Thursday, May 26, 2011

aqui estoy

Via la Ecovia
You know what sucks? Playing trivial pursuit and getting all the wedges right away but getting 10 middle-space questions wrong in the end so it takes forever to win. You know what sucks more? When you’re playing alone in your room on your iPod so you don’t have people to groan/laugh about it with.
You know what sucks the most? Public transportation. I mean, it’s a great thing to have, but sometimes…

Tuesday was the first time I had to take the bus to school, and luckily I had bus buddies from my group. Didn’t mean I wasn’t totally freaked out. The night before I was reading a newspaper that talked about how some woman in Brazil had her hair stolen on the bus. Someone just came and chopped it off and ran off to sell it and she freaked out at first cause she thought they had gotten to her backpack, but then she freaked out even more when she realized what happened since it’s against her religion to cut one’s hair. I mean, I’m not in Brazil and my hair’s not long and gorgeous and even if it were I’d be more pissed than worried about hellfire and damnation, but still…the things people do. Luckily I made it to school and back with my belongings and my lovely ball of uncombed frizz, so yay. But still…to get to the bus you have to cross streets chock-full of the most-ever batshit traffic to get to the bus lane and then run onto a way-crowded bus where you don’t get a seat, so you’re jostled around while clutching to your bag so it doesn’t get dropped or go the way of that lady’s hair. I take two of these things to get to and from school. It’s nice that the buses run like every 5 minutes, though, and there was cool music playing and stuff. And, come on, it’s 25 cents per ride, so I shouldn’t really complain. 

But…let’s start at the very beginning. A very *insert adjective of choice after reading* place to start.
On Saturday morning I woke up at an ungodly hour, made sure I had everything I could possibly need, realized my bags were too heavy and took some ish out, ate yum blueberry pancakes, had an anxiety attack and barfed them up (the bluish vom bouncing back from the toilet into my face the whole time), sat in the car as my parents tried to determine where the short-term parking was, refilled my stomach with Auntie Annie’s, found the terminal, went to check my suitcase to find that our dinky bathroom scale isn’t as accurate as the super-strength ones they have at the airport, took stuff out so my suitcase became exactly 50 pounds (boo-yeah!), checked my bag, hid my face as my dad started joking about bombs in the airport, hugged my parentals goodbye, went through security, bought headphones (third pair in a row that, on purchase, have had one broken earbud. Wut.), dug around for my phone to send goodbye texts to everyone and their cousin’s ex’s ex-roomate’s cockatiel, went on Facebook in the airport to find that my mom/Trixie found my phone in my bed at home, tumbl’d from the airport, wrote horrific run-on sentences, realized that this was going to be a long, long blog post that nobody was going to read, told a BS story about how I went for a ride on the baggage claim belt to make sure my readers were still with me, and boarded the plane. I proceeded to watch Sailor Moon and play trivia games on my iPod as we flew to Miami. 

Once there, I had to get my bags and lug them to the other side of the airport, with not much time at all to spare. And reteach myself to use a payphone to call my mom. It ate a quarter that could’ve been used on the bus. I then ordered a disgustingly greasy and cheesy grilled cheese (and I like all grilled cheeses/grilled Cheesus) and, a bit worse for the wear, met up with my group. None of us ended up sitting together—probably for the best since I could then watch S Club 7: Boyfriends and Birthdays without being judged by those who’ll compose my social circle for the next six weeks. I instead sat next to a really nice woman who works for the college connected to the University I’m studying at, who gave me a lot of advice. To her other side was a Canadian girl talking about how strange it was to be oot of her small hometown. I gladly followed her group through customs, oogling their accents.

Then it was time to meet our host families! In the car I told them right away that I don’t speak Spanish as much as some hybrid of it and Portuguse, and we all talked in Portunish for a while as I got my first glimpses of the city. It was dark, so I couldn’t see much (save the fact that the strangest combination of American chain businesses have made it here…so many KFCs. Also, I’ll try to take a picture, but there’s an ice cream place that blatantly uses the Rolling Stones tongue in their logo. I’m considering doing my final project for the culture class on notions of intellectual property here), but I could tell that I was crazy-high up. Like, even if you’re at a low point in the city you’re still a bajillion feet above sea level. I’ve managed with little altitude sickness and no sunburn or difficulty breathing thus far, but those are all at risks at such a high altitude if you’re not used to it. I’ll probably talk about the weather more later (It’ll be like y’all are people I’m forced to make small talk with!), but I’ll say here…you know how they say if you don’t like the weather in St. Louis you should just wait a day and it’ll change? It’s like that in Quito, but you just have to wait an hour or drive for fifteen minutes and it’s like a totally different climate. 

 Then we got home, I met their dog, my host-grandmother made me a grilled cheese (one of my favorite foods, of course, and this was worlds better than the one I got on the run in Miami). We listened to a radio station that was a mix of Spanish-language music and older songs in English (I mean older like 1980s, not “OMG Hey Soul Sister is soooo old!!! [as an aside, Movistar, a phone company here, overuses that song like whoa. When we went to get our phones it played as each one was set up. Nah, it wasn’t even the whole song. Just hey-ey! Ey-ey-ey-ey-ey…tonight!]. “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama came on and I felt like I was in a movie with a musical reprise since I’d definitely just looped that song while staring angstily out of the airplane window for quite some time. Speaking of bananas, they have a lot of different types here. And lots of fruits that I’d never heard of and still am not sure if I have the names down. Every morning we drink juice from this little tomato, but it doesn't taste like tomato juice at all (thank God). In restaurants we've been served it with mango or pineapple juice added in and then it goes from good to delicious.

Anyhow, my family’s great! 3 generations live in the house, so I have a host grandmother, mother, and brother, and they’re all really sweet. They lived in Spain for a long time so I was able to talk about my time in Seville with them. They have a Yorkshire Terrier that follows the mom everywhere and likes to join us at the dinner table or in front of the TV and rides in the car with us sometimes. When she wants to be petted she drops what she’s doing and flops to the floor and it’s really adorable. Her barking’s been very helpful in letting my family know when I’m at the door since I’m coming to terms with the fact that I don’t actually know how to use most house keys. My host mom’s a travel agent who works out of the home (my room is right behind her office on the first floor; it’s really secluded and nice), and I’m coming to find that it must be a really stressful job. There are a bajillion different tourist locales in Ecuador and she knows a bunch about all of them and is organizing a bunch of trips (one of which is huge and for her own family). But yeah, the food is good (I’ve managed to eat more than rice and beans; my family has made a bunch of soy and vegetable dishes om nom), they’re all really friendly, I’m getting into a Brazilian soap opera that they watch called Cuna del Gato (except I’m missing it right now, but I don’t know when I’ll finish this entry if I don’t finish it tonight). But ohh man, this is dangerous. I remember in Spain my roommate and I got hooked on a telenovela called D├íme Chocolate and the night before we left a character got locked in a car and we never figured out what happened to them. To this day I check Telemundo periodically to see if it’s on.

Anyways, yeah so I’m exhausted so you’ll have to wait to hear about the tour of the city tour/trip to La Mitad del Mundo (crazy things are possible on the equator, let me tell you. For serious.) and fun times at the University (like showing up an hour early for my first day after rushing to get there). And after this weekend I'll be able to write about our trip to Mindo, the cloud forest, where I'll get talked into doing a zip line or waterfall rappelling, climb to the top of wherever I'm supposed to go and then start crying uncontrollably. Get excited. In the meantime, shower me with love in the comments box, or at least shower me with indifference by letting me know that you read this. And shameless plug for my Tumblr ask box will go here. Sorry I talked more about blueberry vomit than I did about Quito in this entry; if it’s education you want you (and I) will get it soon. And next time I shall try to remember to bring some photos to school so I can post them here.

And now, with this:

I bid you all adieu. I guess I should bid you adios instead. iHasta luego!


  1. omg if someone stole my hair i think i'd die. my hair is me. i am my hair. lol

    you've been to spain? dude that's awesome.

  2. I read this to Lyd and David - we all enjoyed it :) I am worried about you and the possible zip lining or repelling!! Lydia laughed. We look forward to hearing more about your adventures.

    PS Lydia just told me she lost the game..........

    Lotsa love to you,
    Momma Smith