So let's be honest, I am updating this to procrastinate on my homework (some things don't change even when you travel to a new country!) I have to write poetry about memorial day for my literature class... hmmm..
I guess it's been awhile since I've updated! My weeks are always so full I don't even remember what I've done. Here are a few things though.
1. Fiesta de Cumpleaños (Birthday Party)
On Sunday my family brought me to a birthday party for my host mom's uncle, who was turning 75. First of all, when you get there, you greet every single person with a kiss on the cheek and ¿Cómo esta?, the normal Ecuadorian greeting. There were a LOT of people at the party; my host family didn't even know half the people there.
We started with some orange drink (that I think might have had a spot of rum in it?), a delicious lunch, and plenty of chatting. Then the games began. It may sound lame that they had organized games, but it wasn't, it was so fun. Everyone participated - kids, grandpas, cousins, madres, todos. We played a game where you have a balloon tied to your ankle and people try to pop it, a game similar to musical chairs, and a bunch of 3-legged races. Then the dancing began. We all got fun little plastic party masks, whistles, and plastic necklaces. It started with a conga line then turned into just fun dancing and people blowing their plastic whistles to the beat. ¡Chevre! Let me tell you, people really know how to move their hips here!
Then, of course, singing and cake and presents. And more dancing and chatting. A lot of us were just sitting around in a circle talking with some people dancing in the middle. The young kids were off trying to play Carnaval (something you'll hear about later.) There were a few people walking around passing out dulces (candies) and roncitos (a little bit of rum/coke.) After about 6 hours, it was time to say goodbye to everyone with a kiss on the cheek and Que pase bien / Chao. Overall, it was really fun. I'm glad that I am doing a family stay while I'm here so that I get the opportunity to experience things like this!
2. Grammar Class
Surprise! I love my grammar class. Never thought I would say that, but I do because my teacher is really fun. We usually spend half the class just talking about social issues in Ecuador, such as gender relations, adoption, education, and much more. Today we played a typical Ecuadorian kid's game called pare la mano to practice vocab, which is similar to Scattegories. I decided to teach my teacher a couple of kids' games from the U.S.: MASH and telephone pictionary. It was definitely a test of my language skills to attempt to explain how to play both of these games in Spanish, but it was so fun!
Went to see some Inca ruins and a ballin cathedral built into a mountain called The Cathedral of San Francisco. We only got to do part of the tour of Ingapirca before it started hailing and raining on us, but it was still sweet. I actually felt kind of weird walking around the Ina ruins. To me it felt like walking through a ghost town knowing that an entire civilization was there at one point, but no longer exists.
4. Orfanáto (Orphanage)
Today we visited a place (I don't remember the name) that is run by nuns that has three separate areas - an orphanage for girls, a hospice for people with terminal illness, and a nursing home. It was actually a very beautiful location, with a huge garden, lots of art on the walls, very clean and open. I felt very blessed to have the opportunity to see this place but it was difficult seeing some of the older people who were physically suffering and hearing bits and pieces of the reasons why some of the young girls were there. It just made my heart ache and made me want to do something good for the world like those nuns are doing.
Other than that there's been a lot of ice cream eating, going out dancing, homeworking in cafes, walking to and from school (it's a 40-minute walk each way), small grouping with some students at my school, chilling with my host family, trying to figure out life here, and a little bit of touring the city and shopping! Also one of my new hobbies is translating American pop songs into Spanish, but it really annoys my friends here a lot....
Que vayan con Dios mis amigos