The Week I Was Supposed to Write About on Sunday…

This should be a shorter post, since I can't think of anything that extremely exhilarating that happened post-baby shower until Wednesday, which was 2 for 1 night at the movie theater, so since they were sold out of what we actually wanted to see, we ended up watching a subtitled version of "Hitman: Agent 47" with extreme amounts of blood, and a fairly interesting (if not totally original) storyline. Sarah and I decided it was a mix between "The Matrix" and "Inception". I had my written mid-term for our first Spanish module on Friday morning, which I found out yesterday went very well, all things considered. After class in the afternoon Sarah, Tyler, Minori, Rodolfo and Veronica (an Ecuadorian student who has become our friend because she is doing an anthropology project on the experience of foreign students-yep, we're her study subjects) went out to "Sushi Nori" and had Thai and Japanese foods (Minori, being Japanese informed us that it was not quite authentic, although it was good) We had a wonderful time-being the only ones in the place at 4:30 increased the level of silly boisterousness to a nice level. After that we walked down the street to get sorbet and after collectively trying pretty much every single flavor, finally bought full portions and thoroughly enjoyed them, before parting ways for the evening.

My intention was to get all my homework done that Friday night (my presentation for Art History, and my interview for the oral portion of my Spanish midterm) because I thought that my family was going to Colombia that weekend. As it turned out, Abuela Lupe was feeling a little sick, and since she had wanted to go, we postponed the trip. Well, in that case I thought…I'll watche a movie instead!

Then, Saturday morning, we popped some more popcorn, and piled into the car (Lupe apparently feeling better enough to come on this shorter trip) and set off for Mindo. Lupe kindly sitting in the middle in the back so that Mila (the volunteer who is staying with us for three weeks for her "Global Citizen Year" training—always a new face!) and I could look out the windows. We had a nice discussion about Wisconsin and agriculture, until the winding mountain roads forced me to close my eyes, and focus all my energy on not vomiting…

We finally arrived, and the fresh air soon revived me for our hike town to yet another waterfall.

Me swinging on a vine
You can call me Kate of the Jungle
Me on a rope swing
A Carnivorous plant (open)
A sort of Venus fly-trap, but for mosquitoes, I guess—could use one of those back home…
A Carnivorous plant (closed)
A similar plant, but the closed trapped mosquito version…

We arrived at the river, and soon discovered that at one of the lookout points there was the option to jump into the water from a fairly significant height. Mila and I convinced each other to do it. Somehow we didn't loose our nerve, even after seeing the guy who worked there demonstrate how you have to jump, and assuring him that no, we didn't have any back problems. (Gustavo: "Because you will after this!") I was first-I harnessed up and before I could chicken out, off I sprang!

About to jump off the waterfall
You want me to jump where!?
Jumping off the waterfall (1)
OK, I'll do it…
Jumping off the waterfall (2)
Look out below!
Landing in the water
That splash is me
Standing at the edge of the river after the jump
Whew, I made it!

I went very far down, but still never touched the bottom, before surging my way up to safety. Gustavo estimated that it must have been about 7 meters (23 ish feet) high, although we never got a picture to really tell.

We then explored that part of the river a bit before starting the hike back.

Exploring the river (1)
Found a nice private beach
Exploring the river (2)
Exploring the river

On the way back, we got an offer to be guided (with rope and real harnesses and all) in climbing one of the smaller waterfalls. Ximena and I were in. It was certainly quite an adventure. The climb itself was fairly easy, aside from being rather slippery-there were solid hand and footholds, the part that made it quite difficult, was the massive amount of river rushing its your eyes and mouth, obscuring your vision (especially when looking up to search for the next hold.) We both made it however (with only a few bruises on our knees and legs) triumphant!

Climbing up the waterfall
See that figure struggling up that waterfall—it's me

After splashing around a bit more we finally went on our way. Having once again been too busy adventuring to bother about lunch, it was about 6 in the foggy evening when we pulled over at a restaurant to get some food, having long since depleted our popcorn supply. We played a game of going around the circle naming fruits until we ran out (that game would have been a lot shorter in the States, but Ecuadorian biodiversity sustained us almost until our food came) We saw the daughter of the cook leave and come back carrying a branch full of platano verde (green plantains) which we ate about 15 minutes later—so, you might call it fresh…

We eventually got home to and to bed, and woke up to a Sunday of not getting out of pajamas as I did homework very inefficiently, talked with some people back home, and didn't have time to blog….I interviewed Gustavo for my oral exam for Spanish. It was very informative-I love hearing people's life stories. I really think it helps me understand so much about a person by filling in the gaps in his or her history, I find it to be such a rich experience. How can I make that into a future job??

Monday's excitement was FINALLLY getting to do aerial silks! I showed up after my class at 12:30, and was set to work running and doing abs workouts, then I got to practice climbing and a few other basics. Suffice it to say this experience confirmed what I already knew-I am extremely out of shape. I was utterly exhausted by the time we ended at 2-just dead on my feet-and even the walk home was a struggle. The instructor/professor/club leader said it was fine if I showed up at 12:30 every Monday and Wednesday though (even though they start at 11, and I am certainly way behind the group as it is). I dearly hope that I get in shape quickly from this, so that it does not wipe me out as much as it did on Monday…I woke up this morning to a body that hurt all over, my hands ached from gripping, my abs tender and sore, calves shaky, shoulders, biceps, deltoids, the list goes on…even the tops of my feet were tender from wrapping the silks around them and sliding down. I also somehow managed to bruise my spine and tailbone somewhere in that mess….so yah, mess would be a good word…but I am going back tomorrow! We shall see how it goes!

Aerial silks setup in the gym
This isn't of me, but since I have been talking about it for so long, its just to prove I was really there (taken during a much needed breather).

Alright, now you know it all, at long last, I am up to date!