This IS a Tasty Burger!

So, yesterday, May 13th, I decided that waking up at 2:30 to ride a bus for 3 hours to wait around for another hour before taking a four hour test was MY IDEA OF FUN. But I'm putting the cart before the horse.

Yesterday was the AP English Language and Composition test. I'm taking the class online, which is the reason I haven't posted lately. So, yesterday morning I got up at 2:30 in order to catch the 3:00 bus to Quito, where the American school that gives AP tests is. Anita went with me to show me where to go. So, a six-hour round trip for her, for no real reason. I love her so much. I'm gonna do something special for her when I actually have some money. Traveling with Anita is really fun, because she can't handle not being in control. We're waiting for the bus, and Anita's cursing that the people who run the booth for that particular bus are late, and that the bus hasn't arrived yet, and everything. Then, about an hour into the ride, someone gets on the bus with something smelling very strongly of paint. Maybe fifteen minutes later, Anita realizes and gets up, and starts asking loudly, "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT PAINT SMELL?" No one speaks up, but eventually whoever had the paint left, probably out of fear for his life. When we got to Quito, the taxi to take us to the terminal charged three dollars, so Anita nearly came to fisticuffs with the taxi driver, trying to barter him down to two dollars. I paid for it.

We parted at the terminal, where Anita pointed me to the bus I had to take to get to the school. That ride took about fifteen minutes, and I found out that the buses in Quito charge twenty-five cents instead of ten, like in Ibarra. When I got there, I had a little map that showed me where the school was, except the scale was wrong and it was missing streets, so I wandered for ten minutes thinking hoping I was going the right way. As it turned out, after a little while I didn't even need the map. You can tell the giant eyesore that is an American school from half a mile away.

When I got there, it was about 6:30, 1.5 hours early for the exam. I wanted to go in and wait inside but the guard (real guard, like with the bang-bang and the nightstick) said no. I'm like, You're really gonna make me wait out here on the asphalt instead of right inside on a bench, where you can still see me. He was like, *nod*. So I sat outside in the school parking lot reading Spider-Man and eating slightly warm pizza Anita heated up for me before we left (I love her sooooo much). Finally, at seven-fifty, one of the guards motioned me over and told me to go talk to one of the people, who took me up to the college guidance counselor. Her name was Tracy Galvines. Ms. Galvines was American, and talked in this really high-pitched and annoying voice. I don't think she can speak Spanish, because she only spoke English with the people. Oh, all the teachers and students speak English really, really well, even though they're all Ecuadorian. It was weird. But I guess if you're going to the most expensive school in all of Quito, you should be getting your money's worth.

That reminds me of something I hate. I hate when Ecuadorian people talk to me in English. The teachers there kept trying to speak to me in English, and I was like, "No, I understand Spanish." And they kept talking to me in English, so I finally gave up. It's kind of insulting, like they don't think I can understand them. It's even worse when people say just "Good morning" or "Hello", and that's all they know in English. It's like they're trying to show off.


Ms. Galvines asked me what school I was going to for college. I said MIT. She froze, and was like, "You're going to MIT?" I said yes. She said, "How did you get into MIT?"I thought she was kidding at first, but then she waited for an answer, and I said, "Well, I went to a summer program there, and I think spending a year here helped too." She said, "You're kidding." I assured her I wasn't kidding. She then foisted responsibility for proctoring the AP exam onto her secretary, saying "I'll be there as soon as I finish this!" She never showed.

The kids at the American school were strange. The secretary assured me that none of them were American or had American parents, but they all seemed pretty white, with blonde hair and stuff. And American accents. Totally freaked me out. Then we took the AP test, which, for National Security reasons, College Board forbids me from talking about. I can tell you that on the last page of my essay, I wrote "WHY SO SERIOUS?" in big letters and then drew a line through it. R.I.P. Heath Ledger. I don't know how the Ecuadorian kids did well on it, though. Not because it was in English, but because a lot of the questions dealt specifically about America and American culture. I threw a bunch of American mannerisms in my writing just to differentiate myself. All the kids were freaking out about the time. Every five minutes or so, someone would ask what time it was, and the proctor gave the correct time limit about 50% of the time. It was funny.

Afterwards, I made my way out of there and went to the McDonald's I saw on the way. Now, if you haven't lived out of the country before, in a place where the amenities of home are non-existent, you won't be able to understand why this was so important to me. I will try to explain. Probably the only truly American food is fast food, and the most symbolic of that is the McDonald's franchise. When you eat at McDonald's, you're tasting America. However sad that may be. But there are no McDonald's in Ibarra. The only American fast food here is KFC (which they still call Kentucky Fried Chicken, even though no one knows what that means). There are burgers, but they're all nasty and disgusting. And my host uncle owns a burger joint! Te last American-style burger I had was ten months ago. So, I go into the McDonald's and they've got the air condition set to 65º, just like back home. They've got a playpen, just like back home. I look at the menu, and it's all in Spanish, not like back home. But the pictures are the same! I say Gimme a double quarter pounder, no cheese, extra pickles, with a large order of fries and a Cherry Coke. The lady at the counter doesn't understand, so I repeat it in Spanish, except I don't know the word for "pickles" so I just leave that part out. The whole thing comes on a tray with three packets of mayonnaise and one of those large sheets of paper with advertising on it to keep the tray from getting too dirty, just like they do it back home, except with mayonnaise instead of ketchup catsup catchup ketchup. Then I unwrap the burger and eat it. It was the best meal I have ever had. From McDonald's! Who would have thought! After that I ordered a Dark Temptation, an ice crem sundae loaded with chocolate. But it was good ice cream! Not the nasty kind they have here! I was so happy, I was just sort of smiling all the rest of the day. Well, that wasn't the only reason I was smiling, but it still made me really happy.

I rode the bus home without incident. I watched this really grüesome Jackie Chan movie on the bus. It had people getting hanged and shot and stuff. Then I went to an AFS meeting where I was the only kid who showed up. *sigh*

Anyway, the upshot of the whole day was That was a tasty burger!

Thanks Jesse for commenting. I don't know. I used to wrap my entire bed in Shrink Wrap, but then I passed out from lack of oxygen. Thank you, Kris, for commenting. I wore my Obama t-shirt to the AP test for good luck. Thanks, Mom, for commenting. You know the Bahamas is there with voodoo and the stuff, right? THAT'S WHERE ZOMBIES COME FROM. Dad, can you check and make sure that Mom's not a zombie, please? Thanks. And thank you, Ezra, for commenting. I just want to let you know that your days of being able to win at Brawl are limited. Because the day I get to your house, I'm gonna just start destroying you. No mercy. You have been warned. Thanks, Stephan, a new commentor. I know I'm awesome, but I don't mind having people tell me. I appreciate it. You're pretty cool yourself. Are you going to go to MIT early for the Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPs)? Such a cool acronym.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but taking the camera would have been a lot to worry about.

That's all for now. 33 more days here. I'll be doing a picture tour of Ibarra sometime soon, so stay tuned.



Kristina said...

I'll be horribly cliche here.
And btw, your description of the meal is making my mouth water. I'm in AP Art History, nowhere NEAR a Mickey D's. Thanks :P

33 days :)

that black girl artist said...

You know you've been away a WHILE when McD's is good! Especially when you are a member of a Burger King family. We understand and forgive. We love you anyway. And we love Anita too. I will make her a super hero cape. Let me know her favorite colors.

your mommy

mrjlab said...

Mosdef mom. BK is the best. Good thing there are many conveniently located franchises here in Lima. I could go to one of the McD's, but why should I when I have the choice. By the way, how does one become a guidance counselor? I want become one just so I can subvert people's expectations of themselves. People would mention what university they wanted to go to, I would then laugh uproariously for about 15 seconds before become suddenly serious and saying "Let's look at some other options."