Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Second Blog Birthday

I have no idea how I missed this. I think it was because I was too busy drinking beers, reading books, and trying to figure out what the hell I was doing.

My blog turns two today, and I know I've neglected it tremendously this year due to my time in Ecuador, but hopefully I can continue sharing my insight with the rest of you while finding solace in my corner of virtual infinity.

The year in review:

July 2007 ~ Harry Potter, Harry Potter, and more Harry Potter. I read 4,200 pages in 22 days. I also earned my sixth belt in karate edging me nearly half way to black.

August 2007 ~ Dave gave me the "hug". I realized Mr. Brownie Sundae had a girlfriend, and I was his best kept secret. It broke my heart. I said goodbye to my unsatisfying job. Relief at last. I barely escaped an arranged marriage. My friends threw me the best going away party EVER and Mr. Houdini even managed to make an appearance-woolly sweater and all. I helped my parents move into their new house, then said goodbye to my life as I knew it and headed to my friend Nick's wedding in NC.

September 2007 ~ I spent the night before my year abroad dancing away at Nick and Lindsey's wedding. The next morning, I ignored all my anxieties and flew to Miami where I met my soon-to-be best friends. Quito, Ecuador became my new home. I spent 12-14 hours a day for 26 days in orientation, met my host family, survived a house robbery, and attended a national election in another country.

October 2007 ~ I taught my first TEFL classes. This was an adjustment that required me to study English grammar for two to three hours an afternoon. It rained every single day of the entire month. Ashley, Jefe, and Brooke became my new best friends.

November 2007 ~ My host family and I moved into the family's apartment building on the next street up and I got to choose the color of my room. Myself and the other Quito volunteers vacationed in Cuenca to celebrate the city's Independence Day. The vacation changed my perspective and made me feel better about being in Ecuador. For the first time ever, I forgot Thanksgiving, yet the group took time to celebrate on the Saturday following the real holiday.

December 2007 ~ Classes finally ended. They were quite the learning experience. I never want to teach a room full of Latin men again. Amoebas made their first attack. Mr. Brownie Sundae made a come back. My holidays were spent with my host family. I spent the remainder of my vacation time playing cards, listening to hip hop on Ashley's computer, and indulging in El Gourmet Argentina-Navidad con Dolli was the highlight.

January 2008 ~ Second round of classes began. One of my classes was canceled without my knowing, which resulted in me spending what would be night class hours playing on the computer at work with nothing to do while the others taught diligently. I felt incredibly guilty the entire four weeks. The Ecuadorian government announced they were not going to pay us, which started our financial troubles. Mid-Service was at the beach and I survived a 14 hour ride on a night bus. I also caught some lovely intestinal bugs. Tungurahua started burping.

February 2008 ~ Half way point of my service and the low point. I started my night class so I no longer had to feel useless. I was violently ill for the majority of this month. Joel tried to play match-maker with me and one of my students. I vehemently fought this and in the end Joel and I shared Polo as a companero. My conversation class became the highlight of my teaching. I greeted the March Volunteers at the airport and realized I needed to enjoy my final stretch because the time was flying by at the speed of sound. Anna was born. I celebrated Carnival with the host family where we made a disaster in the house.

March 2008 ~ Sly made her appearance in Ecuador and changed my entire life there. The government finally delivered our back pay. We danced away many nights in the club - hot and sweaty- and saw all the sights in the vicinity. I celebrated Easter in Centro Historico and spent my vacation hanging out with Sly in Santo Domingo de los Colorados. I was in the local newspaper, La Hora, for attending an indigenous festival; kind of like the society page. Go me! A war nearly erupted between Colombia and Ecuador and the protests frightened me. My sister's friend died.

April 2008 ~ Our third and final term began. Sly and I vacationed in Otavalo where we ate delicious empanadas. Then in Banos, we relaxed and indulged in massages, bike rides, and vegetarian food. I headed back to the U.S. for the first time to attend a wedding.

May 2008 ~ I met baby Anna. Bethy and Justin got married. More dancing in clubs occurred, especially with Hurricane's drag show bday party. Our first vino and tapas night kicked me and Ashleycita's asses. Scrambling to get things done before the end of service began.

June 2008 ~ The end of service conference marked the last of my duties as a volunteer. I wrote kick ass poems about fellow volunteers to read at the final dinner. I spent two weeks helping Ashley say good bye to our beloved city. We ate our way through nearly everything everywhere in Quito until she left to go home. The despedidas began, as everyone wound up their teaching obligations. Sly, Brittney and I stayed at Hotel Quito. Sadly, classes ended and I had to say goodbye to my students. Vino y Tapas took over our lives until it was closed by the government for tax evasion (Thank god!). La Liga won game after game to earn a spot in the finals of Los Libertadores Cup. I had my last parties and final lunches. I spent my two week vacation hanging around Quito saying goodbye before heading home.

July 2008 ~ La Liga won the championship game against Brazil. I said goodbye to Quito and farewell to my friends. I endured a 41 hour return home were my first stop was in PA with Danny, Krista, Allison, David, and the ninos. It was the best 4th of July I've had in a very long time. I discovered the ease of Amtrak travel. I visited KB and Beth in Philadelpia then I hopped a night train to Boston where Whit picked me up on her way home from the Cape. Lo made some delicious Thai Chicken pizza and delivered my mail. Dad picked me up from Lo's and took me home for six days so I could get clothes and play dutiful bridesmaid at Lo's lovely bridal shower. Whit stole me away and we met up with Allie to enjoy an evening at the bar with the light up dance floor. Of course Mr. Houdini was there, but I managed to avoid having to engage in conversation with him. I ended the month in Michigan with Mr. Brownie Sundae. For two weeks, I was the laziest person alive and it was nice. Now it's time to start a new life here in the good old U.S. of A. Wish me luck.


Allie said...

You have quite a year my dear Cupcake! Happy Blog Birthday!!

cupcake said...

yes indeed. thanks Lovely :)

Ross Douglas said...

These memories are the ones you will treaure for all the days of your life.

Loved the first picture.