FTJ: 27-9-08

Today, the other foreign exchange kids and I got together at my house to go to the statue of San Miguel Archangel. I went there my first day here in Ibarra (I put up some pictures here), but the others hadn't gone yet. We went by bus, and we arrived at 10:30, 11. There was a mass under the angel, with a lot of people listening to the history of San Miguel, and we couldn't climb up the angel.

Because I have always wanted to climb a montain, I said to the others that we should go by the road up the mountain. Daniele agreed with me, and the others didn't have a preference, so we went. Johannes and Alex weren't there, so it was me, Daniele, Hannes, Camille, Sara, and Lotta. When we decided to walk to the peak of the mountain, I don't think we understood that it was going to be three kilometers. It was a very hard walk. Every ten minutes I said, "We're almost there!" But we never arrived.

The whole time, we saw signs for La Estelita. Camille made jokes that it was a restaurant, and that we would buy ice cream when we got there. I said yeah, but it would be closed. Well, when we arrived at La Estelita, it was a restaurant, it was open, and we all bought banana splits and then went back to San Miguel.

In the afternoon, we ate pizza in my host mom's restaurant in Atuntaqui, and after we went to Hannes's house. Hannes's family has a house in the countryside, and we spent the night there. We ate bread and sweets, and I played a bit of the guitar. I'm still terrible. There was music and everything. It was very fun. Camille and I watched the Office for a bit around 12, and then I went to bed.

275 more days.

Ok. So I know you guys have been freaking out about how I didn't update Wednesday or Friday. Okay, maybe not, but I did upload the story on Tuesday, so that should take some of the heat off. Right? Right. Well, I just didn't upload on Wednesday or Friday. Get over.

Well, something's hitting the fan here, and it ain't a bat that flew in to attack Susanne. The other AFS kids have been having problems, and since my host mom is very heavily involved in AFS Ibarra Chapter, I get to hear all about it. First, Hannes was having problems, wanting to change schools and saying that his mother now wanted him to pay money for food. AFS doesn't pay the people who host students, so I can understand the request, but she hadn't done it before. After some clarification issues, it appeared that Hannes's mother was saying that he needed to pay for the new school, which is private. I can understand the miscommunication, because Hannes doesn't speak Spanish very well, but something else must have been going on, because Hannes found a new family and is living with them now. Usually, AFS doesn't let kids pick the family they're going to stay with, but the terrible economic situation means that no one wants to spend that kind of money, so Hannes got his wish.

Now, Hannes had been telling me that he had had problems before with his family, but then, totally out of the blue, Daniele's mom calls and says that they can't host him anymore. The most serious thing I'd heard from Daniele about his family was that he put a Bob Marley poster up over a Jesus poster, but that's it. So, I don't know what's going on.

Then, last night, Sara tells me that Lotta's having serious problems, and so she and I and Johannes and Daniele were all at her house at 12AM this morning trying to sort out what boiled down to a pretty basic misunderstanding between her and her brother Rodrigo, who you may remember as my guitar teacher. I spent about an hour talking with Rodrigo on the sidewalk in front of my house trying to keep him from joining the Army. It was some pretty serious stuff. Hey, thanks Mom and Dad, for teaching me how to communicate with people!

And thanks Mom, for commenting on my story. It's actually not a prequel. It's set in the same city as my story will be, and basically serves as a way for me to test out writing in the horror genre, which I hadn't done much of before, and get a feel for the physical aspects of the city. It also made me realize that I have an awesome way to use my language, which I had invented some time before in a completely unrelated effort. The serious work I put into it before is really going to pay off for me in November, as is Barack Obama's Get Out the Vote efforts, already giving him a 2-1 early voting advantage in several Battleground States.

So anyway, from here in Ibarra, this is Jacob Austin-Breneman, quickly preparing himself for a shower. Ciao (Thanks, Mike).

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