So September 1 was the official beginning of my year off. Except…it’s not really my year off. Since I quit my job, I have started taking Spanish classes at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador or PUCE. Every morning I leave the house by 8:25 and get home around 1:00. It is A LOT of work! I am learning the subjunctive again and I think I’m getting it this time around. I am starting to notice when I should use it in conversation and I always notice when E uses it. I really enjoy being a student. My class is a mix of lots of kinds of people from lots of different countries. I like that we all speak Spanish to each other inside and outside of classes. Fun!
Spanish classes are not all I have on my plate. I got a job teaching English for 4 hours every Friday at PUCE. They offer the teachers free classes on Fridays and I am teaching one of those classes. It pays well and I really like teaching adults. They are interesting and really work hard. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? I am also teaching SAT math class tutor four times each week and all of them begin in a few weeks. Three of the classes are on Saturday and Sunday in the late mornings. Again, these students are all very motivated and lovely so it’s fun and not too stressful.
Soooo…….as you can see I’m not really sitting home relaxing and delving into self improvement books. But I am so much happier now than when I was teaching at that school. I definitely made the right decision to leave. From what I hear now, the school is a mess and a ton of people have quit. Thank goodness I got out of there!
During my big year off, one thing I really wanted to work on was my health in terms of what I’m eating and how I’m exercising. Outside of teaching and learning, this is my focus right now. In August I started the 30 Day Simple Green Smoothie Challenge. I got into the habit of making myself a green smoothie for breakfast and I felt SO MUCH BETTER!! My skin was clearer and other great things were happening with me. I don’t want to create a TMI situation here but lots of things improved and I’ll leave it at that. In the middle of it all I bought a new KitchenAid blender since the one that came with the apartment was sad and slow. OMG – THIS BLENDER HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. It is my new best friend. I make smoothies, almond butter, pesto, soups, and more!
On September 1, in honor of the beginning of my year off, I started the Fresh Start 21 Cleanse. They tell you exactly what you should eat and when you should eat it. They give you recipes, shopping lists, a Facebook support page, and more! I am now 8 days into the cleanse and I have not had any caffeine, sugar, dairy, meat, or gluten. And I feel great. You can see some of the food I have been cooking for the last 8 days in the photos below. I spend A LOT of time cooking. If I had a full time job, this would be much harder to do but as time passes I am learning some organizational prepping tricks that cut down on kitchen time considerably. I have learned a ton about what I should be eating and what I should avoid. When I came to Ecuador with WorldTeach I lost a ton of weight. When people asked what I did differently, I told them I maybe it had to do with the fact that I was not eating processed foods. Now that I am learning about ‘whole’ or ‘clean’ foods, or whatever you want to call them, I firmly believe that was the reason. I just finished reading 100 Days of Real Food and once the cleanse is finished I plan to try the recipes in the book. I promise not to be that annoying person who lectures you about food but I definitely will be more careful about what is going in my mouth! And just to warn you, (and you know who you are) I might say no to some dishes that I used to love because I know what is in them. I think the hardest part of changing what you eat is balancing how to eat with family and friends without offending anyone. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!
And last, E and I went to Crucita to visit our friends who were staying on the beach for a month. It was gorgeous at sunset and we got to play in the ocean, eat lots of seafood, and have a little fun! We decided that we need to take advantage of living near the ocean more often. Yay! This means more weekend trips!
What an outstanding beginning to your special year! Every dish pictured looks delicious and I’d try them all. Mr. T — not so much!!!! Good Luck toots. Hugs, M.