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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Session numero DOS

So... it's been a while since i've posted. blame the jungle internet and the limited amount of MB we had to use on our internet on the first place.

the second session really flew by! instead of having anthropology peoples at the field school, the second session was full of ethnobotany peoples! they were much more nerdy and fun to talk to :D we had a good time getting to know them! one of them, Irina, was Taiwanese! She was my mandarin-speaking pengyou. i love using chinese randomly. it's really awesome.
but the second session really went by fast! probably because it was crunch time for all of us from BYU. we had research to do after all.
so kichwa classes were getting harder, because we were so far ahead of the others... so we just finally branched off and started teaching ourselves!! which was REALLY useful. but of course we started doing this when we had 2.5 weeks left... but that's okay. we got a lot done because we were linguists teaching linguists. we know our vernacular and we know how to teach ourselves. it was pretty awesome.
but then the last week, we didn't have class so that we could just work on projects all day! but that meant that i had nothing basically to do because I WAS ALREADY DONE! that's right folks... i have officially and permanently finished my LAST research paper and readings as an undergrad!! now all i have to worry about is the Final... but i'm not terribly worried. it should be open-note and i'm pretty well versed on morphology and translation! that was my project after all! but it felt SO GOOD to be DONE!! it still does. i'm so glad it's done. ugh i just want to be done with school for a while.
basically the whole second session was just focusing on research. not much else to report. i mean we went to Tena a few more times, we had lunch at a members house, went to a baptism, went to misahualli, a few people went on the jungle hike again but i didnt. all in all, it was a wonderful amazing experience.
on the way back to quito we stopped at pailon del diablo, which is the COOLEST waterfall i've EVER seen. it was sort of a 'holy crap this thing could kill me' kind of experience.. especially crawling up the side of the gorge to get behind it. we got soaked. so totally worth it.
we also stopped at this inca ruin that was turned into a mission that is now the hacienda of the Ecuadorian President's family. it was really cool! and we got to feed llamas!! YEAHH! they're so funny. and smelly. lol
then it was quito time once again! it was sad saying goodbye to everyone... i mean i've been living with the BYU kids for 2 months! day in and day out... morning and night... it's weird not having them around. but i get to keep Liz for another week!!
so funny story... i left my american cell phone in Iyarina... so we have to go back to tena to get it. but at least they have it and i know it's not lost forever. that would be terrible. so we're just going to go back to Tena to get it and stay there for a few days. no guayaquil. but that's okay because apparently there's been some robberies in guayaquil lately. oh well. this is vacation we want as little stress as possible. but we're in cuenca at the moment and it is gorgeous! love it!!
that's about all for now... wrapping up adventures and ready to head home!!

cheers!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacation!

So we got to Guayaquil and the first thing we wanted to do after we caught up on sleep and were oriented again was go to the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guayaquil. We got there and it is absolutely GORGEOUS! there is a lodging place for people that have to travel long distance to get there and we walked around and spoke to the brother in the office, come to find out he was the bishop of Tyler's mission president! how small of a world it is... especially when you're LDS. anyway so we walked around some more, come to find out the next service in the Temple that we wanted to attend wasn't until 6pm... and it was about noon. so we walked around and looked at shops, and then a taxi driver recommended that we check out the Mall del Sol. so we went to the mall!
it's really funny after being in a "civilized" area of the country after being in the jungle for so long. totally bugless, no rivers thundering along all night, air conditioning, connection to Wifi, and shopping malls. not to mention actually being INDOORS. don't get that a lot in Napo. it's definitely a change!
but we got food, tango mcflurries, and walked around the mall! it was fun! although we discovered that Monopoly is REDICULOUSLY expensive in south america. probably because it's totally an american thing, not a south american thing. anyway so we went back to the Temple at about 430 and were there until after 8. it was absolutely incredible! it's amazing when you do something completely familiar but in another language. you pay so much more attention to the semantics, grammar, and structure, and it really gives you a whole new perspective on everything. interesting how languages do that. i love being a linguist!!!
so that was... thursday? i think. no friday. anyway so saturday we were going to go to the beach... but we had a little trouble at the bus terminal and to make a long frustrating story short and less frustrating... we missed our bus. so by that point if we had gone to the beach we'd have about an hour of sunlight left... so we went back to Nuca Pacha and met a couple of guys from Chicago who ended up going with us to downtown Guayaquil. we went to this iguana park, saw an amazing cathedral, walked around, saw the municipal palace, and walked along the boardwalk! it was rather awesome.
Sunday we tried to go to church, but the gates weren't open, sad. so we went back to the bus terminal and got on a bus to Ambato, which was about 4.5 hours away. then from ambato we took a taxi for about 40 min to banos! and we had finally arrived! our hostel is called Transylvannia hahaha. and the people who own it are Israeli! so there is hebrew everywhere! it's awesome! and the people here are very nice. today we went and hiked a waterfall, strolled around town, saw this cathedral which is equally awesome, and explored town. i got a HAMMOCK! and it's BEAUTIFUL! i'm so excited. happy 4th of july!!! tonight we're hoping the rain will stop so we can go on the volcano hike. how epic would that be? but it's awful rainy at the moment so i'm not keeping my hopes up...
anyway! i can't believe it's already monday! time is flying fast! before i know it i'll be back at the field school complaining about Quichwa class. but for now, life is awesome.

Cheers!!!

Tena to San Pedro to Quito to Guayaquil

Monday for FHE we packed and watched Walle for our activity. tuesday we had breakfast and got on the bus. it was a long drive to piqualqul... we went up through the cloud forests again which was really awesome! it is so absolutely beautiful up here. especially where the jungle meets the mountains. everything is so colorful and alive! everywhere you look is thick green, spotted with yellows, oranges, whites, blacks, and reds, and the sky is impossibly blue. and then you get up over the mountains and you can see for miles and miles and miles. it's amazing. we got to our "hotel" which used to be a mission/farm. so there were stables and chickens and pigs and horses and llamas we went exploring of course. we were all wound up from being on a bus all day, so we ran around and played games and build a cheerleader pyramid just because... anyway and of course we read pride and prejudice and zombies out loud in funny accents. which is wayyy more entertaining than it should be. :D it was such a blast. my room was bunkbed and a single with rose and liz, but the guys from BYU all had the same room! all 5 of them! two bunks and a single! i don't know how they all fit in there and managed not to kill each other. hahaha. but anyway after dinner we went to town and took a look around. there were shops and we saw the first music/dance of the san pedro hiesta which was the whole reason we were up there anyway. we all got hats because everyone wears hats during the festival and some of the men wear chaps too! they're covered in either goat skin or llama skin and they look really funny if you ask me but hey it's cultural. the dancing is sort of like a parade and there's this shuffle step and you twirl your skirt around if your'e a girl :D but more on that later. we went back to the plaza and huddled around the street fires. it was cold! well cold for us. it was probably 45 but the humidity and elevation make it seem really cold. okay so now on to wednesday!
so we got up and basically had no idea what was going on... but we got down to breakfast and got our costumes! it's like a white linnen shirt that's embroidered for the guys and a similar thing for the girls but with these ridiculous pleated skirts. so finally we were on our way to the san pedro hiesta. we'd been invited to dance/march/sing for the piqualqui people because they're a quichwa speaking community and know Dr. Swanson. anyway so we get all geared up and then the parade goes on and on and on and on and ON. seriously at least 2.5 hours of dancing/ marching in the street, watching people get progressively drunker. there were also a few gringos from Seattle state or something that were freaking OBNOXIOUS. and they were really disrespectful when they were sober, and the more booze they consumed... basically all of us, even Professor Tim, wanted to punch them. but whatever. so we walked and walked and walked and walked and it was super hot and sunny, but it was okay. and then we got toward the end and all of us were just totally conked out. but it wasn't over yet. there's like a competition or something? so we had to dance/march for the judges and so while we were waiting i had this wonderful long conversation with this eucadorian woman and her husband in spanish about the program we were on from BYU. it was awesome!!! they said i spoke very well :D heh heh heh i'm remembering spanish really well now. which is funny because 5 weeks ago i couldn't say anything but chinese! i can't believe how much it has come back! it's amazing!!! so then we danced one last time and the girls totally got sprayed with beer which was totally gross and smelly, but whatever. and then we were FINALLY done and we sat down to eat lunch... and it started hailing..... grrrrr. but we drove back to our hotel place and got changed and got back on the road to Quito. yayyy. all of us slept on that bus ride we were so exhausted. then we got to quito and had dinner with everyone and then we got the details as to which bus we wanted to go on and we found a good one that the woman at the hotel said was really safe and we had hot chocolate and tres leches cake at a panaderia and then we got on the bus!! and totally fell asleep. or at least tried to. so yeah the bus was safe as far as it was a one way no stops and they never opened the bottom so your stuff was never lost... but ecuadorians are FREAKING CRAZY DRIVERs. i was glad i was trying to sleep because i was afraid to open my eyes anyway... but we made it alive. that's for sure. and we're all bone tired. so we got to our hostel and come to find the people that run it are european... and they all speak english! WHOA that totally threw me off. anyway but this place is totally bomb! there's a pool, laundry, wifi, we can cook in the kitchen (david and i are very excited about this) it's in a good area of town, they speak english (for rusky and joey who only speak russian and portuguese) AND it's 15 a night. which is pretty awesome! so i'm going to do some laundry because some of my clothes are still nasty from the hike. and then probably take a nap... but i uploaded some pictures becuase their internet is way better and so you should look at them soon! i know you're at work so i'll send you a quick note to your work email and tell you this is waiting for you when you get home :D i love you sooooo incredibly much babe! oh my goodness. so much. i'm having so much fun! we'll probably go to the temple tomorrow and for today we're just hanging around. the guys some are sleeping and some are walking around seeing what there is. WE SAW A DOMINOS PIZZA!!! we might have to hit that up before we go. but tonight we'll probably cook because cooking is awesome and david and i miss it ALOT. it feels good to be in charge of my life again... and not dictated to by the school that is entirely unorganized... anyway! let the amazingness of Guayaquil begin!