At the beginning of the year I set some goals for what I wanted to accomplish in Ecuador in 2012. Here’s how I did:
1. Further improve my salsa dancing. I went dancing at LEAST once a week when I was in Quito – usually more like 2 or 3 nights a week. So I got a loooooooot of practice in. I added a few adornos to my repertoire, but I still want to get better. A few guys have tried to do fast spins with me, which means they think I can do it. (I really can’t though – I barely complete 2 wobbly spins because my balance isn’t good enough yet.) Several dance partners have told me “You dance like a Latina,” which I consider a high compliment. So I think I’ve gotten better. But there’s always room for improvement…
Here’s a video of me dancing in May at my very most favoritest salsa club ever: El Aguijón. I will be heartbroken when I can no longer regularly attend miércoles de salsa here. (The video is pretty dark, but it WAS filmed in a dance club, so what do you expect.)
2. Further improve my Spanish. In July I finally got my butt in gear and signed up for private Spanish classes. I’m using past tense more, I’m using the subjunctive more, my vocabulary is growing. So yes, my Spanish is better. But there’s still a lot of room for improvement here too.
3. Learn to make fanesca. Ooooooh, fail, but I really tried! I registered for a cooking class, but it was canceled due to lack of participants. They rescheduled for another date, but I was working out of town that day. I know I can find dozens of recipes online, but I prefer experiential learning!
4. Try yaguarlocro. Yep! This is a traditional creamy potato soup that contains blood sausage and is garnished with dried sheep blood! Not my favorite of Ecuador’s bazillion soups, but tasty enough.
6. Start a photo album of “things sold on the street.” Nope. Not at all.
7. Attend a professional soccer match. Negative. Maybe next year.
I did some other small hikes in Baños and Puyo and Vilcabamba. So I think this counts.
9. Park it. I did have a picnic in Parque Metropolitano.
And I did ride the paddle boats in Parque Carolina. Success!
10. Sit in the Papallacta hot springs. Yep! I got to join the Fulbrighters on a day trip to Papallacta.
I think 7 out of 10 isn’t too shabby. Plus I still have half of 2013 to knock a few other goals off this list – stay tuned!