Saturday, June 21, 2008

settled in cuenca

Boy, have you missed a lot in the past few days :). After a quick plane ride and a seemingly long struggle with my bags I made it to CEDEI! My host family was waiting here with everyone else's. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful they are. I got so lucky! The food has been super good so far too... but I must admit that I haven't been able to stick with my vegetarian diet. It's just too much of an inconvenience for everyone! I'm not too happy about it but I would dislike causing problems more. I am simply going to stress plant foods as much as humanly possible, especially when I have control over my choices, like eating out. On Tuesday morning I had a toasted croissant with jam, coffee with hot milk, and an apple. It was light and yummy but didn't hold me until lunch time at all. I really have to get used to their eating schedule because it's so very different from what I'm used to. I had my Spanish speaking class from 8-10 and then returned home to lunch, the largest meal of the day is around 1 or 2. My first experience with it included juice, chicken broth soup, salad, chicken drumstick, rice, and potatoes. The biggest player of the meal was the juice. There are millions of fruits I have never heard of or tasted, and their nectars are very popular. It was good but very sweet and since I usually don't drink juice I only had a few sips. Out of everything I probably ate the largest amount of salad... there was avocado in it, my favorite! After that I ate most of the chicken, all of the soup and some rice and potatoes, although by that time I was pretty full. Then I went to the CEDEI office for a tour of the city. We were split up into groups of three and led to important points of interest for us around the city... the bank, post office, etc. and then were given a scavenger hunt to do. I had a really good time wandering :). When I finally walked home for dinner (around 7) I was eager to fuel all my walking exercise. However, as it turned out, my mom just offered me a small sandwich, or coffee, or even just cereal. Supposedly it's just not an important meal in my house or any other. I had fruit and a bowl of cereal. The rest of the night was spent bonding with my host-sisters. We had such a good time practicing my Spanish and my older sister's English. I feel like we're going to get really close in the next month, plus, the relationships will definitely benefit my fluidity in the language.
Wednesday was similar to the day before. Although the main lunch dish was a pasta and I had my class in the afternoon like it will be from now on. Oh and my gosh, how could I forget about my special dessert, Postre and Flan. I couldn't eat all of it but it was so good.
Thursday was fun because I went out to eat with my friends rather than return home for lunch. We ended up going to an eclectic restaurant, La Borrero. I ordered La Ensalada de Casa and un Sandwich Vegetariano. The salad was huge, as you see, and the sandwich as well but I didn't hesitate to devour it all. I love my veggies! There was avocado on the sandwich, after all :) and as my main meal I needed to fuel up!
We all went out for ice cream after too. I got a small cone with a scoop of some of the best Cafe (coffee) Helado I have ever had! Mmm... mmm... good day! And it ended well too because we all went out on the town. What fun, night life is so much more laid back here.

After breakfast the next morning my 15 y/o host sister, Christina, took me around the neighborhood to show me a few things. We were walking for about 3 hours. She's the sweetest thing and bought me a coconut ice, her favorite, for me to try along the way.

Once we got back it was time for lunch! We had hominy, rice & corn, chicken, salad, and another juice. Once again, I filled up on salad and tried to limit my meat intake.

That night Christina, Carlos (my 18 y/o host brother) and I went to his high school graduation party. He goes, or rather used to go, to an all-boys school and Christina and I were dates to friends of his. I had such a great time dancing and "speaking" Spanish ;) with everyone. And that's all folks! I think I'm going to try to post twice a week from now on. Have a wonderful weekend!

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