Thursday, August 20, 2009


We have fallen into a routine. Maya wakes me up by 7:30 -8:00, and is ready to get moving, but Isabel and Erika are night owls and are up late. I take my time with the shower, dressing, getting organized. By 9:00, we wander downstairs (going down too early can trip the alarm, and we try to avoid that) to a huge breakfast (Isabel reminds us that we must breakfast as kings!). I choose yoghurt and 'mora', a kind of blackberry which is popularly made into a juice. Papaya and banana and canteloupe are always on the table, with freshly squeezed juice as well. Maya will eat omelettes, pancakes, bread with nutella or jam, pain au chocolat, cinnamon rolls etc. I savour my Ecuadorian coffee, which has been dripping during the night, and is mixed with lactose free milk warmed up in the microwave.

Maya and I leave for the swimming pool after 10:00. Today we stopped at a tailor to have her ribbons sewed on to her pointe shoes for $1.50. I ran back an forth along the Rio Coca to pick them up during Maya's swim lesson. Maya has fifteen minutes of land exercises and 45 minutes of swimming instruction. The children are challenged and do not stop moving throughout the lesson. I sit by the pool and read. I brought three books of fiction with me to Ecuador, all bought at a a used book fair in Falmouth this summer for fifty cents each. I am halfway through 'Ivanhoe' by Sir Walter Scott, which I have not read since childhood, and I am enjoying it, especially when I relate the story to Maya later in the evening before she goes to bed. I have Thomas Hardy's 'Jude the Obscure' and 'The Return of the Native' to read once I finish 'Ivanhoe'. I have been looking at eBooks online using my Baltimore County Library card, but have yet to borrow a book. Maya has been reading the same three books she has brought with her over and over again. I am feeling guilty and it is time to buy or borrow new ones.

Maya and I pass the woman in native dress selling 'chochis' at the entrance of the swimming complex. Chochis are a combination of highly proteinacious beans with fried corn, to which salsa is often added along with fried plantains and perhaps some other additions. They are very popular with the locals; it turns out to be a very healthy snack, but Maya and I stop at the ice cream truck instead, and choose our favourite 'Magnum' bar or popsicle or 'cornetto'.

We have three hours to eat lunch, look for apartments, or for today, we drove from the apartment Eric is most enthusiastic about, to Maya's school, which is open for the first time today. I wanted to see how long it would take us to get there without too much traffic, and planned to double that time for the rush hour morning and evening drives. It took us 37 minutes to get to Colegio Alberto Einstein, which means that Maya's drive will be over an hour. We introduced ourselves to the administrative office, and checked on where to buy uniforms, learned that Maya would be the first to be picked up around 6:55, and she should be to school by 8, and take longer to get home at at the end of the day.

Eric still feels that the drive is not too onerous, and is eager to make the decision about the apartment. I remain hesitant, so we continued to look at a few more apartments today, somewhat closer to her school. We have more to see tomorrow.

Maya's ballet class is from 3:00 to 5:00 PM, and I spend some time talking to the other parents. Maria's mother is Patricia, and she insists that this is the best ballet school in town, so I start finding out about classes in September and how Maya will get to ballet class several times a week. Erica's mother is Sandra, and she helps me decide whether the ballet shoes I have bought for Maya are too small; pointe class will be tomorrow.

We take the bus downtown to check out more apartments. The ones I like are too expensive. The one that Eric and Maya like best but is too far from her school remains the best choice. If not for my concerns about the length of the drive to and from school, Eric would have finalized the deal.

We arrive home in the dark and the house is quiet. Isabel is doing paperwork in her office, and Erika is preparing for a night at the disco with her friends. Maya practices her violin, we eat dinner late, we talk to my parents at 9 almost every night. They look wonderful and I feel so lucky to be able to see them so regularly. I am so impressed with technology!

Email, writing, movies, and books entertain us for the evening. My daughter taught me how to find television shows online, so I have caught up with 'True Blood' and am almost up to date with 'The Tudors'. Sometimes the 'livestream' is interrupted every few minutes, so I am reading my book between small movie segments, taking hours to watch a fifty minute show. I find that I am more patient than is usual. Perhaps my experience in Ecuador is changing me.

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