The day started early with preparations for the intersession course lectures. Coffee, fruit, orange juice, bagels and cream cheese, and donuts were lined up next to Eric's collection of books about Ecuador. What a remarkable library he has amassed!
For the first time since the beginning of the yearly course, there are almost equal numbers of boys and girls. Usually the girls far outnumber the boys. I was unable to remain during all the introductions, but will get to know most of the students over the next few weeks. Peter, one of the students who was on the course last year, is returning with Kathy, the soil science professor, to do research in the jungle, along with a graduate student who came with us last year. There is a new professor who is a public health policy expert, and has been to Ecuador before and speaks some Spanish. My understanding is that her husband is participating in the course as well.
My lecture went well. Both my daughters came to watch. I loved that Maya stopped squirming around and paid attention to every word I said. Tara was very encouraging as well, and it appears that I did not embarrass myself, although there were a few sleeping students, and that always worries me.
I was able to get some errands done. I picked up our prescriptions for the next six months and the copays added up to $320!!!! I wondered if in fact the prescriptions were necessary, and wanted to walk away and forget about them, but did not quite have the confidence to do that.
I bought stamps at the post office near Maya's old school, and ran into Starbucks for a coffee. The barista, who is from El Salvador and who I have seen at several Starbucks in the city over the years ( I have seen her have two children over the years!), recognized me and asked how we were doing in Ecuador. Last year I had shared with her my concerns about moving to a Spanish speaking country and wondered how Maya would adjust. I described how difficult it was initially, but how much Maya's attitude has improved in the weeks prior to our Christmas vacation, and that I believed that she would be almost fluent by the end of our time there. I hope this is not wishful thinking.
Maya had an hour practice with her former accompanist at Peabody, and I discussed our return to the conservatory next fall and how Maya would transition into the program. She met her old ballet teacher, who invited her to take a class tomorrow morning, so we had to dash to the ballet store to buy new ballet shoes. Maya plans to take a class tomorrow morning to show what she had learned and to have an evaluation to assess where she will be placed next year. Next year is so far away, yet it is rushing toward us. Her day tomorrow is packed full of activity, with a ballet class, a practice with her accompanist, playtime with Belina, playtime with her ballet friend Sarah, and two dinner dates back to back. My day is equally full, but with my second lecture at 11:30 and all sorts of other meetings before and after and in between picking up and dropping off Maya at her various activities.
Reading in Bed
It snowed during the night and we woke up to a white wonderland. Maya was desperate to get out and throw snowballs, so despite my protestations that she would get cold or develop a cold, she could not help herself and insisted in playing in the snow until her feet froze through and she could not bear it. I found myself woefully underdressed for the temperature conditions, remembering how wonderfully warm and sunny Quito has been throughout the year, and how delightful it is to leave the house each morning in a t-shirt and light coat and get warmer throughout the day and take off the outer layer by midday and add sunscreen a few times to protect our skin. Quito is perpetually spring, and I appreciate that!
I had a very important meeting with my colleagues at my new office. I had to discuss several challenging patients with the replacement psychiatrist and come up with solutions. I am incredibly lucky to have her taking care of my practice. She has taken a job in Roanoke VA, which she starts on April 1, 2010, but has agreed to return to the practice and take care of patients once a week until I return in August. I am so relieved that she does not plan to leave prematurely and abandon all my patients who already feel abandoned by me. Whew! I really needed something to go well today!
I am unprepared for the lecture tomorrow; far less prepared than that for today. It is a big subject (Pre-Columbian Art and Culture in Eucador) and I am trying to make it more focused and more engaging, but my brain does not seem to have the energy to do much more than review the slides, despite my Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream indulgence.