“No, I don’t want to watch Men in Black because it looks too scary!” I kept saying to my parents and my sister. Never mind that I didn’t even have a say. “No fair, no fair,”, I thought in my head. It ended up to be a very good, funny movie. It was really late so I had to go to bed. I felt safer when I got to sleep with my sister. I kept thinking that the big, gross, disgusting bug was going to come out and bite me! I was scared the whole night, but I still got a good sleep. My sister and I drew on each other’s backs. It always feels nice when anybody does that to me. We did that for around half an hour. Eventually we stopped to go to sleep.
It was finally morning. I got corn flakes for breakfast. I used the all-fat milk and the others used the semi-fat milk. I don’t get why they need to use that milk? It just tastes the same. That’s weird, I thought.
Yay! We get to go to the swimming pool. I have a bad feeling that it will not be open. At least my dad, my sister and I got to take a cab there. Phew! It was open. The place was very quiet because there was only one guy in the men’s change room and a shower that didn’t turn off. The hot tub was cold compared to the other hot tubs that I have been to.
I don’t want to jump off the 3 metre springboard. Ow! When I jumped in my feet felt like they landed on cement. I did it twice before my sister did it. It was perfectly fine for her. After swimming we went to McDonald’s to get fries because we were really hungry. I almost faded away before we got to McDonald’s.
After McDonald’s, we walked to the office where we signed me up for a soccer academy. I can’t believe that I just got signed up for soccer. I’m excited and also nervous. Today was awesome and also very nerve wracking.
Monday October 16th, 2017
Election Day back home!!!!! Yikes! I can’t say we will be glued to our screens waiting to see, but it will be exciting to hear the outcome 🙂
Speaking of politics….we ran into an interesting event Saturday. We were on our way to explore some more of the city on foot, as we do, and at the park very close to our place there was an obvious pep rally of sorts. There was a stage and some gentle, live music and speeches, food, signs, people wearing white t-shirts with undetermined messages on them…and families abound. It all felt very lovely and was making me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Then, we started to look more closely at the signs on the shirts and Myles investigated some of the translations. We slowly put together the pieces that in all likelihood, it was a very conservative, religious gathering intended to protect and preserve the Catholic definition of marriage, gender and birth, and included some form of a message to the educational system to step back and “Don’t teach our kids about the definition of gender,”. Now, in fairness, we cannot be exactly sure of the subtleties and subtexts, nor of the mission statements of the possible organizations there; but we are no dummies. The purpose of this gathering was largely solidified upon exiting the celebration when we passed a very small, peripheral protest group on the fringes. They were loud, cheering, and quite obviously defending LGBTQ rights.
The thing I appreciated about this whole experience, was the complete lack of any form of aggression I observed or felt. Sure, I may have been missing some things, but not at any point in time did my spidey- senses flare up. At the same time, I also must acknowledge that I don’t get it. I just don’t. I felt especially confounded when walking past the younger generation of supporters, wearing the t-shirts and waving the small flags…it just does not compute in my head. I simply cannot imagine the painful and laborious uphill battle for anyone that does not fit into the predominating mold of the country.
I think you can tell which picture is which below.
Myles and I did our best to explain things to the kids, and to some degree I think they got a sense of what was happening. It didn’t take long, however, for the proverbial, “Can we go now?” I don’t think the experience made it into their journals.
I’m watching Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix. It’s pretty scary, but I already read the book so I know what’s going to happen. It was pretty late so when I finished watching the movie I went straight to bed. When I got up around 8:50a.m., I was so tired I could have stayed in bed for another hour. When I finally got out of bed I wasn’t hungry at all, but I still had a piece of toast.
After we ate breakfast we FaceTimed my grandparents. I was sooooo tired during the FaceTime that I went back to bed. I sort of slept, but it was still very good for me. I only was in bed for about 1 hour. After I got out of bed again we did a 40 minute walk to a mall. We went to the wrong mall so we took a taxi to the right one. I got to sit in the front of the car to the right mall. It was pretty cool sitting in the front, even at home I don’t get to. At the end of the cab ride I also got to give the money to the cab driver.
At the mall we looked around for a long time just in case there was something that me or Macy liked because we had 20 dollars to spend on whatever we wanted. There was nothing that we wanted so we didn’t spend the money. After the mall we had to walk to Supermaxi. Supermaxi is a shopping store almost like Superstore in Calgary. It was pouring rain outside so we had to put our rain coats on. After that we went back home and now I’m doing my blog. It hasn’t been the best of the best days but it is still time in Cuenca.
Also I’m not going to have any friends. I can still make friends though. I’m going to be with the older kids, well the kids that are my age. My group is the oldest.
There are 9 year olds, and 8 year olds. The kids out there playing are pretty good. They really go after the ball. The field that they are playing on sucks. It is basically just dirt, but they still do very well on it.
Me and my dad went to watch it once. That’s how I know all of this. We wanted to know the place to sign up so we went there, and asked a bunch of questions about the soccer. The lady that we were talking to didn’t speak any English so we had to use our Spanish speaking skills. It is 28 dollars a month, but you have a uniform to go with it. I’m still thinking about going.
I haven’t made my final decision yet. I feel if I say yes my parents will be really happy and then if I say no they will be really sad.
***I meant to post this yesterday…but somehow the day got away on me.
Hola from Cuenca.
We flew from Quito on Tuesday the 10th and arrived in Cuenca 7:30am, yes, in the a.m. For those of you who are incredibly astute, yes – that means we were up verrrrrry early that day, 3:45am in fact, in order to catch our 6:15am flight that morning. Nonetheless, we made it, had the full day, and were all very excited to get here. We wasted no time unpacking our things, or at least attempting to…the kids were frenetic with their excitement around having their own bedroom with a queen bed. Soon enough we were out and about checking out the area. Our location is in the older, historical, colonial area in Cuenca. Here is a google map link for those interested….I hope this link works:
Because it is a main attraction for tourism, there are a number of tourists. Go figure. Cuenca is also known as a popular spot for expats, hence, a lot of non-locals. However, I am deeply and thoroughly enjoying this area, and am not feeling a lack of authenticity. There is still an abundance of locals, as well as schools and parks and other such normal “things”. There also happens to be a local market. Oh wow. I almost peed my pants with excitement…I….LOVE….MARKETS. In my travels, local markets have been by far the experience that fills my soul up the most. It is a great place to practice our Spanish. (and by “we”, thus far I mostly mean the kids 😉 I timed it, and it takes me 7 minutes of fast walking to get there, so I will be there A LOT.
I’ll be investigating Ecuadorean recipes and will hopefully be able to find something not drenched in cilantro!
Our house is over 100 years old, colonial style, right in the hub of the area. There is thick, beautiful, solid wood everywhere, and the crooked, slanted stairs creak so loudly I’m certain I will fall through one day. There is a resident rooster next door who likes to remind us of his glorious cock-a-doodle-doo, and a dog who is apparently nocturnal. This dog’s barking throughout the night cannot be cancelled out by earplugs. Grrrrrr Additionally, there can be the odd DIY construction right outside our place at 11pm, and cars and trucks driving and beeping down the narrow, cobblestone streets at any time during our sleep. Soooo, I’m hopeful these noises will fade into the background of our consciousness soon.
The house has everything we need, including a washing machine. Apparently a transparent top is the thing here in Ecuador and the kids were absolutely fascinated with it. “Macy…what are you watching?!?!? I’m trying to watch my pair of underwear!!!!” “Jasper, ….aaaaahh…..I was watching my pink underwear, but it moves so fast!!!!” (Insert guffaw-like laughter here.)
There is a lot of greasy, deep-fried food and street food here. One of the cheap, popular dishes is called “Salchipapa”. It comes from the Spanish word “salchicha” for sausage and “papa” for potato. Thus, it is essentially french fries with a hotdog on top, sliced or whole, and some mayonnaise and/or ketchup squirted on top. I thought it was an interesting local thing, but Jasper and Macy were salivating and chomping at the bit to have some….so we finally did yesterday. Some versions look fancier than the one below, if that is possible.
As you can see, Macy was in complete heaven with the combination of two of her favourite foods….french fries and hotdogs…..what does that say about us as parents?!?!!? Jasper, who was probably more excited to try it than Macy, definitively decided that he will never have it again. My dish was quite yummy and also very typical of Latin America, and included rice, beans, and a fried egg….it was just missing some fried plantain. My meal was $2.25 USD and included a drink – I got a coconut drink; while their salchipapas meal was $2 USD, also included a drink…they got a Coke. Sadly, you can see why there is some obvious health issues here.
Cuenca has no end of churches and mini museums, and we hope to get to many of them by the end of our time here in Cuenca. We made it to this beautiful one yesterday, Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción. The construction started in 1885, took 100 years, but is still considered not technically complete because the original plans by a German, and whichever architects following, made some calculation errors and the church is not as originally planned….beautiful regardless.
Because our kids haven’t really been exposed to or taught a lot about religion, it is interesting to try and share what we know, watching them take it in and answering their dubious questions. With the graphic images of Jesus in the Catholic church, it is especially challenging to help them understand that for millions of people, these images bring them some form of inspiration, gratitude or peace.
We will be meeting with a potential Spanish language teacher today…..and then the real learning for me will begin!!! Yikes! Things still feel like we are on a vacation of sorts, and I have a bit of an anticipatory twitch in my tummy about how we will settle in and how we will do as a family carving out our life in Cuenca. Thinking about this trip for years and years, of course I have built up ideas and visions of how things would look….and naturally, only a small fraction of those will actually manifest and be realised. I just hope we continue to stretch ourselves to take advantage of everything we can while we are here.
That’s all for now folks.
…just about. We have the remainder of today, and then we will be up mortifyingly early tomorrow morning and off to the airport to catch our flight to Cuenca.
Fittingly, we visited the equator today. Yes….the actual mid-point between the northern and southern hemispheres; and yes, we got the proverbial photo of one foot on each side. Such tourists. We hired a taxi driver from yesterday, Alfonso, who took us there and kept Myles chatting the whole time…giving us some of the inside scoop about Quito.
As much as I’d say we are undeniably enjoying our time here in Quito, I am really looking forward to Cuenca where we can settle in and carve out a mini-life for two months. I am finding this bigger city tough to get around without walking 45 minutes or hiring a taxi, thus making it challenging to have the sense that you are part of a community. We have been making the most of the mornings and early afternoons before the clouds open up and release the assault of rain, then we return to our apartment to do some school-work. I’ve included a photo below in this blog entry of what a typical afternoon of studies looks like…you may even be able to see the downpour in the background. Jasper is doing a math program online, and Macy is researching some things she wants to add to her blog. Myles is likely researching and planning a portion of our trip…he’s so good at that 😉
One other piece I am looking forward to in Cuenca when we settle in for a chunk of time, is being able to make more of our own food. We have attempted to “cook” some things here at our apartment, but really “cook” means prepare or throw some mostly-made things together. I’d guess we visited Megamaxi, the wonderful South American cousin of Superstore, at least 7 times in total. Love that place. We have also eaten out quite a bit, but the deep fried goodness that is everywhere is starting to get to me. I’ve also included a picture of my most recent fast-food endeavor from “American Deli”, which was Ranchero Pescado. For those of you who know me, you will hear my deep dismay as I tasted the lentils/beans portion of the food and realized my hopes for deliciousness had been deceived by the lentils being utterly saturated with cilantro. Ew.
These other two pictures I’ve included here are of the church that my kids talked about in their blogs – the Basilica Del Voto. Beautiful. I just like the pictures!
Off to Cuenca tomorrow.
Thanks Quito for introducing our family to South America and initiating our Shaffer Nash Big Adventure in a most wonderful way.