the beach was getting seawater dumped on you. Ew. And it was like a war zone... you couldn't even walk down the street without lots of strategic manuevering. It's totally a gender thing... mostly guys going after girls so that they will giggle and scream. And as some of the few gringas, we were prime targets. That was rather degrading, until we decided to take back the night and bought our own foam cans! FABULOUS... getting our revenge on our attackers, just spraying the hell out of these tough guys who never saw it coming and would run and cower while their freinds laughed.

Anyway, pictures forthcoming once I am stateside with wireless 24/7! Despite the unfortunate news I just read that the $25 fee for flying out of the country just got raised by 30%, I can't wait to get on that plane. If I can survive the next day of wall to wall classes, choir, errands, cleaning, packing. HASTA PRONTO!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Did you ever have one of those days...

...where you get home from singing in College Station and your neighbor's house looks like this?

Just wondering.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ready, set, tan!

I'll get to the beach eventually, I swear. We were planning on leaving early this afternoon for Canoa, this lovely beach town my friend becky raves about. But when I showed up at the bus terminal this morning, the place was PACKED with people heading out, mostly to the coast. No buses to Canoa until tomorrow, and if we don't get a head start we will never find a place to stay. So after running around between bus companies and several calls to Sara, we finally decided to go with a night bus to Atacames, one of the main beach destinations. It will be pretty crazy there, it's a party town even when half the population of ecuador isn't descending on it. (ooh, this internet cafe is way better than the one yesterday. They're playing a whole set of nirvana!) So we plan to just stay the night and head off to a quieter spot like mompiche. After calling around, Sara finally found a place for us to stay. A bit outside of Atacames (which is probably for the best), we've got a cabin for 6 people for $50 a night. And even though this morning Sara and I were the only ones planning on going, we've got a group of 7 together! So hopefully we can cram into the cabin.

After a stressful morning - much too long spent in the bus termina (which looks like it should have been condemned years ago and as sara quaintly put it "reminds me of the smell of urine." If by that she means smells strongly of urine because people piss everywhere here, then that's exactly right.) and CRAMMED onto the trole home with all the other people on holiday, got mustard thrown on me, thanks to lugging my big backpack around and looking like a rich tourist for once (its a scam in which people throw mustard or something on you and then come up and pretend to be helpful in pointing it out and wiping it off. Of course I wasn't about to fall for it and grabbed my backpack in front and walked off quickly, but I still had mustard all over me and had to wash my clothes! Sometimes I hate this country.) Um, in theory I started the sentence and intended to include what happened "after" but I'm not sure how to grammatically continue so let's start over. When I got back Sara and I immediately started on the daquiries, and were joined by Cayanne. Several drinks and a couple hours later, we quit for the night, except we were amused to note that it was about 2 pm.

So I am sufficiently destressed, had time to run some errands including picking up my timesheet, and am all set to go to the beach! For those of you who say I am wimping out on my long held beach-hatred*, you must keep in mind that 1) I would rather go to say, Baghdad, than stay in deserted rainy polluted Quito over carnaval. 2) I just picked up Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe (yeah, the name is lamer in spanish. but mestizo has a lot of non-wizarding racial connotations.) ¡¡¡¡¡Hot off the presses!!!!! So I can't wait to plunk down on a warm beach with fresh air and tropical fruit and read my book. What are YOU doing this weekend?? That's what I thought.
(*I must admit that I don't mind pretzels that much anymore either... I really am a sell-out...)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jamaica, we have a bobsled team...

Wow, look at Katie posting twice in a row! That last one just beat me out by a couple of hours though... I knew I should have done internet first thing today! Oh well, at least this way I get top billing. I fit this last wireless trip into a busy day... class this morning (during which we spent quite a bit of time discussing Cool Runnings, of all things...) laundry, trying to get my new art framed, and three classes this afternoon/evening. Pretty much the story of my week... I never knew you could be so busy working 13.5 hours a week. (Of course, that's not including planning or the inummerable forms of transportation I am constantly taking to commute. Yesterday alone, on TWO nonconsecutive occasions, I paid for the trole only to wait and wait and have to retreat to a bus or taxi.)

Last weekend was the jampacked as well. Friday we had a dacquiri party in honor of Matt's 30th and Jennie's brief return to Quito. Most everyone else headed out to the bars afterwards, but I respectively declined in favor of sleep. Only because the next day we got up early to go to Otavalo (where it was HOT and I even got a little sunburned, whereas in Quito it was cold and rainy. Ha!), then went out for curry and had another night of barhopping! Sunday I mostly slept, though I did make a last trip to the local weekend market, and got POURED on for my troubles. We've had a return to the real rainy season this week, with plenty of thunderstorms that set off car alarms and such.
Here's the weekend in pictures!

Also I stole some pictures from Sara and Jennie of some typical Quitenan sights. Plus a bonus of Sara in an embarrassing position :)

Before my evening rush of classes, I'm off to check out another frame shop and try to set up a hostel in Canoa... the beach is popular during Carnaval and we're afraid all the hostels are already booked. The one time of year you actually need to do something in advance, and we fall down on the job. One way or another I will do my best to get a tan by the next time you see me so that I can really fit the stereotype and properly brag about living on the equator while you suckers enjoy old man winter. This means I'll be on a real vacation and probably not emailing until Tuesday or so. I'll try to send postcards for once!

Three exciting things

1. R and I are going to Kerrville this year! (We don't even need to hitch a ride on a train because we live just 2 hours away...)

2. My potted herb seeds finally sprouted!

3. R got a job as an Apprentice Sushi Chef! (If only you'd taken up your little friend on his offer, B, the two of you could have sushi cook-offs...)

That's about it. The TX State Sacred Harp Convention is this weekend, so we're driving down to College Station on Saturday for that. Still haven't decided what my potluck contribution will be. R is planning a cabbage-and-brown-rice salad, which just makes me think of Dennis George's little son pointing at all the strange vegan foods on the WMSHC lunch tables and going, "Daddy, what's THAT?" Oh well. The two of us will eat it, at least.



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Raining in Texas

Greetings from the kitchen at 12:30 in the morning. As R and I continue to explore the glories of partial unemployment, we find ourselves going to bed later every night and waking up later every morning, with the result that I don't even start to feel like it's bedtime until after midnight. This hasn't happened to me in a while, not since before I stopped going to classes and became A Grownup. Of sorts. It also doesn't help that I never walk anymore (the buses here are so delectably cheap compared to Juneau's!), I haven't been jogging since mid-December, I'm too poor for yoga classes... we don't even have a second floor for me to climb up to! In short, I'm living a life of sloth in every way imagineable. Which is kind of luxuriously lovely, but also tends to cause undue stress on my bank account and arteries, so I'll due my best to remedy that situation in the upcoming weeks.

I've been working for almost two weeks at my afternoon preschool job, and I'm loving it. Love preschoolers, love my class - sixteen 4-5 year olds, though usually only around 10 of them are left by the time I work with them in the afternoon. Sometimes I get pangs of guilt about working at a nice expensive preschool instead of somewhere more socially responsible, with kids who need my help much more than these small rich white ones. But if I'm going to be totally clueless and gain experience anywhere, it might as well be here, with a small, close-knit staff, and parents who read their kids stories at night and know the names of all their kids' classmates. Noelle, the UT student I work with in the afternoons, is fabulous, and it's amazing how your workday flies by when you roll into the office at 2:30 and leave by 6:00. Really the only downfall is that I have to pass by the local natural foods co-op in order to get from the bus stop to work or vice versa, which makes it tragically easy to stop in and squander my precious paycheck on tasty organic groceries five days a week. All I have to spend is $20-$25 a day, and oops! There goes this week's salary. Have I mentioned I REALLY need to find morning work?

I've also worked two scout sleepovers at the Children's Museum, and two mornings babysitting at a church nursery in the suburbs. I'm not quite sick of kids yet, but I don't expect it'll be much longer now. I'm getting really good at saying "Use your walking feet," "Put your bottoms on the floor," and "Use your words to tell Emmett how you feel when he grabs that toy from you."

Peter and Anna Maria and baby Alexandra were in town for Folk Alliance last week... we got to see them and sing with them a bit, which was great fun. R and Alexa and I also spent a late night in the Hilton to see some of the Folk Alliance showcases, which was possibly the weirdest thing I've ever found myself in the middle of. (J&B, I still have to tell you all about it... oh man. Oh man. Imagine the strangest FRFF you've ever been to divided into all the bedrooms on 15 floors of the downtown Hilton, and you've got a good start...)

Apart from that, nothing much is new. R and I fill most of our waking hours scouting for jobs and cheap furnishings. We seem to maybe have developed another slight flea problem (must be from our tag sale couch and/or loveseat and/or box spring, because there's literally nothing else in this house that COULD be contaminated with fleas, even if it wanted to be), but at least these aren't insane bionic microscopic fleas that give R hundreds of poison-ivy-like blisters. These suckers seem to be normal flea size and have the added perks of never biting me, and only giving R itchy hives that disappear in a couple of hours. We've been trying to nip that problem in the bud by dustbustering regularly and sprinkling Borax everywhere. Hopefully that'll do the trick, since we're most definitely too poor to follow any other course of action. We spent the $70 that could have gone to flea treatment on a month of Intro to Swing Dance classes, which maybe aren't as rewarding as a pest-free home, but are definitely far more fun. Today was our third class, and we can awkwardly and amateurly do all sorts of nifty spins, but only if we mutter things like "Rock step, triple step, triple step, step back, pull in, wrap her in, send her out, Barbie arm, left foot, triple step..." under our breath.

Okay, it may finally be bedtime. My belly is full of delicious rice and raw fish... R and I went out for Alexa's birthday this evening with Alexa and some singing friends, resulting in perhaps the loudest "Happy Birthday" the restaurant had ever been subjected to (if you want a "Happy Birthday" that will be heard for miles around, invite a bunch of Sacred Harp singers to your party). We ordered a Sushi Boat, which is something like 10 different kinds of sushi and sashimi that get plunked down in the middle of your table in, literally, a giant wooden boat. With a sail and everything. It was delightfully tacky. It's very surreal that in 2? 3? more weeks, all of us but one will be eating potluck lunch at WMSHC, and I'll get to see lots more of you to boot. Hooray! Okay, on that happy note, I'm leaving for real. Sweet dreams, everyone. (I guess the technical term would be "Sweet dreams, Y'ALL." Said in my best stodgy New England accent, for maximum comic effect.)

killing time

There's not a whole lot of point in posting right now, except that i haven't posted in a while and i'm holed up avoiding a particularly bad thunderstorm before I have to dash to my next class. I have a bunch of pictures to put up of the whirlwind of activity over the weekend. (Due to Jennie's last weekend and Matt's 30th bday.) This last week or so in Ecuador is going to go by en un abrir y cerrar de los ojos, as it were. Just a few more days of class this week and then it's CARNAVAL! Which means a 4 day weekend and a trip to Canoa (the beachtown Becky always raves about.) Then on Wednesday I've got to fit in choir, 4 classes, packing, and making room for the new roommate (whose name, just to make things confusing, is also Rebecca.) And then off to Chicago on Thursday!!! Hopefully I can fit in some wireless time before then to put up pictures. If not, I will just take advantage of the 24 hour free wireless at home. (drool...)

as if i wasn't excited enough about coming home, Richard and Katie have booked their flight for wmshc, lauren is pretty confident she will get up to chicago to visit me, and in changing one of my flights I SAVED $80 (gotta love Southwest.)!!

9 days to US soil
2 weeks to singing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cowboys and pigs and roommates, oh my...

The nice thing about having all your students cancel is that you can make your Sunday wireless pilgrimage on Tuesday afternoon. This works out well because on Sunday I was busy enjoying beautiful beautiful Mindo. I just went up by myself to relax and breath some fresh fresh air. It wasn’t as sunny and picturesque this second time, since their rainy season has started and it rains pretty much every day, and the rest of the time you understand why it’s called a cloud forest. But it’s warmer than Quito, so it’s not even cold in the rain, and it just makes everything feel and smell even fresher. I was literally walking around all weekend taking deep breaths, inhaling the fresh rain/earth/flower scent. And you know me, while I don’t wish nature any specific harm I usually prefer the comforts of civilization. As long as civilization isn’t loud, dirty, and poverty stricken. Quito unfortunately does not fit that bill, so I feel the need to compensate. I stayed at a lovely $5 a night hostel, where the owner, a bird watching guide, drew me up a map of the town (which was nice despite a) having been before and b) the town consisting of approximately one street) and offered me a discount for a bird watching tour the next time I stay there. I spent much of the time lying in the hammock on the porch reading (it was warm and mosquito free enough to do that even til midnight!), and the rest of the time walking by the swelling river and eating in various locales. And getting hit on by cowboys. While Mindo might normally be described as a one-hose-town (probably inaccurately since you can rent horses, plural, nearby), this weekend it was more like a 40 horse town. There was some kind of horse show in the area, so there were real live gauchos from all over S.Amer. strutting up and down main street the whole time. It was entertainly surreal, like a, um, plantain Western (as opposed to spaghetti western... stay with me people), where you’re walking through this tropical paradise but every few feet a cowboy stops his horse for you to pass and tips his hat at you. And since I was by myself lots of people chatted with me, and as opposed to in Quito they are just friendly, not sketchy men who you have to ignore. Everyone in Mindo is just so damned HAPPY! I can‘t get over it.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s more to my life than this Ode to Mindo. Last Thursday after recovering from my illness I played tourist for the day with Sam, Jennie’s friend who’s staying with us. (And who today was finally joined by Jennie, sporting a brand new passport.) We went down to the centro historico, where I go twice a week for choir but never bother to go into the historic churches, and climbed the Basilica (the local church-with-a-view), then went up to the Mariscal and had a sandwich inj tourist central. It was fun, despite the notable increase in comments from men. Then she was off to her jungle tour and I retired to my life as the common man. Or woman, as it were. Friday I had a good time as usual with the CENIT kids. We had some unexpected excitement as the noise that sounded like an animal being slaughtered outside did, in fact, turn out to be a pig being slaughtered right in the square outside our tutoring room. (Which you may recognize from the 80000 pictures I have posted of CENIT.) While the market does have its share of live animals and such, there is a whole other section for that... our spot is usually just a quiet square with a few vendors selling clothes or household wares. But there was some festival planned for the weekend, which apparently wouldn’t be complete without some fresh pork from a ritual killing. Of course all the kids ran outside right up to the action, and since I was trying to get them back inside I also had a front row seat for the slaughter. When we finally got the kids back inside, it all happened again with the second pig. Then later on, they broke out the blow torches and spent a while burning off the hair before they got down to the real butchering. By that point the kids had gotten their snack, so they had refreshments for the show. And then a blind man wandered into the square and started lighting off fireworks. It’s always something....

Also, after putting up just two notices online and 3 posters, I’ve found a roommate for Matt and Bill’s place and probably one for ours as well! And I’ve arranged to buy all the furniture and such from Sara, for the paltry sum of $400. And before the girl came to see the apartment today, since I am virtually unemployed, I cleaned the place up and made muffins. Sara's fresh Valentine's day flowers from Bill I really rounded out the scene... who could resist a piece of real estate like that? In conclusion, I am the apartment master.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Virtual tour

I put up some pictures of our house for anyone who's interested. (Mom.) Check out the "Welcome to Texas" album.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Woe is me

So this week was supposed to be the start of a whole new productive spurt before I get a real vacation. Right. This morning I had my first class so far this week. The only one of the day. And one of only 3 this week. My brand new 8 hour a week class canceled until next week. And my evening business student apparently decided to extend his trip to the US without telling me. So while I get paid for those classes on Monday (no notice), I get nothing for the rest of the week. Then yesterday morning I had to cancel my only remaining class!!! I was so pissed. But there was no way around it... I woke up with a reprise of that horrible 24-hour stomach bug I got a couple years ago. Fortunately, with slightly less graphic results (which I won't describe, but which Richard certainly remembers...) but I was still throwing up every half an hour, couldn't even keep down water until the evening, and could barely leave my bed all day. This time there was no one to take care of me, but I managed to survive on ice and eventually the powerade that sara bought me (which, hilariously, come in a glass bottle here! who puts sports drinks in glass bottles???) Fortunately the 24 hour part still held, so today I was up and about and eating a bit of solid food.

Since my afternoon class canceled on top of everything else, my new mission is to print and put up posters advertising the upcoming vacancies in my apartment. Pretty soon I'm due to be the senior member of the apartment by default! And since I'd really prefer not to move, got to fill up those other 2 bedrooms. If you know anyone who is planning to move to quito...

Also, I have something else to occupy my time. You'd think that quitting my job and moving to Ecuador would let me off the hook as resident Homeroom expert. But out of the blue, I just got the following email (excerpted):
I just got hired to work full time, running
Vinnie's and resurrecting the homeroom program which has stopped. Mark suggested I contact you to figure out how to get it started.
I guess I just don't know much about it. What was it, who were the
important people who were helping to run it? I am going to be speaking
with (people at CHC).
What was homeroom? What was the mission? What was the schedule? The programs? How did you recruit kids? Do finances? Etc.

Oy veh. I can't exactly say that I'm surprised. Pissed, but not surprised. I know that the guy who took it over had too much on his plate and was too irresonsible to actually keep it going. So now, since I am a good guy, the only one who ever cares/knows anything about Homeroom, I have to help this woman track down my computer files that my replacement never got around to getting on his drive, and try and remember all of that day to day stuff I had been happy to let trickle out of my brain over the past 9 months. Sigh.

OK, enough complaining for one blog entry. Could be worse. My ex-roommate Jennie was supposed to return to Ecuador this week after traveling, but had her passport stolen in Peru and is stuck in Lima for a week. And her friend, who did make it across the border and is staying with us, has a stomach infection so bad she can only eat a few foods and can't even drink water - just this weird medicated beverage the doctor in Lima gave her.

I'll just say, can't wait to get out of this godforsaken hell hole in just 23 days!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Carrying on the teacher-torch

As of Wednesday evening, I might have not one, not two, but a whopping THREE jobs working with small children. I can't tell if this will make me happy or suicidal. Probably a pleasant mixture of both. But finally, after two weeks of fruitless resume submissions, everything's finally starting to come up Richard for me (ironically, it hasn't started to come up Richard for Richard yet...). If all goes as planned, I'll be an intern at the Austin Children's Museum, a church nursery worker on Sunday mornings up in the suburbs, and an assistant teacher at a local preschool (which is also located in a church, with the result that I'm beginning to feel very uncomfortably assimilated... bring me more latkes!). The salaries from all of these combined will earn me a whopping $600 a month, which is $50 less than I'll need to cover rent, utilities, and student loans. And that's assuming Richard pays for all my food and entertainment, which - judging from his present state of non-employment - probably isn't an option I should bank on.

So my new goal is to find some job that only wants me before 2:30pm (when I have to be at the preschool) and preferably doesn't involve children. Not that I have anything against them, but I think enough is probably enough. I also heard back today from the Samaritan Counseling Center (how come I can only find jobs located in churches or endorsed by pastors?) who seemed very interested in interviewing me for a part-time admin assistant position I'd applied for... but unfortunately, the hours would conflict with the preschool job AND any Saturday singings I wanted to go to, so I think I'm going to have to regretfully decline. At any rate, not staring at a computer for 30 hours a week is definitely worth the $2-$4 extra per hour I would be earning if I got that job. Though feel free to confirm that statement with me when all my bills arrive next week.

I think that's all the exciting stuff. We've been enjoying our $30 matching sofa and loveseat which we amazingly found at a tag sale a few houses away... any further and we'd have no way of transporting it to our place, but this way we just carried it up the block. Thus far they appear to be flea- and scabies-free, though I'm not making any promises. John our excellent landlord, who somehow lives off the fat of the land enough to stay home all day and listen to the Grateful Dead and tend to our house-related needs whenever we like, came over today to fix our garbage disposal and take a look at our clearly-made-for-an-entirely-different-doorway closet doors to see how he could make them work. He also promised to come by with the exterminator tomorrow morning in order to do away with the ant colony in the baseboard of the bedroom that we'd like to use as ours. But those rascally ants have scared us into the other bedroom so far. Apparently, John had sprayed them from the outside of the house when he came across the colony last week, which turned them into staggering, half-dead zombies that don't actually move even when you poke them with your finger, but continue to appear from the gap in the baseboard at a rate of at least five an hour if you leave them alone. We fenced off the danger zone with strips of sticky-side-up duct tape which, if nothing else, makes us feel better. As far as we can tell, it doesn't atually stop them in their tracks (as evidenced by the fact that sometimes they're stuck to it and sometimes they aren't), but makes it just hard enough to walk that the poor soulless critters lose the will to go on and just hang out on it. That's good enough for us.

Am I still talking about ants? Perhaps I'd better shut up now. Richard is at his class on designing and installing solar power systems, busily gaining hugely marketable skills and talents, so I'm forced to mock his unemployment while I can, before some burgeoning solar company snaps him up and I'm still earning $7.50 an hour playing blocks with children. Hmph.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

No more public library internet for me, folks!

Yesterday, we were paupers. Today we have Richard's computer, free wireless from the comfort of our living room, a matching sofa and loveseat, a box spring, and an air mattress borrowed from my friend Kathryn's father, which will make its inaugural debut this very night replacing the air mattress borrowed from Alexa. This latest model contains no cat scratches mended with duct tape, and will presumably not need to be refilled every single night with the hair dryer (also Alexa's) after it's spent the night leaking and gently setting us down on the cold cold concrete floor. But before I delve into the story of how we've come upon such luxury, I feel it's only right to finish our cross-country tale. I'm just that anal.

So, as I mentioned before, the beauty of taking exactly the same route as you did 6 months ago is that you get to stop at all the goofy places you remember passing by last time. (Well, not ALL of them... I forgot until it was too late about the church-of-the-something-something in western Maryland with the giant sign out front proclaiming "Noah's Ark Being Rebuilt HERE!!!!!" But I wrote it in, complete with exit number, on the Maryland map in our atlas, so the next time I drive from D.C. to Kentucky I'll SURELY remember to get off at the right exit. And Rebecca, remember that Amish cheese billboard that we passed and after that all I wanted was Amish cheese? Well, it happened again.) Anyway, to make a long story short, as we were retracing our summer route from Louisville to Nashville, we checked out a sight that many of you (okay, let's be honest, nobody but me) will remember my mentioning last summer: the self-proclaimed "Most Awesome Flea Market In The World." Clearly, this time we had to stop. It sucked (no one saw that one saw that one coming) but at least I got a picture of it as we drove away. Which you can view here, along with some other very random miscellany from the month of January.

We spent that night in Hot Springs, Arkansas, boyhood home of former president Bill Clinton. I was going to tell you some more about that, but it's really too good a story to sum up in a couple of sentences, and all of our best pictures are on my non-digital camera. So I promise to scan them and recount hilarious anecdotes later. In the meantime, onward to Texas!

It felt pretty absurd to actually be IN Texas, finally. Lots of trucks (though we're a little jaded coming from Juneau, where literally the only vehicles you'll see for weeks at a time are pickups, minivans, and SUV's), dry fields, and big sunny Texas skies. Remember how excited I was about those cows, Rebecca? And then those mesas? Well, imagine me pointing and saying, "Look, Rebecca! TEXAS!" and that pretty much sums it up. We rolled into town at 7:30 or so, found our way to Alexa's apartment complex, got a dazed nighttime tour of the city as she took us out for dinner (I'm about to start an undying love affair with southwest cuisine, I can tell), and crashed onto said leaky air mattress. She was the best hostess ever for a weeks while we ate her food and filled her living room with our suitcases... and now we live 5 blocks away, like those ducklings who become so attached to the first thing they see when they hatch.

Okay, once again this has taken me far too long to write, so I'll wind things up and write more soon. This time for real. Now we're off to watch our Dylan documentary...

Much, much love,


Friday, February 03, 2006

Tamarind ice cream

Mmmm... best ice cream ever. While I digest my sunny afternoon treat, Becky and I are checking out volunteer opportunities at the SAEC. We both want to take a month at some point and volunteer elsewhere in ecuador or maybe peru. I'm really excited for getting to know somewhere besides quito. But right now I'm actually much more excited about the fact that in 27 days, 3 hours, and 10 minutes, I will be touching down in Chicago! FYI, parents: Our first stop will be Whole Foods where I can SERVE MYSELF from the hot bar and eat delicious delicious american organic food.

Things also looking up here:
1) Thought I had parasites, but I'm feeling better now so I think it was just indigestion. Sure to pick them up at some point though...
2) Just got a schedule makeover. Got a new class for 8 more hours a week, which may keep me from going broke before I get a chance to really travel. Also it's at the amazing hour of 10-noon, which means I will no longer be biding my time between 8:30 am and 4 pm (or 8:30 and 5:30 some days). I might just feel like a productive citizen, instead of being back home in my PJs by 9 am every day!

Katie - You're the one with a new apartment, and possibly new jobs, when do we get a real austin update??