La vida Cubana

So I’m a bit behind on my blogging seeing as I’ve been home for three weeks already. It is so easy just to get swept back into my life, but I still have some more pics and adventure to share from Cuba.

I arrived in the hotel in Habana where we were going to stay and met up with my mom and a bunch of other Bellinghamsters that I have been taking classes with. It was so great to see familiar faces and speak really really fast in English. That first night we went to a music venue in what used to be the French embassy. It was very beautiful and a fabulous band played. All of the band members were women, and it really made me miss playing with BEET. Mostly we watched the band, but we danced a little too and got to meet some of our dance instructors and the other participants in our program.

Our pattern every day was to have salsa class from 10am-1pm with the last hour being folkloric dance. Our teachers were some of the choreographers of Raíces Profundas, one of the top folkloric dance companies in Habana, and our partners for the class were all dancers in the company. We got to see one of their performances one night and it was absolutely mind-blowing.

After eating a quick lunch we would get on the tour bus and go on some cultural excursion, and then after dinner we’d go out to a club or concert to dance some more. Well now that I’ve rambled a bit, I’m just going to go on with the photos now, so enjoy 🙂

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Caroline, "the Australian". I'd love to travel with her again someday

Caroline, “the Australian”. I’d love to travel with her again someday

Our visit to the national school of the arts in Habana... absolutely mind-blowing

Our visit to the national school of the arts in Habana… absolutely mind-blowing

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Rassiel, one of the dancers helping with our class

Rassiel, one of the dancers helping with our class

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Our two teachers on the left, Leonel and Idolidia, with Rassiel and Audel

Our two teachers on the left, Leonel and Idolidia, with Rassiel and Audel

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The view from our hotel room...

The view from our hotel room…

Margarita works for Plaza Cuba (the organization that licensed our trip). She is a wonderful woman and became one of our very good friends.

Margarita works for Plaza Cuba (the organization that licensed our trip). She is a wonderful woman and became one of our very good friends.

Reynier, one of the company dancers and a super great pal

Reynier, one of the company dancers and a super great pal

Another stunning view of Havana from a rooftop 'son' party..

Another stunning view of Havana from a rooftop ‘son’ party..

 

After a week in Habana, a bunch of us loaded into three vans and headed to the coastal town of Trinidad, much calmer and smaller than the capital but amazingly beautiful. There were almost no cars and all of the streets were cobblestones…

 

walking around Trinidad with Antonio and Diego our first evening there

walking around Trinidad with Antonio and Diego our first evening there

The largest tub of Nutella I have ever seen

The largest tub of Nutella I have ever seen

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I actually ran into Sally in the downtown food co-op the other day! She visits Trinidad almost every year and is very close to the family we stayed with.

I actually ran into Sally in the downtown food co-op the other day! She visits Trinidad almost every year and is very close to the family we stayed with.

We tried our best to escape the mosquito-killing fog, but it just ended up everywhere. Hopefully my lungs won't suffer to badly...

We tried our best to escape the mosquito-killing fog, but it just ended up everywhere. Hopefully my lungs won’t suffer to badly…

Snorkeling! Not anything super unusual or exciting, but still fun

Snorkeling! Not anything super unusual or exciting, but still fun

One day we went around the countryside on an open-air train. It was very loooooooong and sloooooow, but I enjoyed it and played ukulele with the musicians on the trian.

One day we went around the countryside on an open-air train. It was very loooooooong and sloooooow, but I enjoyed it and played ukulele with the musicians on the trian.

Heather spent a lot of the trip standing up, because if she sat down anywhere this would happen within 5 seconds, it's a super cute picture though.

Heather spent a lot of the trip standing up, because if she sat down anywhere this would happen within 5 seconds, it’s a super cute picture though.

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The malecon in Habana is a street that goes right along the water. At certain tides the waves crash dramatically over the barrier and onto the sidewalk.

The malecon in Habana is a street that goes right along the water. At certain tides the waves crash dramatically over the barrier and onto the sidewalk.

 

Our last night in Habana we went to a concert with Margarita and also invited Reynier. Afterwards we all went to another concert and also to see a Rumba band. It was the perfect last night, and afterwards we walked along the malecon with Reynier, his friend Kayla, and her boyfriend.

Our last night in Habana we went to a concert with Margarita and also invited Reynier. Afterwards we all went to another concert and also to see a Rumba band. It was the perfect last night, and afterwards we walked along the malecon with Reynier, his friend Kayla, and her boyfriend.

If half of me was born 12 years earlier as tall gay Cuban guy, It would be this dude.

If half of me was born 12 years earlier as tall gay Cuban guy, It would be this dude.

 

A huge race went right past the house we were staying in our last morning. I don't remember exactly what our hostess said, but my memory is that it had to do with cancer awareness.

A huge race went right past the house we were staying in our last morning. I don’t remember exactly what our hostess said, but my memory is that it had to do with cancer awareness.

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SONY DSC

Ok, just one more...

Ok, just one more…

 

 

I was told several times before going there that it is great as a tourist, but the life there is super hard for Cubans. This is definitely the case in some ways as many people don’t have a lot of expendable money or very much material wealth, but the extreme poverty that we have in this country and many others, doesn’t exist there. Nobody is homeless, and everyone has what they need to survive. I didn’t talk politics much with people there, because I never do, but I thought this difference was interesting.

I would go back in a heartbeat; in fact I’m hoping to study abroad there at my next school if I can. It will be wonderful to reconnect with my friends there, although it’s hard to stay connected in the meantime with little to no internet access there.

It was definitely a unique experience to go here. I really fell in love with the beauty and the emphasis on arts within the culture. If anyone has the opportunity to visit Cuba, I would definitely suggest taking it!

Besos, abrazos, y saludos,

Rosie

 

 

 

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Atenas, Costa Rica

Finally arrived in Costa Rica! I couldn’t stop smiling as I waited at the airport for Papi to come get me. I found that I can understand him much better this time than I could before, although after being here a few days I realize how unaccustomed I am to the accent. They speak a lot faster here than they did in Cuenca.

Right off the bat we went to a party to celebrate someone’s 25th anniversary. It was wonderful to immediately get to see so many of the people I know from before.

We are all regretful that I am here such a short time, but are certainly not skipping out on the parties. I think every night I have been here there has been a celebration for something or some occasion to eat cake (I think I’ve eaten more cake on this trip than I do in an entire year back in the US!).

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Mimi with Maria Pia... Lookin like a boss ;)

Mimi with Maria Pia… Lookin like a boss 😉

ONE of the cakes we ate a Pablo's birthday party.

ONE of the cakes we ate a Pablo’s birthday party.

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Maripaz, Emma, Mimi, and Maria Pia

Maripaz, Emma, Mimi, and Maria Pia

Maria Pia, this time out at the mall... One of the few unblurry pictures of this cutie

Maria Pia, this time out at the mall… One of the few unblurry pictures of this cutie

Maria del Mar was pregnant with Pia when we were here last. Now there's a new baby on the way!

Maria del Mar was pregnant with Pia when we were here last. Now there’s a new baby on the way!

Last time Maripaz was the one we would follow around as she learned to walk... now she is talking and everything, although not so much to me :)

Last time Maripaz was the one we would follow around as she learned to walk… now she is talking and everything, although not so much to me 🙂

 

My 4 days here have gone by so fast. It’s been great to get to see everyone again, but I definitely have to stay longer next time, especially with how fast all these kids grow up. Fabiana, Maripaz’ older sister at first said she didn’t remember me. Then I reminded her about my two flip-flops that are two different colors, and then she said she remembered haha.

I’m getting all packed up again to leave in the morning.. this time to Cuba!! I won’t have much access to internet there, so nobody worry if you don’t hear from me in the next two weeks 🙂 but it’s certainly going to be an adventure.

Muchos besos, cuídense mucho,

xoxo,

Rosie

 

Quito

Wow, sorry to take so long on this post, these fotos are quite slow in uploading… I’m not actually in Quito anymore, but since I had already written a lot of this I will leave it and we’ll have a little time warp. The most eventful and thoroughly photographed day here was yesterday. I headed into old town Quito to explore and see the sites. So here they are…. Oh yeah, and it’s election time here so there was also a parade, and I saw the president!!

la basílica

la basílica

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inside the basílica

inside the basílica

the totems on the basílica are especially cool because they are animals native to the area, like condors, frigatebirds, armadillos,

the totems on the basílica are especially cool because they are animals native to the area, like condors, frigatebirds, armadillos, etc.

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on the way up to the top...

on the way up to the top…

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the top of the basílica with la virgin statue in the distance

the top of the basílica with la virgin statue in the distance

It was a very long ways down

It was a very long ways down

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I've been craving donuts since I've been here, but sadly they aren't donut flavored nere :(

I’ve been craving donuts since I’ve been here, but sadly they aren’t donut flavored here 😦

La Ronda

La Ronda

Pigeon party!!!

Pigeon party!!!

so much gold

so much gold

After a ton of walking I finally headed back to the hostel. I had ran in to a couple of US chicas who had mentioned they were probably going to this club and it would be cool to see me there. I was tempted since I’ve heard a lot about that place, but without having any girlfriends to actually go with, I opted and and went out with a group of German guys from my hostel instead. I was super fun and we got to see this band called Verdes 70, who are apparently pretty famous in Ecuador.

Today I did some more great walking around, but also chilled here in the hostel a lot and worked on college applications; I’m falling behind a bit :-/.
Tomorrow I get up early once again to go to the airport, and then it’s of to Costa Rica baby!!

Abraso grande,
Rosie

Haha. Just kidding, I wrote that last night….

I wok up at 6 this morning in order to catch my 11am international flight. The new Quito airport is inconveniently located outside if the city, a lengthy and costly taxi ride, or a cheaper but lengthier bus ride.
After waiting a good hour for an airline employee to come help people check bags (during which time I ate the worst bagel I have ever eaten) I finally got to check my bags…. Almost.

I was instantly flooded with that ‘oh no’ sensation when the woman asked for my proof of a yellow fever shot, which I had not realized was necessary for going to Costa Rica after being in Ecuador and other risk areas.

She told me that they wouldn’t let me into CR without it, and also that I needed to wait at least 10 days after getting the shot. After many tears and walking around the airport with some very helpful employees, someone finally told me to go to a particular clinic where I wouldn’t have to wait 10 days.

I once again took the long bus ride back into the city and got injected. The woman was very nice, and marked the date on my record as two weeks earlier 🙂

After then going to the office of my airlines I found that I couldn’t change my flight, having booked it through Student Universe rather than through the airline. It was going to be another $800 to get a new flight for that day or tomorrow, so as dictated by budget, I’m now staying in Quito until Tuesday.

Looking on the bright side,  Now the eggs I accidentally left in my hostel won’t go bad 🙂

Jumping ahead… With my extra days in Quito I was able to do a lot more adventuring. The next morning I went to see another one of the great tourist attractions with the German boys, the TelefériQo. It was just like going up on a ski lift!! except without the snow :/  but a lovely view of the city and a great hike at the top…

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Probably the most awesome napping location ever.

Probably the most awesome napping location ever.

Felix the horse

Felix the horse

<Felix, Leo, Nils>

There was a carnival on the way down.. this is probably the most freaky ride I have ever seen; i kept my distance :)

There was a carnival on the way down.. this is probably the most freaky ride I have ever seen; i kept my distance 🙂

It was great to have more people to hang out with, because I probably wouldn’t have done very much solo. The next day we went back to old town and climbed the basílica, again….

 We watched so many people go into these little corridors and then turn around and come back out. It really looks like it should go somewhere but is blocked off, what an adventure-kill

<Nils> We watched so many people go into these little corridors and then turn around and come back out. It really looks like it should go somewhere but is blocked off, what an adventure-kill

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This staircase is so tightly wound that I always felt very uneven afterwards.

This staircase is so tightly wound that I always felt very uneven afterwards.

A ladder to nowhere

<Leo> A ladder to nowhere

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We also went and checked out the clothing maket... so much clothing. There was also a sparkly archway that reminded me of Christmas :D

We also went and checked out the clothing maket… so much clothing. There was also a sparkly archway that reminded me of Christmas 😀

After a few great days of adventuring, I said goodbye to my new friends as they headed off to the jungle. After conversing a lot in English with the guys, I jumped back into Spanish practice and talked late into my last night in Quito with my new dorm-mate from France, who has also been to Cuba!

Then it was finally time to again take the long trip to the airport and attempt to get on a plane; this time with much more success. After helping a woman out with a baggage problem, I happily found that I was no longer traveling alone. She has a lot of connections and even got our seats changed to be closer to the front and with more leg-room 🙂

Already in Costa Rica, so hopefully I will post again soon,

besos,

Rosie

La Despedida

And thus passes my last week in Cuenca.. After spending a few days with my mom in her shop, working on college apps, and shopping for Cuenca memorabilia, the weekend was suddenly in the present. Saturday afternoon I went with my mom and her boyfriend to Baños, where there are hot springs! We went to a spa-ish place where we got to wear robes and shower caps and look like Olympic swimmers, minus the goggles and mad swimming skills. It was very fun to go in the different pools and steam room. Everyone was shocked at how happily and shrieklessly I spent over 5 minutes in the cold water pool, and honestly I may have enjoyed showing off my northwesterness 🙂 represent the Nooksack!

Afterwards, exhausted (and quite pruned on my part) they took me to eat cuy, my unaccomplished goal while in Cuenca. After nearly all three of us falling asleep waiting for the food, the guinea pig finally came along with delicious potatoes and hard-boiled eggs.

pobresito delicioso

pobresito delicioso

I thought the cuy was quite tasty, although of course took some concentration to ignore my issues with eating meat that still resembles the animal (no judgement please).

Sunday morning I painted a card for my mom and sister with their dog on it, I didn’t give it to them until leaving the next day though.

La Mati

La Mati

For lunch all of my sisters and their kids came over as well as our grandma. Afterwards we made a sweet fruit dulce and ate it with bread, I also had my friends Clara and Santiago over to eat it with us.

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Rafiela y Cati

Rafiela y Cati

Daniel and Rafiela

Daniel and Rafiela

Sopa para el bebé, Gaby and Daniel. Whenever I try to interact with him he puts on the rosie pout and says a whiny rendition of my name... It's a love-hate relationship

Sopa para el bebé, Gaby and Daniel. Whenever I try to interact with him he puts on the rosie pout and says a whiny rendition of my name… It’s a love-hate relationship

For the past week my sister Cris has been threatening to dump water on me and play carnival since I won’t be here for it. I said that was fine as long as I got to eat all the sweets of carnival also. After eating the dulce with bread I thought she might have been joking, but then my other sister Suca did dump water on me, I got her back a little bit later, but she takes carnival pretty seriously and I ended up far more mojada. My mom wasn’t too happy either since all of this took place inside the house…

Las mojaditas

Las mojaditas

Sadly the time came for me to say goodbye to everyone as they left. It  helps to think about coming back again so that I don’t have to say goodbye for reals, just for now. Then I stayed up until midnight packing, which I had not started at all. I surprised myself and managed to fit everything into my bags, but it certainly took a few tries 🙂

Monday morning I gave a sleepy hug to my sister and then my mom drove me early to the airport to catch my 7:50am flight. I definitely went through security with a few tears, but mostly I’m just grateful to  have gotten to be close to such great people. After a very smooth flight and long but comfortable bus ride through the city, I’m comfortably settled in my hostel here in Quito and am working on planning my couple of days here.

Cuenca airport

Cuenca airport

Abrasos,

Rosie

Pan y Playas

This week has really flown by. My original flight plan was to leave last Friday and go to Quito, the capital, for a couple of weeks before moving on to Costa Rica. But since I was really bumming to leave Cuenca and have no connections or plans in Quito, my host mom took me to the airport to change my flight 🙂 My program here has ended however, so last Thursday was my last Spanish class. I made a card for my professor and painted this little folkloric dancer to put on it, because he’s super into that…

This is the traditional clothing associated with Cuencan culture. It's very common here to see women dressed in the pollera (skirt) and the paja toquilla hat, they are called Chola Cuencana, which is also the name of a folkloric dance

This is the traditional clothing of Cuenca. It’s very common here to see women dressed in the pollera (skirt) and the paja toquilla hat, they are called Chola Cuencana, which is also the name of a folkloric dance

Then some more family fun! This time we went over to my sister Cris’ house to eat cake. It was super good and fun to hang out more with the family..

Gaby, Ligia (our grandma), Cris, Catalina, baby Rafaela

Gaby, Ligia (our grandma), Cris, Catalina, baby Rafaela

The group of students that I had a couple of dance classes with also invited me to go on a weekend trip with them. We had about an 8 hour bus ride (action movies and awkward bus dance party included) and finally arrived in Montañita, a tiny beach town and HUGE tourist destination. Lots of heat and lots of dancing. It was super fun and great to get to know such an awesome group of people. Here are a couple of pics…

One of the coolest and most realistic bathroom signs ever

One of the coolest and most realistic bathroom signs ever

Michelle

Michelle

My hostel roomies, Leanna and Michelle

My hostel roomies, Leanna and Michelle

Beach bums... I actually managed not to get burned, they were not so lucky

Beach bums… I actually managed not to get burned, they were not so lucky

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Went out to dinner with some of the girls, this was the biggest empanada I've ever eaten/seen... It was delicious and I ate the whole thing (pulling out the Casa Que Pasa skills ;)

Went out to dinner with some of the girls; this was the biggest empanada I’ve ever eaten/seen… It was delicious and I ate the whole thing (pulling out the Casa Que Pasa skills 😉

We also had a great view of some street musicians and dancers, upon inspection I found that it was a folkloric dance from Argentina

We also had a great view of some street musicians and dancers, upon inspection I found that it was a folkloric dance from Argentina

Now that I don’t have classes or volunteering, my plan for the week was to crank out college applications like crazy. I’ve been working on it, but still a ways to go. Yesterday my sister Cris stole me away from my dark pit of responsibility, and we went to make bread with our grandma Ligia… (I took pictures as well as notes the better to recreate this fluffy goodness when I get home)

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The kids all got to play with some of the dough as well. My cousin, John Paul,  made this little man who (not at all as a racial comment)  turned out to be a very black man with a lot of crispy cheese chest hair.

The kids all got to play with some of the dough as well. My cousin, John Paul, made this little man who (not at all as a racial comment) turned out to be a very black man with a lot of crispy cheese chest hair.

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Super delicious.. Afterwards we ate it with coffee. I have been drinking a lot of coffee here; it’s just what people do. I think I had it three times today, que riiiicoo 😉

Daniel helping us clean up, such a little sweetie when he's not hitting you in the face, laughing, and saying naughty words he learned from his mother ;)

Daniel helping us clean up, such a little sweetie when he’s not hitting you in the face, laughing about it, and saying naughty words he learned from his mother 😉

In the mornings now I have been able to go with my host mom to her little shop again. I really enjoy just hanging out there and helping when I can. Today we painted these jars with nail polish!

I painted the one on the left, and my mom painted the two on the right

I painted the one on the left, and my mom painted the two on the right

I can’t believe it’s already almost Friday again. This weekend is probably going to be packed full of fun and family. Hopefully I will get to see Clara and some of the Montañita folks again, and on top of getting in another good night of dancing, I still have to try cuy! ( if you have a pet guinea pig, I’m sorry)

Love you all, stay chévere! And happy Valentine’s day!!

xoxo,

Rosie

Hawks and Llamas

What a fun filled weekend it has been! Saturday night I went to a going away party for my friend Javier, who is leaving for Germany this week. I was able to meet a lot of super cool people, including his dance teachers who are all phenomenal to say the least. It was the most salsa dancing I’ve been around this whole trip, and we even had a very mini rueda circle, which was fun but made me miss Bellingham all the more 🙂

On Sunday Javi’s cousin Santiago invited me to go visit Cajas, one of the sites not to miss while in Cuenca and the reason the water here is so much better than in other areas. We got a little bit lost, but it is one of the most picturesque places I have ever visited, so I didn’t really mind.

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A lot of exercise and a few llamas later, I met up with my friend Dylan from Virginia to watch the big game. Although football has actually never been my thing in the slightest, I gave in and allowed myself to be ‘merican for a day to support my home turf.

Cuenca has been a bit dusty lately as well, as a result of the eruptions of Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano on Saturday. The volcano is 84 miles SE of the Quito, the capital, but many other areas have received a layer (or in our case a dusting) of volcanic ash as well. Mostly here it is noticeable on the cars that were left outside, but we were noticing a bit less light through the skylight in our kitchen this morning as well. My sister has also been having some allergies, which she thinks is from the ash.

No escaping geology! Although at the moment I do seem to be blogging as an escape from my homework, so for now I must sign off..

Saludos, and rock on Seattle!

xo, Rosie

Bigotes y Droids en Bici

My time here has been going by far too fast. I can’t believe I am already finishing my second to last week of classes! The kids at the school where I’m volunteering are now on vacation, so unless I delay my flight to Quito (which I am hoping to do) yesterday was my last day there. My class and a couple of others all made pizza together. It was so much fun and sad at the same time to say goodbye to everyone. It has been a while since I posted, so I’ll through in some pictures from other days as well.

In preparation we made fake pizzas during class beforehand

In preparation we made fake pizzas during class beforehand <Martín> (I’m still trying to figure out how to post a video on here, because if I thought I was going to TEACH dance here, this kid proved me so wrong! He’s got the moves)

And of course we had to have the proper chef attire... mustaches are not as easy to remove as you might think!

And of course we had to have the proper chef attire… mustaches are not as easy to remove as you might think! <Ismael>

Salsa de tomate time

Salsa de tomate time

Jessica in the yellow shirt is my bestest friend mentioned in an earlier post.. usually a bit more enthusiastic than depicted here!

Jessica in the yellow shirt is my bestest friend mentioned in an earlier post.. usually a bit more enthusiastic than depicted here!

Pablo con la tía Andrea

Pablo con la tía Andrea

Some of our class adventures...

Some of our class adventures…

<Eduardo>

Ismael is new and I work with him independently a lot, we're pretty tight buddies

Ismael is new and I work with him independently a lot, we’re pretty tight buddies…

This is the kind of project we do when we aren't taking selfies ;)

This is the kind of project we do when we aren’t taking selfies 😉

Anabel is in Jessica's class that I helped with the first week. Such a sweetheart and so very generous with her kisses :)

Anabel is in Jessica’s class that I helped with the first week. Such a sweetheart and so very generous with her kisses 🙂

Clarita, Profe Caty (teacher I was with the first week), Andrea (teacher of the littles, and my role model), Hernán (3rd grade teacher.. I think)

Clarita, Profe Caty (teacher I was with the first week), Andrea (teacher of the littles, and my personal role model), Hernán (3rd grade teacher.. I think, but super cool dude)

Hopefully I will still have a chance to hang out with some of the other volunteers. The other week my class was cancelled, and I had the afternoon off to walk around the city a bit with my friend Clara from Germany. She took me to the German bakery, where we met another exchange student from Germany and his host father; it was a language-rich conversation as both he and Clara speak English as well as Spanish and German. Last night I also went out dancing with her and some of her German-speaking friends and had quite a blast!

<3

Other family fun tidbits….
Here is a pic (finally) of my mom’s almacen (‘somnum’).

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Last Friday I went to my sister Suca’s house and helped her decorate a cake for my other sister’s friend’s birthday. More accurately, I watched her decorate the cake, having earlier in the day pulled an absolute Rosie and slammed my finger in the heavy almacen door… Miraculously, no blood and no trip to the hospital, but ouch!

Suca with azúcar ;)

Suca with azúcar 😉

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It's a droid riding a bicycle, in case you were wondering

It’s a droid riding a bicycle, in case you were wondering

My sister loves making cakes, so naturally we made one for us to eat as well 😉

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Today was my last dance class in CEDEI. It was a super fun group, and at the end my teacher asked me to dance some salsa while everyone else watched, quite embarrassing but she did it with me and it was incredibly fun to just go for it.

My lovely dance teacher Patricia

My lovely dance teacher Patricia

Love y’all so much! Espero que todos estén bien, and somebody please eat some Mallards ice cream for me! any flavor except for the conventional ones 😉

xoxo,

Rosie

Voy a reír, voy a bailar

I’ve been super busy lately as I settle into my daily volunteering and Spanish classes. I have, however, been able to go on a few fun excursions 🙂 And here’s a bucket of pictures to even out the last post 😉

Last Saturday I hung out a bunch with my aunt Nora, uncle Jorge, and cousin Daniela (11). I had lunch at their house and then they took me to tour around a little town called Paute and others nearby.

Not Mallard's, but still cold and creamy

Not Mallard’s, but still cold and creamy

a store for orchids, and only orchids

a store for orchids, and only orchids

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In a bank we found an entire swan made out of deposit slips... and were inspired

In a bank we found an entire swan made out of deposit slips… and were inspired

Sunday morning took me to the huge market with my host mom and her boyfriend, followed by brunch at a Spanish restaurant/hotel… (unfortunately no market pictures, but it was huge and wonderful)

Aji, que rrrico

Aji, que rrrico

La Lucia y Enrique

La Lucia y Enrique

Enrique's garden, fruit trees and orchids galore!

Enrique’s garden, fruit trees and orchids galore!

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…And in the afternoon, some park time with the ñañas

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La Suca, Gabby, and Cris

La Suca, Gabby, and Cris

And last but not least.. This evening my sister Suca (slang for a blonde, her actual name is Alexandra) drove me around to look at the city at night, we went to a church way up on a hillside where we could see the whole city.. we also brought her two sons, the younger of whom decided to stay in the car and sleep 🙂

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A little tourist shop with artisan crafts... lovveee this plate

A little tourist shop with artisan crafts… lovveee this plate

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So there are a few little adventures… Aside from these I have also successfully gotten myself lost (and found), played a bit of ukulele, thrown some kids around, and met some more super cool people. My Spanish is definitely improving, poco a poquito, although everyone seems to think that I understand a lot more than I do haha. Time is going by so incredibly fast, although it has certainly been long enough to miss everyone back home.

Love you all, and shred some extra pow for me if you get the chance!

xoxo,

Rosie

San José de Calasanz

Regrettably,  I have not taken a single photo since I last wrote, but I’m going to post anyway so please forgive this unillustrated entry…

Today I began work at my volunteer project! It is an instituto especial called San José De Calasanz. Part is a school for kids with disabilities, the other part is is where people can learn different artisan crafts; there’s a bakery, a pottery studio, painting studio and more. In the future I will work in a particular section but today I mostly was toured around, and played with kids.

An 11 year old girl named Jessica instantly declared me her friend, so mostly I followed her around and chatted. She told me all about her boyfriend, and in class I helped her make a card for him. All of the people there seem incredibly happy and friendly. There are also other volunteers whom I hope to become better friends with. Today I helped out in the same classroom as a girl named Clara from Germany, and Leni is a girl from Austria who helps with painting. They are very sweet, and it’s nice to know some people my own age and to speak Spanish with others who speak it as a second language (although they’re both much more fluent than I am). I briefly met a volunteer named Max… who’s from Vancouver!! but I’m pretty sure today was his last day so… so much for having a neighbor.

I also got to help lead the dance therapy they do every Friday. It was super fun, basically just a dance party! The woman who leads it also asked me to teach them some Irish dance, which I did in a simplified adapted sort of way. She had mentioned earlier that they have an end of the year presentation, part of which is dancing, and suggested that I could teach them a choreography for it… Normally I don’t like that kind of pressure, but the point is really just for them to enjoy it 🙂

I am super excited to volunteer here! The only downside is that it is every weekday from 9am-1pm, so I won’t be able to go to work with my host-mom anymore :(. That is also pretty much the only time I got to spend with her as she works in an office during the afternoon and on weekends. But we’ll figure something out I’m sure 🙂

Looking forward to a productive, college application-full weekend…hopefully…vamos a ver 😉

Besitos,

Rosie

 

 

La Primera Semana

Wow, time is passing so fast! It’s hard to believe I have already been here nearly a week.
The weekend was spent very relaxed. I slept in until 2 in the afternoon on Saturday. This was after staying out very late on Friday at a birthday party for one of my sisters (where I was able to meet lots of family and dance with cute cute cute little boys!)

On Sunday a bunch of family came over for lunch, including the one sister I hadn’t met, Catalina, who is a painter and cannot hear. She is very good at reading lips however, and I can actually understand her better than I can most people since, aside from English and Sound effects, elaborate gesturing is my fist language ;).

One of Catalina's paintings, q bonita

One of Catalina’s paintings, me encanta!

This one is on a wall in our house! (also Catalina's)

This one is on a wall in our house! (also Catalina’s)

After spending a few weekdays here, I’ve settled into the daily routine of going with my mom, Lucia, in the morning to her little store (called an almacén or locál). There I can go tour around in the city, or just hang out and do homework or help put pillows places, which has been rather enjoyable. Today we painted nails, or rather, she painted our nails, which is great because I don’t consider that a particular talent of mine :D.

Anyways…Then I go home with my sister Gaby to have a quick lunch and I’m off again in the bus to go to my Spanish classes. Tomorrow is the last class I will have with on of my teachers, unfortunately my favorite. Vicente is a truly phenomenal instructor.

This evening my mom took me to her sister’s house for coffee and cake (que rico!) with another sister, both of their husbands, and an uncle (I think). I love all of them! The table was full of conversation with subjects such as sausage, cheese, water, driving, and fish (by the way if anyone can tell me how much halibut costs back home, that would be awesome because I’m supposed to find out!).

The coffee here is super different.. It tastes the same, but you put it in water like instant coffee, except instead of a powder it's more the texture of the little toasted pieces of garlic found on bagels :)

The coffee here is super different.. It tastes the same, but you put it in water like instant coffee, except instead of a powder it’s more the texture of the little toasted pieces of garlic found on bagels 🙂

I am really loving being here, but of course I miss home quite a bit too. Its funny how the farther away I am and the less likely to run into people I know, the more I see people I know EVERYWHERE and then look again and realize it’s not you guys.

con amor y besitos,

Rosie