I’m starting a new job in Quito and I am SO FRICKIN’ EXCITED! Latin America has been my top spot to teach ESL since I got into this field, but the jobs there pay so poorly that I never viewed it as a financially viable option. So when I was selected to be an English Language Fellow again, this time in Ecuador, I jumped at the opportunity. Teaching and doing teacher training in South America, with a U.S. State Department paycheck? Si, por favor!
Goals for the next 10 months:
- Really improve my Spanish. It’s conversational (albeit rusty) right now, but I want to nail it. That includes you too, pasado y subjuntivo. Grrr.
- Learn a few words of Quechua, one of the main indigenous languages spoken in Ecuador. When I was living in Indonesia, I usually spoke Indonesian with locals. But I found they LOVED it when I threw in a few words of Javanese. So I will attempt this feat again by adding a little Quechua vocabulary to my Spanish.
- Become a better salsa dancer. Awwww yeah!
- Visit the Galapagos Islands. When I was a secretary in IU’s Economics Department my first year out of college, one of the profs went on vacation to the Galapagos Islands. He showed me his photos. I was astounded and went home vowing to go there myself someday. This IS happening!
- Take more people pictures. This is an ongoing goal for myself, and extends beyond photographing friends, coworkers, or students. I’d like to capture more of the people I see and meet in my travels. And since I can speak Spanish, engaging people in conversation and asking permission to take their photos should help. Ojalá.
- Go snorkeling. For someone who claims not to be much of a beach/water person, I sure find myself snorkeling a lot. But as I saw in Mexico, Alaska, the Caribbean, and Indonesia – there’s a lot of cool stuff under the water. And I’d like to see more of it off the coast of Ecuador.
- Go hiking.
- Eat lots of Ecuadorian food. Duh. Right now I’m particularly looking forward to locro de papa (soup), muchos batidos (fruit shakes), and ceviche. Also, I will try cuy (guinea pig).
- Learn to cook some Ecuadorian dishes. They don’t call me Cooky for nothin!
- Visit local markets. One of my favorite things to do in new places. And one of the top markets in Ecuador is the huge one in Otavalo. Gotta go there.
- Travel to Cuenca.
- Not get malaria. Or yellow fever. Or any other tropical disease.
- Have some gosh-darn visitors. One person visited me during my 10 months in Indonesia (terima kasih, Carolyn!). And one person visited me during my 4 months in Turkey (teşekkürler, Adam!). Come on, people – I’m living in some really interesting places here! Not only can you see cool parts of the world and ME, but I can also offer lodging and tour guide services. How can you pass this up? This last goal is now in your hands, people. Your hands.