Trying to catch up

ENG

I didn’t realize how long its been since I wrote here… I definitely have to catch up because a lot has happen after my trip back home and more ideas on how my life is different in Canada than what it is (was?) in Ecuador. Spending time with my family is always good and its what I look forward to whenever I’m not with them, nevertheless this last trip made me realize I belong somewhere else… mostly, I belong with my husband and I can´t help but to feel selfish when I think about it. I´ve come to the conclusion that my life will never be complete because I miss my family too much when I´m in Canada and I miss my husband and the life I have when I’m in Ecuador.

The trip itself was AMAZING, I got to see people I love and I got to meet the new addition to the family… Paula! The cutest baby ever… and again, here comes that selfish feeling when I realize I´m not there to watch her grow up. My mom and family spoiled with all kinds of delicious food (pics to follow) and the breathtaking views my country has to offer made the trip perfect.

While in Ecuador, I decided to close a very important chapter in my life: my job with Royal Galapagos, after two years in Canada it was time to face the fact that I need to have a regular job here and I needed to get more culturally involved, meet new people… grow up, move on… whatever you want to call it. I am so very thankful for everything that I learned there and all the wonderful people that will be forever in my heart. August passed by pretty quickly and the bills started to come in again… so the job hunt started, and while its an ongoing thing, I am currently working downtown Toronto in a call centre for a loan company… I know, I know… please don´t judge. The commute is killing me and my pocket and I got the job through a temp agency… my contract is due by the end of February, hopefully I can have a better idea on what to do with my professional life by then.

“Being an adult is like watching both ways before crossing the street and get hit by an airplane”

 

ESP

No me había dado cuenta todo el tiempo que ha pasado desde la última vez que escribí aquí… definitivamente necesito igualarme especialmente porque han sucedido algunas cosas desde mi viaje a Ecuador en el verano and tengo muchas ideas sobre las diferencias de mi vida aquí en Canadá a comparación de lo que es (fue?) mi vida en Ecuador. Pasar tiempo con mi familia siempre es bueno y lo que más ansío cada momento que no estoy con ellos, sin embargo este último viaje me sirvió para darme cuenta que mi vida está acá, junto a mi esposo y no puedo evitar sentirme egoísta cuando pienso en esto. He llegado a la conclusión que mi vida nunca será completa porque extraño demasiado a mi familia cuando estoy en Canadá y extraño demasiado a mi esposo cuando estoy en Ecuador.

El viaje fue MARAVILLOSO, pude pasar tiempo con personas que adoro y además pude conocer al nuevo miembro de la familia: Paula!  La bebé más linda el mundo …. y aquí viene otra vez el sentimiento de egoísmo pues me doy cuenta que no voy a poder verla crecer día tras día. Mi mami y mi familia me consientieron con mucha comida deliciosa (las fotos están por publicarse) y los hermosos paisajes que ofrece mi lindo Ecuador hicieron que el viaje sea Perfecto.

Mientras estuve en Ecuador, decidí ponerle un punto final a un capítulo muy importante en mi vida: mi trabajo con Royal Galapagos; después de dos años de estar viviendo en Canadá vi que ya era hora de aceptar el hecho que para sentirme intregada culturalmente necesitaba tener un trabajo regular aquí para conocer más gente, crecer, madurar… como quieran llamarlo. Estoy muy agradecida por todo lo que aprendí en esa oficina y por toda la gente hermosa que llevo siempre en mi corazón.

Agosto pasó rapidamente y las cuentas empezaron a llegar así que inicié mi busqueda (contínua) de empleo y conseguí trabajo en un centro de atención telefónica de una empresa de préstamos en el centro de Toronto… ya sé, ya sé… no me juzguen. El ir y venir en el tren me está matando a mí y a mi bolsillo y encima de todo el trabajo es a través de una colocadora así que  mi contrato acaba a finales de Febrero y ahí espero tener una mejor idea sobre qué hacer sobre mi vida profesional.

Canadians & Music

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En esta entrada voy a comenzar reiterando que el propósito de mi blog no es destacar los defectos de Ecuador o de los ecuatorianos. Adoro la música de mi país, me encantan muchos artistas ecuatorianos y canto muchas canciones tradicionales con mucho orgullo.

Me encanta la música en general y mi sueño frustrado es no poder cantar bien, aunque de todas maneras cuando estoy sola canto a todo el pulmón mis canciones favoritas. Seguramente no es regla general de todos los canadienses, pero al menos los que conozco y en el círculo social que me muevo, todos tienen un gran conocimiento musical y la gran mayoría sabe tocar un instrumento. Adicionalmente, la gente aquí prefiere la música “independiente”, es decir no les suele gustar lo que está de moda o lo que suena en la radio, les gusta lo auténtico y original y eso hace que haya un gran espacio para nuevos artistas pues hay para todos los gustos y hay presentaciones y shows  a precios exequibles. Muchas personas son artistas que tienen un trabajo regular, una familia regular pero también tienen su banda o grupo de música con la que practican y generan música e incluso tienen presentaciones, y no lo hacen por el dinero, sino más bien por el simple espíritu y satisfacción de poder tocar su música ante quien sea que los quieran escuchar.

Si bien me gustan bastantes géneros musicales y me creo abierta a sonidos nuevos, crecí viendo Mtv y escuchando la radio en Ecuador, por lo que mi carpeta musical en la computadora tiene bastante Pop en inglés y en español. También tiene rock debido a la influencia de tíos y mi hermano, pero no fue sino hasta conocer a mi esposo que pude escuchar cosas nuevas y ahora que estoy en Canadá, puedo ver cosas nuevas, y una de ellas es Danko Jones. Tuve la oportunidad de verlo en vivo hace unas semanas y fue una noche increíble!

Me gusta mucho que hayan espacios para que todo tipo de artistas puedan dar a conocer su música y espero que en Ecuador, la gente vaya creciendo y apreciando más lo local para poder brindar espacios a nuevos artistas, pues talento sobra en Ecuador!

Canadians & Music

I’ll start this entry stating again that the purpose of this blog is not to make a remark on the flaws of my country or of Ecuadorians. I love the music of my country, I love a lot of Ecuadorian artists and I sing proudly a lot of traditional songs.

I love all kinds of music and my dream since I was a little girl was to be a singer, later in life I came to realize that I can’t carry a tune! Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me from singing out loud with all my soul when I’m alone.  I’m sure is not a general rule in Canada, but it’s a general rule of the people I know that everyone has a vast musical knowledge and that most people can play at least one musical instrument. In addition, people here prefer “independent” music, they don’t really like what’s playing on the radio or what’s “trending”. They like authentic, original stuff and I believe that this is what made possible that there are a lot of venues and places for new artists of all kind of music genre and when they have a show, people can actually afford it! A lot of artists have a 9-5 job, a family, etc., but they also have a band to play their music, jam and create something new and when they go on shows or get to be known it’s not really about the money it could bring them, it’s really about the musical passion and spirit they have, it’s really about being able to play their music to whoever is willing to listen.

I do like a wide variety of music and I think I’m pretty open to new sounds (or I like to think I am), but I grew up watching Mtv and listening to the radio in Ecuador, so my music folder on the computer has a lot of Pop music in English and Spanish. I also have Rock type of music, mainly because of the influence of my brother and some uncles, however when I met my husband I was able to listen to a lot of different things and now that I’m in Canada, I get to see a lot of different things… one of these was Danko Jones. I had the opportunity of seeing him a few weeks ago at the Danforth and it was an AMAZING night!

I like it that there are a lot of places so that a lot of artists can perform and people get to know their music and I hope that people in Ecuador can grow to like different sounds as well so that they appreciate local music and that way we can give some space to new artists, because I’m sure there is plenty of talent in Ecuador.

EATING OUT / DURHAM REGION:

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Growing up in Quito and having an amazing chef (a.k.a. Mom) has made my taste in food very varied. I love eating good food, I love eating out, I love talking about good food and I love trying new flavors. While Toronto offers a great deal of amazing restaurants and my in-laws cook delicious meals, there are a few restaurants nearby that are my favorite not just because of good service (which is important), but because to my opinion they are THE best.  Hereunder there is a list of the places that have made it to my top ten because every time I have a bite of their food I think to myself: PERFECTION

Pita Delites: The best falafel and shawarma ever! Back in Quito there are a lot places that sell shawarmas, falafels and other yummy meals, but this place is amazing! I love how friendly they are and I especially love their baklava. Their prices are reasonable and the quality of their food could compare very easily to a fancy restaurant in Quito called Baalbek which is my favorite from back home. Pita Delites is located in Ajax.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pita-Delites/147021885353529?rf=159594454100673

I-Thai: I had Thai food for the first time ever when I came to Canada in 2013, after having it here I couldn’t believe how I went through life without eating this. I love their mango –veggie salad and their Chicken Pad Thai is so flavorful and it makes you wish the food was not running out every time you have a bite. This restaurant is located in Whitby:
http://www.ithairestaurant.com/home.html

Catrionas: This café has amazing sandwiches; the service is great and is a family-run place. My husband loves their sandwiches and so do I, but my favorite thing about this place it’s their Gelato. The first time I realized they had Gelato instead of ice cream they made the list because back home my weekend afternoons I’d spent them with my aunts having a gelato at the mall and Gelato is one of the first things I missed from back home when I came to Canada. I really don’t care if it’s healthier than ice cream or if it’s more expensive than ice cream. I just don’t like the cream of the ice-cream so gelato, especially at Catrionas, is my favorite desert ever! Make sure you try the lemoncello flavor! This café is also located in Whitby:
http://www.catrionascafe.ca/

PJ’s: Another located in Whitby. The first reason I loved this place was because it looks like the local spot of a movie (because I grew up in Quito, watching north-american movies, things “like in the movies…” are very significant to me).  The second reason why I like them is because of their all-day-breakfast! I’m one of those people that love having breakfast. If I could have breakfast for lunch & dinner I would. At PJ’s they sure know how to make breakfast and I always walked out of there with a full belly and a smile on my face. Anything you ordered here is GREAT. The only thing I’d add to the breakfast Menu is: homemade beans.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/PJ-S-Restaurant/127595130612315

 

Sushi T&T: This restaurant is located in Ajax. Anyone who likes Sushi as much as I do should go here! From the outside it doesn’t look as amazing as it is and you always get the impression there is only one waitress for all the tables, but don’t let that fool you; the service is great and fast and the food… well… if it’s on this list is because is PERFECTION. Another thing that I love about Canada is that most Sushi places are buffet style, so it’s perfect for me because when it comes to Sushi, I love over-doing it. http://www.sushitnt.com/index.php?option=com_rsform&view=rsform&Itemid=112


Sinatras:
One of the best places in Oshawa to have a hot sandwich! You can tell the food is made with love. I have the impression it’s packed at lunch time, but I usually go in the afternoon and you can actually sit and enjoy their creations. My favorite is the chicken sandwich; the second favorite is the meatball and in third place is the veal one. Have them with a san pellegrino soda can or a glass of wine at home.   http://www.sinatras.ca/

La Pizza & Pasta: Also in Oshawa and also Italian! Awesome Pizza! Do I need to say more? … This is the best pizza I’ve ever had! I can’t wait to try their pasta and deserts. They also make Arancini, which are these amazing balls of rice that I love to have with a tomato sauce or some bruschetta-like tomatoes. Be sure to check out the local newspaper, sometimes they have great deals for a very affordable price.  http://www.lapizzaandpasta.com/

TRAVEL TIP: Luggage Scale

With airline prices going up and luggage restrictions becoming more severe, it’s really anoying getting to the airport and realizing that you have to pay a lot for that extra kilo or two. A luggage scale would have been very useful when I came to Canada the first time and after realizing how useful it is I decided to get one myself. I love buying things online and after checking all the options and prices I decided on this one

Lagute Portable Digital Luggage Scale:
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00HNL0P40?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

My trip is still a few days ahead but one suitcase is already done and I know for sure I wont pay any fee for overweight.

Quote

” If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone that you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you”

Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Canadians & Beer

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Desde mis años adolescentes Pilsener ha sido la cerveza de los ecuatorianos, luego Club fue tomando fuerza y fue un gran revuelo cuando Brahma llegó al mercado.  Esas eran las opciones que teníamos, las 3 muy similares pues si no me equivoco las 3 son tipo pilsener. En los bares también se podía encontrar marcas internacionales como Budweiser & Heineken. Como la mayoría de los ecuatorianos yo soy fiel a la Pilsener. Cuando conocí a Steve, solíamos ir a un bar donde tenían cervezas importadas y él siempre decía que lo que no entiende es que a los ecuatorianos les gusta tomar cerveza, pero nunca toman otra cerveza y no hay muchas más opciones para elegir. Yo entendía su confusión, porque muchos de los pasajeros extranjeros (soy agente de viajes para Galapagos), me lo habían comentado ya, pero siempre fue un tema al que no le di importancia pues para mí con la Pilsener me bastaba. Con mi esposo tomé por primera vez una Guinness, me encantó el sabor, pero no me cambié a esa cerveza principalmente por el precio que tiene en Ecuador (cada lata cuesta alrededor de US $ 15). Para 2010 en Quito fueron apareciendo bares que tenían su propia cerveza y ahí entendí un poco más sobre lo que hablaba mi esposo; disfruté diferentes sabores y texturas, sin embargo, para una noche de viernes que se suele tomar más de una cerveza, la Pilsener seguía siendo la mejor opción. Entre el 2012 y 2013 (justo cuando mi esposo regresó a Canadá), fue el boom de la cerveza artesanal en Quito e incluso Club sacó su cerveza negra y roja. Con más opciones para elegir los precios también fueron más cómodos para mi bolsillo y el de muchos.

Aun después de haber vivido este cambio de oferta cervecera en Quito todavía no tenía idea por qué mi esposo siempre hizo la observación de falta de opciones, la pregunta fue respondida una vez que llegué a Canadá y fui por primera vez a la Tienda de Cerveza, a la Tienda de Licores y a un bar…hay muchas opciones, demasiadas para poder enumerarlas y distinguir características entre cada una de ellas. Mi esposo me lleva años de ventaja y sabe el sabor, textura,  color y rango de precio de la mayoría… Yo, siempre me quedo abrumada por las opciones y muchas veces escojo lo más conocido como Heineken, Corona o una Canadian por ser la más parecida a mí querida Pilsener, pero de vez en cuando pruebo algo nuevo y nunca me decepciona el nuevo sabor. Será la nostalgia o tal vez el hecho que la Pilsener es verdaderamente la cerveza de los ecuatorianos, que añoro mucho disfrutar de un rico ceviche con una pilsener bien fría o esas salidas de risas y jabas de los fines de semana.

Canadians and beer (ENG)

Ever since I was a teenager, Pilsener has been the main beer in Ecuador and their slogan says that it’s the beer of the Ecuadorians (yeap… in my country we make a pilsner beer called Pilsener). Club also is an Ecuadorian beer that’s always been the next best thing and when the Brazilian beer Brahma started to being sold in the stores there was a big marketing campaign and everyone was talking about it, nevertheless those three brands were the only choices we had (all pilsner type if I’m not mistaken) and I was happy with that as I didn’t need anything else besides Pilsener, because just as most Ecuadorians, my favorite beer is Pilsener. In some bars and restaurants you could also find international brands like Budweiser and Heineken.  When I met Steve, we used to go to a bar that used to sell, besides the local choices, other international beers and he would always say that he doesn’t get why there aren’t many choices to choose from even though Ecuadorians like to drink beer. I understood his confusion because a lot of my foreign customers had already mentioned this to me (I’m a travel agent for the Galapagos Islands) but I never gave it too much thought because Pilsener is all I needed. I had my first Guinness with my husband and I loved it, but I didn’t “switch” to it mainly because of the price in Ecuador (one can is about US $15.00). Around 2010/2011 a few bars with their own beer started to open in Quito and with a little more choice I had a better idea what my husband was talking about; I tried beers of different colors, different textures and I really enjoyed them, however in your average Friday night you are used to drink more than one beer so for me, Pilsener was still the best choice and I still loved (and love) its flavor. Between 2012 and 2013 (right when my husband moved back to Canada) there was a boom of craft beer in Quito and even “Club” released to the market its red beer and later its black beer and with more options to choose from prices became more accessible for me and for a lot of people.

Even after I witnessed firsthand the change of the beer industry in Quito, I was still not able to completely grasp the continuous observations of my husband regarding beer options in Ecuador, I finally comprehend what he meant when I arrived in Canada and went for the first time to The Beer Store, the LCBO and a bar… there are so many options, too many to itemize and highlight specific characteristics of each of them.  My husband has literally years of advantage and he knows about flavor, texture, color and price range of most of them… Me, I’m always overwhelmed with the many options and I’d usually pick something familiar like Heineken, Corona or a Canadian because that’s the one that has the most similar taste to my beloved Pilsener, however, sometimes I try something different and unknown  and when I do this I’m never disappointed. I don’t know if it’s because of being homesick or because Pilsener really is the beer of Ecuadorians that I yearn for a nice ceviche and a cold one or I miss those weekend nights of laughter and 12-packs.  

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CN TOWER – TORONTO (AUG 2014)

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Porque 30 años no se cumplen todos los días… El 9 de Agosto del 2014 agradecí a Dios por 30 años de vida desde lo alto! Una experiencia inolvidable!

Because you don’t turn 30 every day… on August 9th 2014 I stood a little closer to heaven and thanked God for 30 amazing years! A remarkable experience!

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Canadians & Pets

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Tener una mascota es una cosa que ha marcado mi vida en este país y sin dudar ni un segundo puedo decir que no podría vivir sin una mascota nunca más. Con mi familia casi siempre vivimos en departamentos y como en muchos casos alrededor del mundo no se permitía tener mascotas. Antes de irnos a vivir a Colombia teníamos una perra salchicha llamada Angy, tengo muy pocos recuerdos de eso, después tuvimos tortugas y peces. Mientras mi hermano cursaba la universidad nuestras mascotas fueron arañas, escorpiones, sapos e incluso planarias (una especie de gusanos aplanados que desaparecieron de un frasco cerrado y nunca más las vimos). Algunos prim@s tenían mascotas y cuando les visitábamos era la única oportunidad que yo tenía para compartir con un animal así, pero debo admitir que nunca sentí que me hizo falta en mi vida tener una mascota propia y a veces incluso veía raro ese amor un tanto obsesivo que muestran algunas personas por sus animales. Cuando conocí a mi esposo, él me contaba historias de su perrita y lo mucho que la extrañaba y en algún momento dijo bromeando: la única vez que un hombre puede llorar es cuando se muere su perro y yo a mis 26 años aún no entendía de lo que él hablaba. Así mismo, mi esposo se sorprendía del mal trato que tienen las mascotas en Ecuador, no todas… pero creo yo que hay una gran población de perros que pasan encadenados afuera todo el tiempo y siempre vi eso como algo común, entendía que para el animal no debía ser bueno, pero no me quitaba el sueño saber que así pasan su vida muchos perritos. Muy poca gente en Ecuador está acostumbrada a hacer caminar al perro y creo que esto fue lo que más me impactó al llegar a Canadá, pues pienso que tener una mascota aquí es toda una responsabilidad y el amor que se les tiene viene con esa responsabilidad por encima de cualquier comodidad.  El perro en Canadá sale a caminar llueva, truene o relampaguee literalmente, pues ni las bajas temperaturas del invierno impiden que los dueños de mascotas salgan a caminar para que su hijo peludo pueda hacer ejercicio, sus necesidades y estar al menos un momento en su ambiente natural. Hasta este día no he visto un solo perro que pase encadenado afuera de la casa todo el tiempo.

Hace pocas semanas el perro de la tía de mi esposo se murió y ver la tristeza que causó en ellos me llamó muchísimo la atención, pero sobre todo me di cuenta lo mucho que voy a sufrir yo una vez que nuestra perrita (porque ya es mía también, no sólo de mi esposo o su famiia), nos deje. Después de casi dos años de vivir con ella, sé que es mi amiga y mi compañera en esta nueva vida, que si me siento triste la tengo a ella para abrazar y acariciar, que si estoy feliz ella comparte mi felicidad y sobre todo que ahora entiendo ese amor raro y obsesivo de muchas personas pues hoy lo siento dentro de mí y no puedo imaginar cómo sería mi vida sin Raisin.

Canadians & Pets (ENG)

Having a pet is something that has made an impact in my life in this country and now, without doubt I can say that I could not live without a real pet (cats and/or dogs). While in Ecuador and Colombia we always lived in apartments and as it’s the case in many places, that means no pets allowed. Before we went to live in Colombia we had a wiener dog called Angy, I have little memory of that, and after that our pets were occasionally turtles and fish. While my brother was studying in the university we had unusual pets like spiders, scorpions and even planarians (some type of flat warms that disappeared from a closed jar and we never saw again). Some cousins and friends had pets and when we visit it was the only chance for me to spend time with an animal, I liked it but  I have to admit that I never felt that something was missing and I thought it was weird when people showed that obsessive type of love to their pets. When I met my husband, he told me stories about his dog and how much he missed her; one time he even said: the only time when a man is allowed to cry is when his dog dies and me with my 26 or so years of age did not understand what he was talking about. My husband was also surprised of the way some Ecuadorians treat their pets. I know not all pets are mistreated but I think there is a big population of dogs that spend their life chained to a wall in the backyard or something similar to it their entire life and I always thought of that as a common thing even though I understood that it can´t be good for the animal. Very few people in Ecuador are used to taking their dogs for a walk and this is one of the things that made more impact in me when I got to Canada. Having a pet here is a whole other responsibility and it comes above comfort for the pet owner. A dog in Canada is walked regardless of the weather and not even the low winter temperatures will stop a human father/mother to walk the dog so it can have a little fun and stretch its legs. So far I haven’t seen a dog that is chained outside all the time.

A few weeks ago Ginger, the dog of my husband’s aunt got really sick and passed away and seeing all the sorrow that caused them was surprising for me, but it also made me realized how much I will suffer once our dog (it’s no longer just my husband’s) dies. After almost two years of living with her; I know she’s my best friend and my partner in this part of my life, I know she’s there to comfort me when I’m sad and she share my happiness as well. I now also understand and feel that weird obsessive love I saw in pet owners and I can’t imagine my life without Raisin.