A typical day… if there is such a thing here.

26 05 2009

Well, there’s an hour and a half left till lunch time, which means maybe a couple of hours till lunch is served.  I’m here at the school where internet is free, so I’m going to try to write something else.  The last post had a lot of pictures, and I think I’m going to wait to upload my Potosí ones till I have a little more leisure.  I thought I would try to give you an idea about how life functions here.  The more I think about it, the more it seems to center around meal time, though!

Last week I had class from 8:15 until 12:10, with a break in the middle; this week it is supposed to be from 2:30 until … I suppose six-ish.  There weren’t any classes yesterday, though.

I get up in the morning somewhere in the neighborhood of seven.  (If we’re going to be honest about it, that doesn’t mean six-something.)  The maids are usually serving breakfast about 7:45, so it can be tough to get to school.  Breakfast is a bowl of sliced apple, guayava, and banana, with a thin yogurt to pour over it.  The temperature drops into the sixties, maybe even fifties now, so they wouldn’t dream of serving or even offering anything cold to drink.  If you ask for milk, it will be served hot.  As I’m not a tea or coffee person, I go with hot chocolate.  They are all wearing jackets … this morning, Freddy (the husband) was in a bathrobe with a scarf.  Go figure. 

On top of the fruit and the hot drink, if anyone is there, they will be pressuring you to eat some form of bread, with guayava or strawberry marmalade, and anything else they can think of to give you (except cold milk).  If I decline a couple of apples, or a slightly toasted ham and cheese sandwich, Finita (the wife) is going to insist on wrapping it up to take and eat during the break at school.  After all, that’s 2 hours after breakfast and before lunch, so surely I’m going to be hungry, right?

Actually, I usually am.  I have found my appetite here.  It probably has something to do with going virtually everywhere on foot, and I can’t stay inside.  I have been through the “downtown” part, el centro, quite a bit, and I plan to try a couple of other directions this week.  So I have either the morning or the afternoon to do as I please.  I just know found opportunity to ask one of the people here about their volunteering programs, and she is supposed to get back to me this afternoon during the break.

Lunch is officially served at 1:00, and that might happen.  One feels obligated to be ready then, at least.  With lunch, they serve fresh fruit juice.  It took a few days for me to get used to drinking more than a little … I probably was about to get dehydrated without realizing it.  Now I’ll drink three glasses of orange juice, or papaya juice, or anything else … I’ve given up asking what it is, because a lot of the fruits I’m not familiar with in English anyway.  Lunch is probably going to have rice with it, and usually quite a bit of meat.  I haven’t had any real problems with anything they served yet. 

One of my favorites was a lightly seasoned rice, cooked with shreds of meat, and with slices of fried plantain (I think) on top.  They also like to experiment with their versions of Chinese or English (a couple I’ve had), which are about as authentic as our Mexican food is Mexican, in my opinion.  They’ll serve meatballs, or more frequently slices of meat.  The meat is tougher here. 

It is impolite to cut off chunks with your fork.  You use the knife to cut it into bite-size pieces.  It is impolite to use your fingers to eat almost anything but bread, and generally speaking to lift more off your plate than you will eat in one bite.  That includes fruit … you will cut it up and use the fork to eat one bite at a time.  You’ll also tear the bread into more or less bite-sized pieces before picking it up.

After they’ve stuffed you with lunch (yesterday being a holiday, it lasted from two till four … and the siesta came afterwards), they theoretically don’t eat much for supper.   But they will lie in wait for you and insist that you “take some tea” … more hot chocolate, with fruit or bread.  I can get out of it only by holding up a Coca-Cola bottle to prove that I wanted something cold so much I went out and bought it.  If I’ve been walking, I’m warm, but otherwise I will go ahead and take the hot chocolate. 

I wanted to write some about the classes, but there’s another girl waiting to get online, and this will be too long for a lot of people to read if I keep on anyway.

¡Hasta luego!

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