Since arriving in Quito my life has seemed to be such a world wind but I could not be happier. In the beginning, I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say the most nerve racking part about coming to Ecuador was when our group arrived in Quito and we had to go our own ways to meet our host families for the first time. These nerves didn’t last long at all after I was welcomed with a big hug from my host mom and a host brother who offered to take my bags for me. From the very moment I met my host family I knew right away that I was going to feel right at home. After my first night in Quito my family has had nothing but kind, caring and understanding attitudes that really helped take stress off me in the first couple weeks. I also think the fact that they remind me of my big and outgoing family back in the states is a bonus because it really makes me feel like part of the family.
Once our group had attended a long orientation and our classes started, we began to settle into our new life in the big Ecuadorian city of Quito. At first the routine of public transportation and full spanish immersion was a bit overwhelming. The staring eyes everywhere I went took a little while to get used to as well, especially when I was still trying to figure out my way around the city. Now that it has been a couple of weeks I would say that I am super confident in my routine here in Ecuador. A typical day for me includes classes Monday-Thursday usually finishing around 4:00pm. To get to and from my University in Cumbaya I take 3 buses each costing $0.25 and taking me about 1hr 15m. Luckily, I have since met an ecuadorian friend who lives nearby and can drive me sometimes which only takes 25-30 min to get to school, saving me time and money.
Ecuabuddies is one of the programs here to meet and interact with ecuadorian students. The Linfield group and I have had some fun times with ecuabuddies, especially the pickup fútbol games on wednesdays, but I still felt I was missing the raw immersion. One of my biggest fears about coming to Ecuador was not being able to immerse myself enough into the culture and the people here, but I have figured out a couple ways to branch out since then. First thing I did was take an extra art class that won’t count towards my Majors but allowed me to have a class with full ecuadorian students, unlike my other classes that were all for international students. Considering that I am not that shy of a person I also decided to join the salsa club on campus, allowing me to meet some really fun, interesting people and practices my already awesome dancing skills. Last, I just decided to just step out of my comfort zone and try as much as I could.My decision to ask a girl I didn’t know for help with my computer has gained me a bunch of ecuadorian friends here in Ecuador and has really made my time here that much more amazing.
Although the first couple of weeks were time for us to settle into our new home, we still found time to do some pretty amazing things. Our program provided us with a trip to centre historico in Quito. I was excited because I knew that Quito was the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so I knew it was going to be beautiful. Here we got to visit an indigenous museum, Basilica del Voto Nacional, plaza de la independencia and the fully plated gold church of San Francisco, Quito. The entire Linfield group also planned to visit Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world) together. First we stopped at the huge monument placed in 1736 by the French Geodesic Mission then we went to the current location 250 meters away in the rad Museo de sitio intiñan. I am not going to brag but I was the only one that could balance an egg on the equator. Next up was the Ecuador vs. Columbia soccer match. I am so glad I was able to have this experience. The energy was unlike any game I have ever been too I will probably go back to another, but next time learn the lyrics to the famous song they sing “Yo te diré.” Last I want to wrap up this post talking about my amazing experience taking the TeléferiQo and submitting the 4696m high Rucu Pichincha Volcano. I am not going to lie when I say that this hike was probably one of the hardest hikes I have ever done. It also probably didn’t help that I was not super adjusted to the high altitude of Quito yet but, I will say that this hike was 100% worth it. I love hiking back home in the states so, having the opportunity to hike such a beautiful new place and have a view of a volcano and Quito was a vision I won’t forget.
I can not believe the amazing time I am having here. I think that its been filled with such rich adventure that I never got the time to be homesick. I really believe that I am learning so much and growing as a person. I am so blessed to be able to have these experiences and I will not take them for granted. Although my time seems to be going by so fast, I am trying to embrace every part of it. If you want to continue with my crazy adventures in Ecuador, you can look forward to hearing about the beach, the amazon forest and the Galapagos islands! So until then…
Nos vemos y saludos,