Saturday, June 27, 2009

El Futuro

I'm leaving Quito in one week exactly. I'm sad to leave, but my feelings are tempered by relief at a few things:
  • I don't really have to say goodbye for long because I'm coming back in two months.
  • I'm going home, and that's a relief.
  • I get to eat all the food I've been craving...feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, dark leafy greens, good varieties of food (Indian, Mediterranean , Mexican...mmmm).
Wait a minute...coming back in two months? Yes, I got a job teaching English at the Centro de Educación Continua, a department of a well-known university in Quito, la Escuela Politecnica Nacional. Whenever I tell my Ecuadorian colleauges I got a job there they raise their eyebrows as if to say "wow I didn't know you were that smart," or something like that.

For the first month (September) I'll take a course to get my TEFL/TESL certificate (Teaching English as a Foriegn/Second Language) which should be transferrable around the world, including Pleasant Hill, CA (that's for you, mom and dad).

Then in mid-October I'll start teaching. I should have three classes a day, probably of a lower level because I'll be a new teacher. I'm not sure how the work will be, if I'll like it, if it'll be hard. But I wasn't sure about coming here to the Working Boys Center and I'd say it worked out pretty well. Amazingly, actually, so I've decided to relax and just let things happen to me (some advice offered me to a good Irish friend by the name of Ed).

I have an apartment set up with some friends: Sara, Elsa, and Will (a Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian, and a dude from Davis, CA). My room was once the "servant's quarters" so it's comically small. The head and foot of the bed each touch the walls, and to get to the bathroom you have to jump over the bed. Like whenever Mel Gibson and Danny Glover had to jump over the hoods of cars in Lethal Weapon--it's just like that.

But the fact that it has it's own bathroom is really nice, and the place is in a good area, has a washer and dryer, it's close to work and close to all other kinds of action in Quito.

So all is set to return to Quito, for how long I'm not sure. I guess until I'm ready to come home.

It's been difficult, up and down, fantastic, frightening, and quite grounding. I feel pretty removed from home, which was probably a good thing given the time, energy, and attention the kids here need. I've said it before and it's still true: I'm in love with my students. And though the love seems simple, I'm leaving the center with complicated feelings about child work, poverty, consumerism, education, and international volunteerism. And I've learned a lot about who I am, who I'm not, and what I can and can't do.

So that's that. My time at the center is nearly over and I'm happy about how things went. I'm ready to leave and will be ready to come back, and I feel so lucky that I get to live abroad like this. Hopefully I'll see most of you at home but if I don't, check back in September to hear about my Adventures in Ecuador, Capítulo 2.

love, Marian

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mini Bum

More bowling, a favorite among the kids. At first my second-graders were timid about it, gently rolling the ball down the lane until it came to rest just before the pins. "You have to put more force into it!" I told them. Pretty soon they were throwing it like MEN, little Incredible Hulks. They cheered for each other, they were patient when it wasn't their turn...they were just great (this is the class that amazed me with their gratitude during the Pizza Party). Unfortunately one boy didn't show up, and I learned later that his mom needed him to stay home to take care of a younger sibling (the kid is only eight years old and is on baby-sitting duty). I was distressed about that because we've been looking forward to this, so I'll try to make it up to him somehow.

Anyway, below is the evidence of a great time.

Here's Noé and the "power throw"

Billy was pretty nervous about this one

Winner for Best Smile: Elvis

What a goof.

Mr. Serious trying not to show excitement.

That's visiting former-volunteer Colleen in the back.

Someone else's camera has a picture of all of us together..will add that soon.

And another thing. When I told another group of boys what the name of this candy (one of them was selling it) translates to they went wild. They told me I could have a "tracero pequeño" whenever I want. ha ha...

love, M

Monday, June 1, 2009

Just for kicks

Here are some photos of late.

First up, making drums in Music class

Next, First Communion mass with the lovely Miranda girls (a few of us are going over to their house for Fathers' Day at the special request of Papa Miranda)

love, Mare