Sunday was nice because the new girl (K) and I decided to take a trolley to visit the famous historical center of Quito. It was great for sight-seeing, but it was also a great test of my language capabilities because I was forced to ask strangers for directions and other types of help. Additionally, we got to go on a tour through the President’s palace, which was SO SWANKY. I loved it and took lots of pictures. The tour was completely in Spanish and I felt like I understood a great deal, which made me happy. 🙂 There was a lot of cool street action and a parade put on by the local high schoolers—complete with a drumline and acrobats. Plus I discovered that K was pretty cool and it kinda made me sad that she’d only be in Ecuador for 1½ weeks before returning to Chicago. But whatever. That’s life.
The president’s palace (below) was REALLY cool.
*Side Note* Menestros del Negro is such a shock to see. The fact that such a racist cartoon mascot for a restaurant is prevalent in Ecuador (and especially the capital’s center) is just sad.
Actually, I’m going to be the only original host person in the house by the time July comes. The Swiss girl left about 2 weeks ago to go on an adventure, the mother and daughter are going to be done with their Spanish school by the end of the month, K is here for 11 days, and L decided to travel to volunteer in Guayaquil for the rest of her stay in Ecuador by July. So yeah. This trip is teaching me a lot about not getting too attached.
It’s especially sad, because the person that I guess I could consider my best friend here (P, who went to Cumbaya with me, M, and D…sorry for all the confusing initials. Lol) is only in Quito until July, and then she’s travelling to other countries in Latin America. Sigh. Oh well. I need to learn to appreciate the time that I do have with people and not dwell on the future.
Anyway, going back on track, we finally came back in peace and were starving, so we went to KFC (which isn’t great in the States OR here) because almost every store is closed on Sunday and passed out back at home. After dinner, L came back (she had gone to Otavalo—which has a famous massive indigenous crafts market—early that morning) and we exchanged brief “hi’s” before I passed out at, like, 8:30. I was EXHAUSTED guys. I told y’all I’m NOT an outdoorsy person.
Monday, we went back to the volunteer site, but by an interesting coincidence, we ran into one of our fellow volunteers from Germany at the bus station. He rode with us, however, at a certain point I distanced myself from him and L because they were being obnoxious while speaking in Spanish. What do I mean? Well he was talking about his experience going to the Amazon and how they were helping an indigenous tribe there in pretty rudimentary, obnoxiously loud Spanish which I just felt like none of the other native Ecuadorians on the bus wanted to hear about at 8 in the morning. I mean, can y’all imagine trying to live a normal life in a place where you grew up, and then all of a sudden hearing some college-aged, blond, financially well-off foreigner speaking incorrectly in your language about all the good work he did in one weekend for the benefit of people like you? Ugh. I separated A$AP Rocky and put in my headphones, listening to the only two songs I had on repeat for the whole 40 minute trip.
Once at the site, we did the usual Monday meeting in the main room with all the kids. Two of my fave Little Ones sat and snuggled next to me and I was content with all the cuteness that was surrounding me. OH. Let me also mention that in addition to complements of my braid-out (you see, I usually have my hair in a puff), kids could NOT keep their hands off my hair. It was enough to make me cringe, but I let it pass since they were kids. I re-moisturized and re-braided later that night anyway.
But GUYS. Omg. Okay, so there’s this one kid (apparently with Autism), that I thought was sweet-as-can be (although, for some reason, he is very amorous and is always trying to touch and kiss any female within arm’s length at the facility), until he straight-up drop-kicked another kid (who I find rather annoying, but God bless her) in the face. Like, guys. I’m not exaggerating. Apparently, he has a lot of issues with her and he knocked her to the ground on her hands and knees. And while she was crying, he kicked her in the face TWICE, before we could get to them. Like, wow. It was a horrible way to start the morning. But she was fine soon afterward and we all actively tried to keep them apart.
L also mentioned to me that one of my two little favorites (the only kid I work with who can speak coherently and is CUUUUUUUTE as a button!) had actually asked for me by name on Friday during lunch, because I wasn’t there! Ugggghhhhh! Way to pull at my heart strings. I felt even guiltier for not having come on Friday for such a stupid reason as getting too drunk the night before. And it also had me thinking about how guilty I felt for only volunteering for 9 weeks. I had read about vacation volunteering and the negative effects that it had on the children that volunteers interact with before coming on this trip, but I didn’t really think about it until then. For me to get so attached to these kids and vice-versa…only to leave after 9 weeks is devastating. I mean, the reason why I made my trip as long as possible was to make more of an impact instead of just coming for funsies and leaving, but I didn’t really think about the negative effects of my semi-extended stay… Sigh.
Oh, and off-topic, but yeah. My infatuation with M is pretty much over. And our interaction today was just so awkward (even though I tried to make it not awkward) that I thought “fuck it. I’m done.” I’m planning on going to a discoteca on Thursday with P and she asked if it would be okay if she asked the German volunteers and M to come too. I agreed with the German volunteers and hesitated a little with M, which P picked up on. But I assured her it’d be okay, although honestly, with the way the M is acting, I’d feel more comfortable with him not going. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.
Tuesday was a pretty normal day at the volunteer site. Unfortunately, I’m typing this on Wednesday, so I don’t really remember anything particularly important that happened. I guess the only noteworthy thing is the fact that P and I made plans to visit Baños during the weekend! 🙂 Woo woo! So I’m excited about that. But anyway…fast-forward to after volunteering. I went with the new girl and L to a fancy little French bakery that L had been gushing about. I will admit, the establishment was pretty swanky. But I was disappointed because they got my order wrong. They handed me hot milk with a black tea bag in it, claiming that it was the green tea latte that I had ordered. *rolls eyes* They were lucky that L treated me to the drink or I would’ve raised hell.
But anyway, I also learned that I kinda didn’t like New Girl (K) as much as I thought I would. She actually reminded me a lot of L…only more annoying. Literally, all she would do while we were there was whine about her trip, her volunteer work, and the host house. I mean COME ON. She honestly had the nerve to say that the school system sucked compared to the U.S. and she didn’t even want to volunteer anymore. COME ON DEAR. YOU’RE ONLY HERE FOR 11 DAYS. GET TF—ugh. Nvm. Next day.
In the morning, my lovely host mom gave me an application to be a volunteer for the Pope’s visit in July. I forgot to mention this earlier. Over breakfast (on Monday or Tuesday?) I had mentioned to her that, being Catholic, I was totally interested in seeing the Pope. She flipped out in pure joy upon finding out that I was Catholic like her and asked if I’d be interested in being a volunteer the day of his arrival. Uhh, of COURSE I agreed. Lol.
After breakfast, we went to the horse ranch with the kiddos again. On the way there, P and I bonded so much and talked about boys. Lol. Basically, she got me into the idea of getting a Tinder. I mean, I had one back home for a few hours, but it was just too weird for me seeing people that I knew. So I deleted it A$AP Rocky. But while here in a foreign country, it seemed like a great way to get to know people. 🙂
Anyway, at the actual horse ranch, I had quite a lot of fun! I finally bonded with one of the German volunteers who had been there for almost a year (that I initially found cold and intimidating) a lot! And she invited me to go to some nice beach (I honestly forget what it’s called) along with the other (cute) German volunteer guy and their Ecuadorian friends on the first weekend of July! 🙂 So it looks like I won’t be as lonely as I initially thought I would be when everyone leaves. Whew.
Over dinner, we (the travelers abroad) had the house to ourselves because our host mom and dad were out late. So we talked a lot and laughed about so much. I decided to make the Tinder account and got SO MANY matches and messages that it became somewhat of a problem and I freaked out. Hahaha. I really think I overdid it. But GUYS, Tinder is SO ADDICTING. However, I will say that I personally do not find a lot of the guys in my area attractive. I’d like a picture, match, see more of their pictures, and in absolute horror unmatch myself. Like, that happened a lot. And I also have to say that although some guys seemed cute, I ultimately rejected them for appearing too short. That’s a major problem with Ecuadorian men for me: I’m taller than the majority of them even though I’m only 5’6”. But there is good news: I ended up with a date for tomorrow at 5pm in a coffee shop (although the guy originally asked to meet at 9am. Wtf?). He seemed cute enough. Very outdoorsy (which leads me to believe that he’s a backpacker). His English is so cutely flawed (he actually wanted to meet at “9am o’clock”). He has facial hair. AND HE SEEMS TALL WHICH IS A BIG PLUS. 🙂 So idk exactly where the place is that he said he wanted to meet, but I hope I find out while looking around. And the good news is I have dinner at 7pm with my host family and I’m going with P to the discoteca after, so I have the perfect getaway excuses in case things aren’t working out.
Oh, and I have to also say (change of topic. Sorry) that K REALLY gets on my nerves. Dinner was 80% her complaining about her experience here AND OUR SWEET HOST MOTHER. Like, if you want to bitch about your ineptitude at speaking with children that you are teaching English in a language that they can understand, and your financial issues with the volunteer organization, fine. Whatever. That’s one thing. (Although, I did nonchalantly advise her to stop complaining and just make the most of her time here). But to talk shit about our host mother who had been NOTHING but kind and helpful to all of us (making us breakfast and dinner, having our rooms cleaned, doing our laundry, AND PROVIDING US SHELTER)! Ugh! Just gtfo now. Like, how fucking rude. Would you guys believe that when she left her room, she had the audacity to say to me “Oh great. I see she didn’t make my bed.” LIKE ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? SHE’S OUR HOST MOTHER, NOT YOUR MAID. YOU ARE A SIXTH GRADE TEACHER. YOU’RE OLD ENOUGH TO MAKE YOUR OWN FUCKING BED. Guys, I made sure to be passive-aggressive in my responses to her bitching. Like, I can’t stand rude people and I’m like you’re only here for A WEEK. Get OVER yourself. (Sidenote: She has a Midwestern accent which I think adds to the annoyance factor).
*Okay. So early warning. I’m typing out what I remember about Thursday, Friday, and Saturday right now and it’s 8am on Sunday. So sorry if I miss a few details. I haven’t had time to keep up these past few days.*
From what I remember about Thursday, things were pretty rough at the volunteer site. This is because around lunch time, I really started to notice how understaffed (in terms of volunteers) the organization now is. Because so many of the other volunteers had already left back to the States, we now only have 7 volunteers handling 35+ kids/teens/adults. The little kids (which me and L are the only volunteers for) are not capable of feeding themselves, so we have to do it, in addition to brushing their teeth and changing their diapers. The whole experience was hard because 2 of the volunteers had to leave for Spanish school and 1 (M) mainly only takes care of one particular kid. Also, the staff was having a meeting at that time, so our leader was not available to help and L had to watch other kids so P could go to Spanish school. SO BASICALLY, THAT LEFT ME BY MYSELF TO CHANGE SEVEN DIAPERS AND CLOTHES. It was so rough and really made me scared for how things would be when L left after next week. There is no way that I will be able to handle everything by myself. And I must admit that I get a bit jealous watching the other volunteers when they handle the older kids, who are capable of doing a lot of things for themselves, and get to hang out outside and chat while I’m stuck in a dark room with 9 kids for about 4 hours. Sigh. I need to find a solution by next week.
Anyway, after volunteering, I ran a couple of errands before going to meet up with my Tinder date. After my errands, I tried to find the place and had only a little bit of difficulty, but I found someone who helped me a lot, so that was good. 🙂
Okay so now on to the part y’all are probably waiting on: the date. I’ll sum it up: NO. NO NO NO! Just, NO. Let me tell you why.
First of all, I went to the place and felt very awkward and apprehensive. It was packed and I had no intention of looking pointedly at everyone’s face, so I ordered food and sat down. My phone was dying and the Wi-Fi was bad so I sent a quick little “Are you here?” and went back to eating slowly. I glanced around discreetly and noticed quite a few people who seemed to be waiting for someone. In my mind, I kept questioning whether or not each person was the right guy. I then noticed someone who seemed to glance at me quite often and I wondered if it was him. He was pretty cute and tall so I hoped it was, but I told myself that I would not go and ask. It’s at that moment (after about twenty minutes of sitting) that he came. Guys… I was in so much shock. When he said hello to me, I tried to keep my smile on my face as I sized him up. He was very thin, a LOT shorter than I thought he’d be, and had a higher-pitched voice to match. It was my nightmare. However, I tried to remain cordial as we sat and talked for a bit. It was hard for me to contribute much to the conversation because my heart just wasn’t in it (and he definitely noticed), but I tried.
We then moved to another venue (a German bar) and talked a bit more and then his friend called and then showed up (which I’ll admit was weird on both of their parts). So we talked and talked and I won’t go into much detail, because the conversations were weird at times and I just don’t think it’s worth it. But After 2 hours (I know. I’m a saint) I had to get going for dinner, so they walked me part of the way and then we departed. UGH. God. It dampened my night. But he was nice enough, so I let him have my Facebook information so that he wouldn’t think that I though ill of him.
Anyway, later on, I went with L to meet with P, one of the German volunteers (N), and his girlfriend. The night started off pretty nice (although I was a bit apprehensive seeing as we were back at Bungalow, which I HATE), but then ended pretty badly. I was approached by short guys (which is almost like a phobia for me), and I ended up getting really into it with two girls (but I’m so fucking proud of myself because I was obviously the intimidating one and their friends stood in between us because they were afraid that I’d whoop their asses. Like, fucking YES), and as usual there were TOO MANY FOREIGNERS. We stayed until about 2 am (lol. I guess this should count as my Friday post, huh?) and finally went home. BUT I couldn’t sleep because I had to moisturize and braid my hair for an hour (damn) and pack for Baños since I wouldn’t be coming back home after volunteering the next day (double-damn). So really, I slept at 4am and woke up at 6am. 😦
Friday was a pretty good day at the volunteer site. Most of the older kids had to go to the horse ranch, so it was a little emptier and quieter at the facility. I got to chill outside with one of my kids and P and N came by to chill and solidify our plans for later that day. The trip to Baños would take 3-4 hours and N was bringing his German friend who had been staying in Colombia. After work, me and P rode to the station close to her house and waited for N and his friend to meet us there. When they finally did, we rode to the main station that would take us to Baños. The ride to that station was very uncomfortable, cramped, hot, sweaty, and long but we finally made it there. The station reminded me a lot of an airport and the bus was a lot more cushy, complete with a movie playing on a large TV. I spent the majority of the ride listening to music and sleeping. But the times that I was awake, the views outside were marvelous.
We finally made it to Baños around 8pm and IT WAS RAINING. In fact, I’ll go ahead and tell y’all that it was raining the pretty much the whole weekend. But anyway, we found a pretty good hostal and called it a night.
Saturday was definitely an experience.
I am NOT an outdoorsy person by any means, but I was forced to be one that day. Basically, we rented mountain bikes and rode them (roundtrip) about 60 miles through mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and caves IN THE RAIN.
So this is how it happened. We woke up early on Saturday and went to breakfast (at this amazingly delicious, cute, and cheap café/restaurant). It was still raining and looked like it’d be raining all day, but we still decided to go biking on this long-ass trail. So we rented the bikes and went on our way…while it was still raining. I have to tell you guys that being from Texas (where it is mainly flat lands and little-to-no hills) I had NO biking experience with the exception of riding my bike 7 minutes to class on flat pavement. So you can imagine that this posed quite a challenge for me…especially considering that the other three I came with had lots of experience. So there were MANY times that I was far behind them (like 10+ minutes) because I had to take a break (or several) and catch my breath. It was when I had caught up that they explained to me how the gears on a mountain bike worked which made things a BIT easier. But for the most part, I suffered on the trail. However, I will say that the views were among the most beautiful sights that I had ever seen in my life. BUT I’m the type of person who would be just as content staying indoors watching Netflix and NOT getting drenched.
Sidenote: My favorite part of the trail was going underneath a waterfall. 🙂 My least favorite part was getting stuck with about 600+ other people because of a mudslide. 😦
Our map after going through the waterfall.
The dreaded mudslide.
Lol. Even in Ecuador.
Anyway, when we were finally free, we continued to bike and I instantly missed being stuck and not having to bike. My group was FAR ahead of me (probably like, an hour ahead) and I biked and ended up on a different path than how we got there, which took me on a longer path back to the city. So maybe 2+ hours later, I finally made it back and had a relatively hard time finding the hostal (considering there were about 25+). But eventually, some nice man gave me perfect directions and I made it back exhausted, dirty, wet, and hungry, but alive. 🙂 My group had already started preparing dinner, and I was too hungry to shower first, so I ate, then showered, and passed out.
I guessed my original plan of going to a discoteca just wouldn’t happen and I was quite alright with that.
So I had neglected to mention earlier in the week, but there’s this guy that I’ve been messaging on Tinder. I know, I know. My love life is hopeless. But idk…he seems pretty alright. Cute (I can actually tell this time because I creeped on his Facebook), 26, seems to have an awesome job, and messages me sweet things every day, several times a day. I won’t comment for sure on height, because I had completely missed the mark on the last guy, but he seems to be at least a bit taller than me? Hopefully a lot more? Idk. (Honestly y’all, I think I have a phobia of short men hitting on me). BUT by creeping, I found out that he has a daughter… Yeah. But he seems to really, really, reallllllly love her (which, of course, is GREAT) so I’m hoping that I can look past that? Ugh. I’m hopeless. We may meet in the near future. As always, I will let y’all know how everything goes.
Thanks for staying tuned and keeping up with my disaster of a life! 😉 Until next week!