The Long Trek Home

Today marked the end of Jocelyn’s 2 week English refresher course for students in the San Franciscan community, and I got to tag along with her to host an ‘art hour’ to break up the dry (but direly needed) grammatical review. Considering Jos also baked sugar cookies and saved the last 30 minutes for a lively game of twister, I clearly chose the right morning to join her in the classroom. Her students were seriously hyped up even before we fed them cooked sugar and butter, but Jos handled it like a pro, not getting frustrated or discouraged but encouraging them to ‘escucha con dos orejas, por favor” (listen with two ears, please) and trucking right on through those conjunctions. She is definitely well prepared for the start of our Apoyo Escolar program, an after school homework help class that starts on Monday.

After shooing the little ones out of the Casa Barrial (the community ‘house’ in which we host our programs), Jos and I started our walk out of San Francisco to catch a bus back to home sweet Conocoto. Who knew we would still be at the bus stop 45 minutes later, having been snubbed/rejected/turned away from 3 buses. Maybe this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but when you’re used to a quick ride home and you’re really hoping to beat the rest of your housemates to the leftovers from last night’s dinner, it becomes a huge deal. We’re talking about enchilladas and avocados here, people. I'm starting to get worked up as I type this.

Bus 1. Has a sign that says "To Conocoto" on it's front window. So why, then did the driver tell us “Ahhh...hoy no vamos a Conocoto” (Ahhh, today we’re not going to Conocoto). Ok, that makes no sense, but fine, off we hopped.
Bus 2. The driver encourages us to get on under the alluring promise of “Si, si, claro vamos a Conocoto, ya ya...” only to tell us 5 minutes into the ride that, oh, actually we’re heading over there AFTER we go to Quito. Considering we didn’t want to take an hour bus ride to get somewhere 10 minutes away, we obviously hopped off in the middle of the road. Which road it actually was turned out to be a little less obvious. If there’s one thing Jos and I love, it’s being stranded in the middle of nowhere, Ecuador. Have I mentioned that very few (read: probably 7) roads in the whole Valley have street signs? Great.
Bus 3. Doesn't even acknowledge us, despite Jocelyn’s excellent hand flagging motions.

Two seconds later the first bus we were on came screeching around the corner, the passengers inside chuckling to themselves at the idiotic gringas (read: us) who still haven’t found the right bus, covered in mud up to their shins (huge thunderstorm last night) standing next to a woman with a goat on a leash. Lovely.

Regardless, we made it home, stopping by the Panaderia for some much needed bread to lift our spirits. And guess what? We still beat everyone else to the leftovers. Sweet, sweet success.

Until Monday,