Swearing in as a PCV in Ecuador

So, way overdue update…
Yesterday I sworn as a PCV again (escaped the status of trainée, hum, trainee, a second time in my life).

What was similar?

-the American officialness of the event – assigned seats, Consul général of the Guayaquil embassy) –
– my clothes (yep, was wearing my Chinese tailored red shirt, cuz, well, that´s the fanciest shirt I brought here.
– the oath and the final “so help me God” that was, again, a bit awkward
-the speeches from the PC Country director and the Consul general, about how we´re community embassadors, the “face of America”, about how in two years we´ll know way more about Ecuador than any embassy people.                                                 -having to sing the U.S. national anthemn, and feeling super awkward cuz, well, I don´t know it. For my defence I don´t know the French one either, but still, everyone else knew it, of course. Oh well. I´m a citizen of the world, baby, so I guess that´ll do it.
-the rushed goodbyes after because most of us left right after the ceremony to avoid traveling during la semana santa -official reason – , to avoid too much post swearing-in partying (unofficial reason?)

What was different?

-No fancy hotel nor charismatic new ambassador (eventhough the Consul General was pretty cool with a perfect Spanish, he was no -unexpectedly- charismatic Mormon Republican just appointed as the Ambassador of China speaking fluent Chinese who would later run for president of the U.S…. and fail)
– it was real nice to actually understand the speeches in Spanish
-I´m two years older and it feels like an eternity (especially when all the speeches implied a “you´re going to change so much in the next two years you can´t even imagine” and I thought to myself – “I do have an idea. but will I change again, as much? When do we stop changing living abroad?”
– It was way more emotional and tearful. Because this group is half smaller? Way younger? No sé.
-There was an actual diploma ceremony thingy, and we all got to dar un beso al Consul général and the PC Country Director, with a photo, very College graduation like (I guess we couldn´t do that in China because there were so many of us)
-Ecuadorian people, unlike Chinese people, will cry first. In China I did make people cry cuz I was crying myself. Here others made me cry, especially my host mum who would sob and hold me tight and say “tu es como mi propria hija, ¿voy a cocinar un cuy cuando tu regresas, si?”
My host sister gave me the sweetest gift: a wallet with all the sucres, old money from Ecuador you can´t find anymore.
When I unmade my bed the last morning, I found a living gross bug in it…. bu, hell, it didn´t matter anymore, neither did the spider webs and spider bodies in the bathroom….

Now I made it to my new home, Cuenca.

After a 7h30 night bus ride at super duper speed (by day it takes between 10 and 12 hours….), we arrived at the terminal at 4:30am, my new host parents (T. and G., just so you know) were there to pick me up.
We drove to the fancy Cuencanese suburb where I´ll live for the next two years. Slept for a bit and unpacked everything. It is freezing here, houses don´t have central heating and it´s rainy season. I´m super duper lucky to live in an actual studio attached to the family house. I´ll even get my name put next to my door buzzer so I can have guests over easily without disturbing anyone.
Now I need to get a mini-fridge, a cocineta con caz (apparently electricity costs an arm here, gaz is super duper cheap), and of course a liquadora and my Posh Corps life will be complete.
And a poncho.
Cuz. it. is. cold.
With everything unpacked and Chinese photos on the walls, the speakers playing the soundtrack from “les chansons d´amour”, I finally feel chez moi.
Alors vous êtes les bienvenus chez moi.

School starts on Monday and tomorrow the plan is to make fanesca with the fam. Traditional soup from here.

I also talked to the fam and it looks like I´ll be having lunch with them on week-ends, so not sure how much I should add to the rent for that. Any advice, fello PCVs?



The TEFLeros


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