It's been a while, huh? Not much has happened since my last update, though. So I suppose this will be a random entry...
The same day we in Omnibus 105 were celebrating our 6 months of service (1/4 done!), someone stole my journal...the book that covered every day between August 12 and October 20. I'd made it a goal to write every day of my service so it's hardly covering how I feel when I say it was devastating to me that something I cared so much about was suddenly gone. Apparently a guy on the street had spotted me in an internet cafe and came in to watch and wait for me to neglect my bag. He told the cafe attendant that he was just waiting for someone and didn't need a computer. So he snatched it. On the only bright side, he didn't earn a penny I'm sure. My bag was beaten and dirty and had nothing of monetary value in it - no phone, cash, or cards. But it had my chewed up journal (damaged by Moo the rabbit), my old notebook with all my little random notes and scribbles from the past 6 months (including some pretty important notes), my letter from a PCV in Uganda (I at least skimmed it before it was taken), and two Sudoku books my folks had just sent me. So by now I'm guessing it all made it to a landfill somewhere.
I made a quick trip to visit my PCV friend near Bucay because I've wanted to see her site and it was the perfect time to avoid a party in my site. It was incredibly hot and humid and lush with plantlife. People were laid back and very friendly. I felt like I was in a totally different country than the Ecuador that I live in. And when I left, her host mom gave me a gigantic bag of guineos (small bananas) and oranges. Plus a cacao to try the fruit and maybe to make some very bitter chocolate out of the seeds. Plus some passionfruit and of course some red paint-like achiote seeds. The massive bag of fruit just barely made it back to my site, but I had to carry it with two arms when it began ripping. In the morning, I cut up the oranges and juiced them...the result was incredible, and now I'm back to being addicted to them. They're 10 for $1 in Riobamba, an amazing price when you compare to the U.S. prices, except I keep thinking about all the free oranges my coastal colleagues get all the time from their backyards.
Misi the kitten is doing very well. It also turns out he is a she and she is about twice as big as when I got her a month ago. She's now flea-free and getting fat (her pelvis stuck out badly when I got her and she walked with a wobble). Her favorite activities are batting my face at 5 a.m., sticking her head in my mouth when I yawn, putting her cold nose in my ear and purring when I'm sleeping, and jumping out at me from around corners with all four paws.
My garden is now no more. The kids ripped up all the radishes and left them to rot, then tore up the carrots, then all the beets. At one point they moved all my cabbage plants to their own gardens. At least they left the peas alone for the most part, until one day when the trelises were knocked over and the stems all broke. Which was yet another disappointment because the plants had plenty of pods and flowers yet to grow. I took home all the nearly mature pods to dry for seeds but I'm not sure if any of them will be able to germinate...it was all I could do. Of all the tomato seeds I planted in little bottle greenhouses, only two germinated but the plants are doing really well. It's taking them ages to grow though, and every night I bring them indoors so they don't freeze...and every morning if it's not raining or freezing still, they get taken outside. Six inches tall so far!
The weather has been slightly better than the previous 6 months. A few days of the week, mornings sometimes begin with sunshine. But usually in the afternoon the skies cloud up instantly, wind begins, and sometimes it drizzles. It's been so dry, the Rio Alao is often just a trickle by the time it leaves town when usually it's got uncrossable rapids.
I've become slightly obsessed with Ecuadorian mountaineering: reading all about the mountains on Summit Post and updating my own list of mountains visited, collecting the incredible magazine Montana ($6 each but they are very worth it for the pictures alone), training on my own hills, and planning each next trip. At the end of November, if hopefully we're approved by Peace Corps, another PCV Caroline and I will be heading to El Corazon and (hopefully...guide-willing) Illiniza Norte.
Oh, and I´m sick. Again.