Tuesday, August 10, 2010

...and Outside These Walls

Today was an interesting day. Seno' Irene and I had to go to the paperlerias around town to compare prices. This was my first time outside the walls and not in the comforts of the Hogar van. I know I compare a lot of my experiences to Ecuador, but what can you expect? I lived there for half a year. While roaming the streets of Quito, even when I was alone, I felt relatively safe. I was even mistaken several times for a Quitenan! I obviously never did anything ridiculous, and I can finally say without jinxing anything, I never got robbed during my semester abroad! Before we left for our little outing, Madre advised me to remove my cross (even though it has no value) and class ring. I don't wear any other jewelry here (I know can you believe it, Larissa without earrings!) This rainy afternoon, I felt everyone's eyes upon me. I must have been the wierd gringa that is prepared for the weather with my rain jacket (although my jacket is now permeable to water). Most people just put a newpaper over their heads, and run. In Ecuador, I basically played Frogger (and still have my 3 lives!) to cross the street. Here, I wonder if the bus drivers have ever used their brakes. There is a lot of peddling of pirited DVDs and knock-off watches and things of that nature, like in any big city. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures for the same reason that I could not wear my cross. Our errand was a success. We discovered that each folder/binder that I need cost about 26 quetzales (aprox 3 US dollars). Apparently, that is expensive for such a product. We may be able to go to Office Depot tomorrow on the way home from the zoo.

Tuesdays are carpenteria days. The professor that usually comes to teach computer classes didn't show up today, so the girls had free time to catch up on projects. Most were working on Christmas ornaments, one of the 26 things that's supposed to be complete by Mr. Russell's return in about a week. A few of the girls were working on the scroll saws doing individual projects they will most likely sell in the hogar store. It was an enjoyable time, listening to the girls practice their songs for Russia, and just chat with them. I lige (remember the vocabulary from woodshop? Ligar means to sand.) my project a little more. One of the girls is considered in charge of the woodshop, so I jokingly asked for her approval to pass my project. She didn't, because the semantron hailed us to Vespers before I could finish.

After a mother-less Vespers, we had some time before supper. I was talking with some of the girls about their anticipated trip to Russia in November. While we were conversing in the courtyard, and the boys were playing frisbee, another beautiful rainbow--all colors present--appeared in the east! See the rainbow in the top left of the photo?

I now have a running partner/coach. One of the little boys took it upon himself to "train me." Sometimes, we are just running--usually when I am ahead. When he is in front, it automatically becomes a race. Funny how that works. Now, everytime he sees me it's "c'mon Larissa, let's go train" even is we are still inside the church.

This afternoon, Madre gave me a documentary on socialism by PBS called "Heaven on Earth. The rise and fall of socialism." She instructed me to arrange the viewing of this after dinner. To get things moving faster, the Thetfords and I helped with the dishes. Afterwards, we hung out with Erika and some of the boys and girls on kitchen duty making tortilla tostadas. I demonstrated the skills I learned in Mexico a little, because I had to flip dozens of tortillas (by hand) at every meal. The boys think I have fingers of steel now. I told them that years in a restaurant and a few months at the stove will make you lose sensation in your hands. You can't really wait for the dishes to cool off when you are working with an industrial-sized dishwasher. Speed is everything in that type of atmosphere--no time for worrying if it hurts or not!

I didn't have popcorn, but I realized I did have multi-grain cheerios that I probably would not have finished in the next few days before I left. I brought this over to the lobby and the box was gone in an instant. The documentary was hard from them because A) it was in English and there were no subtitles, and B) socialism and Marxism is tough stuff in any language. They showed a little more enthusiam during the scenes depicting the Bolshevik Revolution and Tsar Nicholas. Anya and I did the best we could (more so Anya because the girls around me were more interested in the ugly dead guys' portraits) with translating the important points to the ones that wanted to understand. However, I can totally relate to how they were feeling. In my politics class at USFQ, the Spanish documentaries we watched were very dry and difficult to interpret. No wonder they had very short attention spans for this activity. While escorting the senoritas to their room, we met some of Erika's family. We greeted with the usual kissing, and then headed to our separate quaters. I love days like this. I feel as if I accomplished a lot, and spent invaluable time with the children. No moment felt wasted today.


  1. I'm glad you got outside the Hogar on foot; a good way to experience the neighborhood.

  2. oh how i don't miss temas class or the documentaries. corazon, i have loved reading your blog. super chevere. it seems like you are continuing to have amazing experiences. so happy for ya. have a safe trip back! mucho love :)