I spent last week in Guayaquil, at the Catholic University, leading training for their teachers: Collaborative & Cooperative Learning and the Flipped Classroom.
- Meeting new
teachers. My two groups were pretty nice. Smaller than usual (only about 8-12,
depending on attendance), which actually gets more difficult as I have to talk
and interact more (rather than just guiding them to help each other), but nicer
in the sense that I got to know them a bit better than I do when there are so
First collaborative activity - understanding critical load
weather! In Quito we are (slowly) transitioning into summer and warmer days (a
bit), but I LOVED the weather in Guayaquil this week. Not too hot (well, there
were a couple days, but it wasn’t horrible) and not cold at all. Short sleeves
the whole time and beautiful and breezy at night. The only sad thing is that
the hotel doesn’t have an outdoor area to enjoy the night weather.
Orchids at the Guayaquil airport
Loved checking out the flowers while I waited for my luggage.
There's even a small pond with fish.
- Some time to read. I just finished “Educated” by Tara Westover and it was. so. good. Most nights I actually fell asleep while reading, but just to have that time, nothing else to do (like laundry, cleaning, getting things ready for the next day, etc), was really nice.
- Getting out
for a couple of walks midday. Of course I chose the sunniest and hottest days
(Monday-Wednesday), but I was happy with myself for getting in some movement
and seeing the city a bit. Only problem (there’s always a problem in my book,
lol) is that in downtown you have to pretty much stop at every light and wait
to cross the street, so it wasn’t a very “fluid” walk.
The estero salado. Probably the hottest day and the day I went the furthest. Love this little park right on the edge of downtown, by the water.
Second walk. Remembered my hat this time.
Tried to find shade wherever I could.
- Facetiming with the boys every night. Of course this is actually a bit hard as well, since when I don’t see them I don’t miss them as much (a little like “out of sight, out of mind”), and when I do see them I feel sorry for myself that I’m not with them. But I loved the fact that they actually wanted to see me at night (especially Nico, Agus was a little more nonchalant about it).
- Teaching in Spanish. Feeling so NOT fluent in the language. Not knowing the “classroom language” needed to manage the class, organize the students, transition from topic to topic, etc.
- Trying to
get used to the Guayaquileño accent. This one is hard. It’s always amazing to
me how isolated we are from the Coast, and vice versa. In such a tiny little
country the differences seem so large. And the differences aren’t only
language. It’s almost like going to a different country. Definitely a bit cool,
but also somewhat unsettling.
Morning group (I forgot to get pictures of the afternoon group).
- Working nine
hours a day. Originally it was going to be two, four-hour sessions, but at the
last minute they changed it to two, four-and-a-half hour sessions. Hard on my
feet, harder on my mind, and by the end of the day I can barely get a decent
word out in Spanish.
One of the views of campus, of the tall building that sits on the hill overlooking the estero.
- Only having 2.5 hours between sessions. The hotel is nearby, so I either take a taxi back for lunch, or a teacher drives me. But because of traffic, it can take up to a half hour. That’s there and back, leaving me only with 1.5 hours to get food, eat, try to rest and/or see something of the city before I’m back to the room.
- Not having
windows in my room. It can be depressing to be between those four walls all
morning and all evening, not having any look into what’s going on outside…
Really hard to get people to class on time.
- Changes at
the hotel where I usually stay. The most notable was that the hotel restaurant
was no longer open for lunch, nor was it open on Friday night. So I had to eat
lunch out most days (which the university pays for if eaten in the hotel, but
how can I do that if they aren’t open?), which cuts into my wallet and rest
time, not to mention isn’t very friendly since I am downtown and there isn’t a
whole lot of trustworthy places to eat nearby. I mostly had lunches from the
take out at El Oro Verde hotel – very good, pretty healthy, but expensive!
Hotel lobby, waiting for my taxis. I spent a lot of time here, waiting, waiting, waiting.
- The other
change was in the hotel menu. They had pared it down to about 1/6 of what it
used to be. Now there were almost no shrimp dishes (my go-to) besides ceviche,
and only two beef dishes and two chicken dishes. A pasta (fettuccini alfredo) and
a salad (Caesar drowning in dressing – delicious but NOT good for me). A couple
of sandwiches. No appetizers. Nothing small if you just wanted a light dinner.
It would normally not be such a big deal, but when you’re in the same hotel for
an entire week, it gets quite monotonous. Well, I did not go hungry (not in the
least), but it would have been nice to have a few more options.
Chicken in mushroom sauce. This was on the last day and probably the best dish on the menu. They used to have a much better, more delicious selection.
Ceviche. Good, but not like most Ecuadorian ceviche. The smallest thing on the menu for a light dinner. Also nice in the heat.
I do not like meat that looks like that.
Not a whole lot goes on while I’m away (even though I wrote a lot!). The days pretty much blend one into the other, and sometimes I would walk into one of the classes, for example the afternoon class, and feel like I hadn’t even left. Surreal.