Going Down Under

…My life abroad

ummm hi November 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 7:28 pm

I am writing a blog without really having too much to say…

basically i just want finals to be done.  i knew lit was going to kill me at the end of the semester… ugh

i´m in a bad mood

sorry

but last night i watched nacho libre with kara and it was so much funnier after living in latin america

¨GET THAT CORN OUTTA MY FACE!!!!¨

tonight we have a thanksgiving dinner with our study abroad program

hmm aaand i don´t like bananas anymore.  in fact when i see one i want to vomit.  because i have had to eat one or more every day for 4 months.  BASTA CON LOS BANANOS

 

Las Empleadas November 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 4:37 pm

Some relationships in life are very odd.

 

The past few days I have become uncomfortably aware of the way I relate to our two maids, Aurorita and Rosita. 

 
These two women literally wait on me constantly.  They cook all of my meals, sweep my floor, do all of my laundry.  They dust, vaccuum, empty the trashcans, and even unlock the gate every morning so I don`t have to do it.  Rosita always says, ¨Un lindo día!¨ Which means have a great day, and Aurorita when she does it always says, ¨Cuidanse much niñas!¨ Which means take care and be safe, girls!  And I have to alert them exactly an hour and a half before I take a shower so they can connect the hot water.

It is odd to have two live-in maids.  Especially when my living standards here are considerably lower than they are at home.   My host mom has made it clear that the maids have their place and that I am not to treat them as anything more than a maid.  So I feel awkward talking with them about how my day was, and I can tell they feel awkward when our conversation goes past, ¨would you possibly be able to iron this for me tomorrow?¨  My host family does not mistreat them, although sometimes they do speak a bit harshly to them when they make simple mistakes like forgetting to put the mustard out or something.  But when I asked my host mom if I could take them out for coffee as a thank-you at the end of the semester, she told me it would be best not to because ¨they might feel uncomfortable¨ with that.  It just isn`t done; someone who is waited on returning the favor like that.  However, if it wasn`t for their steady income thanks to my host family, they would be destitute.  It provides them with security and stability.  I can tell that my host family can`t really afford two maids, but they took on Aurorita just for the sake of giving her work so she could survive, because at this point she is too old to find anything else.

I`m not gonna lie, it`s nice to not have to do chores.  And it will take some adjusting next semester when I am expected to do them again.  But I hate the feeling of having two women whose entire lives revolve around serving me and my host family.  It feels… wrong.  I have asked if they have family.  They don`t.  I have asked what they like to do for fun.  They watch soap operas in their little rooms out back.  And I can`t help but wonder how it is that I am so disgustingly fortunate sometimes, to be able to live my own life, to be able to leave my bed unmade this semester, and to not have to reach for my keys when I walk out the driveway.

My mom is probably laughing reading this right now, thinking, haha let`s hope she makes up for lost time and starts to actually help with the dishes and laundry when she gets home.

Anyways, I don`t really know where I was going with that.  Except to say, living with empleadas has given me an interesting perspective on class structure and my place within society.

 

Thanksgiving blog.. a few days late! (sorry!) November 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 8:18 pm

wordpress isn’t letting me copy and paste this… so if you want to hear about my thanksgiving adventures you’ll have to click the link!  It’s pretty hysterical…

thanksgiving1.doc

 

Back from Baños with much to report!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 4:56 pm

WELL I just had one of the most fun weekends since coming to Ecuador.

My friend Christa and I headed out to Baños Saturday morning. We had been planning to leave Friday but Kyle and Kelsey had some friends from Mount Joy in town and we stayed so I could get to hang out with them friday night. It was so cool because most of them knew my cousin and tons of friends from Messiah that went to Donegal or LMH. It`s a small world. Anyways,

Christa and I headed out early because Baños is 4 hours away. When we arrived, we found a sick hostal for 6 bucks a night with a private bathroom and hot water in an ideal location. That`s dinero. Then we headed off to the Piscinas del Virgen (Pools of the Virgin) to check out the volcanic springs. We were thinking about going to some nicer pools that cost more money, but I`m so glad we picked the cheaper place because it was such a cultural experience. The pools are located right at the base of this huge waterfall. There is a freezing pool, an in between one and then one that is hotter than your average hot tub. The weather was gorgeous and sunny and just all around amazing and the pools were PACKED with overweight ecuadorians. It was hilarious. The water looked really sketchy and yellowish but I tried not to think about it. Our friend Mauricio met up with us there. He goes to our school here and was friends with kaelie last semester. It was so good spending the weekend with him there because even though he is fluent in english, he makes us speak spanish with him so we learn. Speaking spanish the whole weekend was so good because I feel like I continue to improve with practice. Although he told me I have an Argentinian accent. He was calling me Che because Argentines always say Yo (which means ¨I¨) like Jo or Cho, and double Ls like llegar they say it like ¨jegar or chegar¨. That is how Che Guevara got his name, instead of his real name Ernesto, because when he was traveling all over South America in his young adulthood some girls in Peru (i think it was peru) told him it was hilarious how he pronounced everything with a Che. I always talk like that. I have no idea where I got it because Mexicans and Hondurans don`t have that accent so I wouldn`t have picked it up there either. Well anyways, (wow I am long-winded today),

So then after the pool for several hours we ran into one of the girls from BCA with her parents, who recommended that we take a taxi to the volcano to see it. It is called Tungarahua and is very active. The last major eruption occurred in August of last year and it crippled the little town of Baños for quite some time. In the little towns at its base outside of Baños, many people were left homeless and when we were driving to it everything was dusty and ashey, but it kind of looked like construction. Turns out it is still the remnants of that eruption. However, the town of Baños has never been destroyed by the volcano. The people of the town attest this to their patron saint, the Virgin of Holy Water. She has supposedly been the one to stop the volcanic eruptions from touching the main town. Because of this, the town has a beautiful church dedicated to her, with a fountain where I watched the townspeople bring huge water bottles and fill them up with this ¨holy¨ water. They stood there washing their children`s hair in it, drinking it, and taking some home to sprinkle in their homes for extra protection. It is just fascinating. Our taxi driver took us to a great spot to see the volcano, and when we arrived there were mushroom clouds coming out of it. This is very normal, and just water vapor, but one rarely has the chance to see it this time of year because of the clouds. It was absolutely incredible watching the smoke come out of this volcano. I took pictures that would just melt your face off, seriously.

So then after eating dinner at this sweet restaurant with swings inside of it, we boarded a chiva and headed out with lots of ecuadorians to the top of a lookout of the city. A chiva is basically a crazy crazy bus. In ecuador they are really popular. It`s painted all these crazy colors and is kind of like a big jeep. The roof has tons of seats on it too, so sometimes there is an actual band that plays up there and sometimes they just blast reggaeton from the HUGE speakers inside of it. And it has all these crazy siren lights… it`s ridiculous. But so funny. So we get up to the top of the mountain and see the whole city of Baños lit up at night. Then they gave us candelazos, a traditional cinnamony hot beverage that is typical to ecua, and had a huge bonfire with guys that danced with fire and did all these crazy tricks and told us not to try them in our own houses, but in the houses of our aunts and grandmas if we wanted. 🙂 when we got back to the town we went to a salsa place and this ecuadorian guy tried to steal my messiah sweatshirt… do not ask me why… and mauricio rescued it! who does that? i don`t know maybe he was just chilly. But mauricio foiled his plan, thankfully.

The next morning we got up early to take a tour of the Baños waterfalls in another Chiva. This was so much fun. It lasted for four hours and we saw tons of cascades that are the biggest things ever, and we also stopped at a famous bridge in Baños where you can do bungee jumping. Now bungee jumping is on my list for life so after debating it I decided to take the plunge! You literally just stand on the edge of this bridge and jump off, right about a white-water-rafter river. It was nuts. I think I can say that it was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. I was the only one out of our whole tourist group who did it! But I`m so glad. Hay que aprovechar todo… or in english, seize the day, more or less.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and full of adventure. Pictures soon to come…

 

tryptophan…i am feelin it November 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 1:50 pm

Man I am wicked tired today!  I had to drag myself out of bed.  TGIF.

Well, yesterday was one of the most fun thanksgivings I have ever had, surprisingly.  I can´t wait to tell you all about it because it was that amazing.  I wrote this whole blog about it last night so I wouldn´t forget anything but seeing as my flash drive is being so uncooperative I will have to get that out to ya on Monday.  The only thing that could have made the day any better would have been family, but I was surrounded by close friends and that´s the next-best thing.   But let me share with you quickly that my friend Arelis received a letter in the mail from a boy that used to be in her life yesterday…and he had sprayed his cologne all over it, maybe to get her to like him again, I don´t know.  We laughed SO HARD and kept smelling it all day and she would whip it out of her backpack.  ah, thanksgiving greetings.  Sadly I did not receive any cards… save an electronic thanksgiving card from Ross´ mom.  But it´s okay, I will cry myself to sleep tonight but it´s okay I suppose I can still call you all my friends and family… haha just kidding no worries.

The plan for this weekend is that I´m going to Baños with my friend Christa.  That´s the place I went earlier in the semester where I did white-water rafting.  Christa hasn´t been yet and I had wanted to go back, so it´s just the two of us girls, but it should be a lot of fun.  I´m looking forward to it.  But I haven´t packed yet… and I´m kind of running low on money…minor details.  Hey we´re in Ecua. Doesn´t matter.  Just livin´it up, you know how I do.  : )

Love you all and hope you had a great holiday.  And I hope for the sake of those of us who couldn´t that you watched the Macy´s parade.

Andrea

 

thankful. November 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 4:56 pm

In the spirit of thanksgiving, I have decided to blog today about things that I am grateful for. I have a lot of free time right now so it might be long… but this will help keep kara occupied on the job so i don`t feel too bad about it : )

* I am thankful for my family. Tom Dana and Lindsay. More than ever before, due to the distance. Some of my friends here don`t really miss theirs and that makes me sad for them because it`s so good to miss home I think.

* I am thankful for the opportunities I have. Yes, I have been born into a life of privilege, and I don`t want to take that for granted. I can go to school as long as I want, get a decently-paid job pretty easily, without having to do hard labor, and I have the means to travel. That`s huge.

* I am so thankful that God has provided me with incredible friends. Just so you know… if you`re reading… you`re automatically included in that haha

* I am so glad I can get up every morning and feel good about who I am. I know so many girls… well people in general.. that struggle with self-image and go through life feeling like they aren`t enough. God has helped me to be cool with who I am even though I am weird and as my dad and I like to say, ¨fly my freak flag¨.

* I`m thankful for the chance to have been taken out of my safe Christian bubble for a semester. It`s taught me a lot. I grew up on a christian college campus, at CLA my whole life… now being in a secular school without my home church and spiritual mentors… my faith is more my own. It has to be. There is nothing left to lean on and I think we all need those times.

* I`m thankful for my own car. Relying on public transportation for 4 months… that will teach you to appreciate you own set of wheels, believe me

* I`m grateful that I almost always feel safe.

* I`m so glad I don`t stress out about school. Everyone I know who does just seems unhappy. (Not endorsing slacking in school… fyi…had to disclaimer that because after all it is the internet and people like to misinterpret)

* After meeting many people who have trouble sleeping, I`ve realized what a blessing it is to be able to put my head on the pillow and instantaneously fall asleep and sleep like a rock until my alarm… until I hit snooze 10 more times…until beatriz starts pounding on my door…

* I`m thankful for the ability to remember.

* I`m glad I`m outgoing. I feel like that impacts my life in almost every way.

* I`m so glad I`m not a math or science major. That probably crosses my mind at least once a day.

* I`m glad for the Celine Dion Christmas CD. Heather told me her Ecua family listens to it and now I feel like her host mom and I are soul sisters

* I`m really thankful for bright colors. Is that weird? I kind of thrive on surrounding myself with them slash wearing them.

* I`m thankful for hard teachers who have taught me to think critically. Even though maybe I hated that learning process at the time.

* I just really like soft lighting. And how my dad is obsessed with dimmer switches. Because here people only have fluorescents everywhere and it is PUTRID.

* I am grateful for all music with the exception of screamo and anything generated in the 80`s. oh and select classical as I mentioned below. But everything else… it`s just sweet.

* I am pretty glad that I have a dog that doesn`t bark. Aw I miss little Flossy

* I am thankful for vinegar which makes everything taste better.

* I love laughing. And isn`t it cool that God designed it so you burn calories while you do it? I mean honestly

* I love the beach. And how no beach is alike. And especially sunsets combined with beach.

* I am so thankful to know another language because I feel like it has opened the door to a whole new world. Wow that sounded so aladdin-y but do you know what I mean? I can communicate with a whole other continent now.

* I`m really thankful for TRADEWINDS. and missionettes conventions that accompany them.

* I am really glad I`m not an only child because Lindsay makes being a Britton that much cooler. Having a sibling is such a funny thing because you fight like cats and dogs all through childhood and then freakishly bond later. Lindsay remember that time you made me bleed? hahaha. Oh those were the days

* I just really love microwaves. They are so amazing to me. And when I grow up I think I might invent a reverse type microwave to make things cooler in seconds. Like you know when your ice cream starts to melt and you are just like, I wish this would unmelt. Or you just bought a 2 liter soda but it`s warm. And you want to take care of that and break it open. You just wait it will happen.

* I am thankful that I am relatively healthy.

* I am grateful for things that smell good such as fresh laundry and ashcombe`s and abercrombie fierce cologne and bonfires and the way our house smells when my parents make rutabakers and anything coconut lime verbera and the bubblegum scented fog machine at venve.

* I am so glad for technology and the ability to communicate more easily than ever.

* I`m really thankful for artists and mentors who inspire me.

Man I could go on for days but I have to go now…

happy thanksgiving

tell me what you`re thankful for.  i`m curious

 

Music November 19, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 4:43 pm

Lately I have been thinking about music.

(oh by the way this goes out to my friend ryan gerber who told me yesterday that my blog gets him through sociology class.)

What is it about music that has such a deep impact on me? It can completely change my mood, inspire me to do things, make me cry, make my sides hurt laughing. Life seems so empty without it and so whole with it.

 

Not that I don’t hear a lot of music here. On the contrary, I probably listen to a lot more music here than I do at home. It’s so different, if you’ve ever been in Latin America you know what I’m talking about. Walking down the street or on a bus or sitting in my house, it’s playing from some loudspeaker. In my house my parents listen to Frank Sinatra-y music in Spanish. Out in the city it’s reggaeton, with repetitive pounding beats and lyrics that I know are probably super-sketchy but I can’t understand them anyways so it doesn’t bother me too much.

 

Yet with all of this music, which sometimes seems a little more like noise to me, I feel deprived. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal living without a piano for five months, but wow. It`s to the point that in Australia I might request a family with a piano. I never sing in Ecuador. Ever. Can’t, really. It’s weird. It had become such an integral part of me that I didn’t even consider what life would be like without it, and now I know. One thing that has helped this so much has been my ipod, which might sound weird. Almost every day I sit in my room for a long time with my ear buds in, most of the time listening to the worship playlist. It’s also really odd how I don’t have much of a desire to listen to secular music here. I just crave worship in the strangest way. It’s different to passively sit and listen to it rather than to create it myself like I was used to, but I can’t explain how much of a blessing it is just to have that.

I didn`t major in music when I went to college, or even minor in it. I feel like Messiah`s music program mostly focuses on classical. And as much as I love music, classical music is not something I would ever choose to study or listen to.  Sorry, Bach.  No offense, RIP.  (oh PS i dislike classical music WITH THE EXCEPTION of Chopin who holds a special place in my heart for his nocturnes and preludes.)  So I figured if studying it made me like it less, I might as well ¨do it on the side¨.

You can always find someone who doesn’t like something. You know, so-and-so doesn’t like reading, so-and-so isn’t into sports, so-and-so doesn’t ever watch TV. But have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like at least listening to music? Why is that? I think we`re wired for it. Maybe me more than others… but yeah.

Sometimes I just want to do that for the rest of my life.

Well, if that doesn`t work out i`ll at least be one of those eccentric old ladies that teaches piano lessons. But I refuse to have 100 cats.