Friday, July 28, 2006

Random Music Overheard in the Internet

  • What must be Pink´s new song, which is so sad and pretty, and still rocking out in a cotton candy pink pop culture way.
  • ¨Don´t be fooled by the rocks that I got/I´m still Jenny from the block/Used to have a little now I have a lot/but I still know where I came from¨ Jennifer Lopez in all her pop goddess glory.
  • There is all sorts of Ecuadorean music that I am starting to groove to, but I don´t know what any of it is, so I can´t tell you about it.

Battle Scars

So I came through my first real illness this week. Five days of nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. It was fun, especially being saved by the mighty Cipro-man and now I am fearless and I ate lettuce for lunch even though the Medical Officer said not to.

Aside from that, my big news is that I will be reunited with Cuenca. I will be going to work there for the next two years. This begins on Sunday with another trip down there and then for real on September 5th.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Yesterday I was the Fussy American, but today was better. We heard all about our sites today. Chances seem to be good I will either be working in Cuenca or on a beach, so there isn´t anything that I can really complain about.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


After the initial charm wears off, being in a foreign country, living with a family who are in fact strangers, and being presented with different and sometimes unappetising cuisine ceases to be difficult and simply starts to be banal and irritating. When you give up independence, privacy, and the delightful aspects of your personality most evident in English, you are left with what? Yes there are green hills bathed in gold at sunset (or some other analog, depending on the topography,) yes there are the moments of fluidity in the language when you hear yourself speak eloquently of your mother or how you everyone should have health care. But there comes a time when nothing is lovely or special, not even your electric shower in the morning. This week I wanted pizza, candy bars, and corona. Anything familiar to counter what can only be described as malaise.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


We are in meetings from 8 to 6 all this week meeting with counterpart groups, meaning who we will be working with. It is exciting but eats up all my time. Evenings get consumed by host family activities and exhaustion. Over the weekend I had projectile vomitting but am better now and judge myself lucky to not have amoebas, like some of my compadres.

I have not forgotten you all. A real post, and answers to all your email soon!

They are playing that Shakira Hips song again. I may get sick of it, but I am not yet.

Friday, July 14, 2006


My family served me pig tripe last night. I´d like to say I was one of the volunteers who eats everything put in front of me to the great delight of he welcoming Ecuadorian hosts. But no. I´m not that girl.

I really tried to eat it, I ate all the filling of rice and onions that was stuffed inside it. (That part was really good.) And I sat there and sat there and tried to put it in my mouth, but I just couldn´t do it. It smelled awful.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whirlwind Romance

So, at first it was just a modest flirtation between me and her. It began with shy glances and pleasing looks. As the weekend wore on, I noticed aspects of her character and personality that I could imagine coming to feel like home. At the end of the weekend I was wrenched away from her, but in my heart I made a promise to return.

I´m infatuated with the city of Cuenca. She is charming and gracious and accomodating. She offers brewed coffee and Italian food, walks along bubbling little rivers, and the promise of a lovely apartment in the colonial city center. The matchmaking process is still in its early stages. (The matchmakers being the Peace Corps.) But the initial meetings showed promise of an accord that is beneficial for everyone.

Now if this were to work out, this would not be your typical Peace Corps assignment. Chance are that eventually I would have a hot shower and a refrigerator. I have already heard other volunteers scoff at the possibility of someone being placed in Cuenca. (¨That´s a hard posting,¨ someone said this weekend, with disdain.) Hell. I´m thirty-three. I didn´t come here to rough it necessarily. I leave it up to the fates to decide.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

OK so for those of you begging for pictures

A lovely photo of me with Jordan and Risa, taken just before the bus came and swept them away on the PanAmerican Highway, which I live on incidentally.


One of the pains in the ass about living with a family that is not your own is that after a few weeks you start to pick up on the dyanamics that are not so easy or not so cool. One morning you find yourself sitting at breakfast in the middle of some situation or another where one person is being a perfect jerk to another person and it makes you long for the imperfections in your own family, rather that those of strangers.

Also, it hit me this morning. Like a ton of bricks. I miss New York City so much!!!

Here is a top-ten list of stuff I miss about my adopted home:

10. Brewed coffee on every street corner
9. The trash filled subway
8. Central Park
7. New York Pizza
6. Similary, the availability of every kind of cuisine know to man
5. The Y on 63rd St.
4. The way that light slants between the streets in Soho in the late afternoon
3. My friends
2. Gay bars
1. Salsa classes with Frankie Martinez (via Katie B.)

On a brighter note, I should mention that in the mornings when I wake up (much, much earlier than I normally do!) I look out the window at the head of my bed and I see the sunrise over a snow covered volcano. Right on.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Poco Tiempo

It seemed like I couldn´t manage to get to an internet cafe and now here I am with an uninterrupted half an hour and I can´t think of much to write about. This morning I needed to find post -its for an activity and walked through the neighborhood where we work, La Estacion. It´s named so because the old Cayambe railroad station, which is now a nursery school, is located. It´s full of boxy, low-slung houses some old, and some more modern. There are little tiendas with food, or liquor or paper supplies (where I found my post-its). There are roosters crowing and lots and lots of dogs. At noon its hot, and the sun is strong. I got back to our class room kind of worn out. Last Friday I made the mistake of sitting out in the sun during lunch and I for the rest of the afternoon, I was pretty much beat. They are not joking about the center of the world thing.

Monday, July 03, 2006

More San Pedro

Yesterday was the Desfile de Alegria for San Pedro and I was lucky enough to watch the entire parade from the roof of a building. The dancers were really stunning, in bright pinks, yellow, and greens. They were followed by big groups of guitar playing muchachos singing Viva Cayambe at the top of their lungs. There were floats with children dressed up in indigenous outfits and with comely women in evening gowns throwing flowers. My family had a little cafecito afterwards and I played poker with my very patient host father and a couple of my PC companions.

Today Risa and Jordan came to visit me in Cayambe from Quito. That was awesome. I wanted to introduce them to my host family, but it seemed like they were busy working so we just stopped in at the house for a little snack and then I took them for bizcocho, which is apparently only made here in Cayambe. (It turned out that my family was waiting for me to call them or stop into their store, but I didn´t really understand that. These kind of little miscommunications seem to happen a lot between Peace Corps volunteers and families that house them. I just kind of chalk it up to language and cultural adjustment and hope I create enough good will through other time I invest in hanging out with them to make up for little mistakes that I make.)

On Friday, the amoebas will be spreading out through the whole of Ecuador. We take technical training trips to see various Peace Corps sites and I will be going to Cuenca. In the meantime we are busy throwing ourselves onto the mercy of our training community. Our first meeting with a group of mothers is tomorrow.