I thought you might be interested in what my "day off" looks like. It probably isn't a whole lot different than yours, but I thought I would write it out so you can see what a typical day in Loja is like.
6 am: Get up, get dressed, put a pot of boiling water on for coffee, and put a roast in the crockpot
7 am: Wake kids up and make them get ready for school
7-7:45 Make breakfast, feed kids, clean up from breakfast, finish last minute school work, unlock doors (this takes about 5 minutes), and start a load of laundry.
7:45 pray with kids and send them off to school (don't forget to pay the bus driver! It MUST be done today!)
8:00 work on housework. Today Irma is coming to clean and of course, like any other woman I have to clean first.
9:00 Irma arrives and sets about her work
9:15 After making sure Irma has everything she needs I need to walk downtown to Parque Central to pay the school bill. I will need to fill out three deposit slips in duplicate and wait in line (though this line is not usually long)
9:45 Sit at Mimos for a cup of coffee (.80) and so my Spanish homework
10:30 Walk to Romar, a small Ecuadorian grocery to get some snacks, yogurt, milk, and a few other needs)
11:00 Catch a taxi home (I usually walk but today I am really pressed for time)
11:10 Unload the groceries. Figure out how to tell Irma that I will not need lunch today and that I will be leaving before she does, and that she should just lock up when she is done.
11:30 Walk to Spanish class
11:40 Spanish class with my teacher Indira (In-dear-a). We are studying questions. Perhaps today I will be able to tell the difference between "How long have you BEEN in Ecuador?" from "How long will you BE in Ecuador?" That one always messes me up. Who am I kidding? They all mess me up. Last week someone asked "De donde eres?" (Where are you from?) which is a first week Spanish lesson. It took me 5 minutes to finally figure out what they were saying. Questions are harder than they seem.
12:40 Get home and hang up the laundry I started this morning and fold the dry laundry from yesterday (If it doesn't rain on them). Start making the kids' lunch. They are served a brunch at school but since Ecuadorians don't eat lunch until 1:30 or 2:00 the kids are famished when they get home. Today we will have rice pudding left over from breakfast. I need to add some veggies to the crockpot.
I can relax for a while. Maybe I will play on the internet, read a book, or practice my spanish.
2:30 Kids get home from school
At this point I will focus on the kids. They won't see much of me this week so maybe we can do something fun like go to the park, and play a game. I will also need to translate and help them with their homework which takes about an hour. If the translation is too difficult, I will need to call someone to help me.
6:20 Listen carefully for the garbage truck. It plays music like an icecream truck. Today is green garbage day and I HAVE to remember to take it out. Green garbage is for organic and it is starting to attract flies. If I don't get it out I will have maggots. I must stand out with my garbage can or it will get stolen like our black one did. (Black is for non-organic). Also today, I need to walk out black garbage out to the stadium where there is a dumpster. We still haven't replaced our black can and the city garbage won't pick it up without the can.
6:30 We will eat the roast that has been cooking for us all day. Then maybe we will watch a movie.
7:45 the kids start getting ready for bed and brush their teeth.
8:00 Kids climb in bed. Esther is sleeping with me this week since Dustan is gone. That is a special treat for her. The kids usually go to bed without fighting and we spend some time in prayer before they go to sleep.
8:30 until I go to sleep: I read, mess around online, straighten up the house, practice Spanish, etc.
I want to add that you must always leave room for visiting in the Ecuadorian culture. I thought I was prepared for this. I had been told many times that it was a culture based on relationships. However, I am always taken by surprise when someone drops by for a visit and stays for an hour (or longer). Dustan's teacher Rosio came by and my morning to-do flew out the window as we visited.
Instead of doing laundry I talked talked to her (in Spanish), about language learning and about living in Loja. She talked to me about how hard it was going to be for her when Sheryl (another missionary) leaves.
Instead of finishing my dishes, I built a relationship. It happens this way. And this is part of the reason I love Ecuador so much.
But- I will now have to leave the dishes for Irma to do, and I better get a rush on it so I can get that laundry done.
(Just realized that somewhere in there I need to work in getting Esther's birthday present and making a few phonecalls. It will all get done. No worries. Time is slow in Ecuador.)