Still waiting to visit Imbabura - the date has been pushed back until next Thursday. So here´s a post I´ve been meaning to publish for a while!
One rainy, cold day when I was feeling particularly down, I decided to try to organize my thoughts into a list of ´Why Not to ET´ (ET = early terminate = governmentspeak for ending service). Well... suddenly I thought if there´s a list of ´why nots´ maybe I should make a list of why it would be a good idea to ET. I hope you can see the humor with some of the comments.
WHY NOT TO ET:
1. I made a commitment to 2 years of service.
2. I'm worried it would look bad for future employment if I quit.
3. I have free health care.
4. My food, shelter, and extra stuff is paid for.
5. I want to feel a sense of accomplishment for getting to the end.
6. I get to climb a mountain every month.
7. My loans are deferred.
8. I'm practicing Spanish.
9. I have free time for self like reading, knitting, watching movies, etc.
10. I get to travel occasionally.
11. I'm learning patience.
12. I'm learning humility.
13. I live in the mountains.
14. I like sierra food more than oriente or costa food.
15. I'm remote but I have electricity, water, and gas.
16. The Milky Way is brilliant when the power goes out at night.
17. I get free flute (quena) lessons every Saturday.
18. I have a job with almost no supervision but a lot of trust and faith.
19. People I hardly know from the States sent me packages full of tea and candy.
20. My room is freshly painted.
21. My favorite person in the community is the new president.
22. I am finally cooking for myself.
23. My cat doesn't have the right immunizations or medication to go to the U.S. yet. (done)
24. Movies are $1, yea!! Which is great until: See #23 of opposing list.
25. People finally want to work with me building ovens and making recycled things in an artesanias group.
26. I have earplugs now.
27. I'm learning a new language bit by bit (Quichua).
28. Getting packages and letters is fun!
29. My immunity is finally kicking in...?!!!
30. I'm getting along better with my host now that I cook for myself.
31. I have a DVD player again!
32. What else would I do? Job, grad school, be a bum?
33. Big avocados are roughly 3/$1, oranges 10/$1 and there's Malta, spicy chifles, Amor chocolate wafers, alfahores, patacones with ketchup, fresh limeade, cheese and onion sugar-coated empanadas, mora, bamboo-scented deodorant, lychees, ...
34. My Ecuadorian mom in Tumbaco checks in on me and cares about me.
35. There's now recycling in Riobamba that pays for plastic bottles and I'm going to encourage my community to take advantage of this.
36. I'm getting used to not having internet.
37. The kids seem to really like me.
38. I have an amazing mountain view out my window.
39. I have apparently avoided getting parasites (so far).
40. I've been offered a site change.
41. I don't get noncompetitive hiring status in the federal government if I leave early.
WHY TO ET:
1. I miss blending in.
2. I'm sick frequently.
3. I'm lonely and bored.
4. Every person I've developed a working relationship with in my community has left.
5. It's cold and I don't have a heater - just lots of blankets.
6. It rains a lot and there's a lot of mud and pig poo somehow always gets indoors.
7. Donkies, roosters, buses and lecheros wake me up at 4:30 a.m.
8. Maria is hard to get along with sometimes.
9. Internet access is once or twice a week.
10. I don't understand Quichua.
11. There are gigantic chunks of meat in the fridge dripping over everything.
12. The school teachers (used to?) drink during class.
13. Sometimes I see or hear animals slaughtered.
14. The weekly parroquial meeting I pay $1.30 to get to only actually meets...never.
15. Bills are draining my bank account without me noticing.
16. Spanish is still hard to speak and understand sometimes.
17. I feel somewhat forgotten/cut-off...from people outside the country and from people inside.
18. I have to bring my garbage to Riobamba - compared with burning it or tossing it in the river. Not a great alternative because it just ends up in an environmentally unfriendly dump anyway.
19. After my journal was stolen I've felt a little violated and bitter.
20. People see me as just a rich gringa and attempt to swindle money from me.
21. Things aren't happening and I feel I'm wasting my time for people who don't care about me.
22. The kitchen is gross and when I clean it, it just gets messy again the next day which is not my doing.
23. The cat broke my DVD player (turns out that's not hard to do). But this is resolved.
24. Phone service cuts out a lot.
25. Sometimes landslides cut off access to my site and I have to walk 2 hours with groceries. The worst part is that the road is in bad condition when it opens back up - almost too dangerous for buses to travel on.
26. I feel like I'm missing time I'll never get back with family and friends.
27. I miss the changing of the seasons.
28. Maria doesn't believe in me or support me, yet still expects me to get something done when no one else participates.
29. One year has passed and nothing has happened.
30. My cat has all her immunizations to go to the U.S.