Why can’t we go to school in Ecuador but not have homework?” (my friend Raquel Aufderheide, on Saturday.) That pretty much sums up my sentiments for the week. Remember how I said my classes weren’t difficult? Well, that was week one. They’ve gotten harder- I spent close to 15 hours on homework this weekend and I’m still not done. Essays are the hard part (because they are in Spanish! I know what I want to say and it works in my mind, but when I put it on paper… not so much.) Of course, since this is college, the only assignments we have are tests and papers.
I don’t want it to sound like I’m not enjoying my classes, because I am. I have quite a few classes this term, and I enjoy them all. Right now, I have four sports classes because sports classes at USFQ don’t count for credit. At Linfield, they do count for credit, so I never have room in my schedule for them. But here, I can take as many as I want!
I particularly love my sports class called Capoeria. Capoeria is a combination of martial arts and Latin dance- it’s SOOO much fun! I totally recommend it! Class is a very intense hour and a half of lunging, jumping, rolling, doing handstands, kicking, leaping, dodging, and trying to make it all look graceful. But when it works- it’s the coolest thing! You dance with a partner, and it looks like a slow motion fight. It’s pretty sweet! Intense, though, like I said. I don’t get sore easily, but I could barely walk for two days after the first class!
I’m excited for my Andinismo class- another sports class where we go climb around and backpack in the Andes. My first trip is in two weeks, and I’m psyched. Right now, we are learning about knots and safety harnesses. Last Thursday, my host mom asked me how school had gone, and I told her that I had learned about nudos (knots.) She was really confused until I explained that I had learned the nudos in my mountain climbing class!
My bilingual education class is also incredibly fascinating. The class is nonstop discussion- even when the professor tries to lecture, we always have so many questions that it turns into a debate instead of a lecture. The material is so interesting- you know how they say that kids can learn languages better than adults can? That’s actually only true up until the kid is 10 months old for written language and 5 years old for spoken language. After that, the learning abilities don’t change- if you are good at languages when you are six, you’ll have the exact same ability when you are 60. Cool, huh?
I’ve had a few requests to talk about the food, so here you go. It’s funny- in Ecuador, fruit is really cheap. Before I came, people told me to be prepared to eat a ton of fruit and seafood. I apparently got a non traditional Ecuadorian family. We had seafood for the first time today- usually it’s chicken. They have fruit in the house, but I’m essentially the only one who eats it raw. They mostly make juice out of it- but I’m not complaining! The juice is wonderful. They’ve finally figured out how much fruit I eat, so they are starting to buy more for me (sound familiar, Mom?)
They also drink a TON of coffee and hot cocoa- neither of which I enjoy. I have finally taught myself to drink tea because I don’t want to be rude and drink nothing when they offer me hot drinks. It’s easier to say that I prefer tea than to explain that I don’t really like any of them!
Breakfast is usually bread and hot drinks, although my host mom started giving me fruit when she figured out that I like that better. Lunch is the big meal of the day, and it’s usually eaten around 1. Dinner is called la cenita- little supper. We drink hot chocolate or coffee (or tea!) and eat bread and cheese.
Lunch consists of three courses: soup, a meal of rice and chicken and juice, and then desert- usually cake or ice cream. Considering the prices of vegetables, I’m really surprised by how seldom veggies are a part of the meal. Regardless, the food is delicious. The soup usually fills me up, and then I eat only about half of what is on my plate.
It’s funny- I feel like I’ve eaten too much everyday since I arrived, and my host mom is worried that I’m starving to death. I had to leave the house at 5:45 last Thursday, so I decided not to wake her up and just take a banana with me for my breakfast. She was quite upset with me, saying that if I got sick and died from malnourishment, it would be her fault. She sat right down and copied my schedule- you can bet I won’t be making my own breakfast again!
Last thing- I made lunch for them this weekend- rice, broccoli, chicken kiev (my favorite recipe!), and an attempt at zucchini bread. Unfortunately, I didn’t decide to make the zucchini bread until Saturday morning, and I had neither the recipe nor the Internet to look it up. So I tried to make it from memory. It was probably the flattest, most pathetic loaf of zucchini break I’ve ever made. Sigh. Oh well. The meal tasted delicious and now they all think I’m a good cook (chicken kiev is about the only thing I can make well, but that’s why I made it!) Now my host mom is teaching me to make Ecuadorian foods- I’ll have lots of good recipes when I come home!
Speaking of recipes, if anyone feels like emailing/mailing me some (such as oatmeal fudge bars (cough cough, roommates!) or chocolate chip banana muffins (cough cough, family!)
This is getting long, so I’ll end it here. Miss you all!