The week has passed swiftly and I am developing a decent work routine. Instead of the 5 AM wake-up call which I held to firmly during my previous longer stint of work on this project, I have been getting up at 6 AM. That seems to be working well. I drink a big bottle of water and then do roughly half an hour of yoga (starting slowly). Then I sit still for half an hour and watch my body and thoughts do what they do (AKA meditation). And by about 7 AM it is time to sit down and write. This involves a lot of reading, in fact. I am in editing mode and trying to thin the crop of words I gathered in my earlier work. Some days move quickly, others a bit more slowly. I get to laugh at some of the terrible garbage I wrote earlier (in some cases nearly as long as five years ago!), which makes for easy cutting. I do at least three hours each morning, usually more. Then I tend to check my email and get some oatmeal started. I add some banana, raisins, chia and flax seeds to sweeten the mix…occasionally even some strawberries. 🙂
I have been keeping an eye online for local Gringo gatherings, keen to see what the city has on offer. On Tuesday I attended a local writer’s group. It was basically a little writing workshop, with about 15-20 different writers there. We talked about writing great beginnings. I shared a bit about my story and made some good contacts. I look forward to continued involvement with this group. I am hoping to share an excerpt of my current work at an upcoming evening of ‘Spoken Word’ where various kinds of writing are being shared.
On Wednesday evening I attended a group meditation and discussion about ‘spiritual growth’. It was hosted by a local Gringo couple. There were about 25 in attendance and the energy of the meditation was particularly potent. They are continuing this event weekly and I will surely be a regular attendee. The mood was beautiful and we gathered for snacks afterwards. The guacamole was perhaps the best I have ever had. (As it happens, guacamole has been a large part of my diet this week. The avocados are so fresh and cheap that it is hard to pass up…)
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I have Spanish class. My teacher, Mariana, is one of the sweetest women I have ever met. Her two sons usually come by during our lessons (nearer the end of her workday) and they wait patiently for us to finish up before they head home together. Every day I try to read over some of the work I have done thus far in order to keep it fresh in my mind. I practice fairly casually. (I skipped the weekend.)
As I was speaking with Mariana (in Spanish) about my interest in sharing guided meditations, she invited me to host them at the school. It looks like we will start this Friday afternoon and keep them going weekly. This is a great opportunity and I love to share in this way. I am grateful it is all unfolding so naturally.
We held off on starting the meditations last Friday as I had a dentist appointment. It went well. I still can’t believe it only cost $15. The dentist was very thorough, cleaning my 10-year build up of plaque. He says I have terrific teeth and great overall mouth health. 😀 That was nice news. I have still never had a cavity…a bit surprising considering all the sugar I used to eat!
Before I sat down to write this little update I was on my way to an Open Mic night down in the old city centre. I found out (after waiting a while) that the buses are not running today. Fortunately the Open Mic is a weekly event, so I will likely be in attendance fairly regularly. It finally occurred to me as I waited for the bus that today is a holiday. Carnival season has officially kicked off and the streets are filled with the voices of kids running around instead of the regular rumbling of buses. Lots of water balloons are flying through the air, as well as bags of flour and plenty of foam spray. The kids seem to be enjoying themselves. I haven’t been too seriously attacked yet.
Throughout my week’s activities I have been hanging out a fair bit with a cool guy from New Jersey named Keith. We met in the first hostel I stayed at in town and then bumped into one another again in the last hostel I stayed at before moving to my flat. He is hanging around Cuanca for a while and we often grab a bite to eat together at Govinda’s or walk to the market to shop for incredibly cheap (mostly organic) produce. We shared a meal and a movie on Friday night. (Trumbo was a pretty good flick…) It is nice to have a running mate as I acquaint myself with the city. We are planning a hike in the national park some day this week.
He and I both enjoy the local street art. Some of it seems to be sanctioned by the city and most of it is more standard graffiti but I love it all. Keith has been amassing a greater collection of photos than I but here is a peek at some of my harvest this week:
I guess that will be it for now. I will keep you posted on how things unfold.
Hugs all around! Enjoy yourselves!