OK – it has been a really really long time. I’m embarrassed to admit how long. All you have to do is look at the time stamp on my last post and you will know my shame.
Lots has happened in the last few months. I went home to the US to visit my family at Christmas. I went to Chile with Esteban for a couple of weeks and have visited a few other places like Tonsupa and Papallacta. Esteban and I have been taking salsa lessons three times per week and I’m still terrible but having fun. And I’ve been asked to teach an SAT prep course once a week. (I’ve always been interested in that test because knowing how to beat the test can be the difference between going to college and not going to college which could really help my students!)
I’m finally realizing that I live in Quito. It’s not a little one year stint like when I was part of WorldTeach. We are talking a couple years or more. I feel like I am more a part of Quito now than before. I rent my own apartment. I have a real job. I pay the utilities and I shop at the grocery store. It’s my real life. I finally know what it is like to live in another country and have to take care of yourself. I have gone to the Ministry of Foreign Relations to get my visa and I have visited the SRI offices (the IRS) to organize my taxes. And I’ve made real friends here.
Since I am now a ‘Quiteña’ (actually, I’m not even close – but at least I live in Quito?), I feel I have earned the right to boast and complain about this big city. I love parts of Quito – the parks, the weather, the location – near the beach and the jungle yet smack dab in the Andes, and lots of things are so cheap!! I can take salsa lessons, Spanish lessons, buy lots of fresh fruit, take taxis everywhere, have the highest speed internet, and still save money! But there are downers.
My number one complaint? POLLUTION – be it noise or air – it is TERRIBLE. People drive cars and buses that are spewing clouds of black smoke into the air. Walking down the street in a white shirt? It will be gray in no time. And the noise pollution!? Oh! The constant, never ending beeping. Everyone beeps ALL THE TIME. Need to jackhammer at 10:30pm? Sure! Why not?
But Quito is my city now. You know how you can complain about how annoying your relatives are but if you heard someone else say the same thing you would want to punch them in the nose? Yeah – that’s how I feel about Quito. I love/hate it so I get to complain about it – but no one else is allowed. 🙂
I’ve included a few highlights from my trips and from around here. You can click on the photos to see them better. Enjoy!