Hey everyone! i am enjoying a relaxing saturday in quito, the first weekend we´ve been home in 3 weeks.
Things are going well. The semester is getting a little bit tougher and homework has picked up a bit. I continue to enjoy spending time with the awesome group of girls from BCA, and with our Ecuadorian friends, who thankfully are increasing in number!
Kara and I actually made a new Ecuadorian friend named Ivana. She now attends our celula (small group) at church. She actually just got saved like 3 weeks ago and is really excited about the Lord. I respect her so much because in the course of three weeks she has completely turned her life around – broke up with her boyfriend, stopped dinking, quit smoking, changed the music she listens to… the list goes on. I am so proud of her committment and dedication. We went out to coffee tree last night and she brought some girlfriends along. She will be going along with us on the retreat next weekend so that will be really awesome.
Last night Kara, Christa and I went to the best birthday party I have ever been to. Seriously, birthdays here are insane. Eduardo´s cousin turned 23 and they suprised him with a party at Edu´s house. All the cousins were there, a lot of them we already knew too because of going with them to Baños. When people have a party at their house in Ecuador, they push all the furniture out of the living room and play salsa and merengue. It´s so different from the more formal parties we have in the states for birthdays. We played the most hilarious games… including musical chairs. yes i´m serious. but you had to salsa dance around them. and a few other traditions here are that the birthday person gets their face smashed into the cake, so it gets destroyed instead of eaten, and also gets spanked with a belt by the whole family. Apparently this is very common. The Cardenas family is so different from mine… there are about 25 cousins that are all around the same age and they hang out all the time. It´s so interesting to watch them all, and I can´t help but wish that my family could be as huge and spend as much time together. I think that Americans could learn a lot from observing the way Ecuadorian familys act around each other. Anyways, it was really fun and we felt very included and welcomed by them.
Today I had a bit of a tense conversation with my host parents. They probably don´t intend to, but sometimes I think they overstep their boundaries a bit and get the idea that they are my actual parents. They gave me the ¨consejo¨ that I should be taking more spanish classes instead of fun classes, and that I´m not preparing myself well enough for my future. Without relaying the full conversation it´s hard to explain, but they said this in a way that felt very offensive to me. This was difficult because I had to be respectful but I felt hurt that they didn´t think I was preparing well enough for my future. It is difficult to explain in spanish that this semester is a much needed break from the academic stress of Messiah, and that I came here more for the experience than the study. My academic goal for this semester was to learn spanish, and that is what I intend to do. I am trying to remind myself that they mean well but I almost cried after what they said to me.
Tonight, Kara and I have been invited to dinner with the missionary family I know here in Quito. Should be nice to have a home-cooked gringo meal and get to know them a little better. Then I have reading for lit… lots of it. speaking of, I should probably go get started. Have a great weekend!