About Me

I am in South America from October 3rd until December 17th! I am spending the month of October volunteering in a child care center in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Then I have a month and a half to explore Ecuador and Peru!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Salsa in South America

Hello! This week has been amazing so far!

On Sunday I went to the historical center with Marco and Aleja (the grandparents of my host family) and walked around in shops. Then I took a three hour nap. And then two sister volunteers, Amy and Ruth, from New Jersey arrived! They are staying with the same host family as I am. They are here until Friday and are doing the same volunteer project. It is so nice to have people to speak English to and to ride busses with!

The daycare center now has a lot more help with the three of us volunteering. It does not feel like every teacher is overwhelmed with tasks anymore.

Yesterday we each took a group of 5 of the older kids to have English lessons. Amy did flash cards, Ruth tried to do colors and I did songs and Mother Goose Rhymes from a bilingual book that I brought. I had one group that was awesome and interactive and listened. But then my next group did not want to listen. And Ruth was having problems communicating what she wanted them to do, so we joined forces and had a larger group together. It worked alright...

Today for English classes we went outside during their play time and sent up a game to have them run to chairs that were either red, blue, yellow or green. There were about 5 kids out of 30 who were running and joining in. And there was at least one kid sitting in the chair at each color watching the others run. I feel like the game was fun for them and the kids who wanted to play were and if they didnt want to they could go play elsewhere on the playground.

After that game Ruth and I read them the Mother Goose Rhymes. She read them in English and I read them in Spanish. The kids loved the book! We could not get them to sit on the ground. They were all standing around us. I was surprised that the book drew in a bigger crowd than the running-color game. After we read to them we gave them stickers then went inside for lunch!

Oh yes, and to tell you a bit about the food here...
Rice is typical at most meals. Eggs are common. Meat is...different. Juice (jugo) is a must. And bread! The bread here is so delicious! At my house we buy fresh bread every day and the crust is so crispy and flaky and...delicious!

The daycare gives the kids breakfast every day. They get warm milk mixed with some kind of protein-vitamin stuff and also some fruit or something. Then they get a snack in the morning...usually apple sauce or some bread of some kind. Then for lunch they get soup then rice with some meat and veggies and of course...JUGO! All of the kids love their jugo. I think it is because it is basically water with a bunch of sugar and some fruit...but that is just me. We wait until they have eaten most of thir meals to give them their juice. Then they all go take naps. After their nap they get a snack and, you guessed it, more jugo!

Oh yes, and fruit is cheap and everywhere here. There is a furiteria on every street. It costs $1 for a bunch of bananas..somewhere around 15. And it also costs $1 for 25 mandarin oranges. I think I have eaten...one...two...three...four bananas today!

My new favorite saying is, "Estoy bromiendo!" or "I am joking!" Una broma is a joke. I am learning lots of new words every day and Spanish is becomming easier for me. I am able to comprehend a lot more. I still have problems putting what is in my head into words though...

And for my new passion here in Quito...Salsa!!! Salsa dancing, that is. Every day the two sisters have Spanish classes. I was lucky enough to find a dance studio a few blocks away from their lessons (thank you Lonely Planet books!). I have taken two salsa lessons. Today after my class my teacher gave me a card with an add for Salsa Miercoles. A place near the studio has salsa dancing every Wednesday night and I am thinking about going to it tomorrow night with the two sisters. They are also taking salsa lessons after their Spanish lessons. They have the same teacher as me and he has me help them out a bit. Salsa! Un, dos, tres. Cinco, seis, siete. un, dos tres. cinco, seis, siete.

Chao Chao!


  1. You know you've mastered a language when you no longer translate in your head and actually think in that language. Immersion is the best way to learn. Glad to hear Spanish is getting easier for you. One day you'll wake up and realize you just dreamed in Spanish. Languages are so fun.
    Love salsa dancing!! I would love to take lessons in SA. Have fun!

  2. I cant wait for the day that I dream in Spanish and I no longer have to think about what I am hearing or what I am going to say. I am getting a lot better at understanding what people say, but I am still having troubles expressing myself...getting progressively better though...