Activities and Thoughts from Ecuador

So after some pestering from my parents, I decided I had better update my blog. Much has happened since I have last written. However it also feels like nothing at all has happened. During the first of June I gave 2 charlas (talks/lectures) to the people in my community of Santa Rosa. The first was on composting and there were only 5 people there, because of a miscommunication of my counterpart. Because of this I made sure to get the number of a person in the community so I could arrange meetings in the future rather than go through my counterpart who then calls the president of the community who then talks to some of the people. Sounds kind of messy and unreliable-it is. So the charla went ok for my first one, they didn't really understand all that I was saying, it also didn't help that we didn't have all the materials we needed. So I set up a time for the next week to come and do the same charla again, and they would arrange for more people and the materials to be there. So I went back in a week, and it turned out sooooo much better!!! I was more prepared and more researched on the matter, and it wasn't like a charla, it felt like we were all just kind of hanging out, joking around, and doing this compost pile just for fun! It was great! Since then however, I have been slacking. I haven't been back to my community to see how the compost pile is doing or to further plan the garden and greenhouse we are going to make. I have, though, done some translating work with my foundation. They had a group of missionaries in and they needed someone to help, so I agreed, thinking it would help my spanish. I didn't realize until we were on our way to the first community that this would be a different kind of spanish that I had never learned or thought I would ever need. We would be talking about the Bible and God and blessing and stuff. EEEKK!! But I managed through okay, and even made a contact in another community nearby that I could possibly help in. So it turned out rather well I thought. Since then I have done a bunch of nothing, and it is starting to get to me. I have made friends with a family in my neighborhood. They own a tienda (store) that sells agriculture stuff and feed for animals, so I buy my dog food there. He gives me a good price on it because he wants me to help his daughter learn more english, they are big fans!! They are a really nice family and have offered to watch my dog whenever I go away, which is great!!! It feels good to start integrating more into the community, it helps me feel more connected here. It has been a difficult journey so far, and I just know it's just going to keep getting harder. I am going to have to push myself harder than I have been accustomed to doing if I want to succeed here. One of the other volunteers has stated previously that you have to find that one thing that makes it worth being here, and just keep thinking about that in order to survive. I haven't found that thing yet, but I'm going to keep looking hard for it!
On another note, I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and I found myself staring at a small family. It was a mother and her two daughters, all with white skin and blonde hair. As I was staring at them I realized I was doing exactly what the Ecuadorians do to me (and it always irritates me so much!!). I began to realize that we are such an oddity here that when you do see someone that stands out, that doesn't look like they belong, you can't help but stare as you wonder what they are doing here. I always thought I was aware of the reason they stare at me, but I had never been put in their shoes before. I feel like I have been here long enough now that I think of myself as someone that belongs here and now when I see other extranjeros (foreigners) I always look a little longer wondering what they are doing here. Then I try to remember how much I hate it, and look away. So just a little lesson learned, put yourself in someone eases shoes every once in a while.