Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spanish, Ice Cream, and Music

My Spanish is rusty. I have not spoken enough these past months, and was determined to return to lessons before our departure. It was my first day yesterday, but Amparo and Maya and I were preoccupied with the hospital, so we never got to the grammar part I need help with. Today there were no distractions, so we focused on 'ser and estar' and I know now that it was right to attack Spanish again. I am confused and definitely need help. I am amazed at how quickly four hours pass, and talking to Amparo is easy and flowing and reassuring. I have not lost all my Spanish, it is there in the recesses of my mind, and is easily coaxed out. But 'ser y estar' remains a challenge. I had done my homework in the hospital last night, and found that when I tried to think too much I did far worse than when I just tried to feel my way through the questions. There is a part of me that feels the Spanish, that thinks and dreams it, that knows more than I can demonstrate.

I survived the morning, but found my way back to the apartment for the afternoon. I picked up a bug either in Peru or on the weekend or at home last night, and am very unwell. I noticed that as I walked to the bustop, took the Ecovia, and walked home, several people were eating ice cream. I am not sure what that meant. Ecuadorians love their ice cream and there are ice cream establishments at every corner and ice cream vendors in the streets everywhere you go. There is gelato and 'helado de paila' which is made in a big aluminum/steel bowl, there is ice cream made in Salcedo near Latacunga, which is sold in Quito, there is 'Pinguino', which is Maya's favourite (she likes 'Magnum' bars and 'cornettos') and Baskins and Robbins next to Megamaxi. Whether it is cold or hot or raining or windy, Ecuadorians want to have ice cream available to them whenever and wherever they are. I ran into several ice cream indulgers as I walked home, too ill to think of eating an ice cream, but noting that ice cream is an obsession for Quiteños. When I first arrived here I ate an ice cream with Maya daily, but it became evident that I am unable to indulge much, that perhaps I have lactose intolerance, and pay a price whenever I inhale too many ice creams.

I arrived home too ill to accomplish much and stayed close to the toilet. I have been so lucky during my time in Ecuador not to be ill with GI ailments, and wonder if it is my overindulging in Peru which finally got me. I have been sort of unwell since we arrived home, and not getting better!

I had to pull myself together for Maya's concert tonight. It was 'Dia del Niño' today, with a performance at the 'Iglesia de la Concepcion' near the airport. Eric drove Maya to arrive at the 6:30 meeting time, but found the church closed. The bus with the other performers arrived, but the church remained closed and the concierge would not allow anyone in. The children were fine, running around and making noise, and Felipe, the conductor, did not seem distressed. It feels typical of Ecuador that things may happen or not, on time or late or early and no one seems too distressed when plans go awry and alternative possibilities need to be pursued. In the end the church opened and allowed the children and the spectators in, and the 'Orchestra Infantil' played beautifully and passionately. It is wonderful to see Maya playing confidently as concertmaster, swaying with the music, clearly enjoying herself immensely.

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