Daily Archives: May 3, 2010

Bienvenida

Today was my first workday and it was pretty long. It was pretty much training and then later we tried to get me a cell phone today on World Teach’s plan. There are two cell phone companies in Ecuador: Movistar and Porta. My company is on the Movistar network and so we went to their HQ to add me to the plan. We got there, got a number and things moved quickly and went to talk an attendant. We discussed what phone I’d get, the Field Director tried to see if we could negotiate a better deal which resulted in nothing, and then it was time to fork over ID, etc. We had the right ID but didn’t have our RUC which is this sort of certificate with your tax number. So we decided we’d go back later. We had a meeting that afternoon and so stopped at Movistar HQ again. This time we had all the right information and so thought things would move along. We sat for like 30 min before the guy finally told us that his computer system wasn’t working and could we come back later that day to get the phone. Now you might be thinking why would we wait 30 min without question. This is just how things are in Ecuador. They take forever. After our meeting, we then went back to Movistar. We talked to the same guy, and we sat and waited. This time it was nearly an hour before he said that his system wasn’t working. At least this time we could get the phone. Tomorrow he’ll call us to say when the line has been activated and provide me with a phone number. Oh how I miss running errands in Ecuador. Somehow everything takes an age to complete and sometimes even days.

We knew it would take it’s time to get things done so while we waited Kate trained me in stuff that I needed to know for the job.

There are some things that are pretty cool here. $0.25 for a bus ride. That was the same price when I was here in 2004 so it’s great that that hasn’t risen. I’m also enjoying the cost of the taxis. $1-$3 will get you across town. Ecuador is actually quite expensive for South America but after NY prices I’m loving it. For lunch we went to this place and had an almuerzo – you get soup, meal of rice and chicken and salad, dessert plus juice all for $2.50.

I’m pretty knackered after today. It’s been raining like crazy every afternoon. Pouring rain that soaks through everything. Also I’m getting used to communicating in Spanish throughout the day which can be tiring. I’m happy that I can converse pretty ok so far. I had breakfast and dinner with my host family and I could hold my own during the conversation. I still have to get into the swing of it but I think it will flow better soon. I’m going to take some Spanish lessons while here to keep improving and tomorrow I have my first lesson. Can’t wait! I do love some self-improvement.

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First Day

Today I had my first full day in Quito and it was very busy. I went over to Kate’s, the Field Director for the year long programs, house and her husband, his sister and his mother prepared an amazing bbq (parrillada) for us. It was delish!

Kate's husband, Ever, our chef

While they cooked we talked shop and drank wine. So I guess my working life started right away. There’s not really a break though in these volunteer situations. With many volunteers in the country and just Kate and Steph (the Asst Field Director) to deal with stuff, life’s very busy.

Kate has a lovely home and an amazing view from her apartment. Here are some pics. I love the fog over Pichincha (the local mountain).

Aerial view of Quito

She’s married to an Ecuadorian and they have two children together, the first is her stepson and then the daughter is her biological child.

Steph in the middle and Mia and Joe, the kids

After our festival of meats – there were two kind of sausages, chicken, steak and pork, we headed to the office. As a new month has begun, expenses had to be completed.

In complete randomness, it turns out that the family the Asst Field Director stayed with while she looked for a place (she started in January) was the same family I lived with during my month long orientation in Quito when I was a volunteer here in 2004. So she called up our ex-host brother to say I was in town and he remembered me. I was quite close with that family during my time in Ecuador. Anyhow, after work we headed to his apartment and hung out drinking wine (as you do) and reminiscing about times past. It was so cool to catch up and feel a bit more grounded here.

Tomorrow I start work and I really have to hit the ground running. I have 26 summer volunteers coming and host families and job placements need to be finalized. I’m looking forward to it though. After the last few months of doing not much, I shouldn’t say that because I did get my knit designing off the ground, it’s good to feel like I have a place again; something I was desperately searching for (and have yet to find) in NY.

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