Expecting the Unexpected

Expecting the unexpected has slowly but surely become to the day to day norm as most every one of my expectations has been broken down and built back up with wonder and curiosity.

Here are examples of some of the things that have absolutely bewildered me in the most fascinating and exciting way:

The use of spoons. Solely for the purposes of food application, but still surprised me that a spoon can be so versitile and helpful. There really is no need to use anything but a spoon if you truly have the gumption, the spoon allows for the mix of all things on the table including, but not limited to: honey, salt, salsa, hot sauce, rice, and all items on your plate, it is the equipment in which you can mix and match in all sorts of exciting ways.

The observedly innate quality of sharing as not an exception, but a commonplace relative part of our everyday community experience. At school everyday all of the beautifully happy kidlets offer their food, fruit, and hugs no matter the state of their food, if they have it and say hello almost always the next exchange will be them holding their various types of snacks for our enjoyment. Occassionally you will encounter the kid that clearly just came from the bathroom with a pelled orange in hand, dripping liquids which you have to hope is orange juice. Another encounter with this new cultural exposure is the process of giving and receiving gifts. My host brother from the trip Trevor, who I have been sharing mama Lidias haven with, and I have been cruising through the instant coffee every morning and thought it would be a kind gesture to purchase a new canister for the fam. This morning as we rolled in sleepy and contently filled with a weekend full of newfound adventure to the kitchen we observed our usual routine a wee bit different as after we had been served our food, Lidia strolled over around the corner to the table with the face unrecognizably of that of a mothers with displeasure. She was uneased that we had bought a item that is used by all in the household and wished we had let her replace it as the mother of the household. As Trevor and I were rolling up our sleeves with the confidence of being greeted this morning with thanks, much the contrary as we had not understood that our presence and sharing of personal opinions greatly outweighs any physical item we might be able to gift her. The moments of simplicity solely involving those around us engaging in lively banter and drowning laughter have meant so much more than I could have ever expected.

The traversing of mountanis terrain could be so cinematic giving us the opportunity to about as close as possible experience what Spongebob and Patrick must have felt like in their crabby patty mobile driving to the sea of monsters to recover neptunes crown. As the rainy season has quickly commenced, so has the engulfing of this region by beautiful cloud cover. Driving along the ridgeline on the cloud cavern is an immense pleasure of not knowing whether you may be soon apart of that cloud as the car begs the question right up until the point of no return if we will be returning. Driving with the local friends here as given a whole new meaning to the snuggle party in the backseat of trucks as by the end of the car ride it is sometimes hard to differentiate your body from those next to you.

The possbility of a what looks to be a casual sunday excursion to the city of Quito ending up in the palace of the president of Ecuador receiving a private tour by our host sisters husband, who turned out to be the coolest secret service agent ever. As we arrived to our destination of the house of the amazing daughter of our mother, we were greeted by her and the hunk of man that was her husband, also accompanied by their adorable baby that looked to be the mixing of the Ecuadorian Michelin man and pillsbury doughboy. This child was the most buddha of babies I have had the pleasure of laying my eyes on, his arms were like those stress balls of which he could use wonderfully to get down to some Pitbull riding in the secret service agents (dads) car.

The unexpected everyday occurance of what seems like an impossible feat of topping the day before. Between the hiking of waterfalls, stimulating and extremely liberating  sessions of seminar at which we are given free reign of interpretation and internalization of not just our readings, but of our everyday experiences and frequent encounters with locals on the street, there is always a new adventure to be had. Everyday here has been a new page in my book of wonder and beauty. Developing a newfound sense of appreciation for the ability of each indivdual to induce happiness and inspiration has quickly become the norm here. Every person has a story to share whether it be through a simple Buenos Dias or a High Five in the classroom, each unique and individual, illuminating little by little the unconditioned love all these people have for one another. My love for this place and these people burns almost as much as my diaherrra. Only difference is I cant wipe away their influence on me, that will last forever.

Sometimes All You Need Is Love and a Smile Full of Happiness

Our welcoming was far and in between anything that I ever would have expected, but was so precisley indicative of what the coming days were to hold. We were welcomed into this absolute haven of a city by a celebration of the cowboy which consumed the whole city in a excited frenzy of horses and welcoming faces. The minute we got off the bus we were greeted by a few of our parents awaiting with anxious smiles and anticpating children wondering who was coming to inhabit their lives. We were ushered into a parade of what seemed like gargantious proportions consisting of a rockin marching band repeating the same chorus for the entirety of the way closely followed by those dressed as the indigenous Minas cowboy. For quite some time we led the charge until the Mayor came and took the his rightful Mayorally position at the front wearing a skin tight pink button up which, to his credit really accented nicely his skin pigment and gelled hair. I wont go into detail of our love and laughter filled stay here, as it would take me staying up past my bedtime of a cool 830, which I have never been more happy to say. But will give a brief look into a usual day in the life of the Mountain Town.

Monday to Friday.

Wake up at 6 to our charistmatic mother eargerly waiting for us to “sientase” at the dining table ready to give us one of the many outlets of care and immense love she shows for us through food.

Get ready for our school day and board onto our school bus of a pickup truck accompanied by families and children alike making the daily whole family effort to bring their child to school.

Arrive at out primary school, Named ESCUELA CUMANA, and distribute many kisses of good morning and smiles of a new day to seized.

Start teaching the eager kidlets of ages 7 to 10 begining with some camp songs, activites, and the usual fist bumps and broken english.

Ball out on some kids on the soccer field at recess and work up way to much of a sweat playing 10 year olds. I have to say very much can hold their own and have taught me some things about the utilization of any and every piece of equipment to have the most fun possible. Many soccer balls are being kicked around and spanish terms through around while jumping around a tire laid on the edge cement.

Prep for about an hour for the next days lesson plan.

Walk around and observe other teachers welcoming us into their daily teaching classrooms while exchanging smiles and hugs with the students, often ending in me explaining my life back at home. Much of the fascination comes from the fact that the leaves are in mid change and that sooner than later the lakes will be frozen over.

Come back home to our awaiting Mother, Lidia demanding to tell us everything about our day and how it was and offering incredible laughter and a place of consistent nurture to return to no matter what may have happened that day. For lunch every day we will start with soup and then move onto a salad, type of meat, and mountains of rice.

Proceed to digest food and make the half an hour walk to the center of town for either a seminar with our group, or on Tuesdays and Thursday, Spanish class involving much local interaction.

Have a little bit of free time after class and return back to our place of happiness nestled on the mountainside over looking a ravine of farmland while looks more like middle earths shire hobbit land than anything else.

Eat dinner, and conversate about our days and the days to come filled with unending laughter and appreciation of the full attentiveness our mother has to our lives making sure every aspect she can control is at perfect harmony.

Read and journal before I dive into a bed covered with Sesame Street covers and a jumble of other blankets that I wish so deeply I could sleep naked in they are so welcoming.

Although it has only been a week of experiencing this city and all that is to offer, the citizens sense of welcome and the culture of appreciation has made it feel like a lifetime. The mother and I bond on a level of laughs and physical joking that seems like it has been arranged by some wizard also involved with Lord of The Rings. The only way I think I could accurately describe here is if Mrs Doubtfire were to happen in the mountains of Ecuador and made a child with Steve Martin from Wild and Crazy guys and she was shot with cupids arrow of love. This is our mother. I could go on and on about how absolutely magnificient this city has treated us giving us all of its fruits of pleasure. One of my favorite aspects of our living arrangement is that about four times a day we make a half an hour walk through a mountain pass to go to and from our house to the city. This walk has quickly become an extremely mindful and therapeudic journey being able to internalize all the beauty and intangibles that would otherwise float by un noticied. I never wake up from my dream in the morning, it just continues on through the day.