This seems obviously, but it’s more than just a house door. It’s the gate in front of the apartment door, the bathroom door, the bus doors, the car doors. The doors opening and closing, the sounds of the outdoors mixing with the sounds from inside the house—it makes for a constant flux of movement being heard throughout the day.
I’ve pretty much memorized the car alarm pattern from the lot across the street. Nearly every night, at least one of the car alarms is triggered, usually lasting from 2 to 10 minutes.
Along with the many domestic dogs, there are also plenty of stray dogs. Although these look healthier than the strays in some places, they still clearly do not receive care. As they roam the street, their barks and howls fill the night air.
This one’s a given. I hear Spanish on the bus, at school, in my house, pretty much everywhere. Although I don’t understand everything, I’m getting better at figuring out the context of a conversation.
The number of gringos in Quito, particularly at USFQ, means that I hear a lot of English. But it usually throws me off, because I will have been trying to listen to or practice Spanish, and all of a sudden I’ll understand every word! I get excited for a second, before remembering that it’s my first language, so it’s good I understand. Once I answered the house phone, in Spanish, and an American woman on the other end spoke in English to say that she had the wrong number. I don’t know which one of us was actually more confused.
My host mother loves watching TV, or at least having it on in the background. As someone who hasn’t had a television at HPU and who is more inclined to watch sports or a crime series, listening to Ecuadorian telenovelas (soap operas) and infomercials is a big change of pace. Once again, though, it’s great for listening to the language.
With my almost-2-year old host nephew around the house quite often, I can hear the wonderful laughs suddenly transform into merciless screams, only to change into a quiet giggle. I enjoy hearing his speech development, especially since he learns so quickly. My goal is to not have him surpass my speaking capabilities before I depart.
BirdsI don’t always see the birds, but I can hear them all the time. I asked what one little bird was called, and my host mother told me it was a “pajarito,” literally, little bird. Since then, I’ve just accepted the chirps without further investigation. There is a beautiful hummingbird on campus, however, called a sparkling violetear, which is stunning, even when he almost flies into the back of my head.