Tuesday, April 25, 2006

i have a private bathroom now!

Well I have very little excuse for not posting in the last week, except that i've been too cheap to pay to use a real computer instead of the world's slowest and practically defunct computer at work, which only at its whim decides to let me sign into blogger. not that i'm complaining... yelling at the computer sure beats taking up smoking as a way to kill time between classes. Anyway I didn't leave quito this weekend as planned, due to an emergency choir practice on saturday. and yes, i really am that much of a choir nerd that i would cancel my travel plans (not that they were defined beyond "leaving quito" to begin with) for a rehearsal. but seriously, i've missed loads of stuff because my schedule doesn't match theirs and they definitely uphold the ecuadorian tradition of making plans at the last minute. and i'm taking off next week. and with the start of the new trimester we got some new memebers, one of whom i am supposed to mentor more or less. which amuses me to no end. how odd to be the random foreign student but also the resident expert. I was even teaching them german pronunciation the other day for our newest songs!! that's something for which i NEVER expected to be the most qualified in the room. It was wonderful to finally be singing some bach and mendelsohn... that's the kind of music i'm used to singing and particularly used to sight reading. i like the popular ecuadorian songs, but if i have to sing another "du" "chaka chaka" "lo lo lo" or other onomatapeic sound i might have to throw up.

so the real news of the last week is that my "papi" is in town! He's done a remarkably impressive job of entertaining himself while i run around from work to choir practice. I'm taking off all of next week to travel so i really couldn't afford to take off any other time. his hostel is funortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) located right next to a pan de yuca place and i'm doing my best to take advantage. he also took advantage of not leaving quito this weekend to treat me to a bazillion meals and pretty much meet everyone i know. We went out for margaritas on friday night with becky, not knowing we would run into the entire english teaching staff at one table, and bill and all his family at another table. Also between becky moving in and sara's return to quito after her EXTENDED stay at the beach, our house has been quite the whirlwind of activity. We haven't gotten the newest member of our apartment yet, since rebecca is going back to the us for a graduation and 2 weddings, but when she comes back in june we will officially adopt our new cat!!!

My mom comes in tomorrow night and then on saturday we start our intensive ecuadorian tour. i'll try to post at least once before then... oh, by the way, if you want to see what i have to brave for my commute every day check out this article about the overcrowded troles...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Before Passover gets too far over...

...those who attended our pseudo-seder last year may be pleased to note that I led Hebrew Children on Wednesday while thinking of you all. Okay okay, so lines like "Where are the holy Christians?" may not be the most appropriate way to honor my ancestors, but damned if I was going to let the second-to-last night of Pesach go by without making everyone there sing the word "Hebrew" at least twice.

Now it's Saturday morning, I'm at work getting in more hours (have I ever spent a weekend here not at work in some form or other?), and I should probably get started on those hours instead of wasting a cross-town trip at 8:30am. The rest of my day involves farmer's market, calling people I've been incredibly remiss about keeping in touch with (listen for the sound of the phone ringing... maybe today is YOUR lucky day!), and tonight watching the romantic comedy that my brother inexplicably but enjoyably sent me for my birthday (the inexplicable part being that he watched it himself first before getting it for me... wha...?).

And finally, click here if you want to see me and Sarah Weddington in the same picture, thanks to the magic of my incredibly shoddy HTML skills.

Okay, off to work I go.



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Well I'm back from the beach... canoa definitely lived up to its reputation as the best beach around. Even at a holiday time the beach was practically empty compared to, say, atacames. The beach itself is reeally nice and totally clean, the water is warm.. The weather was PERFECT... sunny the whole time, but still breezy in the shade. and perfect sunsets. We lucked out and got spots in the best hostel, right on the beach, with great food, hammocks, a nice place to chill. You pretty much put everything on your tab there... for 3 nights, most of my breakfast lunches and dinners, and drinks, my total came to... $35!! Including bus fares and all my other expenses, my 3 day beach vacation cost me about $65. And I got a tan again :) Not that any of my ecuadorian students believed me... i'm too white to begin with. We also climbed up to the bat cave, saw a boobie (a bird usually in the galapagos), and had a teen movie worthy bonfire on the beach one night. We REALLY didn't want to come back to work in Quito, but we thought Justin might be a tad upset if 3/8 of his staff called in an extended vacation... My lucky dad is definitely getting dragged back to canoa before he goes home though. The only downside is the crappy bus ride... on the way there i enjoyed 9 hours of being squished by a man with a container of chickens, who i immediately missed when he was replaced (around 4 in the morning) by a very drunk man who alternated between yelling at the driver and hitting on me and becky. the way back was a speedy 7 hours, hampered only by TWO stops for drug checks. nothing like waking up in the middle of the night in the middle of NOWHERE and being frisked by uniniformed being of dubious authority.

the other highlight of semana santa - lots of fanesca (the traditional lenten soup they are really obsessed with here... if i have to hear one more time about how it has 12 grains and how every woman's fanesca is the best...), which is conveniently vegetarian (usually served with fish but many people prefer it without) and conveniently served with rice pudding. yum...

well i've got songs to sing, an apartment to clean, and a class to teach before i meet my dad at the airport!! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday, though I'm sure it wasn't as tropically relaxing as mine :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Passover!

(Look at me posting 2 days in a row!) I can't believe its been a year since our most excellent Seder in greenfield. Being in a Catholic country with nooo jews and a new jewish roommate, we were all excited to have a seder for our unsuspecting friends. (free maxwell house haggadahs: check. matzo and matzo meal: check. weird passover candies: check.) BUT... since I am in reality the world's least observant Jew (but since I get my Jewish soul or whatever they're calling it these days through my mom I still get to be a card carrying member...) I already made plans to go to the beach tonight... and on weeknights I teach an evening class and an early morning class, as does everyone else I know, and after this week my parents will be around to travel with me for many weekends to come, so we may have an extremely delayed seder. And somehow I doubt it will feature singing Saints Bound For Heaven this time...

While I am sunning myself in Canoa and taking another blog sabbatical, you can tide yourself over with this excellent blog Rosie sent my way: Vegan Lunch Box. This vegan woman cooks amazing school lunches for her son every day and posts a picture and description. Hey mom... how come MY lunches never looked like that??

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

pre-easter adventures

So the verdict is the pictures are working. I was getting all nostalgic just posting them. Is it WMSHC yet? Is it WMSHC yet?? (Despite my plans to be living in california at the time, i just qualified for a free southwest ticket sometime in the next year, on top of the $80 credit i already have with them. I'm SO there.)

I subbed at Jezreel for the past 3 times with minimal stress. My accomplishments in that time include: Watching (at least the first hour of) March of the Penguins 3 times, reading To Kill A Mockingbird in its entirety during my breaks, actually teaching science to both 7th and 8th graders (the 8th graders today drew the cutest pictures of simple machines.) and got lots of candy for National Teachers Day. Too bad I'm not a real teacher there, it was like christmas for them! They got loads of quality presents from the kids. But, on the plus side, I didn't have to spend my Saturday supervising the kids in Sports Day or tomorrow night at a spiritual retreat getting prayed at extra hard.

Also, WE ARE GETTING A CAT!! This is all very sudden... I've wanted a cat my whole life but in my pre-allergy days my plans were always foiled by my evil parents. I had given up on a pet until i have a family of my own, between constant moving, restrictive leases and not being able to touch it very much. But the other Rebecca mentioned casually yesterdayt that she has friends who need to give away their cat, and she consulted with me and Becky and we're going ahead with it! Too bad the cat probably already has a name... otherwise I think we would HAVE to make her the fourth Rebecca. Can't wait to take pictures! (Um, and also meet the cat first.)

First things first - we finally got our tickets to Canoa for tomorrow night, so IMMEDIATELY after my evening class we are hopping on a night bus. I'm excited that our plans are finally working out to go to what everyone assures me is the best beach... just relaxing and beautiful.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

she's aliiiive

Hey there! Yes yes, I know I haven't posted for 2 weeks, which I think is a personal record. You're all spoiled, spoiled, blogreaders!! But apparently blog sabbaticals are the best way to get y'all to actually email me and call me and such, whats with the negative reinforcement! Anyway, I plead work business and sickness (just a little cold but it interfered with my weekend wireless plans last week.) Workwise, I finally have a solid schedule of 3 classes that never cancel, plus assorted other classes, plus subbing for stuff including a 3 day stint at everyone's favorite crazy Christian elementary school. Though my morning class, which I thought was finally under control, is making waves again. I don't know if you remember them, the one with the crazy lady who kept calling up to complain about me despite never having attended my classes?? well, justin established that she was just crazy and that was that, the ones who actually come to class are great. BUT... now she is stirring up trouble again and apparently looking at other institutes, but didn't tell us, and left it to the actually good students to sheepishly pass this info on. Meanwhile the students dont know whats up so they arent really coming to class, and i am wasting my time. Were most likely going to just cut our losses and get me a normal morning class. It's always something. My new classes are great though... a 5 year old boy who is supercute and an advanced adult group, which usually devolves into a heated political debate halfway through class.

In non-work related news, we are officially the House of Rebeccas!! Now that Sara is leaving to travel, we need a new 3rd roommate. And my good friend and fellow teacher Becky has stepped up to the challenge! I'm pretty excited, although I think we are in a serious need of nicknames. I better get home before another busy week. Two more days at Jezreel (more praying and my 3rd time watching The March of the Penguins...)plus evening classes, and then on Wednesday night I am OUTTA here! It's been a while since I was out of Quito (international travel notwithstanding) and the Easter holidays are coming up so we will be heading off to the beach again. Cross our fingers we can actually go to Canoa this time... if not there, somewhere else where we can RELAX. I have to finish harry potter after all!

Ooh, I almost forgot. PICTURES!!!! I posted a whole slew of pictures from my visit home!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Austin DOs and DON'Ts

Okay, SOMEONE had to post, and I guess it'll be me. Alas, I can't promise you anything interesting. But at the risk of losing all our faithful readers before my far more interesting Ecuadorian half posts, I'll try to dredge up some highlights of the past two weeks. In case you're considering ever moving to Austin and assuming my life, here are some DOs and DON'Ts based on past experience:

- DO volunteer for Equality Texas. But DON'T expect to have fun. Unless there's nothing you like better than extracting photocopies from 3-ring binders and poring through stacks of newspapers and magazines in search of articles that mention gay people. Which none of them do. Feel free to be extremely confused as to why they saved aforementioned newspapers and magazines. But comfort yourself with the thought that in a very vague and theoretical way, your accomplishments are somehow helping to eradicate homophobia.

- DO go to dinner at Jessica and Jeff's beautiful perfect house in Elgin, where you spend the evening with friends on their giant porch, pet their giant fluffy white dog, eat barbecue and salad, drink milk from their goats (have you ever had a White Russian made with fresh goats' milk? they were hilariously delicious), remember why you love living in the country, learn to play dominoes (which, if you've spent years honing your Hearts skills on the computer, is really pretty simple), gaze enviously at their hardwood floors, giant windows, lovely old furniture, and composting toilet, and try to figure out how to convince them to let you move in.

- DON'T refer to an 85-degree evening in early April as "a beautiful summer night" because you will be laughed at uproariously by your Texan friends, who will then demand if you actually know what the world "summer" means in Austin, Texas.

- DO quit your Sunday morning job babysitting at the church half an hour up the interstate, because then you will only have to go two more times and you will feel fantastic.

- If you absolutely must have three jobs, at least DO juggle it so that you get to deposit three fat paychecks in the span of four days. That also feels fantastic.

- DON'T get yourself involved with a fledgling anti-Bush organization unless you're prepared for the constant guilt that comes when you can't - or won't - commit 20 hours a week to it, which is almost enough to rival the guilt that comes from not doing anything at all. Now there's a riddle.

- DO agree to go to a fancy political luncheon with your NARAL co-workers, if only to remind yourself of how much you despise making small talk with 500 people in suits. Even if they're all working to get progressive pro-choice women elected into office throughout Texas. At least you'll get to tell people that you attended a catered lunch in a Hilton conference room. And that you listed to a lecture by Sherron Watkins, the infamous Enron whistleblower who first told Ken Lay that there was something fishy in the company's finances. And you'll get to eat shrimp and salmon and all the cheese you want. But you will be happy as a clam to get the hell out of there afterwards.

I hope you'll take this advice to heart, dear readers. And please come visit soon - we miss you!