Thursday, April 23, 2009

cheese rhymes with cheese

If I wanted to describe Ecuador in 3 words, I would say beautiful, energetic, and… inefficient.

After a weeklong outage, we finally got our internet up and running in the office/apartment. It’s still about as slow as the old dial-up we had when I was 13, but I’m just happy to have some sort of contact with home. I’ve had a lot of practice speaking Spanish over the phone with different internet companies this past week. Today I stayed in the office to be here for the tech guy to come FINALLY fix it. He called me niña (little girl) a bunch of times, which was weird, but at least he fixed the problem.

It seems to me that those of us raised in the U.S. consider efficiency an important goal in daily life. Maybe efficiency isn’t as strong of a paradigm for us United Statesians* as it is in Asian countries, where people are known to schedule themselves down to the minute, but it’s definitely a part of the culture I was raised in. Not here though. I’ve never been to a meeting that didn’t start at least an hour late. No one seems to mind. They just sit and chat until their bums get sore from sitting so they stand up and go somewhere to give their bums a rest and then when the late people finally arrive to the meeting, the people that were there earlier aren’t there anymore so then the late people wait awhile for the early people to come back and then it’s time for lunch and everyone leaves. To an Ecuadorian, perfectly fine. To me, a born and raised United Statesian, uuurrrgghhleeeeanfneiouw;b.

So thank you, Sallee at Ascend Alliance headquarters, for the two days of training we had before leaving. She made sure we understood that sometimes we’re going to have to remember that
“it’s not wrong, it’s just different.”

It’s not wrong, it’s just different.

It’s not wrong, it’s just different.

It’s not wrong, it’s just different.

Two young boys peeing on the sidewalk alongside their father during the local parade. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Coming late to a meeting and putting it on hold so you can go around and personally say hello to and kiss each of the 20 people in the room. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. The prevalence of bologna. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Closing your business whenever you feel like it. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Driving around the city with your party’s election jingle blasting out of the megaphone on the top of your car. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Nowhere to go to the bathroom. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. The old indigenous woman carrying twice her weight in firewood on her back while her husband walks alongside her empty-handed. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Letting your 2-year-old finish off the last of your beer. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Wait…..

Now I should say something happy and flowery about how awesome it is to get to know other cultures by living in them. Instead I will say that sometimes it is hard. However, I’m grateful for the differences in culture throughout the world. They make for good memories and funny stories.

In other news, I dreamed about Smith’s Marketplace last night. There were boneless skinless chicken breasts, string cheese, diet coke, taco seasoning, and tampons. Paradise.

Jonathan is currently eating a hot dog and cheese sandwich because I’m writing a blog post instead of making dinner. He has also been working on writing a song for the past week. He just came in to show me his most recent inspired lyrics:

I need some freakin’ cheese
I need some freakin’ cheese
Not just any kind of cheese
I want some fresh cheese
Oh fresh cheeeeese.

Who needs Flight of the Conchords when I have Jonathan? That’s right. Cheese rhymes with cheese.

Also, one of my good friends got married this past Saturday. Congratulations Donaven and Sarah! I was so sad to miss the festivities but I heard from my Mom that everything was beautiful and the reception was great.

In addition to that wedding, and the wedding of the future Mrs. Bliss in July, we will also miss another big wedding this summer. Jonathan’s friend from way back, Matt, and the beautiful Heather, will be tying the knot in June.

We will, however, make it to the fourth wedding of the summer – Sam’s wedding! He’ll be getting married to a darling girl named Kayla the weekend we get home from Ecuador. Woooo! I’m so excited for all of my friends’ marriages.

There’s a lot more I could say, but it’s time for Jonathan to teach me some more Capoeira exercises so I’ll just say that we’re pretty healthy and very happy and I’ll leave you with some of my favorite pictures from the past couple of weeks.

Here's a surprise I found on my camera I thought someone might enjoy.

I love this picture. These kids loved Jonathan.

Here's Jonathan teaching some 5th grade kids from a small community about dental care.

I am so used to the kids in the communities loving to get their pictures taken. Then this happened.

Some boys waiting to be seen by the dentist.

Playing in the back of the work truck. They made the alarm go off about 5 times, but look how cute.

Darling faces.

*United Statesians. Anyone got anything better?


Jessica said...

That last picture is so beautiful. It looks like one from National Geographic! I like the "it's not wrong, just different" I am going to use that here when I run into people that bug me!

kristine gracey anderson said...

i like cheese rhyming with itself. It shows the importance of the item. That sucks you are missing out on all these marriages. But they are over rated anyway. Oh, James and i are still looking for the "perfect" ticket to come visit. So excited!!!!

cathy said...

I'm going to tease Jonathan for not finding more cheese rhymes. Jeez, even if it's covered in fleas and 90 degrees (in the breeze), you should be able to find something that rhymes with cheese. Ed agrees. Please.

Stephanie said...

i love your pictures. and your blog. woot.

Lori Ann said...

That's weird that you found my blog, because I have been reading your blog for like 2 days. Once I find a blog I like, I read the whole thing:) I LOVED your wedding dress and you are an AMAZING girl to go to Ecuador a week after getting married. I would still be in my wedding dress, demanding to be addressed as 'the bride' :) Is it ok, if I link this blog to mine?