Journals from Year abroad in Quito, Ecuador
2008-12-16 Intro to Quito
For all those reading this blog who dont know me, I ought to start with a brief introduction. My name is Katelyn Krygowski and I am a junior Spanish and Sociology double major. Ill be here in Ecuador for a year so youll be hearing a lot from me probably. I chose to come to Ecuador for a year rather than choosing to study abroad in one country for each semester because I wanted to really get to know the country, the people and my community in which I would be living. Im so glad that I made that decision because, now that I am nearing the end of my first semester I feel like I am finally getting comfortably and adjusted to living here and Im not ready to leave.
The first two and months of my stay here I lived in Quito, the capital city, along with the other Linfield students. My home was an apartment on the 6th story where I lived with my host mom, Maria and my host sister Danni who is 15. Initially we got along really well (Ill get to the not so initially part in a later entry) and I enjoyed having long conversations with Maria about Ecuador and doing simple things together such as going to the local Santa Maria, a grocery store, and looking at and shopping for the plethora of fruit there. The apartment itself was beautiful; it had many windows from which I could see the entire city. My apartment wasnt too far, as far as buses go, from where Nadia Abraibesh is living, one of my friends and fellow Linfield students. It took me only one bus to get to her apartment; however, I could never have walked there as it was across town. The university, USFQ, La Universidad San Francisco de Quito, was a two hour trip from my house each morning which, surprisingly only took two buses and a morning walk of 30 minutes. La USFQ is in another city down from Quito, in Cumbaya which explains its distance away but the students are placed in Quito because there are far more things to do and see in Quito. On the way back home it took me three buses because, to avoid walking home in the dark, I would take an extra bus. (Oh, just a note, it gets dark here every day at around 6-6:30 because of Ecuadors latitudinal position on the equator which makes it really easy to tell what time it is.)
Now, my living situation is very different. Now I am living in Lumbisi, a semi indigenous community which is a 15 minute bus ride down from La USFQ. I say that it is a semi-indigenous community because even though it is defined as an indigenous commune and there are entire families, i.e 4 generations, living here, most of the residents have not retained their indigenous customs, language (Quichua) or dress. Life in Lumbisi is much different from what life in Quito was like in many ways. The most notable difference is that it is a very small, protective little agrarian community. In Lumbisi people greet on the streets and stop to talk right in the middle of the road, not worried about getting run over by passing cars, perhaps passing cows but even the cows are friendly and just swerve around. Speaking of friendly people, my new host family is amazing! I am living with a mom, dad, and three little Ecua-sisters-Ana, Marcelo, Christina, Andrea and Marcela. The family dynamic is completely different-the house is alive with the noise of children playing, laughing and yes, crying but it is wonderful. It has been nice to be able to live in two different environments, and to live the different pace and lifestyle of each.