Wednesday, November 12, 2008

big catch up!

I am sitting in a hotel room in Quito, a total splurge, but boy is it worth it. I realized
that all of my packing solutions were wrong so I bought a new backpack and am moving
everything around and this is much better. The hotel is next to where my suitcases are
being stored, so that is easier than moving all of it across town and back.

I got the chance to meet Amanda's dad Phil and step mom Ruby who live here and they are
delightful. Ruby of course has many friends and family and is helping me to find some
potential volunteer opportunities so I am excited to see what might come of that. Most
volunteer opportunities here are ones that you need to pay for. Usually $10-15 per day to
cover your room and board, but I think that's kind of silly (especially since a hostel room costs less than that and you don´t have to work also) and so does Ruby so that's why
she's helping me find something where at least I don't have to pay to work. It was
really nice to have lunch at their house. One gets tired of eating out every single meal.
It's not so bad with friends, but when you are alone, it gets old more quickly. Ruby's
daughter also works in the government so she is trying to help figure out what the story
is with the visa change, hopefully it will work to have the option of six months in
Ecuador. Phil took me out for ice cream and coffee and a great visit for the afternoon
about the state of the world and such. It was very enjoyable and I look forward to being
friends with this family. Thanks for sharing, Amanda!

Saturday night I ended up sharing a hostel room with a very nice woman from Sweden named
Carolina and we went to dinner together and then went exploring on Sunday. We went to a
place called Teleferiqo which are cars that go a few thousand feet up a mountain and then
you can take a little walk up further for fantastic views of the city. Of course at that
altitude, a small walk feels like a big fat hike. Geoff and Mark went up there when they
were here and did, in fact, take the pretty hard core hike that is an option. Good for
them. Dang. It's about 12500 feet and the sun is so strong and you can't breathe and you
are immediately dehydrated, no matter how much water you've had or drink while you're up
there. But it sure was beautiful.

After the Teleferiqo, we went to the market and just walked around Quito all afternoon and
it was very nice. It was grand to meet my first friend in that fashion. She does volunteer
work a few hours from Quito to the North so I am going to try to go visit them there before
she leaves.

Today I went to the South American Explorer's Club where I am a member and where my
suitcases have been stored so far. It's a great place with a library and computers and
lots of information and full of friendly people. I met a couple of Oregonians there,which
was fun. I got to swap out books which I'm pretty excited about. Of course, I have TV here
in the hotel, although only one channel. But, it has had some movies on and I got to watch
Spiderman 2 which I hadn't seen yet and enjoyed. I am grateful to Spiderman because
“Maryjane” in unpronounceable and inexplicable in the Spanish language and MJ is no
better – it comes out Angi, which is nice and all, but just not my name. So now I can say
“Maryjane, like in Spiderman” and they understand and can kind of say it, it was nice to
finally figure that out. To be able to have my name back. I was afraid I was going to be
Angi for the foreseeable future.

Wow. It just started pouring rain. After a beautiful and clear day. Small treasures though,
usually it rains in the afternoon. One thing that Geoff and I discovered here was that
there is no moon in Ecuador. So far I haven't seen it. Also the stars are very shy. It's
so cloudy most of time. Even if it's clear in the city, the mountains trap the clouds.
There is a huge mountain close to Quito called Cotopaxi but so far I have not caught sight
of it. People talk about seeing it as though it is some great treat because it comes out
so rarely. The same was true of the volcano in BaƱos, no sight of it. Pretty funny to be
in the Andes and unable to see the mountains. That is why it is so dangerous to climb here.
The mountains are so clouded in usually and the weather can change super super fast.
Although I guess that when you can get the chance for a clear day, the view is worth the

I am starting to feel more comfortable in this city. At first it just felt to big and
prickly and impossible to navigate. But, now that I've been here for a while on my own,
I'm getting pretty comfortable. The public transport is highly used and run alllll the
time and are super cheap. The pickpockets are out in force though,so you have to really
keep an eye on your stuff. I am comfortable if I only have my day bag, but with my whole
backpack I usually take a taxi because you just can't keep track of something on your
back and the busses are too full to take it off and put it in front of you. Luckily,
taxis here are amazingly cheap and rarely have I paid more than a dollar or two for
anywhere I needed to go.

Love to you all. I very much enjoy seeing any comments - it encourages me to write more, so thanks.

Next day. Tuesday (I think)
So. Maybe mixed CDs was a bad idea. I've been listening to Cordelia's and I keep having to
stop and cry. It sure makes me miss you. Some days I just want my life back. I am hoping
that once I get a mission, somewhere to volunteer and be busy every day and have people around that it will become more clear to me why I am here. I am pretty lonely in this city by myself.

I suspect that I am having the reaction I was expecting when Geoff left, just delayed. The wondering again what on earth I am doing. The vision is lost, or at least really fuzzy right now. Wondering why I wouldn't just be content with a great life. I have to remember that there are reasons I decided to do this, it's just harder and harder to be clear about them. I always thought that it was easier for the person that left than for the people left behind but now I am remembering the other side of it. That the hole that is left behind is easily mended by day to day life but when you are missing home, there is nothing for it. I haven't even been gone for very long, I've been on vacation longer than this and never been so melancholy, it must be projecting the length of the time gone. But, I have decided that I will be home next summer for a visit.

And, God Gave Rock And Roll to me just now, so I am also going to be done with this little pity session and go find a beer and a friend. After I go wash my red, splotchy face. Much love to each of you. em.

And Wednesday morning posting this: I do feel better today. Still a little off, but I´m on my way for a long walk around the city and I think that will help. Always better to get up and moving.


  1. You're inspiring to all of us MJ, don't forget :)
    There's nothing wrong with missing home and the familiar. You rock!

  2. Much love Maryjane, like in spiderman. A tip I heard somewhere for big packs in a crowded area is to use a rain cover for your pack. One sheet that cinches around every opening on the pack, allowing little if any discreet access for pickpockets.

  3. Ah, hang in there Spidergirl. It's hard for a reason. The starting pistol just fired, so no laying down and pretending to be dead. Run in the same way you've always ran, picking up experiences, getting lost in new cultures, collecting friendships like more feeble folk collect cars or shoes, and just be you. I love and miss you.

  4. Aaah. Love and miss you all as well. I´m feeling better and now that I have remembered that I may actually have to work for what I want, I´m done sitting around waiting for it to happen. Thanks for the encouragement, helps more than you know. And, thanks for the tip, Aaron, I have one, just hadn´t thought to use it in that way.