September 18, 2012

Top 6 Questions About Quito

We got a lot of questions this summer about where we currently live. Here are the top six questions (and our answers) lots of people asked us:

1. Is it super hot?
No, Quito is in the mountains so it stays spring-like all year. The temps range from 60 to 75 degrees F. There's a rainy season and a dry season, which is what we've got right now, but that's about the biggest change all year.

Oh, and the sun sets every night at 6:30-7 pm and is up at 6:30-7 am every morning. That makes for a very weird time when you see people posting on Facebook about snow, winter, and the holidays.

2. What kind of money do they use down there?
They actually use US dollars down here. The one difference is that dollar coins are HUGE here. We use all the dollar coins down here that no one wants to touch back in the US. They're a lot more durable than paper money.

And speaking of paper money, it's difficult to get change for $20 bills here, yet that's all that you get out of the ATM. If you want to buy something at a smaller store or take a taxi, but only have $20, sorry bud - you better go split that first.

Also, you can't use credit cards for everything down here like you can in the US. We just use our credit card at big restaurants and grocery chains.

3. Are the roads paved?
Yes. The sidewalks are in worse condition than the roads. You really have to watch where you put your feet here or you could end up with a sprained ankle or in a hole somewhere.

4. Do people speak English?
Uh, no. They speak Spanish and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who speaks English here.

5. Do they celebrate Fourth of July/Thanksgiving/Memorial day, etc.?
No, those are US holidays. However, there's a good chance that fireworks will be shot off during those holidays because they shoot off fireworks about 3 times a week here on average. They love themselves some fireworks!

6. How do you like it down there? 
To keep it uncomplicated, we say "yeah, it's nice" when we get asked about Quito. Quito is complicated - there's a lot of pluses and a lot of minuses to this city. We try to be realistic about it when we talk to people so they don't think it's some heavenly paradise or some hell hole in South America. It just is what it is - Quito doesn't fit neatly into either of those categories.

September 6, 2012

Howdy from Texas!

We're not really in Texas right now - I'm sitting here back in Quito. Over lunch today, we were talking about what blog posts we wanted to write about our US trip this summer and I decided to write about what a culture shock it is to go to Texas.

First, the people. How nice are they?! So nice. After 5 days in New York City, Dallas was a breath of fresh,  Southern air. Not only were my sister-in-law's friends super helpful and sweet, but that sweetness was infectious.

"What can I get you today darlin'?" "Honey, isn't it a hot one out there?"

I felt if we stayed another two weeks, I would have developed a pretty realistic Southern drawl.

We were the part of the daycare, cleaning service and chefs for the two weeks we were there, and it was a blast. Greg and Priscilla would manage the kids in the morning while I worked. They had fun times at the library and the splash park (Greg may have enjoyed that more than the kids).

In the afternoons, we'd take them to the pool, play games, throw basketballs with our nephew Jake, make up songs, play with toys, take our niece Abby to her soccer practice, and more. We even got out for a night of fireworks while we were there! 

It was a gift to have the time to spend with our niece and nephew while they're growing up. Pretty soon, they'll be learning how to drive and going off to college.

Jake and Priscilla

This soccer game took place at their church's gym so yes, prayer was involved.

Abby and Jake loving the wading pool in the backyard.