Exactly two weeks at site.
Been pretty productive.
As PC would put it, been busy integratin´.
What have I learnt?
Ecuadorians (or Cuencanese?) LOVE to talk about dramatic stuff happening on a weekly basis (the last kid who was kidnapped and died, because he walked home borracho in the middle of the night, the last robbery here and there…)
Because I´ve finally been grocery shopping for myself, I got confirmation that EVERYTHING in Ecuador comes in bags. And I don´t mean only tea. I mean jam, mayonnaise, oil.
Also, the smallest salt bag I found was a 1kg bag. Same for sugar.
I learnt that the inspector at my school, the guy who´s always asked to speak at school events cuz he has such a deep low voice, is actually a singer and that his wife, his son and his daughter are all musicians. The son is a lyrical opera singer who´s going to Austria for 3 months so there will be a despedida for him and I sure hope he remembers to invite me !
What is there here that I COULD not find in China? Contemporary cultural stuff.
Also tourist stuff like artisanat. In China there were no temptations because Chinese tourist stuff are definitively aimed at Chinese tourists and their taste is…. different to say the least. Here? It´s bad ! I could buy about 5 scarves a week….
The other I went to a free concert of El Grupo Victor Jara, which was pretty wonderful, tons of instruments (guitars of all sizes, don´t ask me their names), flutes, and people singing and plying music that threw me right back in Chile or in family road trip tapes…
I´m also considering registering for a free café filosofia at the alliance francaise, to practice my Spanish listening (and pretend to be smart)
Last Sunday I walked from my home to the parque Paraiso, biggest park in town, and realized that I could walk on the river path the whole way, and it takes about one hour. Considering that my school is 10 min before the parque, I´m thinking of getting a bike to go to school. The path is gorgeous but gets gross when it rains (aka every single day at 2pm sharp), so shall see.
If you want a musical break, click here.
I like the music everywhere here, but the other day I realized I missed China. I guess I miss not understanding anything, I miss how EVERYTHING was different (for good and for bad, cuz China was damn frustrating at times!).
Here sometimes I feel like I´m in Spain, I´m in a U.S. or French suburb, a French highschool, an American mall… I guess I just need to get my routine going and avoid comparing.
I think China has also made me way more patient than I ever was.
Example: Today, i go to observe a class. We start, I introduce myself, the teacher starts the lesson and 2 minutes later the inspectora knocks: “you need to come for this meeting now!” The teacher looks at me, starts asking if I can teach the class (I had literally learnt two minute before what the theme was), seeing my face (as I prepare myself to say I´m not allowed to teach alone) she gives up and tells me to come to the meeting. We leave the students there. Then we realize that another teacher cannot come to the meeting so no meeting. Did we go back to the class? Nop. We went to the teacher´s room to chat it up. But it was in English so that´s good?
I had my first official meeting with the teachers. They already knew all about the multiple intelligence theory, so that was a bit of a bummer, but they were SUPER excited about the listening task. So I guess I´ll have listening tasks for them every Wednesday.
After that meeting, some of the teachers have started talking to me more on one on one. So I get my foot into the Ecuadorian culture door.
All teachers talk about how the students have issues at home and bring them at school. But the inspector said that we do not have”major” issues.
No weapons. Some people talk about drug trafficking, needs to be proved.
He said he had only be scared once, about 8 years ago when a student was part of a gang and threatened him. What did he do? He got the parents and the kid together in a meeting and told them that if anything happened to him he was to blame them directly. Nothing happened.
Another teacher talked about a little kid who´s really not disciplined but she doesn´t know what to do cuz he told her his mum beats him. What do you say to that?
She did talk to the DOBE department…
I have become friends with the projector room lady, so the movie club thingy might happen sooner than expected. One for the teachers once a week, one for the younger kids.
The other day one 11 year old came up to me “¿licenciada, usted va a trabajar con nosotros?” Sadly enough I can´t work with all the kids but I hope that many will be interested in the clubs/projects
It seems that there are a lot of internal teacher/ staff conflict so I´m smiling to everyone and walking on eggs. What else can I do?I hope it doesn´t stop projects.
Oh, if you´re tired of reading here´s another link. If you wondered what PC Ecuador PST (aka pre-service training) looked like, here´s a good shiny summary by fellow PCV Marisa Catalina Casey !
Thing are settling in with the host fam. I found a good balance of saying hello, making cakes once in a while, going to the movies with host mum, helping with the dishes whenever I stop by the house. Definitively nice to have my own space for sure though!
I think that´s all for today, need to eat before bailotherapia !