Today is my free day, and boy was it a doozy. I thought I would take you on a tour, but before you buckle up, please know that every day is NOT like today, but because today has lots of tidbits of life in Ecuador, I thought I would share.
Oh, roll your window down, and leave you umbrella at home, because today is GORGEOUS!
8:00 in the morning. We are well awake by now, drinking coffee and eating breakfast. I ate coffee for breakfast. The kids and Dustan ate toast with jam, or granola.
"Hurry Up. Hurry Up. Clean Up. Irma's coming!" Yep, that's me you hear yelling at everyone to hurry up and clean for the lady who cleans the house. I am crazy. I know. But I don't want her to think I am a dirty person....
I spend time catching up on emails which I was overloaded on because we spent four days without internet. Yes. I am still alive. Barely. Internet is like air and water.
8:30 in the morning: I run to El Sendero to teach Sandra how to make omelets. We are serving them as a special in the mornings and I quickly explained that I only had a few minutes. Whew.
Then I raced back. Because I had to be home by nine.
9 in the morning: It's time for my Spanish class. OH! And there is Irma. Irma makes my bed and cleans the bathrooms. She also sweeps and mops the floor. Usually, but today she can't mop because she has too many people in her way. My house is like a bus station today.
Dustan leaves for his Spanish lesson
Rocio and I talk about all kinds of things. We talk about alcohol and the custom of drinking in Ecuador. We talk about my previous trip to Loja, we talk about how things went in Gonzo, we talked about natural remedies for parasites (I will need to stay close to a bathroom for THREE days!!!), and we talked about how I should really be boiling my water instead of buying it, because the bottled water is not safe enough (according to her).
10 am: Rocio is still here, because we are still having a fascinating discussion about parasites and the door bell rings. It is Jenny (pronounced Yenny) who is going to give the kids an hour of lesson.
The doorbell rings again. This time it is Paula, another SIM missionary, and the short term director. We have a meeting at 10.
Dustan isn't home yet.
Rocio asks me to help her write a Thank you letter for one of her friends. In English. Not TO one of her friends; FOR one of her friends. Her friend is taking a class and the teacher speaks English. The friend wants to give the teacher a thank you card in English. I wrote a very heartfelt thank you. Honestly, it was hard, and not because I have never even met the person I was writing to, but because I have almost forgotten how to say thank you in english.
Rocio leaves and we have our meeting which is interupted by Esther who is screaming AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. The child is dying, people. She is flat out dying.
Why? Because she picked a spicy pepper from the tree in the back yard and then stuck her finger in her eye. Her eye is on FIRE!!!! I have quite a little drama queen on my hands. After I extinguished the fire in her eyeball, I returned to the meeting and she returned to her spanish lesson.
11:30 Imra leaves.
We leave. For the post office, which, when we get about half way there, we realize we (I) left the key at the house. Dustan goes back and we agree to meet at the park.
Only, I get distracted, by a children's clothing store. I shop and post Marcus as a look-out for his father. After 15 minutes, I get worried that Marcus didn't see Dustan pass by and that now Dustan is looking for us at the park. "Please, can you save these for me?" I ask the vendor. "Sure, no problem." she says.
The kids and I race to the park and we see Dustan at the bank. "I am SO SO SO sorry,", I pant. "I had Marcus looking for you. he must have missed you."
Dustan looks at me funny. "I took a taxi." he said simply.
I no longer have a clue what time it is: I do, however know we are now rushing to the Post office and when we arrive, our key won't fit. Again. This is the third, or fourth, or zillionth time. (yes we have tried different keys). Finally, we talk the PO lady into checking for our packages.
Unfortunately we have to pay .25 cents. "Where?" I ask. "We will call you later", she responds.
Whatttt? So, we STILL don't have our packages, and we have no idea why. I think they are being held hostage.
Sometime around lunchtime: We stop at a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch. We order tacos and soda for Esther and Weston (1.25) and a platter for Marcus, Dustan and me (4.00 each). Yummy.
Unfortunately, things get a bit soggy when Weston knock his cup of soda into Dustan's lap. Unhappy daddy with wet jeans, unhappy boy with tremendous thirst.
After lunch: Because tiendas close between 1 and 3, we have to wait until 3 to return to the tienda for my clothing purchases. So, we wander around looking into any tiendas that happen to stay open.
We also take a trip to Tia (like a dollar general store) and buy some odds and ends, plus some glasses that needed to be replaced because we keep breaking them.
We stop for icecream, where I explain successfully that Marcus and I have an allergy and can't have cookies on ours. I must have explained well, because the shopkeeper didn't even look at me funny.
I find a tienda that I visit at least a couple of times a month. They have a blanket I want. Each time the dialogue goes the same.
"How much is this?"
"I can pay 12."
"I will take 15. No less."
"Please, please, please? I really like this blanket. Please take 14."
This time he added:
"It's only a dollar for you"
"And it's only a dollar for you too!" I retorted.
Okay. This man and I have a history. We do this often. He KNOWS I want that blanket. He KNOWS I won't pay more than 14. he is stubborn. Unfortunately, for me, I am more stubborn. And crazy.
I leave. He doesn't come running after me. Because he doesn't care how much I LOVE that blanket. He wants 14.00
We still have 45 minutes to waste and Dustan pops into a movie store. I don't want to browse with the kids because the place looks seedy to me and we tell Dustan to meet us at the park on the corner.
The kids and I sit on a bench and wait. And wait. And wait. And watch pigeons. And wait. And make up a story about a pigeon who was convinced he was really a peacock with stolen feathers.
Finally, we stop waiting and return to the movie tienda. "Do you know where my husband is?"I ask. "He left a while ago", they reply.
Thus comes the tours of the parks (central squares where schools, government buildings, and churches are located) of Loja. Dustan is doing his own tour.
At 2:30 we discover each other at the children's clothing tienda.
The tienda is still not open so we stop by a shoe store that is open. We argue with Esther because she wants frivolous shoes. We want to by the sturdy ones. She wins. (Don't worry Grammy Pammy, we will get the shoes you sent her our of the post office one of these days, and we bought her shoes for church, so she still needs tennies)
3:00 We shop for the kids clothes. Choices are not much here. Most clothes are seconds from American clothing stores that are bought for .50 cents and then resold for between 30 and 50 dollars. We bought locally made clothes but still paid highly for it.
4:00: Dustan returns home while Esther and I finish up the shopping. He has a tutoring session with David, but David doesn't show.
Now, Dustan is wiped out and napping, the kids are climbing the mountain, the dog is howling because she has a hurt paw and can't come along, and I am taking you on this tour of our day.
I am glad that at least it was a sunny beautiful one!
PS. I have blisters on my feet.