Yes, I am still here. I have been doing some stuff lately, but with the holidays and everything it has been very difficult to get much done. My day to day is either really boring or jam packed with stuff. I will start off in December.
After Thanksgiving, I was trying to get as much stuff done at the Municipio as possible. I finished making the last corrections to the plan and presented it to the head of the department. He said it looked great. I then had about a week before I was going home to Texas for the Christmas holidays. I asked him what I needed to do until then, and he said find grants. I thought to myself, geeze, I asked yall about seven months ago if yall needed grants to fund this project and I was told no. Oh, well, I gave it a shot. The magnitude of this project could never get done with any grant that I could get from the sources that had been presented to me. So I told them and waited for their counter argument. Well, I never received one and then went home. I figured everything would be the same when I got back.
So I flew out of Quito on the 13th of Dec. at like 7 am. This meant I had to be at the airport at like 5 am. It was a long day. When I left the Quito Airport there were no people speaking any Spanish. This was the most English I had heard in about ten months. The people saying to board the plane, the ticket counter people, the people in gift shops were all speaking English. So I figured this was my first taste of the states. Well, I got to Miami at about 11am and noticed that there were no people speaking English at all. Everything was back to Spanish. Talk about a shock. So I get I almost get through customs ok, but then I was chosen to be searched of course. When I got to the counter the officer kept insisting I was a student and not a Peace Corps volunteer. He kept saying how Peace Corps was part of school. I was confused cause it seemed like he was trying to confuse me or was just confused himself. He then asked if I could speak Spanish, and when I said more or less, he said ok cool. We then continued the rest of the convo in Spanish and I was done with him in about two minutes. Lunch time came around and I decided to get a bit to eat. When I got to the restaurant, the lady taking my order could not speak English and when I spoke Spanish to her, she looked even more confused than the guy in front of my trying to tell her what to leave off of his pizza. She understood me, but I don’t think she was ready to hear a guy who looks more like a lumberjack than a Spanish speaker to give her my order in her native language. Regardless, I got my first bite of America. It was only ehhhh, because I could only afford the cheapest restaurant that I could find. I then took off to Houston.
I arrived at the IAH at about 5 and was greeted by not only my rents, but baby bro too. We then went and got coffee and I visited my bros house to see how the dog, Catcher, was doing. Everything seemed to be good, but I was dying for my Tex-Mex fix. We had to go all out, so we hit up Papasitos. It was probably in my top 5 favorite meals of last year. I got the fajitas of course and a michalada made with a tecate to wash it down. It was a night to be remembered.
While home, I got to see many friends and family. I didn’t see everyone, but there were many to say whatsup to. I think the number question asked to me was “describe your typical day as a volunteer.” Since there is no typical volunteer day, I usual told a short story or something. So there was good talks, video games, music, and beer throughout the holidays. Oh, the beer was magnificent. I just wish someone in this country made a beer other than Pilsener. Don’t get me wrong it is a good beer at a great value, but I long for more. The weather while home was erratic as usual and I even got to visit Austin for a bit. All and all it was a good trip and can’t wait to do it again. Well I got back to Ecuador and a friend of mine, Afton, flew back w me.
I was excited to show someone else my site, and I think she was excited to visit me before she headed to the Galapagos. We had a good time. We spent time at the beach on new years before she headed out to those islands that seem pretty cool.
Now that I am back in the full swing of things, I am not really sure what is happening. The director of my department was gone when I got here and replaced with somebody else. I was told he is only on vacation, but the new guy has told me to not work on what I was working on before. Now, I am just getting the straightened out and trying to figure out what needs to be done. I hope everything turns out well. We will see. Regardless though, I am still very happy to be here and having a good time, no matter what is thrown at me.