Archive for the ‘Sara in Ecuador’ Category

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Sara: My last post!

January 6, 2012

So this is my last blog post! I leave from Cochabamba  tonight and I will be spending my night in the La Paz airport. Then I leave from La Paz at 7a the next morning and arrive in Minnesota late at night; it’s going to be a long day but I am definitely excited to see everyone.

Being abroad has taught me so many things! There were good times and bad times, but overall, this experience has made me such a better person. I was able to reflect on all the things most important to me and was out of my comfort zone a lot of the time, but that was the only way I learned so much about myself.

I just want to thank everyone for following my blog, checking up on me and making sure I don’t get lost in the jungles of South America. I also want to thank all my family and friends for being there for me through this entire journey.

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Sara: Christmas in Bolivia

December 28, 2011

I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year! I spent my Christmas in Santa Cruz with my host family and extended host family. Here they open presents and do Christmas at midnight, 12a on the 25th. It was pretty cool to be part of another culture’s Christmas, but I definitely missed home a ton! 

I am finally back in Cochabamba now though finishing my last 2 weeks abroad. The trip back here was awful, 11 hour bus ride in the sweltering heat, although I can’t believe how fast this has all gone by!

I am super happy to be back in Cochabamba though, I really love my volunteer position here, I am working with the elderly and mostly I just hang out and hold their hands while they talk to me. Today I learned that Bolivianos (the currency) are used ALL OVER the world, including on the moon!  I hear some of the wildest things, usually we talk about where I am from and how long my hair is and that I should never cut it (at the center they specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia) so we talk about the same thing every day. I love the old people though and the staff are great too!

I also am having a great time teaching English to the 13-year-old girl here named Sophie.  I am also thinking about visiting an orphanage here for a day too where I would just hang out and play games, helping the staff there.  I still have to talk to my supervisor here and get that set up for next week sometime.

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Sara: Last day in Quito

December 8, 2011

So these are my last days in Quito and Ecuador.  I moved back from Otavalo last Saturday and had the opportunity to meet my dad’s boss (the one from the U. S.) and he gave me a bunch of goodies from my parents which was awesome!

But, here in Quito I have finished my paper, turned out to be a total of 40 pages and I get to present everything I have learned from my internship on Friday, which should just be super fun. Then I fly out of Quito at 8pm on Saturday, I will be spending the night in the Peru airport for a 10-hour layover and then off to Bolivia on Sunday morning.  Once in Bolivia I will have to get a visa and another plane ticket to Cochabamba where my volunteering will take place.

I can’t believe this has all gone by so fast, but yet I have one more part of my journey to complete! I hope everything is going well back at home and I miss everyone tons, also I attached a few pictures of my last days here just for fun! 

Taxilago on our way back to Quito Last night in Otavalo The hummingbirds for the festival Me and my host family in Quito 

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Sara: busy week in Otavalo

November 21, 2011

I figured I would update everyone on whats going on in life right now, it seems like its been awhile! I am still at my internship in Otavalo in the Hospital, I have been observing doctors and nurses in Emergency, Surgery, Gynecology, and the Birthing Center and I will be going to Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in the next 2 weeks then I head back to Quito for a week then off to Bolivia! Time is sure flying by!

This week was crazy, a friend and I did tons of things! On Tuesday we went to an indigenous healing center where we got “cleaned with an egg.”  The egg is used in indigenous medicine to diagnose illnesses, my cleaning said that I have a little pain, but other than that I was a very healthy person. We also hiked up to an exposition building that is shaped like a hummingbird (the national bird), but we got to see a lot of original artwork by an artist from Otavalo.

This weekend though a friend and I stayed in Otavalo instead of traveling to see all that we could here. On Friday we went out to dinner and then to my host dad’s birthday party where we sat and talked forever with my host family and friends. Then we woke up at the crack of dawn (6a) to go the animal market.  Here all the people come from all around the city and country to sell their animals, there were tons of pigs, bunnies, puppies, chickens, roosters, cows, calfs, bulls, guinea pigs, cats, ducks, llamas, alpacas, goats… everything! I have a few pictures attached. Then after that we went to the food market and the artisan market where we got some more souvenirs and did a little people watching. It was a great time!

On Sunday Shelby and I went to a laguna, which a lake formed by a volcanic crater.  We even took a boat ride around the lake and learned all about it. It was really beautiful to see, we hiked to the top of one of the nearby hills to get a great view of the lake.  To get there we took a camioneta, which is a pick-up truck taxi where we sat in the bed of the truck. It was fun! After that we went to this little house on the outskirts of Otavalo where we got full body massages, it was amazing.

This coming week I am only in Otavalo for 2 days, I head back to Quito on Tuesday night for a workshop at my school and then I am heading to Cuenca, a little artisan city in Ecuador for Thanksgiving. I am super excited, it is the last place I wanted to travel to while I am here! 

Jambi Huasi - The egg cleaning The Hummingbird building Animal Market - Guinea Pigs Animal Market - Cattle Animal Market - Llamas Animal Market - Ducks Animal Market - Carrying Chickens Animal Market Food Market Meat Market Artisan Market - Jewelry  Lake - Shelby and I Lake Lake - on the hike 

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Sara: Guayaquil

November 14, 2011

This past weekend me and a friend (Shelby) went to the largest city in Ecuador, Guayaquil.  It’s on the coast and it was HOT and super humid! We had a ton of fun and did a ton of different things; we happened to miss our flights, but got new ones so everything worked out pretty great in the end!

On Saturday we went to this giant market that was probably 4 football fields by 5 football fields, and yes we got lost quite a few times. We also spent some of the day walking along the boardwalk, called the Malecon and went to a random garden which was beautiful. We ate in a restaurant on the boardwalk where I had Churrasco which is beef covered in a red/yellow pepper and onion sauce topped off by a fried egg; definitely one of my favorite meals here! Then we found a free museum, which also happened to be air-conditioned, it was really cool to see all the old pirate relics!

Later that night we went out in some dresses we bought (which we tried on over our clothes in the middle of the market) and had dinner and decided to take a ride on a pirate ship that circled the harbor.  It was a lot of fun and after we headed back to our hotel because we walked almost a total of 20 miles this weekend!

On Sunday we went back to the market and walked around some more and took tons of pictures with statues and of buildings, Guayaquil really is an amazing city.  We stumbled upon this park in the center of the city which was crawling with iguanas (hence the name iguana park).  The iguanas were roaming free and there were a ton up in the trees too, we also saw quite a few snapping turtles at the park and a ton of pigeons too. We then flew back into Quito and then took the bus back to Otavalo, to our internships, which will start back up tomorrow. Only 4 more weeks left in Ecuador though, time is really flying by!

The Malecon The Garden Shelby and I, before the Pirate Ship Another Garden Me at Iguana Park Iguana Park

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Sara: Galapagos Islands!

November 7, 2011

I got back yesterday from the Galapagos Islands, it was so surreal being there and knowing all the history and theories of evolution behind it! I even got a picture with a statue of Charles Darwin. The first day we got there we went to the Charles Darwin Research Station and saw tons of animals from lizards and iguanas to finches and turtles. The iguanas were everywhere though, all over the beaches and in the streets. I am not a fan of them at all.

The second day we took a 1.5 hour boat ride to an island named Floreana. Here we hiked for awhile and then went snorkeling, I got to see tons of exotic tropical fish and we even swam with sea turtles. After we had lunch on the island and then took a truck ride (where we rode on the roof) to the inner part of the island to see some HUGE turtles and also to look at the pirate caves.  It was pretty amazing.

The third day we were there we walked to Tortuga Bay in the morning (a 45 minute walk) and then relaxed and swam at the beach, on the way there were iguanas everywhere bathing in the sun, we had to watch where we were walking. The beach was beautiful, white and sandy! Then in the afternoon we on another boat ride, a little shorter this time about 45 minutes to another island named Santa Fe. We couldn’t go on the island but we circled it in the boat and then jumped off for awhile and snorkeled.  It was so cool, a seal swam right underneath me and I could almost touch it, then the guide grabbed a starfish from the bottom of the ocean and we all got to hold it!

Finally on our way back we saw tons of manta-rays jumping out of the water and even a few sharks. We also saw the National Geographic Boat that was stationed off of one of the islands. The last day we went to these twin craters that were formed from the volcanoes near the islands, they were huge but really awesome to see!

It was an awesome trip overall, tons of wildlife and tons of beaches! I would love to go back anytime!

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Sara: The Internship

October 29, 2011

So I just finished my first week at my internship at el Hospital San Luis de Otavalo, which is like 2 hours north of Quito. I live with a different family here, they are really cool though and have had tons of international students so they know the drill. I have a host mom (Alba), a host brother who’s 9 (Andres), and a host sister who’s 12 (Domenica), and my host dad works during the week so I haven’t met him quite yet, but from what I have heard he is a great cook and an awesome guy.

I spent this week in the ER in the hospital shadowing a doctor and investigating the situation of patient privacy in the hospital. It’s kind of a hard subject to study, but I am super motivated because I also will be writing a 20 page paper on it at the end of my internship.  But I have seen quite a few different things, I cannot believe how many people have appendicitis in the ER. It has been a really interesting experience for me though and I will be doing rounds in the entire hospital, so I wonder what the coming weeks will have in store for me!

Although next week I will be going to the Galapagos Islands for 4 days which I cannot wait for right now! I am so super excited, I will be heading back to Quito on Monday night and then to the Galapagos by plane on Tuesday morning!

Attached are a few pictures of my new house and the emergency room at the hospital,

IMG_1506 IMG_1510 Emergencia (3) Emergencia (5) IMG_1526 

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Sara: Banos and the move to Otavalo

October 26, 2011

This past weekend I went to Banos! It was so much fun, and everyone has been asking me what we did in Banos… the answer EVERYTHING! We got there on Friday night and ate some great Filet Mignon and then on Saturday we walked around the city, took a tour of the waterfalls in an open-aired party bus then hiked up and down a mountain to see the waterfalls, had a 2 hour massage and facial for only $35!, rented a go-cart, drove that to the hot springs, then had another amazing dinner at this restaurant called “La Casa de la Abuela.” Then on our way back to returning the go-cart we got stuck behind a 15 minute long funeral procession! Then on Sunday we went white water rafting (this is waaay more intense then a little river) with wet suits, life jackets, and helmets. We were in a boat with 3 guys from Poland which was super cool too! Although, the guide pushed me into the river and I had to get rescued by one of the Polish guys. It was fun nonetheless. We then took the bus home after saying goodbye to the awesome old couple that ran the hostel we stayed in and helped us with everything on our journey…we made record time back to Quito (3 hours).

But today I was up early and packed.  I moved to Otavalo (2 hours north of Quito) and am currently living with my new host family.  I have a mom, a dad, a sister who is 12 and a brother who is 9.  I start my first day of my internship in the Hospital tomorrow which I am really excited but a little nervous for!

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Sara: Busy week

October 17, 2011

Wow this past week has been crazy for me! My friends and I went to “El Rey León” or The Lion King in 3D (and yes in Spanish).  It was super fun listening and watching the movie and all the songs in Spanish, but knowing what they were saying in English too.  I have been incredibly busy finishing classes here and working on tons of homework and essays! On the 24th of October I will be starting my internship in the ER and possibly also in a Psychology Office, but we’ll see about that one.

This past week I also planned my trip to the Galapagos Islands; I will be going November 1–4.  I am so excited we get to visit Tortuga Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Center.  The trip is going to be incredibly fun! I also had my first experience with the Ecuadorian Post Office this past week which was awful… I went to get a package my parents sent me on Thursday and they took a copy of my passport and told me to come back on Friday.  So I returned on Friday to get another slip of paper which said I needed to pay a tax for the package at the bank which was 8 blocks away.  I walked to the bank, walked back and waited another hour and a half for my package, and I was the only person in the Post Office waiting.  By the time I received my package and left it was 5:30 at night, it took me 2 days and 2.5 hours!  Although, the peanut butter that my parents sent me made it all worth it in the end! Here a little jar of peanut butter (12 oz.) costs about $6.00!

Right now though I am writing yet another essay and getting ready to move to Otavalo for 6 weeks.  This coming weekend I believe I am traveling to Baños, which is a volcano with a hot springs, so it will be a really nice break before starting my internship!  But I am halfway though my entire stay abroad which is crazy to think about, time is moving my so fast! I will be in Bolivia in no time!

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Sara: The Amazon

October 11, 2011

This weekend we went to the Amazon! The first night there we hung out and went to the discotecas and this yummy place called cafe tortuga which had amazing desserts.  Then on Saturday we took a tour through the Amazon.  We took a canoe up the river then went on a 3 hour hike into the jungle.  On the hike we learned a ton about natural medicine and even got to try some leaves that tasted like gum (chicle) and also some natural anesthetic (also leaves that we chewed) which made our mouths go numb for awhile.  We also ate live ants that tasted just like lemons!  After our jungle tour we canoed up the river to eat lunch, visit a museum and go to a zoo/animal reserve.  There were a ton of animals that we got to see and there were over 100 monkeys just freely roaming! Dinner was amazing back in Tena, I had filet mignon and pasta, but the restaurant we ate at had 2 sloths just hanging out throughout the restaurant!

Unfortunately, our Ipods and cell phones got stolen out of our hotel room during our tour in the jungle.  We filed a police report, but within the Ecuadorian justice system there wasn’t a whole lot we could do.  The most important thing is that we were completely safe and only our electronics were stolen.  Overall though, the weekend was awesome and the Amazon was a really great experience to have.  It’s crazy but I only have 2 more weeks left in Quito and then I will be moving to Otavalo to work in the ER at my internship!

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