Well I am now in the Galapagos…this is a whole different experience than Quito. If I wrote this blog the first day I would have sounded a bit disheveled but now on my third day I think I have adjusted to the change.
Getting off the plane and seeing the beautiful landscape of the Galapagos again was so exciting. I am staying on Santa Cruz Island with the Lopez’s. I apparently picked the hot season and it’s hot; VERY humid and the sun is crazy strong. Though after three days I think I am adjusting; I just have to relax into it. I bought a sun hat and try to walk very slow. J
As for the family they are very nice and chill, though I do feel a bit misplaced at times. Not to say they are cold, they are just living their own lives and I am a little more on my own for things. From living in a small apartment with one woman to now living in a huge house with lots of family and lots of fast Spanish zipping by me… my head is spinning.
When I first arrived Isabel
(my host mom) picked me up in a taxi and greeted me with a big smile and hug. We then went to her house and I was immediately hit with a feeling of overwhelm. Though the house is really nice there is no air conditioning! Just a few fans that sometimes gives relief. Sitting in the kitchen was Isabel’s husband and their two friends, a couple who also take in volunteers on San Cristobal Island. The woman was super sweet. She has big hair, lots of makeup and wears bright colorful clothes. She invited me to stay with them when I visit the island, which I’ll probably take her up on.
Isabel takes me to my room and invites me to change into some shorts and come down for lunch. I am staying in the main house with the family; there is another building on the property that has apartments for rent, an office and more rooms for more volunteers/family. However I am the only volunteer here for the next two months. I am staying on the second floor and my room is huge. I have my own bathroom attached and a porch. My room has lots of windows
and the porch has a hammock. My view consists of other homes and tropical flowering trees.
Once back at the table I am served HOT soup…. Oh my god! I was already sweltering and now I have to eat HOT SOUP?! I ate the soup slowly (hoping no one would notice) while they all continued their conversation. I could understand about 12% of what they were saying, but smiled and slowly ate the hot soup. Then a plate of rice, cucumber salad and really good white fish was served, with a glass of luke warm “lemonade”. Though a bit odd considering the weather, the food here is already much better then in Quito.
As I sat eating my lunch I was terribly uncomfortable and feeling pretty invisible. Though the women would smile at me and ask me the normal questions about where I was from, what I did for work and how old I was, I still felt totally self conscious. After awhile their son Xavier came home, he speaks pretty good English and we talked for a bit. He’s ok… not really a fan due to the fact that
he talks at you..loudly. He is my age and a park ranger here. I also met their two daughters, Gabi and Michelle.
Michelle is 23 and goes to college in Quito. She was home for a break, but has to return for her exams. She was kinda cold…I think she has no patience or time for my beginning Spanish skills, but her smile was warm, so I have hope. Gabi is nice; she has a son, Mateis who is 5. Gabi is 28 and welcoming, though we also face the challenge of my Spanish skills. Her son Mateis is cute and friendly.
There were two other women I met; Jennifer and Isabel’s niece, I can’t remember her name. Jennifer is a family friend who has lived in Maryland and Miami on and off throughout her life. Her English is perfect and she expressed to me her understanding of my awkward position of not knowing Spanish. Apparently she was sent to boarding school in Maryland when she was 15, not knowing any English. She has a son who is 5 and her husband is currently in Guatemala visiting his family. Isabel’s niece is lives in the building
next store with her husband and daughter.
I find myself way more self conscious when speaking around people my age. The older people are patient and smile as I struggle through but when talking to the younger ones I catch smirks or feel them get impatient. Which makes me just want to be stop talking However I am in total shock when I speak Spanish and people understand me… I think “ Wow it worked!” J
Another reason the first few days have been a bit hard is because Olivia, was supposed to meet me here for a week, but the night before I left she got sick. We thought it was food poisoning but turned out to be appendicitis and a cyst!!! She is ok, but she is not coming and I didn’t get to say goodbye.
My volunteer job doesn’t begin until next week. The facility where I was supposed to be working doesn’t need me because apparently the children are on their 2 month break…?? So they are placing me somewhere else; I am just patiently waiting as they work it out.
Last night I hung out with Isabel, Xavier, Gabi and Mateis, which is when I finally began to feel more relaxed. This morning I woke up feeling comfortable and settled in my new placement. Today I am heading to the beach with Isabel’s sister, Mariana, who lives in New Zealand. After the beach I have Spanish class then who knows…maybe back to the beach J
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