I´m writing to you all from a computer in a small room, in a converted hacienda, way before wake-up call. I woke up a little early on my own this morning and decided that it would be a wonderful idea to explore the grounds at sunrise. I´ll have to upload some pictures soon because everything about this place is simply beautiful. From the hotel, you can see the highest peak in Ecuador, Mt. Chimborazo. We´ve seen a lot of mountains while we´ve been here (half the time, that´s all you can see: mountains and houses) but this is the first one in Ecuador I´ve seen covered in snow. Last night we got to the hotel right at about sunset and you could see the snow covered peaks on one side, dotted with clouds, and on the other side was one of the most beautiful sunsets I´ve ever seen. Everything about this place is so serene, it really puts you at ease.
I´ve found that I´m really losing my sense of time here. Yes, we have schedules and lots to do, but when I´m walking around a new town, or visiting a family in their home to watch them do what they do best, I lose myself. In Otavalo, we visited a family that specialized in making musical instruments. I wish I had known the father last year when I was taking World Music, because a set of Pan Pipes that took me a couple of days to complete, took him five minutes and it was not only functional (unlike mine), but also quite beautful. After listening to him demonstrate various instruments and watching his family perform for us, we visted another house not too far away and saw the process that goes into weaving a tapestry. We heard about how to clean the wool, and we saw how to card, spin, dye, and weave it. The whole process is very time intensive and the results are phenomenal. It feels like time is no object here. People think nothing of taking a month or longer to finish a tapestry or rug. In the US, we rush everywhere and do what we can to sqeeze just a few more minutes out of our day, but you don´t see that in Ecuador. Time is slowed and life moves along at its own pace, not yours.
And speaking of time, it´s almost time to meet our host families! After a long day of traveling, we will meet them tonight at CEDEI and go to our home for the next few weeks. I´m excited and nervous. In orientation, Esteban talked about conduct and what to expect when we are with our homestays and it sounds a lot like home. We´ll be joining a family and we will treated as part of one as well. I´m actually really glad that no one in the family speaks English, because that will really force me to practice my Spanish and get over my nervousness when speaking it.
I´m afraid more people are showing up wanting to use the computers, so I´ll have to update more later!