This happens very frequently! People often ask about my family which is great although explaining that my Dad is semi-retired and makes Car turn tables is a bit difficult to say in Spanish. I resort to saying he is an engineer and has worked in hospital, on boats and now with cars. I also say he likes to go out on his boat. I then explain he likes to go fishing and we sometimes eat fish and I do wonder if people think he is a fisherman!
The other funny mi-communication was when I thought I had arranged to have a chat with the director of a school about Speech and Language Therapy. I turned up for our meeting to find that she had arranged for me to actually see the children! I had to run a drop in clinic for these 8 children. Fortunately her expectations were just for me to meet them and not actually do an assessment, but I did feel very unprepared!
I am loving going swimming in the evenings however, I often laugh during the lessons! Partly because my friend always starts a conversation with me just as soon as I am beginning another length, or because other people laugh at us! My friend and I have certainly made ourselves known, as the 2 white girls with our silly hats and goggles.
There are certain things that I do which are so English! For example, wearing a raincoat when it is raining. I have learnt that Ecuadorians don’t wear coats and they still don’t seem to get wet! My friend and I got many funny looks when we wore our coats!
In the last couple of weeks, all my things seem to be breaking: my flip flops, laptop, watch, MP3 player, my headphones (which only work when I hold them in a certain position etc etc. It isn’t really funny, but it seems to be happening to everything and that makes me smile!
I have found a new perfume. It combines as a lotion to make your skin shiny too. It is called “OFF!” I wear it daily. It is actually a repellent for the bugs and everyday I coat myself in it, nearly passing out for lack of air. I now know that bug spray on your face is not nice, especially in your eyes!
-Rules:Growing up, I don’t really remember having many rules. Here, I now have rules I have to follow. For me it is very strange and I’m not sure how I feel about it! For example, my family here tells me how to make my bed and when I can and cant have a shower and for how long (as we have a water shortage.) I have to lock certain doors at certain times of the day and there are certain rules about who I can and can’t speak to on my own.
For me to walk to the school each day takes about 25 steps. It is just across the road, however I have to unlock 2 doors and a gate and then the school doors to get in! That is a lot of keys. The padlock to the school breaks when you open it and always takes me ages to put back together. It is so annoying!
I have been called many names here: Young person, child, Miss, Emily and even “mummy” in the school
There are certain things I have done here which I didn’t expect I would do for example, unblocking toilets, mending sinks, plugging in telephones, teaching English to people in the swimming pool shower, and helping in a maths exam (My maths skills are quite poor so it was a struggle for both me and the children!!)
I am quite a punctual person. I think I get that from my Dad. I think I am quite like my Dad and I miss that here, people don’t know my family, so there is never those comments “You are so like…” which I often get in England. My watch has broken, because when I was changing the time, I pushed the button so far in that has disappeared. My watch is 50mins slow, so to tell the time I have to add an hour and take away 10 mins. It takes me a while!
A concept I still haven’t grasped here is that people like to warm up their cars before driving! If people want to do that, that’s fine, but when my family go to their early morning, 6am prayer meeting, I wonder why they have to run it for so long at 5am, kindly waking us all up!
People don’t like being cold here. I have been asked if I miss the cold English weather (clearly they don’t know me very well. I do love not having to wear a jumper) and the grandma of the family kept asking me if I was cold when I was wearing only a t-shirt, whilst she wore a t-shirt, jumper, poncho and blanket!
- Being tall:
I get many funny looks from local people, I think, because I am white and tall. I keep walking into things e.g. I have to make sure I duck under some low dangling electricity cables or on the bus, I hit my head just walking down the aisle. So many things are not designed for tall people!