Well it’s been a few days. Meg left a comment that my blogs are too long. It’s just that there’s so much to say! I am having so many crazy experiences that it’s impossible to write it all down.
When I picked my little blog theme or whatever, I had no idea how much banana stuff i would actually be eating here in Ecuador. I have bananas for breakfast, fried bananas for dessert, plantain this and that… today my host mom sent me to school with… you guessed it… a banana. but one of those cute mini ones.
Well we got back from Otavalo last night. Otavalo is a town that is north of Quito where I live. Quito is a “thriving metropolis”…haha… despite the bad internet service… that is an overall very wealthy city. Otavalo is extremely different. Quito is made up of whiter people that are originally from Spain, a bunch of people mixed with Spanish and native Ecuadorian blood, and a handfull of full-blood native ecuadorians. Otavalo is an indigenous town. It’s kind of like a mix between an Indian reservation and Amish country in the states. Everyone is reaaaally small, dark-skinned, and dresses in traditional Andean clothing. It was colder there and even more mountainous. Otavalo is famous for its market. It is blocks long and wide, and they sell llama sweaters, wool purses, leather purses, silver jewelry… basically like a big flea market. It was kind of overwhelming, but I bought a couple of things. I wont tell you what because they are potential gifts for my loved ones… haha. We stayed in a sweet hostal with hammocks all over the place.
Andean culture is really neat. They are super into music so every meal we ate there, there was a live band. The first night Pablo took us to a salsa club to try dancing here for the first time. That was an experience… to say the least. I definitely came to Ecuador knowing that I wanted to dance salsa. I do really enjoy dancing. It’s just that… I wasnt to fond of the atmosphere. It might have been the specific place we went.. but the air was filled with cigarette smoke, everyone was drinking except me… the guys seemed kind of predatorial, hahaha…. i don’t know. I danced with my girlfriends a lot and a few ecuadorians, being sure to keep a good distance. but it just felt weird. they say dancing is different here.. more of a cultural thing.. but i don’t know. I don’t think the environment makes it worth it to me. It’s not like I personally was drinking or smoking of course, but being around so many people who were was tough. I have prayed about it but I still feel confused about the whole issue. Luckily there are a lot of girls here who feel the same way and I think we will more often just do other things instead.
On sunday they told us we were going to visit some other artisan towns. They neglected to inform us that we were also going to make a little side trip to go mountain climbing. So of course I wore these cute shoes i bought in macedonia- not sneakers. i had to hike up to the top of this waterfall in them. i made it okay but now my shoes are ruined. the waterfall was gorgeous though… like everything else. we went to a leather town called cotacachi and a weaving town as well. I have some great pictures of it that i’ll post as soon as i can. on our way home me and kara and one of our leaders, tom, talked with the bus driver and we told lots of jokes. mostly about michael jackson… good times.
It was a great weekend in otavalo and i really appreciated seeing more of the poverty side of the country, but also the beauty of the art and indigenous people here. buuuut last night i was pretty emotional. I was so exhausted from the trip and came home to mountains of homework. i was also feeling really sick of speaking spanish. i love the language but it is so tiring to constantly be translating words in my head and conjugating verbs correctly and all. i just want to speak english sometimes but i don’t get to very often. hopefully it’ll get easier. last night i just really missed home. everything about it- my family, aaron, cla, my friends… the last two sundays we have had scheduled activities and i am really missing being at church. hopefully this weekend i can go but the group is organizing a trip to the beach to go whale-watching. i am trying to decide whether i want to go or not. but anyways like i said, it was sad last night and i cried for the first time. its starting to sink in that this isn’t a 10-day missions trip or something, it’s a whole semester. it hadn’t quite hit me until then. plus i have had a lot of stomach problems the past few days and i am starting to get a cold today. rah. at least i am here with wonderful friends who were are so supportive, definitely in a spiritual way and also in an “okay lets get your mind off it and go do something fun” way.
Please keep me in your prayers that I don’t get too sick and that I can be in a little better of a mood! If you get a chance I would love to get an email from you to tell me what’s been happening with you! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Love you all.