August 17, 2009

What I do... ( A few three-minute updates)

The elusive three minute update -

I calmly sit in a plastic chair in my apartment, my sweaty legs uncomfortably sticking to the scratched seat.
The neighbor's water pump chugs and hums and my crossed legs sting from the sunburn I earned today.

At precisely this hour eight months ago I arrived at a small apartment in Quito. At 2am I paced its roof as I considered my new physical location in the world, and tried to clear my mind from the stress and sleepiness that 27 hours of traveling brought me.

I have been home from Colombia for nearly a month. You ask what I do with my time? Sitting on tropical beaches sipping coconuts?
Just on weekends.

The first two weeks I spent here were a maze of offices for my visa. The Immigrations Department has a representative of whom I am on a first-name basis. (Jaime.) And I went to 13 different print shops looking for high-quality laser prints to advertise my massage business, Manos de Dios.

I spent (still spend...) a portion of each day attempting to assist a local Baptist church in editing their church's anniversary video. This is a nightmare - The person who taped it exported the media in the wrong media format, and while troubleshooting this, the computer I was granted to use changed twice, both times of which the editing software has shut down.

And on the side I volunteer for CouchSurfing by overseeing that all new members receive at least two personal greetings. And given that at times we have over 15,000 new members per week, this can be pretty hectic. I wrap up each day at about 4 to be certain I am at work, Wall Street Institute, at 5:00pm to teach English. I earn a whopping $12 per shift.

And, yes, on weekends you just may find me on the beach sipping coconuts.

My first weekend back in Manta I did gads of busy work, puked, went to an Indy movie La Nana, called my Nana Evelyn (Nana means nanny in Spanish, but Grandma in Italian), chatted with one of my best friends Elaine, and wrote an ultimatum letter to my insurance company who had not settled a claim from last January. I had a bit of fun writing the claim - I was steamed, and had every date and every email the company had not replied to regarding the resolution of my claim. Monday at 10 am my claim was approved. Old info: The claim was from January when my backpack loaded of all my daily needs, letters from you, TEVA shoes, et cetera was stolen on the beach. What a headache. I've just submitted the claim of being pick pocketed in Quito.
(July 19)

Memories from home are interesting. More interesting is to realize how your prior experiences and choices unexpectedly affect your present reality. A coworker at Wall Street, Fraydo, recently turned 41. And to show off my Gringa skills, I proudly sang him the Happy Birthday song which I learned while waitressing at Red Robbin. The song is cheerful and boisterous, borderline obnoxious - And I sing it well. I am certain I would have made Nick Samuel and the boys at the restaurant proud. I finished the song with about 15 students and colleagues thundering applause. The situation made me giggle. If only I had a paper toilet seat cover for Fraydo's head and a Polaroid camera...
(July 21)

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