En Ecuador, Summer 2011

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Entry that Breaks my Heart

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
 - Dr. Seuss, as I'm sure you know
Finishing our last class: (l-r) Isabel, Mr. John, Andres, Mr. Carl, Marco, Mr. Raed, Daniel, Miss Nikki; 2nd row: Maya, Camila, Victoria

Out to celebrate at Romolus and Remus, authentic Italian Ecuadorian :)
This is the entry that I just don't want to write. This is the entry that, no matter how good of things I have to fill it with, will break my heart.

We are saying goodbye.

O por lo menos, we are saying hasta luego to this particular period of adventure, study, experience, and love in Ecuador.

Monday, July 25, 2011

You know what I did last weekend...

Alright, mis queridos...one last weekend update to share with you some sights, some adventures, and a little bit more of Ecuador :)

An incomparable sunset over Quito with a view of Volcan Cotopaxi
Friday, we were all feeling the need that comes for celebration with the end of a TESOL course week. So, we headed - Brianna, Lindsay, John, Raed and myself - to the Mariscal for a real dinner of our choosing, and ended up at the Magic Bean, como siempre.

There are a few reliable things here, actually. The weather is not one of them. 
But the Magic Bean will always be the best choice for dinner in la Mariscal, 
TESOL will always be stressful (even right to the very end), 
the altitude will hit you every time you walk uphill, 
my sister and her boyfriend will get into at least one nonsensical fight every week, 
every other taxi cab driver will try to overcharge you, 
and the buses will always fill la Avenida America with the unavoidable stench of diesel fumes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Go out with a...HIGH PASS lesson! (aka, bang)

I always knew Audrey Hepburn was the right choice.

Eliza Doolittle, the flower girl

Eliza Doolittle...lady?

We teach who we are, and I am an Audrey Hepburn fan. She hasn't failed me yet. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing

Let's talk about a weekend in Baños.

...no, let's not. Let's show. :)

The side of Volcan Tungurahua, the 3rd-largest volcano in Ecuador and entirely active

Saturday morning and out to breakfast after a 2 am arrival Friday night!

Oh, just chillin in the hammocks waiting for our guide.

Courtyard of our hotel: La Petit Auberge. 

On a bicycle tour of the waterfalls

This is what happens when I take photos and ride a bike simultaneously: some cool photos of our guide in front, AND the speed bump I almost wiped out on por la culpa de la camara.

Brianna and Lindsay behind...

Mountains in the clouds, beginning to feel normal here!

Twin falls

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How do you say...SUCCESS?

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller
La Basilica de Baños
My first real adventure of the weekend was Friday, in my third class of the week. 

Each class is an adventure because, as an ESL-teacher-in-training, you never know how your class is going to react to your lesson or even how your lesson is going to unfold (perhaps unravel) in real time. Going into Friday, I had had one huge learning experience of a lesson (in other words, a flop -- or so it seemed in my initial reaction) on Monday, a half-flop, half-success on Wednesday, and another challenging lesson plan readied for my students. Because despite all of this, I still thought they could take it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Teach what you know, learn what you don't

"A mistake is like a gift to the class."

I've been a very giving person this week.

My mid-week lesson was a huge topical shift from the not-so-inspirational-after-all lesson on Monday:


If you just laughed, you probably know me well.

I don't cook. Or rather, I do, I just can't stand to. (But I do like to eat. In the framework of independent living, cooking becomes a rather necessary function at that point.) However, some of my younger students had indicated a real interested in learning "to cook in English." Since Monday's lesson had been so intimidating for them, I thought this might be a nice change. Useful vocabulary and functions, but not hard to learn.

Well, it turns out it is actually quite challenging to learn the objectives of a lesson when you don't complete them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Learning to Fail

"I have failed my way to success." - Thomas Edison
a teacher, learning

I had gone to sleep on Sunday night, como ya tu sabes, on a cloud floating above the world: from here perspective encompassed humanity on a grand scale and peace was abundant in such a position closer to the heavens.

Monday morning, I woke up in the very dirt of earth. I just didn't know it yet.

My confidence went before me with steady strides as I neared my second teaching lesson Monday afternoon after our TESOL classes terminated. El tema, or the theme, of my lesson was sure-fire: the students would be working backwards to dissect inspirational quotes from figures in the range of British and American history. The lesson would start with a warm-up activity as simple as ABC - literally.

From the start, says my colleague, the indefatigable John, the planets were aligned against me. (I thanked him later for blaming the universe on my behalf.) Monday brought a group of TESOL participants cranky and irritable, full of smart-alecky comments like me. There was just a pervasive attitude problem in the air. 

The students, our lovely intermediate-speaking English students, were under the same cloud when they came in the door at four o'clock. I don't mean to imply that they were rude; I'm sure the day is far when I will experience anything like American student disposition from an Ecuadorian in my class. However, they were quiet, and obstinately so. They weren't in a creative mood, they weren't in a happy mood, they weren't in a fun mood. And they hit me with my first shock in the first five minutes.