Archive for January, 2008

In Quito

Friday, January 25th, 2008

We made it to Quito last Sunday night after flying all day and are enjoying our stay. (Luckily, we were able to upgrade to first class, thanks to all of John´s frequent flyer miles, which made the trip much more enjoyable.) We go to class from 8:30 – 12:30 (class is one-on-one with an instructor). My instructor is great, but unfortunately, her mother passed away yesterday, so I am without a teacher today (I´ll make up the time next week when Inez returns). John also likes his instructor, Jaime.

Quito is beautiful and surrounded by incredible mountains – it has taken a few days to get used to the high altitude.

We have been spending our afternoons having lunch and doing our homework at a little restaurant nearby, The Magic Bean. The weather´s great, so we sit outside.

We went on a city tour on Wednesday night with a group from the school – it was fun to see other (nicer) parts of town. We went to a beautiful spot high above the city where they have a huge statue of an angel – it was foggy at times and quite beautiful and mysterious. We also visited the old historic part of town with buildings and churches built in the 16th century – it´s a designated historic site with UNESCO.

Last night John went with some of the guys from school to a soccer match – I stayed in the hotel because I wasn´t feeling great (something disagreed with my stomach). He had a great time and said it was a lot of fun.

We have spent some amount of time dealing with hotels.  It turns out that our first hotel has a live jazz band most nights, so we escaped to another hotel which is a lot nicer and quieter…although this morning I moved us to another room because of the street noise.

We´ve gotten cat reports from our sitter – evidently Noodle is not being very friendly, which surprises me, but hopefully he will warm up. Flavia, of course, is not to be seen. We miss them!

Off to Quito

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

This will be a quick post, because John and I are headed to the airport to go to Ecuador for our Spanish immersion. We’ll be back on Feb. 2. We have a friend here at the apartment complex who will take care of the cats, but we really hate to leave them! We’ve never left them for this long before.

We spent last Sunday evening with our good friend Richard, on his last night in DC before flying off to his post in New Delhi, India. We had a great dinner at Lebanese Taverna, the first place we had dinner with him many months ago.

Our friends Rob and Della are leaving for their post in the Dominican Republic next week, so the four of us went out for Vietnamese food on Tuesday night. They had a great party at their apartment (here at the Oakwood) last night. Della just found out that she was accepted into the March class of Foreign Service Officers, so we’ll get to see her again before we go to Mexico.

I don’t know if I have mentioned it, but I’ve been going to yoga twice a week here at the apartment complex. I always forget how much I love yoga until I start doing it again. This instructor is OK, but it makes me realize what great instruction I got at Barefoot Studios in Little Rock.

OK, we’re off to the airport! We should have internet access, so I’ll try to write a post while we’re gone.

Dinner with Leslie

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

It was great to get to visit with Leslie while she was in Baltimore this past Wednesday night – we got caught up on all the Nuvell news. It’s always wonderful to see a familiar face, especially hers!

Spanish is much better this week because I got a fabulous new teacher from Venezuela – I’m quite happy. I also met with my Spanish buddy Manuel for the first time since the Christmas break; he brought his wife, too – she is trying to learn English. They are both really nice folks and he is a good teacher, too. The more I learn, though, the more I realize how very far I have to go!

We went to a good tapas restaurant Friday night with Jimmi, Della and Robert – we always enjoy visiting with them. I had a couple of eggplant and lamb dishes, while John went for the interesting choices of octopus and rabbit. We skipped happy hour Thursday night because it was cold and rainy, and opted for take-out Vietnamese soup instead – the pho here has become one of my favorite things, especially on cold nights.

Here’s a cute photo of John and Noodle, taken last night after John got home from a magic workshop – he’s really enjoyed meeting some of the local magicians here.

Happy new year!

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

It was great to get back to DC on New Year’s Eve. John and I spent a quiet evening at home, since I had flown all day. We also stayed home for New Year’s Day which was really nice – I enjoyed just hanging out with John and the cats and a couple of Mexican movies.

Back to school on Wednesday – it was tough to get back in the swing of Spanish. Even though I had read a lot and done a lot of homework over the break, I had not spoken in Spanish much. Plus, it was hard to get up when the alarm went off! Our big Spanish news is that we are planning a trip to Quito, Ecuador, for an immersion the last two weeks of January. Some of our classmates went recently and really recommended it, so we are getting our reservations in order.

We went to a happy hour at Old Ebbitt Grill on Thursday night for our friend Richard, who’s about to move to India. Last night, we went to a really great party at our classmate Tom Dalton’s place – it was fun to see everyone after the break.

On the cat front, Noodle has discovered the heating pad – I had it on the bed because my neck had been bothering me. Luckily I don’t need it anymore, because he has taken it over. We’ve also been cat-sitting for the neighbor across the hall – she has two cats we’ve been feeding while she’s away for a few days. Her younger cat is the kitten that John found in the hallway several months ago – she is the most playful thing I’ve ever seen!