Guayaquil: The Roommate

The city is getting more interesting everyday. Ciudad Guayaquil is that new roommate you are forced to live with your first semester at college. We didn’t seem to have much in common, and he was noisy and messy and standoffish. Living with him was a necessary evil until I could find something better next semester. One that I could choose myself. But it turns out, sometimes he plays really good music and cleans up really well. He is really low maintenance, and has some good books hidden away if I go looking for them. He has great food, and even though he can be a little edgy, he can also be incredibly generous. And he throws a good party too. I’m not saying I’m in love or anything, but he’s definitely growing on me.

I have been picking up more classes, and teaching is just as interesting as I thought it would be.  I started with a beginner class and seeing the progress she’s made in only a week is so rewarding. We actually had a real conversation about our favorite authors today, and considering I was teaching her “hello” a week ago, that’s saying something. My other class is a bit tougher. The student is suppose to be at an intermediate level, but that is definitely not the case. I have noticed that older students in general, tend to have more trouble with pronunciation, and this lady is not only in her late fifties, but hard of hearing which makes drilling a bit comical at times. She has a great memory however, so as long as I keep my volume up, and she lowers her expectations a bit, I think we’ll do fine.

I’ve moved into a room in the house a sweet little old lady. She has almost no English, but calls me “her daughter” or sometimes “her son” when she forgets the word for daughter in English. Like most of latina mothers that I’ve met, she is very nurturing, concerned for my safety, and is always trying to feed me. Like a lot of upper-middle-class latinos that I’ve met, she’s a little racist, very class-ist, and conservative. I find it very sweet that she blesses me with the Catholic hand-crossing thingie every time I leave the house, and tells me about 8 times a day that I’m so pretty and look just like one of her daughters. I didn’t find it particularly sweet when she look at some pictures of my family, and said Ooo… eres una mezcla, pero está bien, porque tu eres muy bonita. I don’t have enough Spanish to successfully pull of a sarcastic retort but I’ll have to look one up.

Original published March 12, 2011, on tumblr as “Guayaquil: Mi Compañero de Cuarto”


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