I arrived in Ecuador, along with several other students from the Oregon program, at 11 o’clock at night. I had woken up at 4 am to catch my first flight, so it’s safe to say I was a little tired. Thankfully customs and baggage claim went smoothly, and soon I was thrust into the airport’s foyer where what seemed to be a thousand eager Ecuadorians were waiting to greet new arrivals. I located my host family, received warm hugs and greetings from them, and off we went into the surprisingly cold night.
That first night everything seemed very new and disconcertingly foreign, as one might expect. I have now been in Ecuador for six days, and I am fast becoming adjusted to my new surroundings. The food is excitingly different, the nights are frigid, the greetings are frequent and always involve an air kiss, and the driving is terrifying, but most importantly the people are extremely welcoming. Ecuador is a nation of diversity, whether it be of the people – the country is home to many indigenous groups – or the flora and fauna – per square kilometer, Ecuador is the most biodiverse country in the world. I look forward to exploring more of this place in the next several months.