If this is going to be an honest account of a semester abroad, then it can't all be pretty pictures and crazy adventures. And that means admitting that yesterday was... not so good. First of all, the combination of not getting quite enough sleep and maybe a touch of food poisoning from the sketchy chancho (pork, a.k.a. pig roasted whole) we ate on Saturday, made it a pretty tough Monday to start. The first few homework assignments were due, including a 9am presentation. I had yet to track down textbooks for all of these classes and was (am) feeling pretty lost. I tried to buy yarn for Basic Weaving over the weekend, failed epically, and was now unprepared for class. Silly stressful things like that.
But mostly, I really let the language barrier get to me. In the classes where the vast majority of students are Ecuadorians, with myself and maybe one other international student, keeping up with rapid-fire notes or a professor who flips through powerpoint slides as if they were merely a suggestion of things we should learn is about all I can handle. If those classes include class discussions, it's easy to start feeling like the stupid kid in the corner, unable to answer questions or get picked for a group project. Do that all day, and it will likely end with a few tears in a bathroom stall.
Last night I went over notes and prepared assignments for today and then went straight to bed. Having days like yesterday, I'm figuring out, doesn't happen because we're really that horrible at speaking Spanish (although it can feel like it). It happens when for whatever reason - lack of sleep, altitude, stomachache, pollution - we're not on top of our game, and it affects everything about the day. Today was better - not great, but better. I still don't have books, but I do know where to pick them up tomorrow. I don't have my censo card, but at least I found the store to get the requisite i.d. photos. Small steps.
And, because I'm pretty sure pictures are the only reason people would keep checking this blog, here's one of my favorites from this past Sunday...