29 Jun

pie and fever

Yesterday was our second wedding anniversary. We spread out the excuse for celebrating over last weekends’ trip to Mindo until the actual day. I had decided I would try to make a pie here, so I emailed my wonderful pie-making friend, Robbin, and solicited the recipe. It was going to be a surprise, but I couldn’t quite hold in the excitement. So Monday Tim helped me buy strawberries, raspberries, and mora (a fruit similar to blackberry). Tuesday I finished teaching, met Tim at the Plaza de Las Americas, worked out, and headed to Supermaxi to buy disposable pie tins. I couldn’t resist buying a bouquet of flowers too… they had daisies like we had one our reception tables and flowers are too cheap NOT to buy. When I got home I put my bags down and noticed my cell phone beeping. I had 2 messages from Tim “I see you and your flowers.” “Happy Anniversary!” He had left the house for a meeting before I got home, but on his way home from lunch he had bought 2 dozen roses which were on the kitchen counter. You can never have too many flowers.

Pie making was a little scary at times (I didn’t know if the crust would work at altitude), but everything worked out in the end. Pics to come soon.

Unfortunately, Tim came home early from his night class with a raging fever, shivering and declaring that he wanted pie. Poor guy. We got him wrapped in some blankets in bed and he took some aspirin. He had “a sliver” of pie because he asked so pathetically. He is feeling better today, he still has a fever, but it’s going down. I’m subbing for his night class so he should get lots of sleep tonight.

28 Jun


Me and Gladys

Gladys was another student that originally came to me during the Preeti Wedding Migration from Preeti’s class. She’s another one who petitioned against this Ligia woman, who I now have in class. She’s not that bad yet. This morning, I had all my students sign up for their 10 minute presentation and my most recent group of Preeti imports (about 8 of them) were tight-lipped. They wouldn’t volunteer for a time slot. It was ridiculous. One of them finally spoke up and said, “in Preeti’s class, we gave a presentation during one hour,” which means “we gave an hour-long presentation.”

“Oh,” I replied, “then this will be easy.”

Back to Gladys: she joined us during the Preeti Wedding Migration and then went back to Preeti’s class, which was led by Ligia and Jhoana, two students I currently have in class. I remember back in February how Ligia and Jhoana interrupted my class to try to get more signatures for their selfish, shifty little petition. I don’t like them.

Anyhow, Gladys. She returned to Preeti’s class as a result of the Ligia/Jhoana-induced Great Shift but them came back to my class after one or two months with Preeti, claiming recently that it was because of Ligia. Who knows?

I can’t decide if the above description sounds more like a soap opera script or a piece of evolutionary history.

Gladys is very nice. She’s 19. She hangs out with Silvia and MariaSol, both of whom are over 30, I think. She’s currently a university student as well. Despite her old-woman’s name, she’s very enthusiastic and playful, and English comes pretty easy for her.

Last Friday, about 40% of the class took me out for breakfast at this place on Colon which I’ve walked by a countless number of times. The bread might have been the best I’ve had in Quito.

27 Jun


Biking in Mindo

So this past weekend, we went to Mindo, a small town in the middle of a “cloud forest.” It was only two hours from Quito. We went to celebrate our anniversary; it was also pretty much our last chance to travel, though we may have been convinced to do the very touristy “flying dutchman” bike ride down Cotopaxi next weekend. We ran into some other WorldTeach vols from Ambato, Erica and Liz. They came with a friend of theirs, Jackie, who also teaches English in Ambato. So on Saturday, we spent most of the day with them. We walked out of town to the butterfly museum and then we took a little hike through the forest.

It was very nice. The weather is a little warmer than Quito and it’s more humid. It made us aware of the fact that we kinda miss humidity. Not 80 and humid. More like 70 and kind of humid. I don’t know. It’s a fine line.

Anyway. We were originally thinking we’d get up early on Sunday and take a long guided hike through the forest to see a whole bunch of different birds, including parrots and toucans. But Eileen’s knees were shot after Saturday’s quantity of walking, so instead, we slept in and took a nice, leisurely bike ride on a rustic dirt road. It was more enjoyable than we anticipated. We really miss biking.

At one point on the ride, Eileen, enchanted by the perfect weather, the rolling hills, the green countryside, and the fresh air, looked up and said, whimsically, “a moo-cow.” There indeed was a holstein up ahead in the road. I said, “so what do you do if it starts charging at you?” Eileen said, “cows don’t charge, do they?” But as we approached, we realized it was a bull.

It had horns.

And testicles.

We rolled by slowly and cautiously. The bull stared us down, but didn’t move. Phew!

After the ride, we went to the orchid farm and we spent a lot of time hanging out on the back deck of El Descanso, a really cool hostal run by a really nice guy named Rodney, where we didn’t stay. We wanted to stay there — it came highly recommended by several friends — but there were no rooms. They went out of their way, however, to find us a room at a hostal down the street and then proceeded to tell us we could come hang out there anytime. You seldom find service like that in Ecuador.

The back deck of El Descanso looks out over a beautiful garden built to attract birds. There are tons of hummingbirds. I talked with Rodney for a while on Sunday, as we were killing time before our bus ride home, and he said he was looking for an English teacher to spend 4-6 months in Mindo and teach him, and about 4 others. He’d provide accomodations and food in his beautiful hostal. If I wasn’t married. . .

Anyhow, it would be a pretty cool experience. You could join a local soccer team, pick up bird-watching, go mountain biking, and just generally enjoy paradise.

Pictures in coppermine.

23 Jun


sunglass hot

The above is one of the classics. There is a Mc.Donald’s (the dot is important) near the grocery store at the bottom of our hill; there is a Victoria’s Secret for you (the “for you” is in the fine print on the sign) in the Mariscal; and these Sunglass Hots are all over the place in the more expensive malls. Good stuff. We still haven’t been able to find the t-shirt that says “trash up your ass,” though.

Eileen woke up with a sore throat, so I’m not sure where we stand with our plans to go to Mindo or Papallacta this weekend for an anniversary get away. My Basic class officially ends tomorrow and we start “Intermediate 1A” on Monday. Preeti is leaving this Saturday and I just found out that I’ll be gaining about 12 of her students. It will make the next three weeks interesting, depending on which class they join. My students yesterday were already begging me to not allow a certain student named Ligia to enter the class. Students like Silvia and Gladys say they left Preeti’s class because of Ligia, who is apparently obnoxious in her attempts to monopolize the teacher in class.

I’m a little worried, mainly because Preeti had claimed earlier that none of her students wanted to go to class in July anyhow. So, I pretty much switched the June and July material for class, since June was review and July was a new grammar point (present perfect). I figured I’d want to end with review instead of something new. Anyhow, now I’m gonna get 12 students who know little or nothing about present perfect; and one of them is rumored to ask a lot of questions, especially about things she needs clarified. I may have to lay down the law, which is seldom fun.

The only consolation is that apparently nobody likes this infamous Ligia. I guess the rift is such in Preeti’s class that Ligia is not attending the going-away party for Preeti. So if she truly ends up being annoying as hell, my efforts to shut her up will probably only gain me respect from the rest of the students.

The other current SECAP headache is that we have been entrusted with the task of revising the curriculum. We were supposed to meet last Sunday, but one of the teachers completely forgot, and another claimed we needed to enjoy the sun. We have yet to meet, and as of Saturday, Preeti is leaving the country, so we lose one fourth of our ranks. In the meantime, I’ve been busy planning the Grand Finally Review and the Big-Ass Test that will be taking place within the next few weeks.

Why is it necessary to post such mundane details as the SECAP Lamentations above? I’ll tell you why. Because we only have 8 readers anyway, and judging from the amount of email and comments we’ve been getting in the record-setting past couple of weeks, 75% of those readers have either given up entirely or are on vacation. So I’m hoping the above will scare off the remaining two readers and I can finally use this site as a fan site for Piccachu.

Other news: Eileen might post a blog within the next few days!