Sometimes life is a lot.
This will serve as an ongoing list of small observations and questions to ground myself, and maybe you, too, in a more digestible reality.
- The cream cheese here is different. I can’t explain how.
- The people here are really into strawberry-flavored things: ice cream, yogurt, cookies. However, I have not yet seen an actual strawberry.
- My host family likes to watch Brazilian telenovelas in the next room. That means the soundtrack to my life is dramatic music, arguments, and women’s tears. What I can only assume is the intro song for their favorite show is about three seconds long and consists of a man passionately singing, “Eres la únicaaaaaaaaa.” The song plays at least twice during every commercial break. I wonder how much that singer gets in gratuities for his three seconds of Ecuadorian TV fame.
- The other day an ostensibly blind woman got on my bus and sung unimpressively for money.
- The cemeteries are always hidden behind high walls.
- Vendors on the buses sell other things too. They’re often Columbian. They say so. The really serious ones pass out samples of their product while they give their spiel. But–they take it back from everyone unless they choose to buy it. I wonder how many people eat the candy on the sly.
- The other day I saw a parking spot reserved for pregnant mothers.
- People walk slowly here. Especially when you’re late for class.
- There is a wall I pass on the bus to school that is fixed with shards of broken glass bottles instead of razor wire. Just the effort it must have taken to do that makes it more foreboding.
- It is common to eat potato chips with mayonnaise.
- The other day I saw an Ecuadorian child with a white babydoll.
- I found out why the cream cheese tastes different. It has ricotta and cottage cheese in it. Somebody in the United States look at a container of cream cheese and comment the ingredients below.
- The only way to avoid hearing “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi at least once a day is to go to the rainforest where there is no wifi.
- Everything is a big deal. Need to get somewhere? Ask six different people and get six different directions. Need to get on a bus? It’s full unless you beg. Need to get your laundry done? Today is just not the best day for that.
- The weather is to blame for everything. If you have a cold or a stomach ache or a headache or acne it’s the weather. And if you get caught in the rain it’s time to write your will.
- Some Ecuadorian stereotypes about the US: Nobody cares about other people, only themselves. We eat McDonalds every day. All cars are huge, and mostly Fords. People like to visit Florida. We eat a lot of meat and chicken, but more meat.
- The long-distance buses have TV screens on which they play the absolute scum of cinema. The movies are always bad. They are always jam-packed with sex and violence. They are always movies from the United States filled with white people and dubbed over in Spanish. Or sometimes Bollywood.
Comment below with a little observation from your own life.