Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sun With a Chance of Fun

Okay, that´s the lamest title for anything, ever. But I couldn´t resist. The last couple of days here in Cuenca we´ve had a lot of sun and it´s been heating up, causing us all to hope yet again that it´s now finally summer. Summer is different here, however. It just means it´s the dry season, or that it doesn´t rain nearly as much as it does in winter. Winter, of course, being the rainier season. But with more sunshine, more people are outdoors and seem to be in better moods, at least from my perspective.

I´ve been going along giving all of my classes as normal, and suddenly it dawned on me yesterday that I need to hand in my grades for my night class by tomorrow. Next week is the last week, and after that I´ll only have my afternoon class for a couple more weeks. I´ll be officially done teaching on Friday, July 3rd, just in time to celebrate July 4th, Ecuadorian style. I still have to stick around in July for exams and other administrative tasks, but the teaching portion will be done.

It´s surprising how quickly it has come up, because I really thought that I was teaching until mid July. Now knowing that I´m so close to being done, it´s like a weight off my shoulders. It´s not that I hate teaching, it´s just that I don´t necessarily like it. Or teaching English as a second language, anyway. Maybe teaching history or writing could be more interesting to me. So I´m now very close to wrapping up my first teaching year. I say first because I might be teaching again in Argentina next year.

To celebrate, in a way, I bought myself some new shoes today. A couple of months ago I´d bought some new black shoes from a cheap shop, but they´re made out of plastic and kill my feet. Another professor told me that the shops in the center sell shoes for about $30-40, but back in the States they would cost around $200. Apparently they´re very good quality leather. So I decided to splurge and spoil myself a bit, buying shoes that will hopefully last me for a while. I´m happy with the purchase, though they are a bit pointy tipped, as is the fashion in South America. We´ll see if the U.S. is ready for it.

Last week I bought myself a new leather belt for $10, and the last big thing that I want to buy before I leave is a Panama Hat from Cuenca, which should cost $15. I´ve been pretty conservative with my money this year, so I think it´s reasonable to buy a couple of things here and there now that I´m almost done and ready to leave. As my friend Ricardo told me after he bought himself a hat for $20, sometimes you need to spoil yourself down here to keep from going crazy. He might be right. Getting something new could just be the difference between down in the dumps and a morale boost.

This weekend I´m thinking of going to a tiny town in a valley about an hour away where a friend has a house. We´ll cook a feast and then hopefully find a cock fight on Sunday. It´s not that I really want to bet on fighting roosters, but I feel like I should see that part of the culture. I´ll keep you posted.

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