The worldwide Augustana College experience

A Typical Day in Cuenca

I’ve had a special request to blog about my typical day in Cuenca. So here it goes…

I wake up at 6:30am and jump in the shower (in my own private bathroom!). Then I head downstairs for breakfast. At breakfast it’s just me and Gladys (my host mom) in the kitchen. We chat a little about what’s coming up during the day and she makes me hot chocolate and fruit juice. And when I say she makes fruit juice… she picks a piece of fruit out of the basket and blends it. It’s SO fresh (and delicious)! It’s her personal goal to have me try every fruit that they have in Ecuador that we don’t have at home. I haven’t had a single fruit or juice that I didn’t like. This could be a problem when I get home!

After breakfast I finish getting ready and walk to school. My walk is around 20 to 30 minutes. Not much more than walking from Westerlin to Sorenson, so the distance isn’t bad. And now I’ve got my path figured out. I may have had a little trouble the first couple days… but I definitely know my route now! There are two major dislikes about my walk, however.

1. Pedestrians NEVER have the right of way. This (obviously) makes crossing the street very difficult! And it’s almost impossible to tell when cars are turning because they rarely use their blinkers. Just a honk here or there to let other cars (and people) know to move out of the way. Not to worry, though, I’ve learned to take cues from locals and to keep my eyes and ears open at all times. I think I’m adapting just fine.

2. Oy the chicos! Machismo is very much alive in Ecuador today. And being a blonde does not make things any easier. All day, everyday, I have to deal with the catcalls,  the blatant stares, and the honks (which are difficult to distinguish from the “watch out I’m turning” honks). I suppose I should be flattered, but all this attention is going to take some getting used to!

Once I make it to school (Safe and sound, as always!) I head to class. Classes switch every other day, so one day I have two classes from 8:00- 12:30 and the next day I have one class from 8:00-10:00. At 12:30 I head home for lunch which is usually served at about 1:30 at my house. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here in Ecuador and is the equivalent of dinner in the US. Everyone comes home from work and school to eat together as a family and we eat a lot of food.

We always start with soup (usually some type of vegetable or bean soup) and then have the main course which ALWAYS contains rice and vegetables, and sometimes meat. Lunch is prepared and served by the family’s maid. Here, having a maid is considered achievable and appropriate for most, if not all middle class families because the maid’s wages are so low. Our maid is a girl not much older than I am, and she also does the family’s laundry (note: they don’t have a washing machine or dryer).

After lunch is siesta time! My sister usually goes back to class right away (she’s a communications major at the local university) and everyone else heads to their room. Normally, I use this time to read or work on my never-ending pile of homework.

At 3:00 I head back to school for our group activities at 3:30. So far we’ve had a city tour and done a scavenger hunt and today we are watching a movie. Tomorrow we start dance classes and later we’ll have ceramics and cooking classes and informational lectures. They definitely know how to keep us busy! :)

Our activity usually wraps up around 5:30 or 6:00pm and we all head home for the night. My family eats dinner at 7pm and it is much more informal than lunch. We normally just have leftovers of lunch but sometimes Gladys will make something little. Last night she gave me cooking instructions because she knows how much I lack in that department! After we’ve finished eating I sit in the kitchen with Gladys and my 97 year old grandpa (my sister is still at school) and we drink tea and chat. (Yes Mom, I’m finally a tea drinker!!!) Usually we swap stories about our different cultures. They are amazed by our extreme seasons because in Cuenca the temperature only ever varies by a few degrees. (More about the weather: it’s normally about 60ºF and rains every morning and late afternoon.)

After dinner I say goodnight and head up to my room to finish my homework for the next day before I go to bed. And that’s about it!

Today’s the first day of the World Cup so I’m bracing myself for some intense soccer (fútbol) over the next few weeks! Also, this Saturday we have a day trip planned to Las Cajas National Park. It’s waaay up in the mountains so we have to plan ahead for some very cold and wet weather! We’re going hiking throughout the park and the view is supposed to be amazing. I’m really excited!

So check back next week to hear all about dance class and our trip to Las Cajas! Hasta luego!

3 Responses to “A Typical Day in Cuenca”

  1. Holy cow Linds this sounds awesome, can you learn to cook so you can make awesome food next year?!? I’m super glad you’re not getting hit by cars and surviving your walk to school! Have fun in the Mountains I’m really really jealous right now!

  2. Hi Miss Lindsey! Sounds sbsolutely wonderful there. Glad you are trying new things to eat. My mom’s name was Gladys too! Be very carefule of all the attention being a blonde! I can’t wait to hear about your trek in the mountains and dance class. So glad you are enjoying yourself.

  3. Hey Linds,

    I’m so glad you are being so well cared for. It sounds like you like it.

    What a neat experience with such a nice family. Are you planning on dying your

    hair black??? Enjoy the attention while you can, back here you’re just another

    number.

    Love Ya,

    Grams

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