Thursday, June 29, 2006

Casa abierta

Well, I have survived 3 weeks at jezreel! That is, if my head doesn't explode before i get through the open house tomorrow. I've been pretty organized and i think it will go fine, but even though i was pretty organized (since it was cayanne's plan... i can't actually take the credit.) the rest of the school is doing everything they can to undermine that. Since it's ecuador no one decided the schedule for the last week until the last second, and no can seem to agree on it anyway. Which means either I end up having my classes totally preempted and have nothing to do but sit in the english office and read, or i end up being responsible for my 15 kids plus the rest of all 3 classes. And just try getting 15 10-12 year olds from 3 different classes to stay put in one place for more than 2 seconds, particularly when the entire school is running around like chicken with their heads cut off, it's the last day of school, and it's beautiful outside. Oy!! Wish me luck in getting through the open house tomorrow, becuase I'm going to need it. But then... blissful blissful weekend.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

How did we get to Los Angeles?

Nothing like a trip to hot, smoggy Los Angeles to make you realize just how much you can't wait to live in a place that's not Texas. At least between May and October. Yesterday evening we stepped out of the airport and began uncontrollably shivering in the 80-degree weather (it was the most beautiful sensation). Really, this is cooler air than we've felt in months... pathetic, no?

We landed in LAX last night, were graciously picked up by Lelah (fellow former Wesleyanite), and were chauffered to the home of Adam (also former Wesleyanite... actually, there's no one we came here to visit who we DON'T know from college), which Lelah aptly described as the set of an Italian opera. Like for real. Stucco archways, red tile roof, old-fashioned tall wooden gate, tropical flowers, faux-waterfall out the kitchen window, the works. None of us know exactly what Adam does for a living, but damned if he doesn't do it in style... whatever it is...

We were joined by Dylan, Lelah's boyfriend and my fellow taker-of-college-French-who-now-lives-in-a-place-where-people-only-speak-Spanish, and we ate Japanese food and drove past lots of famous things and then went back to Lelah & Dylan's place to spend the night. (In addition to being two of the nicest people you'll ever meet, they have, incidentally, an adorable townhouse apartment... if you ever get the opportunity to invite yourself over, I highly recommend you do it.) This is the world that our friends live in: Dylan is an editor for the Late Late Show and Lelah got to chat with Paul McCartney several months ago when he came to her store to get the vegan sorbet. Clearly R&I need to take our banjos and suitcases and ride the top of our car back to the hills where we belong. This morning Lelah drove us to the swank patisserie where she works (Mom, if you could have only seen it... you would swoon over those displays of chocolates. We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the store because we might post them on the internet and then Russian spies would get ahold of them and somehow take over the world - but if we had been allowed, I would have taken some to frame for you. Really, the chocolates were that gorgeous.) Lelah let us sample their ice creams and sorbets - lemon basil, raspberry mint, Tahitian vanilla, ginger caramel - which were possibly the most delicious foods on earth, and I've eaten at Felidia, so I should know.

We walked around some, went to the Farmer's Market, and then met up with Nathan (by which I mean he made the hour-and-a-half round trip from his house just to pick us up, because he's a wonderful Christian like that), our superviser from our days of working at the Career Resource Center. I hadn't seen him since the summer of ought-two, and it was SO good to spend time with him and his 2-year-old daughter, who he's trained so well that she now says "Bo-no" every time a U2 song comes on. (I'm serious; we saw it in action. Apparently she can also identify all of the members of U2 by name, AND she knows how to make the Darth Vader audible breathing sound upon command. In addition to being able to open up a DVD player, insert her DVD of choice, close it, and press "Play." Truly a Los Angeles baby for the new millenium. Maybe it comes from starring in all those Quiznos commercials at such a tender age.) Nathan is awesome, Ellie is awesome, we ate In-N-Out burgers for the first time (well, I ate the fries), and it was a thoroughly A+ afternoon.

Now we're being lazy at Lelah & Dylan's while they're out eating with Dylan's uncle. We've got to get in our lazing while we can, what with our busy upcoming schedule: an overnight in San Diego to see a Radiohead concert, 11pm tickets to "Superman" on Wednesday night followed by a 6:45am departure from LAX, and before we know it we'll be in yet another state with yet more time and climate changes to adjust to. It's busy stuff, this vacationing.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Greetings from sunny Quito, for once!

And so ends another week. This month is FLYING by... i can't believe that in less than 5 months i'll be back in chicago! In the winter... ok let's not think that far ahead. I'm done with 2/3 weeks at Jezreel, which despite having my classes preempted for such important reasons as running laps or other teacher's exams, and the unwanted flirting from various male coworkers, has been a good time. The kids' open house presentations are coming along, and i only had to write one of the three scripts (a rather ridiculous adaptation of the tell-tale heart, mr poe will probably be rolling in his grave next friday).

Other developments: the triumvarate of Rebeccas is safely reinstituted and the weather is sunny and beautiful again... today we cooked and stuffed ourselves at brunch at John's place, and then sunned ourselves on the roof with an exceptionally clear sky and view of Cotopaxi. Also, i discovered a new dvd place and have been stocking up on such quality shows as Roswell, Seinfeld and Friends. I may never have to leave the house again. Any requests? They have a lot of shows like Alias, CSI, OC, Simpsons, etc etc. They run $2 per disk and seasons usually have between 3-6 discs.

Of course tomorrow is the Ecuador-Inglaterra game!! We'll be hitting up the yummy pizza place with a big screen tv to watch tomorrow morning. Nothing like drinking Pilsener at 10 am on Sunday. England is certainly favored to win, but hopefully La Tri can at least give them a good run for their money. Since the US didn't even make it past the first round you're free to support Ecuador now! Si se puede!

I'll leave you with some photographic treats. Since I don't have a camera of my own any more, I've taken to stealing my friends' photos.
Check out Berry's pics. Featuring Becky crashing the breakfast at FARO (where Rebecca works and she and Rachel are interning) for one of the Mundial games, our pancake dinner, our night out at the tapas restaurant, and some beautiful scenery. You have to sign in to kodak but it's free.
Check out Briana's puppies!!!! (All looking for good homes...) Could they BE any cuter??

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Feliz dia de los padres!

Just a little trip down memory lane in celebration of my dad :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

¡Si se pudo!

Well if you have to work a a crazy christian school, i highly recommend doing it in ecuador during the world cup. ecuador played costa rica at 8 am which means every business and school either had a holiday or celebrated watching the game together. In Jezreel the kids were supposed to leave in the morning for a retreat (except my 7th graders, so it would have been business as usual for me), but they pushed it back and we all watched the game together in the aduitorium. Nothing like several hundred kids screaming to get your adrenaline going! Plus it was a pretty damn exciting game in its own right. Ecuador had its second straight shut out, kicking some tico ass this time 3-0. This means that for the first time ever they will qualify for the second round, and if they even tie with germany in the last game next week they will finish at the top of their group! I'm know, I'm sure you all are asking, since when do YOU care about soccer? Well, in addition to it being the only sport i actually ever played, ecuadorians are pretty damn proud of themselves right now, and it's a really exciting time. making history and all that for this little country. Even the BBC says so.

(Not to downplay the importance of the previous announcement by discussing food, AHEM katie, but I was also pretty happy with my sandwich today, thanks to cayanne's generous grocery donation: cream cheese and cucumber. yum.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

A strange series of events

So R&I were peaceably sharing a pizza (cheeseless, natch) on the patio in front of Whole Foods last night. They have tables and chairs out there where people are always eating, and of course the ubiquitous flock of hungry birds can always be found flying close to the ground and hopping onto nearby railings and generally making a nuisance of themselves as they live off the fat of the land. One of them landed on the back of the empty chair across the table from me, and spent several minutes staring at us and our dwindling pizza with his beady beady eyes. I was down to my last slice, which I had already eaten all the vegetables off of; I pulled off a chunk of naked crust and (picture the next part happening in slow motion): 1.) rolled it up between my hands, 2.) began moving it toward my mouth, 3.) screamed out loud as something hurtled through the air at me, and 4.) discovered that I no longer had any pizza in my hands. The damn bird from the chair across from me stole the crust directly out of BOTH my hands! Both!!! (I had to give him props for his graceful execution, though; all I felt was the slight brush of his greedy wings on my hands.) Everyone sitting around me was totally nonchalant; the lady at the next table leaned over to say, "Oh yeah, he did that earlier this evening." I couldn't do anything but sit with my mouth open for a while. Needless to say, dinner was over after that.

And then, on the way home, R's seatbelt came unbuckled and popped open. Um, aren't they supposed to test cars for that sort of thing before they declare them safe to drive in?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"La Tri... unidos por la pasion!"

(Ay, I'm excited about La Tri too, but if I have to keep hearing that slogan every 2 minutes when I watch TV, I may have to start supporting Iran or something.)

So, obviously I didn’t have a chance to update pics last Sunday... we ended up having a girls day out with our latest roommate. (Don’t worry, the 3rd Rebecca, popularly known as “LA Rebecca,” will be back in July. Meanwhile we have two subletters, college students who are interning at FARO, the thinktanky place she work at.) We hit up the market in El Ejido, internet and lunch in the mariscal (mom and dad – we were the only people at the mango tree again!!) followed by shopping at quicentro. Almost entirely window-shopping... I did however buy a sweater, matzo and tofu (the grocery store in the fancy mall is good for american luxuries.)

But, I have posted some pics from the beginning of my parents’ trip, mostly of the teleferiqo. Enjoy!!

Choir update: Our concert last friday was fun... not a whole lot of people, but a cool place to sing in nonethless. nothing like million foot high ceilinged cathedral to make anything you sing sound heavenly. And the religious order at the basilica, the sponsors of the concert, were really serious... apparently its the first annual festival of something or other and they want to make it a big deal. They were recording it professionally for a dvd and everything. And they blessed Eugenio (literally) for his work in arranging and promoting ecuadorian music. And they gave us a free postcard and served us cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate. And a columbian choir gave us a free keychain. And we actually got to sit and watch some of the other choirs instead of hiding backstage, So, good times all around. Now we’re finally prepping some new songs for the upcoming university choral festival in july. We’re also dusting off “Ride the Chariot” (well its new to some of us, including me...) for which I get to be resident English pronunciation and spiritual style expert...

Work update: My morning student and narc student are still good, but I on monday i am about to abandon them for 3 weeks as I embark on my new career as Ms. Rebecca, crazy christian school teacher! It will be a busy (and presumably profitable) time, as I teach full days at the school followed by my afternoon and evening class.

La Tri update: I’m happy to say that Ecuador kicked some Polaco ass on Friday!!! (Probably mostly due to Jennie and Jenna’s support!) I haven’t watched soccer in a good while, but it was a pretty exciting game, with Ecuador dominating most of the time. Isn’t it funny how all the players are big afro-ecuatorianos from the coast?? it’s a huge stereotype here but clearly very accurate. We don’t have much hope for the game against Germany, but hopefully we can take Costa Rica and maybe even advance to the next round!! Remind me to always spend the world cup in a country where everyone cares about soccer (um, pretty much anywhere outside of the us)! 2002 I was in Italy, and if I recall correctly Richard and I were in London on the day Brazil won it all. Check out the special Mundial section in El Comercio. Actually since a week ago it's been pretty difficult to find any news that ISN'T about the mundial!

Party update: I watched the game at work with all the other english teachers and ecuadorians who work at the experiment, and the festivities kind of got combined with a going away party for Jody and Cayanne, who are leaving on Thursday! They also hosted a pretty fabulous party at their house later in the evening. Nothing too big, just us from work and loooots of alcohol and dancing etc. More stories that are inappropriate for the blog... ahem... Unfortunately, the excellent time, and possibly Jody and Cayanne’s memory of their whole year here, was ruined. Someone stole my camera, which was bad enough, but it looks like they also stole her engagement ring!!!! The whole time we’ve been in ecuador, worrying about being robbed on the street or in a bus or whatnot, and it happens in their apartment with just our friends and workmates!! We were pretty appalled. It’s possibly we can track down who did it, but it’s just horrible to have to accuse people we work with. The upside is I still have all the pictures downloaded on my computer, and I even still have pictures of the party that Becky took, but as if I didn’t have enough on my to buy list already, i have to add a new camera! Of course, in the scheme of things it’s easily replaceable, and I’m mostly upset on J and C’s behalf and by the fact that I can’t trust people at work anymore :(

Friday, June 09, 2006

Si se puede!

No pics yet, but 2 special announcements today:

Felicidades to Natalia on this, the day of her graduation from the U of Chicago LAW SCHOOL!!!!

Buena suerte to La Tri, the Ecuadorian soccer team, who are making their debut in the Mundial Alemania 2006 in just one hour! It's pretty much a national holiday here.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Just a teaser

Went to Kerrville, spent 48 hours with hundreds of cheerful hippies on a ranch in central Texas, got back, got re-eaten by the No Time Monster, sat down to post an incomplete run-on sentence in the guise of an actual blog entry. That covers the past week, at least. Recent things of note: I completed another year in my book of books (the blank book in which I ever so nerdily record every book I've read... this year's total was 65, although it was really only about 55-60 if you don't count the books I'd already read or the ones that were short enough to be read in an hour or less); I attended my first show at the infamous Cactus Cafe; I managed to kill yet another houseplant; our landlord affixed something to the bottom of our front door so the daylight no longer shines through; the behemoth duplex next door developed walls, a roof, and siding; and peaches came into season. Apart from that, it's just same old same old. R and I are gearing up for our LA-WMass extravaganza... only two and a half weeks till departure! I'm now being mocked by R for spending 10 minutes on the 1 sentence I assured him was all I was going to post. So, for the sake of my dignity, this post is now over, effective as of the end of this sentence.



Friday, June 02, 2006

Narcs make the best students

I don't have a whole lot of time, but since Richard seems to have killed the mood for commenting on the last blog with his admission of less than optimal hygiene, I thought I'd say hi. Been another busy week with another new class, this time a big shot cop (he's literally a narc, among other things). He's a similar level as my morning student, and super talkative though his knowledge of english can't keep up with his enthusiasm he switches over to spanish, so my translation skills are getting some serious work. And it's 6 hours a week... sweet! plus in the mariscal, so when i have time it's convenient to run errands and such, like finally checking my mail at the SAEC (disturbingly empty!! come on now, remember i'm always shopping for holiday presents... hint hint...) and use the internet! I really have to run right now because I have yet another chorus concert, this time in the basilica! which is one of the big fancy churches in the historic center of quito, the one you may remember as the local climbable "church with a view". Late tonight we get our second subletter, and tomorrow i have 2 goodbye parties! I'm a busy girl! But I will make time for pictures on sunday... love to everyone