Thursday, September 3, 2009

La vida loca

WOW. That is the only word I can think to describe my experience so far. Everything is so overwhelming and new! It’s great…but exausting. I arrived Wednesday at 8 pm (After some delay in Denver/Miami). Flying into Quito was quite the experience- Quito is situated on the hillside of Mt. Pichincha and is surrounded by active volcanoes. With a population of 2 million people- the city lights were amazing! Quito extends 35 km (22 miles) lengthwise and only 3-5 km (2-3 miles) widthwise.
My mom was waiting at the airport with a sign- she hugged and kissed me on the cheek right away. Everyone is so friendly here! Driving back to my house was very interesting- Ecuador is home to many crazy drivers! Honking and cutting in front of another car is like saying hello. My mom was very good about speaking slowly so I could understand her. We had a nice conversation on the way home, and I got to stop and see their yoga studio. I live right in the city center, only 2 blocks from a line of “discotecas” or clubs. My dad and brother, Leonel, were very friendly and welcoming. There was also another guest, Rafael, staying at our home. From what I can tell, Ecuadorians always seem to have guests and willingly welcome people into their homes. We ate and drank tea and had good conversation- Nelson (dad) knows English pretty well so he could help me out when I was stuck. I was thinking about going to bed, but Leo offered an invitation to a discoteca with he and a few friends. I figured I might as well! It was very fun to go to the club and dance- about half of the music was American. I didn’t feel to out of place (maybe because it was dark) but I’m not usually one to sit back and watch while others dance and have fun! There was a lot of smoke, though. And moshing is big. There were about 5 songs where people ran in circles kicking their legs and pushing people. Not really my scene… However, the night ended well. I was exhausted and sore. It was a bit hard to go to sleep in an unfamiliar place, but I managed.
Today I got up and ate and ran some errands with my host mom, Leo, and Rafael. We did quite a bit of driving around, and I saw more of the city in the day time. One thing I found eye opening- at each stoplight people would be wondering around selling candy, gum, board games, newspapers, snacks- you name it. Many times it was women and children--quite sad. The supermarcado was fun to see, similar to the US, but one thing I thought was weird was that many items are in bags (ketchup, yogurt, milk). We bought TONS of fruits and vegetables- it will be fun to try them all. My mom also bought me beautiful flowers to welcome me!
I then unpacked my things and hung around the house before we ate a delicious meal- soup, stirfried vegetables of all kinds and an interesting (but good!) pasta salad. In Ecuador they eat big lunches in early afternoon then eat a snack or small meal in the evening/before bed. I then had my first group/class orientation this evening. It was nice to meet with everyone and speak a little English! I finished up the day watching a movie in Spanish with Leo and chatting with him- it was a good way to practice my spanish! Whew…after this detailed account, I’m off to bed- I have to be back at the HECUA office at 8:30 am. And I have an exam already! Yikes…

Muchos besos,

Don't worry- they won't all be this long!

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