Universally Speaking

‘The usual by-passer is a woman sauntering slowly down the road with bundles upon bundles balanced on her head. These woman are pillars of wonder, defying gravity while wearing the ho-hum aspect of perfect tedium. They can sit, stand, talk, shake a stick at a drunk man, reach around their backs to fetch forth a baby to nurse, all without dropping their piled-high bundles upon bundles. They are like ballet dancers entirely unaware they are on stage. I cannot take my eyes from them.’

I am currently reading The Poisonwood Bible, and this quote describes far better than I ever could the way I felt every time I saw the Mayans in Guatemala walking down the street balancing all kinds of crazy things on their heads. I really do miss it.

Hard to believe it was only a week ago that I was chatting with my mom while packing up my stuff… somehow it already feels like longer. This weekend was nice, I mostly talked to my family and explored Quito on foot. My favorite discovery was Parque El Ejido, I don´t know how I managed to miss this place in the 8 weeks I previously spent here, it’s huge!  Upon entering I felt like I had left Quito behind, there were tons of big trees and grassy knolls, with families or couples being cutesy and old men playing bacci ball, it was a nice retreat from the traffic of the city.

I also spent some time this weekend re-visiting the food that I missed. So far I have re-kindled my love affair with Cassave, a chain restaurant where they sell pan de yucca and yogurt smoothies, as well as with the many panaderias throughout Quito, all of which are cheap and delicious.  I also remembered how much I love aji, a sauce made out of the aji pepper that they put on just about everything. My homestay mom makes a killer homemade one, she promised to teach me how to make her aji, and her ceviche, if I teach her how to make chocolate chip cookies.

Things keep getting better and better with my spanish school. My teacher this week is mejor than the last one, and pretty funny as well. She told me that the weather in Quito is crazy, just like the men, and I think probably she is right. I still don’t like the subjunctivo any better than when I started, but it is getting better, siempre poco a poco. I now have a fancy book that says NIVEL AVANZADO on the front of  it, although in my daily life I still am not feeling very ‘avanzado’.

There are more and more new political developments, every day I look forward to watching the news. Recently the indigenous people have started creating road blocks around the outskirts of Quito using fallen trees or burning tires to protest the water privatization, and people have complained that the police are using excessive force in response. Definitely an interesting time to be here.

My obsession with Mad Men continues, I’ve decided to start chain smoking, wearing perfectly tailored clothing, and having a drink always in hand. I have quite a bit of work to do for S.A.H.L.U.D. to get everything ready, it feels daunting when I think about it too much. That´s where the majority of my time is going right now, towards studying Spanish or working on coordinating everything for the group. However, I am still finding time to enjoy myself, Saturday night I went out to Gringolandia with a new friend from school, and today I took a salsa class with two girls from Wales, I really enjoyed it, I think I actually am going to sign up for private classes, so watch out :) More and more I am remembering just how much I love this city, it feels great to be back!

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