Well, today is the observed holiday of the Battle of Pichincha, which since i don't normally teach on fridays really just means i have to put up with stuff being closed and a significant increase in drunk guys making various sound effects at me. yay! Wednesday, the 24th, was the actual holiday, which commemorates the battle that sealed the ecuadorian independence and seems to be some kind of combination of independence day and veterans day. ecuadorian flags and flags of pichincha (the region) appear everywhere. i had to cross through a big military parade on shyris after my morning class, to catch a bus. otherwise, business as usual.
other exciting events of this week:
- I made the maduro smore!! Unfortunatly, since I'm not braving the holiday crowd at the plaza de las americas i can't upload the picture and blog vegan lunch style. It doesn't look like much anyway, but it was damn good. i may have to open my own stand and sell them.
- I got my censo (more or less like a green card.)! Finally. After gathering all the necessary documents all i had to do was wait for about 3 hours in the immigration office. i missed out on the group trip since i was traveling when rebecca and becky got theirs. It was rather amusing, we had to get a letter from our landlord which certifies that "señoritas rebecca nichols, rebecca thompson, y rebecca edwards¨live there. Despite the tedious wait, getting your censo is actually quite entertaining. Becuase for all the paperwork you have to do to get one, it must be the world's most bootleg id. So to get it you have to jump through lots of red tape... It's not enough just to have your visa, you have to register your visa, have copies, a copy of your lease and your landlord's ID (and in our case a letter as well since our names aren't on the lease), a copy of a letter from your sponsoring institution (despite the fact that you already needed it to get your visa in the first place), id pictures, and $4. So after all of that and the 3 hour wait you finally get to the counter to get your censo, and they pull out a crappy paper card which they stick into a TYPEWRITER and type up your info. Then, you get to cut your id picture down to size using the scissors taped to the counter, and glue it on yourself using the helpful school paste they have at hand. You don't have to sign it or anything. Then, you have to take it out yourself to get it laminated!!!! How easy would it to be to stick on anyone elses picture!! Oh, and the best part is that you also have to bring your own manila folder, on which you handwrite your personal information and glue another photo. They stick all your copies in there, and add it to what cannot even generously be called a "stack" of folders in the corner of the office. there are literally heaps of these folders falling all over the place. the whole thing was so quintessentially ecuadorian i just wanted to laugh. a censo doesn't get me a whole lot, i can use it as an id, i can get the national rate at national parks (which is actually a huge savings for the galapagos), and i do need it to get a "permiso de salida" or pemission to leave the country.
- i subbed at the crazy christian school again yesterday. cayanne is already putting together the lesson plans for me to teach the last 3 weeks of school there. mostly they will probably be busy with last minute things the school comes up with to interfere with class, but i get to teach them about the ecosystem and prepare for an open house, which i have to teach in front of all the parents! yikes!
- my chorus concert is tonight! For once it's actually a big formal concert in the casa de la musica. eugenio treated us to a long lecture about what an experience of a lifetime it is and how we can tell our children that we sang there (i'm sure mine will be really impressed...). it's part of the "mes de franz listz", sponsored by the conservatory of that name. you can actually see the info online here! Just scroll down to the 26th of may where it says "festival de coros". I'm in the coro de Unita, and you can even see what we're singing! so fancy for ecuador. well, i'd better be off home to change for that... i've got to be there at 6 to practice. i don't think the concert even starts until 8, so it could be a long night!
love to everyone, and hopefully i will have time to put up pictures tomorrow!