Monday, February 2, 2009

And Then There Were Finals

This is going to be a pretty lazy, laid back week. If all goes well that is. Now that classes have ended, all that stands between me and a month of vacation is some final exams. For the next three I'll be proctoring and sitting in on a few exams, going from having no work to having to grade 20 exams in a matter of hours. Once all of the grades are in on Wednesday, I'll know if any of the students need to take a "suspension" exam. What that basically means is it's nearly impossible to fail in the school system here, so even if you failed the test, they give you another chance.

If someone does need to take that test, then I will have to proctor the make up test on Thursday, right before I take off for Guayaquil. I have a flight to the Galapagos on Friday morning, so I need to get into Guayaquil on Thursday afternoon to make sure I get there in time. I'm still unsure of my itinerary for the trip, but I know that I'll be meeting up with my friends Andrew and Kristine, as well as Kristine's friend from back home. Once I get back from the Galapagos I'll have a lot of pictures to post, as well as good stories to share.

For now, I need to get through this last week as easily as possible. It will be a bit of a struggle to keep the anticipation down, as this is going to be such a big month of travel. After the Galapagos I'll be coming back to Cuenca for a few days and then taking off for Peru for a week and a half. We'll be going to Lima, Cuzco, Macchu Piccu, and Lake Titicaca. We want to go to Bolivia, but with the entrance fee of $135, we might need to pass on it. After Peru, we still have two weeks of vacation, so we'll probably hit up some other cities in Ecuador.

There's still so much to see here that it almost feels encircling to realize that half of my time here is gone. Just yesterday I went to a park far down in a part of Cuenca that I'd never even been to, though it was only a 25 minute walk from my house. No one had told me about it until a week or so ago, and it was a huge, nice looking park filled with families out for a Sunday activity. The neighborhood looked nice and gave good views of the mountains in the distance, which I usually can't see from my neighborhood. Just getting to this other part of the city made me realize how much more there is to see and do, not just in the country, but in my city.

I like living in the center of the city. It makes things convenient and easy. And it's a nice place to be. But I also wish sometimes that I was outside of the center, so that I would be able to see more of the city and get a different feel for things. Living in the center, I always seen gringos and and probably lumped in with them as I walk around. If I lived in a neighborhood further away, I'd most definitely be the only foreigner, and as a result, I feel my experience would be a little bit different, if not more authentic. But beggars can't be choosers. And I'm happy with the situation. It's sunny right now. We'll see how long that lasts though. My guess would be it starts raining by 3 pm.

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