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the end of being in the middle

Quito, Ecuador

This week was the end of my teaching cycle, and full of reviewing, grading and lots of paperwork. A good experience overall. The language institute for which I worked is great. A wonderful group of people, very supportive and understanding. I will miss it there a little. But I miss kids more, so I've got to get back to my usual kind of teaching...and so the job hunt begins.

Along with the various job errands I've been running all week, I also was finishing up everything I needed to do in the city, getting a few last presents, and some more sightseeing. My frind Lisa works at a high school outside the city so is gone all day; however, her friend Abby was visiting this week so I was enlisted as tour guide/companion for her time here. This meant I got a partner in crime. I was able to go to the last things in the city that I wanted to do, and also was a repeat offender at some others that Abby wanted to visit. Pretty awesome.

Repeats: Basilica (sweet architecture, church, dangerous ladders), Guayasamín Foundation (always a good time...and this time I remembered my camera! woot...photos to come later), La Compania de Jesús (very decorated old church), Mitad del Mundo (both the indigenous museum and the monument park), Heladería San Agustin, and general Centro Histórico adventures.

New stuff: La Capilla del Hombre (the other Guayasamín museum that I've been dying to go to), Museo San Francisco, and a volcanic crater hike near Mitad del Mundo.

La Capilla del Hombre is a gallery of Guayasamín's work that he designed and had erected before his death (1999). He created it as a place for many emotions, peaceful contemplation, and provocative thought. The gallery itself is impressive. A huge building and viewing space. The collection of his works is also diverse and beautiful. We also had a great guide--knowledgeable and kind (Oscar greeted us on the street when we passed him). Some reasons why I love Guayasamín: he brought recognition to Ecuador and the social issues present in this country, he cared about world issues and created pieces in reaction to world events from nearly every continent--overall social responsibility, his use of color and shadows in unexpected and beautiful ways, and his representation of people and emotions. Check out his "hands" series if you get a chance.

In the Museo de San Francisco we checked out some more religious art and accidentally wandered into the private living spaces of some of the monks who live there. Woops. Pretty cool though, and beautiful gardens within this monastery.

After visiting the usul tourist attraction in Mitad del Mundo, we ventured further down the road to visit the Mirador de Ventanillas--an overlook point for this volcanic crater and some trails through the crater, without actually entering the national park there. I'm sure it would be gorgeous on a clear day, but by this time it was cloudy and foggy, so the view wasn't was nice but still a great experience. I just love being outdoors and breathing fresh air--not easily done in the city!

It was also ridiculous weather this week. Usually, they say that December is one of the worst months, in reference to the rainy season. However, the sun was out nearly every morning and into the afternoon. Gorgeous.

We also had a holiday party this week at my friend's apartment, including fresh Christmas tree and a yankee swap. The gift I ended up with was actually quite fitting for me this week--a box of tissues. As is usually is, each time my teaching ends and vacation begins, I get a cold. Not as bad as last year though, so for this I am thankful. Hopefully it'll clear up completely before our family beach vacation--they were not appreciative of me getting them sick last year, so I hope I can avoid that this time!

permalink written by  Theresa on December 11, 2008 from Quito, Ecuador
from the travel blog: Adventures in Teaching and Living in Ecuador
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