Not a long update this time, seeing as since the last update my main activity has been getting two further weeks of private Spanish lessons under my belt. It has been quite an overload of information, but incredibly useful and I am hoping to start weaving it into my Spanish over the next few months.
Besides lessons each day, there have been more yoga sessions on the roof, more partying with fellow students, and several hang out sessions with my Ecuadorian family, including a geography lesson based on looking through the stamps in my passport and then finding the corresponding countries on a miniature globe they have, and an art session, where the kids riffled through my pencil case then sat around drawing pictures with my watercolour pencils.
I made use of the time off at the weekend to go whale watching. A small boat carried twenty or so of us bobbing through the pacific waves away from the shore. Seeing as it is mating season, we didn’t have to search for long, or be very far from shore, before encountering a group of humpback whales frolicking in the water. They sprayed water through their blowholes, and curved out of the water so that first we saw lumpy heads, then large fins, followed by the long length of the body, until the tail waved a goodbye and slid under the surface. Over a couple of hours we saw thirteen different whales, sometimes only a few metres from the boat, as well as a more at a distance, jumping out of the water. As we headed back to shore, we passed a cliff face and a group of blue-footed boobys clinging to it with such brightly coloured feet that, on approach, I absurdly thought they had all been tagged for some reason.
When I returned to Montañita in the afternoon, I wandered between the various jewellery stalls lining the streets, chatted to the hippies making the items, and got a colourful braid twisted into my own hair. I came to the beach, and something seemed to be going on: there was a cluster of people at the water’s edge, and another small crowd close to me at the entrance to one of the streets. I then realised there was a body lying on a stretcher. There was a lot of confusion, but over the next few days, events became clear. The beach attracts hundreds of Ecuadorian tourists every weekend. The current had suddenly picked up several people, and a boat nearby had managed to save a few of the swimmers who were swept away, but three people died. There was outcry in the aftermath, as the municipality have stopped funding lifeguards recently, but following this terrible accident an agreement was reached; the next week I noticed life guards had returned to their watch towers on the beach.
On Sunday, a new student was welcomed into my Montañita family: Carolin from Switzerland. We spent the day walking around the town so that I could show her around the place.
The Next Move
My third, and final, week of lessons passed by as quickly as those before. We were graced with a couple of days of sunshine, (seeing as we are now in the depths of winter, it’s cloudy and drizzly most of the time), which meant chilling out on the beach in between classes. Come Friday, Carolin and I were invited for an evening meal with the parents of our Montañita father, Julio. After the meal we were shown around the large flat with its various family photographs, and had a laugh setting up a self-timer photo of the lot of us.
The weekend was focussed around a couple of crazy nights out, padded out in between with lie ins, and wandering on the beach.
Now that my time at the Spanish School is up, I am chilling out for a couple of days to work out what to do next and where I want to travel to, gearing myself up to say goodbye to my family here.