Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cheerleading Again

So, I had actually stopped working with the cheerleading program here back in May because the head coach left in order to pursue her own career full time. I definitely missed working with the girls, but there were 6 other coaches and I just didn't know where I fit in there. However, this past week, they had some coaching changes, and the athletic director asked me if I was interested in returning as the main coach for the coed and senior all girl squads. I thought about it over the weekend and decided I'd go for it. I told Wilson that I know it will stress me out as cheerleading always does but that it would also keep me busy. I just spend too much time alone here and need something productive to do with my time.

I'm definitely having to make a few changes because there is a slight lack of commitment and dedication on one of the teams, but I think we'll get back on track soon. The coed team is going to be lots of fun, I think. I teach most of those guys, so I already have a good relationship with the kids which really helps.

And, I'm bound to learn more Spanish this way! The other coaches only speak Spanish, and many of the older girls on the all girl team only know Spanish as well. So, I try to have practices in Spanish as much as possible. (Of course, when I was frustrated the other day, I just told them I'd have to speak in English and one of my students would translate. Ha!) And I'm getting to kind of see better how the cheerleading community here in Guayaquil works.

So, Go Toros!!!!

Small Pleasures...

So, I'm really enjoying the new apartment! And we're slowly getting it furnished. After 2 weeks without a fridge, it was soooo exciting to have one again! We now have a fridge and a stove. The stoves here are all gas with a big gas tank next to it. It still kind of freaks me out to cook with flames coming up, but I'm slowly getting used to it. :o) We also have a tv and two plastic chairs--a very elegant living room. Ha!

Another exciting discovery I've made is that we have an extra room. We knew there was a random door to what looked like an attic type of room, but it turns out it's an additional room, with hardwood floors, outlets, windows, and everything. You have to climb a ladder to get up there, so we couldn't really get any furniture up there. But, maybe eventually I could make it into a dorky reading room with beanbags and pillows or something. :o)

And, it's also been really nice to just have access to go places. I can easily walk to the mall or the grocery store or whatever. I don't feel as trapped in as I did at my other apartment. I definitely think this was a great move!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


So, while everyone is dying in Georgia from the unbelievably high temperatures and horrible humidity, the weather has actually gotten quite nice here in Guayaquil. This is technically "winter" in South America, but here in Guayaquil I'm still wearing shorts and flip flops. But, I don't sweat as much! Ha! That's really the only difference during the middle of the day. It still gets pretty hot, but it's bearable.

But, the real difference is in the mornings and evenings. There is a wonderful breeze that cools everything down and is so nice. I've even put on a sweatshirt a few nights (of course, I'm still in shorts though).

If the weather were like this all year, it'd be great! Around November it'll start getting steamy again, but I'll certainly enjoy it for now!

My First Earthquake (and hopefully last!)

So, I have now experienced my first earthquake. I believe that technically what I felt here was a tremor, but when the walls are all shaking, I call that an earthquake!

I was getting ready for school and was just finishing my shower when Wilson came and told me to get out and come with him. He asked if I didn't feel the earthquake, but since we live near the airport, I just assumed things were rattling a little from a plane passing over. But, I wrapped a towel around me and went and stood with Wilson in the door frame of our bedroom and hallway. And it was definitely all shaking--a very weird experience! Good thing we didn't have any furniture or decorations, I guess. Ha! Wilson also grabbed my pajamas and made me put those on while we were standing there (even though I was still soaking wet) because he said that it wouldn't be so good for me to be naked if we had to get out of the building. Such a wise man. Ha!

I asked Wilson later how he knew what to do, and he said he didn't really know, just something way back in his head told him to stand under a doorway. (As my younger brother would tell you, maybe Wilson once saw the Saved by the Bell episode where Lisa Turtle and AC Slater used that strategy when there was an earthquake at Bayside.) :o)

I guess it lasted for a few minutes, and then Wilson told me to finish getting ready. When we got in the car to go to work, Wilson looked at me and said, "Were you scared?" and I said, "Yes, actually I was a little." And Wilson quickly answered, "Me, too!!!"

It turned out it was like a 7.0 earthquake or something (comparable to the one in Haiti), but it was much farther below ground so it didn't cause much damage. And it was actually closer to Quito, so we only felt a lesser version really. Some of the white boards at my school were loosened from the walls, and my friend Hannah said a vase of hers fell off the table and broke, but no real damage anywhere here. Praise the Lord!!!! Under other circumstances, I don't think it would have been that scary to me, but since we've recently seen such horrible effects of earthquakes in Haiti and in Chile, it just really kind of changes the way I view things, you know? I just pray that my first earthquake experience will also be my last one!!

Home Sweet Home Part 2

So, we moved into our new apartment a couple of weeks ago. It was a rather easy move actually because we don't have that much stuff down here--mostly just clothes and books. Ha! One of Wilson's brothers and two of his nephews came and helped us move, so I barely had to do anything. :o)

Our new apartment is an unfurnished apartment, which will save us tons of money in the future, but for a while we will have a pretty empty place. Unfurnished here in Ecuador means literally nothing--no fridge, no stove, no air conditioners, no mirrors in the bathrooms, nothing!! In each of the rooms, there's a big hole in the wall where you can install a wall unit air conditioner. Luckily, it's "winter" here, so we are just doing without an air conditioning for now. We put up a map of Guayaquil over the big hole in our bedroom b/c I got kind of freaked out that birds or something would come in there. Ha!

Our first night, we slept on the floor b/c our bed could not be delivered until the next day. These tiled floors were NOT comfortable!! Ha! But, our bed did arrive the next day, and we slept sooo good on our new king size bed!!!!

But, my two biggest fears about the apartment turned out just fine. We do indeed have hot water in both showers and enough pressure to flush our toilet paper down the toilet. (These are definitely luxuries we take for granted in the States!) :o)

And, we're really enjoying the neighborhood and area we're now in. I've walked to the mall a couple of times by myself, and last night Wilson and I walked to the mall to get dinner and just enjoy the more peaceful atmosphere. Oh, and there's this great bakery at the entrance of our neighborhood that we've gone to almost every day! Fresh, hot bread each morning! Yum!!!

So, it'll definitely take us a while to get everything we need here, but little by little I think this will be a great home for us!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Facts about Wilson's Studies

The medical program at the University of Guayaquil really is a great and challenging program, but the lack of resources is just amazing when we are so used to such excess in the United States, even at rather small universities. Here are a few interesting things concerning Wilson's studies in Guayaquil:
1. He has 10 classes at a time!!! So, Wilson actually takes 10 classes a week and they are year round classes, not semester long. He has 7 lecture classes and 3 labs. Obviously, the most challenging and time consuming class is anatomy, but Wilson also spends his time studying biology, biophysics, embryology, histiology, and a few more he told me in Spanish and I can't really translate (b/c I don't understand the words in Spanish or English!). Ha!
2. Students find and share REAL bones!!! Because the school doesn't have the resources to provide models of the bones and all, students just find them somehow and share. Wilson brings home these bones that a friend gave him to use to study. I still don't exactly know what it means that they "find" the bones, but I decided I might not want to know so I stopped asking! :o)
3. They have to rent cadavers!!! Again, the school has 100's of students but very few cadavers. In his lab classes, there are about 60 people crowded around one cadaver with everyone trying to see. So, Wilson and some friends get together and rent cadavers for a few dollars and go when the whole class isn't there with one of the assistants and study. Yikes! How bizarre!
4. Copyright laws clearly do not exist here!!! All of the textbooks Wilson has are copies. They buy them on the street just like you buy a Coke or an icecream. You can pay a little extra and get color copies which Wilson decided to do for a few of them so that he could see the pictures better (especially since the school has no models for them to use!) He was a little worried to spend the money, and I just laughed and told him to go for it. It was only like $30. I told him that in the States, he'd be paying $150 per book or more (not to mention he doesn't have any kind of tuition at all here!).

But, Wilson really is loving it. He studies really hard and is one of the top students in his classes. I've seen him get stressed a few times, but for the most part, he's just completely in his element. It's amazing to me that anyone could get that excited over bones, tissues, and muscles, but I guess he feels the same way about me and Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton. Ha! :o)

A New Place

So, Wilson and I will be moving to a new apartment this weekend. We LOVE where we live, but it's just too expensive for what we need right now. We went apartment hunting about a month ago and found a really good deal on a much bigger apartment. We actually found my dream home when we were looking--it was a house for rent in a gated community with pool, tennis courts, etc., a brand new two story house with 3 bedrooms, huge kitchen, living room, dining room, and a cute little backyard. And it was only $360 a month!!!!!!!! But, it was too far out from the city. We really couldn't live there unless we both had cars. So sad!!!!

But, we found another place in the same area but just not quite as far out. It's a pretty big 3 bedroom apartment that's kind of on the river and still in a gated community (no pool though!). It's older, but we'll be able to fix it up the way we want so that'll be nice. And, it's close to lots of shopping and restaurants that I can easily walk to. It's unfurnished, so we're having to buy some stuff a little at a time, but maybe after a year it'll feel just like home. I'm really excited about this new place. It'll take some time to get settled there and get all the stuff we need, but I think it'll be well worth it!

But, the worst part is having to leave our landlord and her family. I've become very close with them since I go over there twice a week to tutor. But, they told me I'm still always welcome to come over and hang out, especially during the week when Wilson's at class until late. And, I still have an open invitation to visit their beach house. :o)

So, here's to Year #2 in Ecuador!