It’s been a while since I posted and I’ve been having so much fun! My classes are going really well. SECAP has the best students and I just love them. They want to learn English so badly and they appreciate everything I do for them. This makes it easier to put up with the ridiculous things that go on at SECAP outside of my classroom. I’m almost at the end of my second cycle and there is only one cycle left! I can’t believe how fast this year is going. I don’t want it to end!!!
The last weekend in February I went to a soccer game with my host brothers, Henry and Esteban, as well as Robin and Fernando. La Liga, Henry’s obsession and the team for which we were rooting, was the visiting team. (From what I understand, there are two major teams in Quito. La Liga is one of them.) We had to sit in a separate section and the police guarded the border between the fans of both teams. The fans sang/chanted for the ENTIRE GAME! They only stopped to swear at the referees or to set off fireworks. With about a half hour left, it started to pour. Did a torrential downpour stop these fans? NO! I think it may have motivated them to sing louder! It was a blast.
The next weekend, I went to the movies with all three host brothers and Robin. We went to see The Artist which was perfect since there was no translation necessary. I felt like I needed to see it since it won the Oscars and I am completely out of touch with American cinema! On the way into the theater, we passed by a McDonald’s. It was the classiest, fanciest McDonald’s that I have ever seen and I insisted on having my picture taken by the counter. There was black leather furniture and really modern decor. McDonald’s in Ecuador is really nice. Ecuadorians can’t wrap their heads around the fact that McDonald’s in the USA is usually the complete opposite!
This past weekend I took a weekend trip with Esteban. We took a tour of a few towns North of Quito. First, we went to Otavalo which is famous for its market. It’s HUGE and filled with fun stuff. I was most excited about going to the pie shop. This isn’t the first time I’ve visited Otavalo. The last time I was there we went to eat pie at a little hole-in-the-wall pie shop and it was SO GOOD. Only one person can make pie better and that’s my mom. After I dragged Esteban to the pie shop and made him fall in love with the pie, we walked around a bit and then got back on the bus.
We headed to Cotocachi which is well known for its leather products. Esteban wanted a leather jacket so we had fun trying on coat after coat in the many, many leather stores. After a while in Cotocachi, you begin to believe that you need a leather bag, boots, a coat, pants, hats, and wallet. Luckily, I resisted and saved my money. But when it’s time to return to the US, I will stop there to buy some fun stuff! We went to dinner and I got yummy trout. Esteban ate carnes coloradas for which Cotocachi is well known. It was really good!
We ended up staying in Cotocachi and the next day returned to Otavalo. The first thing we did was buy some fresh snails. A kid was selling them on the corner and Esteban was bold enough to buy a bag. They put lemon, salt, and some herbs in the bag with the snails. You just use your teeth to put the snail out of its shell and suck it down. Ummm….I tried one. It was…..okay. Then we went back to the pie shop and bought pie for the family. I ended up buying a really cute hat for $2. Thank you to Esteban who can bargain like no other! Then we went to Cayambe which is famous for its biscoches (biscuits) and cheese. I decided it would be fun to organize a contest about which store has the best biscoches. There are probably 100 stores that cook and sell biscoches in Cayambe. I wanted to figure which had the best! So we went to four popular stores and bought a bag of biscoches from each. When we got home, I hid the identities of the biscuits and everyone tried and voted for their favorite biscuit. It was a hoot! We also ate the cheese which was the best I’ve tasted from Ecuador.
The night we got back, my friend Nina, came to stay with my family. She was heading to see her family in Hawaii and needed a place to crash for the night. She’s stationed in Machala, a coastal town, and her Spanish is awesome. This made me really sad because mine is NOT. I announced to my family that I will not speak English anymore! I am determined to use the next five months to get better. I’m already taking Spanish classes. I just have to get over the need to be correct when I speak and just do it! While Nina was here, she was freezing since she is so used to the heat of the coast. She also fell in love with André like all of my other friends. He is just too adorable for his own good. In a week, Nina and I head to the Galapagos!!!!!! I can’t wait!
I’ll post about that when I return from my vacation. Oh! The pictures I plan to take! SO MANY PICTURES!