28 Nov

Turkey day

Yesterday we had a wonderful Thanksgiving feast: we are so thankful for everything and all the wonderful people we know. Our worldteach family is wonderful.

Preparations: I’ve been daydreaming about having thanksgiving since late September. Everyone helped plan food and logistics and everyone brought lots of food. Bill helped me make the pumpkin pies the night before. Saturday morning Tim and I went to buy some last-minute purchases for the day. We got avocado for guacamole and on the walk home the bag broke and they rolled on the ground. Thank goodness they were just going to be peeled and mashed anyway.

The turkey according to tim: a little dry, but not bad.

The turkey according to Kristi (our subdirector): better than her mom’s

The meat thermometer: useless. It said the turkey was done in 2 hours

The apple pies, ala master baker Steph: Our landlord loved them so much they asked to take home a few slices

The pumpkin pies: Tim loves to quote Garrison Keilor: “The best pumpkin pie you ever ate wasn’t that much better than the worst.” So does it even matter?

The amount of food: true to thanksgiving tradition we had way too much food. It was great: turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans, corn, applesauce, mashed potatoes, salad, fruit salad, egg and potato dish, homemade salsa, chips, fresh vegetables and dip, cheese, crackers, guacamole, bread, pies, applecrisp, mora bread, cookies, sangria, wine, soda, after-dinner drinks.

Space: We all squeezed into our first floor, it was standing-room only. Nice and cozy.

Clean-up: Everyone pitched in and helped do dishes and clean up. We had four big garbage bags of trash when all was said and done.

The day after: Some people came over and helped us eat some leftovers and we made fresh-squeezed orange juice and pancakes. We also listened to Christmas music.

26 Nov

Eileen returns to the blog

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I have lots of excuses, but no one likes to hear excuses so I’ll spare you. My last few weeks have been pretty up and down. I was fairly sick (I’ve never experienced vertigo like that before and I’m SO glad it’s over). Tim took good care of me and my wonderful worldteach co-teachers at the cec subbed for some of my classes. Last week I had a fantastic birthday. My students were amazing: both of my classes brought in a cake and my morning class also had a beautiful traditional Ecuadorian shirt as a gift for me.

I can’t believe we’ll be home in less than 4 weeks. The time is flying. We are thoroughly excited to see all of you back in Wisconsin.

Happy (late) birthdays to Angie Storm and Eva Payne. Congrats to Rob and Emily! We heard it was a beautiful wedding. We can’t wait to see pics and wish you well in person.

To all the lightweight crew ladies out there: sorry I never got a chance to say congrats on kicking some Princeton butt earlier this month. Keep up the good work. I think about you guys when I’m at the gym on the bike.

“the girl”
So our landlords are great. We’ve been invited for Sunday lunch twice. They’ve taken us fishing, given us rides various places, answered any questions we’ve had and overall been very kind to us. They have two kids: David is 12 and the girl is 16. And of course, Bella is the family dog: pretty cool for a “two-biter” little white yippy dog. About a month ago, the girl knocked on our door with some English homework questions. Before this she was very quiet: she barely said two words to us. So I invited her inside and sat down to help her. I’m fairly certain she has a learning disability, and to make things even more difficult her English text book was WAY too advanced for her level. Anyhow, we struggled through the book and afterward she hung out to talk a bit. At first it was nice. But she is very difficult to understand, definitely the hardest of the family. She speaks very fast and doesn’t rephrase when you ask a question. So anyway she was here for about 2 and a half hours. When she finally left she said in Spanish, “so we’ll do this tomorrow.” (We’ll do this tomorrow???? AAAHHHHH). I told her that maybe every once in awhile I can help her out, but I don’t have time everyday. I felt bad but I couldn’t bear the thought of daily sessions like that one. She and David have come a few times and Tim has also done his part tutoring, but I think his patience ran out Sunday.

PS: we called her “the girl” because we didn’t catch her name when we first moved in and no one ever referred to her by name. So yesterday Tim was working on spelling out English letters with her and he asked her to spell her name. Very clever boy. So at least now we don’t have to call her “the girl.” Her name: Mireya.

21 Nov

Thirteen truths and six lies

o Tim and Eileen ate $20 worth of sushi for Eileen’s birthday meal.
o Tim has illegally downloaded over 200 songs since we’ve been here.
o The Snickers slogan in Ecuador is “Hambre?”
o We clean the house once a week.
o We’ve bought ten DVDs since we’ve been here.
o Ecuador’s soccer team beat Brazil this past week.
o Tim’s students tear gassed Steph’s students (Steph is another WorldTeach volunteer).
o We found a tree frog in our shower this weekend.
o There’s a Mac store opening near our gym.
o The people at the Swissotel know our names.
o Our “welcome” mat says “bienvenidos.”
o We keep a calendar on which we X off the days until our winter break.
o Tim has gone into the “Smocking Center.”
o Eileen had three cakes and a brownie in honor of her birthday.
o Tim and Eileen’s cell phone is held together with tape.
o The festivities for Quito’s December 6th Independence day have started.
o Two weeks ago, we purchased our first Christmas gift.
o Tim has refrained from purchasing any cinnamon rolls from the Cinnabon right next to our gym.
o There is a church next door that has hours-long music worship sessions every Sunday

19 Nov

Bits and Pieces

It’s not that I haven’t urged Eileen to write more blogs. So why hasn’t she? Good question. You should ask her yourself.

By the way, we do receive emails that go to our cell phone, but we can’t respond to them via the cell phone. Thanks to those who have sent messages. It’s nice.

I made Eileen a cake for her birthday. It’s okay, but not as good as her mom’s version of it. I also bought her the fourth season of the Simpson’s on DVD. She also opened up her gift from her parents after an impressive display of will-power (she received the gift in August, wrapped). It was a really nice watch. We’ve received all sorts of birthday messages from relatives and friends. Thanks to all who sent their best. The cell phone was ringing off the hook, um, so to speak.

I recently received a package from my sister Jamie. And here’s what I told her about the whole ordeal:

Yesterday, I went to the post office to pick up the package, which arrived officially in time for Eileen’s birthday. It was 1:15, though, so I was 45 minutes late. They’re only open from 8:30 to 12:30. On my way home, I walked by this group of police. They didn’t say anything to me, not even “don’t walk around that corner because there are 200 students with rocks and they’re throwing them at us.” So I figured that it was safe to walk around the corner. It wasn’t.

I watched the police eventually run out and fire their tear gas rifles. Pretty crazy stuff. The students all screamed and ran back to the university’s property, where they’re safe, which is even crazier. It’s like gule. (is that how you spell it?). I throw rocks at you and then run back to gule, where you can’t shoot me. Ha!

So the package wasn’t actually obtained until today. I skipped Spanish class, went to the post office, went to window one, where I presented my claim slip, got directed to window 2 to pay 90 cents, went back to window one, where I gave them one copy of my passport, and then waited on a bench for 30 minutes until my name was called, at which point I translated the list of the contents of the package, and then paid 9 dollars.

Incidentally, if anyone tries to send us something, I guess you’re supposed to declare its value as being $0 or something very low. An American girl at the post office today was pretty upset because her package had been declared at $100, so she had to pay $40.

Eileen and I had a pretty amusing conversation the other day about her poop. Warning, though: we swear, so keep away from children as you see fit.