Saturday, October 01, 2005

all spanish, all the time

we`ve basically been speaking spanish 24-7 here (which is the point of this whole thing, but still.....). it`s frustrating sometimes because i can`t figure out how to get things across all of the time. but hopefully i`ll figure that out the more i use the language. i think my family understands me most of the time, but there are times where i think they are just acting like they understand so i`ll shut up!! probably not though. they are awesome. ana is a little worried because i`ve not had much of an appetite the past couple of days. but give me a break - after about a week of grease, huevos, grease, sugar, frijoles, crema, fried plantains and atol (leche de maiz....corn milk), i think my body is saying it can`t take any more for a couple of days. don`t get me wrong...the food is awesome, and if i wasn`t seriously concerned about the amount of oil i consume on a daily basis here, i`d be a happy camper. the only thing i don`t really like are the pipians. they are some kind of green squash-like vegetable that is really hard for me to eat. the other day ana gave me a whole bowl of them and i forced about half of them down before telling her i was full. i saw one of the handouts the peace corps gives the host families and it`s so funny. it says that we, as americans, aren`t accustomed to the huge proportions of food that they will want to give us. then it has this drawing of this person doubled over and holding his stomach. anyway, i haven`t gotten sick yet, even though over half of the volunteers have. i`m crossing my fingers because i don`t want to have to spend any length of time in the latrine!!

i learned how to wash clothes the other day and proceeded to make an ass out of myself doing it. ana and her mom kept telling me i was doing it wrong and taking my clothes and showing me how to do it. i was trying to be a little gentle with the scrubbing brush and they were yelling that i wasn`t going to get them clean enough. my clothes are never going to last here. i swear it`s like they think my clothes are infested with bugs.....wait a minute, they probably are infested with bugs.

about the bugs. the fact that there are a gajillion types of bugs here crawling and flying around everything really doesn`t bother me the way it would some people (like my mom). but the other day i was doing my spanish homework in my bed, under my mosquito net, when this huge ass bug flew into my, hovered over my net. this thing was like something out of a science fiction movie - i am not kidding you. i kind of swatted at it and it fell on the ground and started crawling around. finally ana came in my room and i pointed at it and she told me it wasn`t dangerous, but i`m not sure if i believe that or not.

by far the most hysterical thing so far is the "party bus" that takes us from san vicente to our village on tuesdays and thursdays (or any other day we need to go from our village to san vicente). there are 4 other volunteers (besides the 3 that live with me in molineros) that have the same route as us. their town - las cañas - is closer to the pan american highway than our town, so they have a shorter ride than us. anyway - our bus comes complete with christmas lights and pink/blue florescent lights on the inside. our bus driver has about 20 hair clips on the mirror which we recently found out is something bus drivers do to show how many women they`ve slept with. but the best part of the party bus is the mixed cd that is always playing when we get on that is chock full of horrible love ballads that were popular in the 80`s and 90`s in the States. i`m talking songs like "everything i do, i do it for you," "how am i supposed to live without you," "careless whisper," "girl i`m gonna miss you," "lady in red," "eternal flame," etc., etc. they do play a crowded house song that i like so that works out for me. but it`s hard not to totally crack up while hearing all those lame songs. what`s even funnier is in the morning, at 6:00, everyone is sitting there in silence. i feel like i`m at a high school dance when i`m on that bus. we are trying to remember all the songs so we can make a mixed cd, just because it is so funny.

our technical training is getting interesting. we went out to this abandoned school and learned how to do composting the other day. it was my first chance to use the machete and i have to say it was pretty fun. by the end of the day we were ankle deep in cow crap so that made for an interesting ride home on the bus. it rains here every day - duh, because it`s the rainy season. it`s not so bad, except for everything smells like mildew ALL THE TIME.

we went to san salvador yesterday which was totally overwhelming. i`m still not sure which bus we`re supposed to take, but i suppose it`s something that will only come with riding into the capital alone a few times. we visted the main peace corps office there and met with the director. i was excited to see that the anthropology museum is super close to the peace corps office, so i`m looking forward to going there. we hung out at some super mall for a while. we all needed stuff that we forgot to bring, and the last thing i thought i`d want to do was spend time at a mall. i don`t even go to malls in the States, but i was glad to be able to get some things. on the bus ride home, the 8 of us got off the bus at this intersection on the pan american highway where we could catch the bus that would take us to our towns. the volunteers living in las cañas just walked to their town. ours is much farther away, but we knew we`d have to wait for like 45 minutes for the bus. melissa was sick and really wanted to get home, so we just started to walk. it was 5:00 and still light outside, but after it took us like 1/2 hour to get to las cañas, we knew we were never going to make it back by dark. we figured though that because there were 4 of us, we`d be ok. next thing we knew two rural police officers drove up in a truck and asked us where we were going. we told them molineros and they told us to get in the truck. we were so sick of walking we figured it was ok. and it was. although they kept yelling at us for walking home. they kept saying that 4 gringas on that road at night was muy peligroso. but then they told us if we ever needed help to call them. i told ana about it later and she`s like "la policia loves gringas!!" ugh. anyway, we went running over at the police station`s soccer field this morning and they were all out there making comments. good times.

other than the volcano that`s finally erupted in santa ana, that`s pretty much it. that volcano is way to the west of where we are, but we do have a pretty huge volcano near san vicente called "chinchontepec." apparently explorers named it that because it has two peaks and chinches in caliche (the indigenous language in el salvador) means "breasts." what is up with these idiot men explorers??? each set of explorers (ala the guys who named the grand tetons) must have thought they were brilliant for naming mountains after women`s physical attributes. sheesh.

adios for now.....hopefully i`ll be able to upload some pictures next time.....