Monday, January 25, 2010

Suspicious boys, what are you up to??

It has started.

Carnaval season has arrived. Which means the random corners crowded with 8-13 year-old-boys, looking as suspicious as Tom and Jerry, are now popping up all over Yantzaza. Carnaval is not until February 14-17 but that doesn´t stop the youth from dousing every person walking down the street with water balloons. Especially hitting targets well known or easily visible (me meeting BOTH of those requirements...)

I was walking with a group of school girls the other day and there were about 10 boys huddled behind a pile of bricks at a construction site. I thought, how cute, they are waiting for their little novias! And then BAM! About 10 water balloons came shooting at us. Kind of reminds me of my American Girl Doll days, in the book about Molly and she wore a Hawaiian grass skirt to a Halloween party and her brother and friends soaked her with a hose. Her grass skirt ran green all over her legs....poor Molly. Poor niñas from Paulína Solís!

That´s ok. We´ll get those Rumiñauhui boys back soon (the all-boys school).

Last week my friend Diego, a dentist who lives next door, invited his other doctor friends over for dinner. He invited me and Grigs, as well. Diego and the other doctors are in their rural year here in Zamora Chinchipe. After graduating from medical school, every doctor has to serve a rural year in ¨the campo¨. These doctors are all from Cuenca (or Loja) so this is really out in the boonies for them. It was fascinating to listen to them talk about Yantzaza and Guaysimi, very much like how us volunteers talk about where we are living. What´s funnier is how much they gripe about things, and this is their own country! They should be used to the water and power outages, and the way things ¨run¨ down here. It´s kind of like a Peace Corps for Ecuadorians.

Went to Vilcabamba this weekend to hang out and watch some football. We were lucky to watch the Jets-Colts game and got half of the Saints-Vikings game when there was a lightning storm that knocked out the satellite. Looks like a good Super Bowl!

Gotta get back to super soaking...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Oh Ecuador...

Random moments throughout the past couple of week have given me reason to just shake my head and mumble Oh Ecuador...

1) I went running the other day, past a construction site. Now that a lot of families from Spain are coming back, houses and businesses are springing up like crazy all over Yantzaza. On the second floor of a house someone was building were a group of construction workers, I didn´t really pay too much attention to them. But then as I looked up, one guy just strips down to his tighty whities! Like wasn´t trying to hide it at all! And then he saw me, so I tried to run away faster...I looked back and he started waving at me, like trying to get me to come back! I was like No gracias, señor! Just because I saw you in your drawers doesn´t mean I want to strike up a conversation with you.

2) Grr. My bed bugs have come back. I really missed not having them in the US. It was so nice to sleep through the night without scratching. Ay dios. But this time they have come back and BAD. I have one on my buttock and I can´t sit down! My little cohorts in crime, Delia and Estefany, say they are these bugs called Tepas or something and they bite and leave giant bites. After 7 times of biting you they never bite you again. I have no idea if this is true but they said it with such authority I figured why not trust the 10 year olds? So we spent a good half hour last night trying to soak my bite in hot water and was hilarious. Hopefully it´ll pop soon....

3) Running in the rain. It never gets old. And I love the smell of the rain on the hot asphalt. This was and always is a great moment.

Everything else has been super tranquilo, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

OMG I have turned into a cat lady

Happy 2010 everyone! I think this is going to be a great year and I am so excited to get things started. My finish date with Peace Corps is in August of this year, and it is sort of looking like I will be returning to the US...but I am still not sure. Anyway, knowing that the end is somewhat near, I have a lot I want to get done before I leave Ecuador- Mi País.

Christmas at home was amazing. I had so much fun! It was great seeing everyone, the cold was the only thing I didn´t enjoy. But it´s definitely hot down here, so it feels great to be back.

After I landed in Quito at midnight on the 30th, I went directly to the bus station to try and catch a bus to the beach. Sidenote: I switched seats with this one man so he could be with his wife, not realizing that her seat was THE LAST SEAT on the plane next to two very hefty I was hoping that Karma would be on my side and I could have an easy travel to the beach.

Yea right.

I get to the bus terminal and it is FREEZING and the bus never showed up at 3 am so I had to wait until 7 am. Long story short, I finall got a bus without my karma (maybe it will kick in some day...I feel like I´ve been banking up on it the past year and a half). It took FOR EV ER to get to Canoa, the beach town but I finally made it, even making a new friend along the way. And it was totally worth it. All my friends were there, even some PCVs that left and came back to visit, so it was great. We dined on some great fish, drank some wine out of a box, and then proceeded to dance around paper mache dolls on fire (the New Year´s tradition down here). It was great.

We nursed our hangovers on the beach all day Friday and then Chris and I ventured back to Zamora Chinchipe. Efficiency and quick trips are two things I very quickly adjusted to in the US, and realized how much I hate the lack of them here in Ecuador.

Finally getting to my house, like 20 hours later, I was reunited with Tortilla and her four kittens. I really missed her, and the kittens have sprouted up! They are so big! I can´t believe how quickly they grew because now they are walking around, eating food. I swear I feel like a cat lady because my apartment is pretty small and these cats just surround me wherever I walk. I got a glimpse of my future in like 30 years....single, with a bunch of cats and in a third world country. Oh well...I´ll take whatever comes my way!

It has also been great seeing my fellow Yantzazenses (people from Yantzaza). I have been getting really hardy, warm welcomes and people seem genuinely happy to see me! I have been handing out presents to a bunch of people, who all love their American knick knacks and toys. I even brought pictures of snow and they all are like ¨ayyyyyyy!!¨, not believing that I was the one shoveling out the car or up to my shins in snow. It´s hilarious. But retelling all the stories and spending time with everyone has made me appreciate more my trip home and even more so, my return. I had really missed Yantzaza and am so glad to be back. I almost feel a different air about it here. Kinda like when you come back to campus after a summer of being home from college, there is a different feeling, almost as if you are more seasoned, know more of what is going on. I am a ¨junior¨ in the sense that pretty soon I´ll be ¨graduating¨ from Peace Corps. All the more reason for me to make my mark and really do what I came to do in the first place.