Posts Tagged ‘MSID Ecuador’

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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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Hilary: 6 months has come to an end

December 30, 2011

So I am back in the United States after a twelve hour plane journey from Quito to Chicago I was picked up from the airport by the lovely Kendal Ann (Cupcake) and my mom.  I found my self stuttering with English and thanking the people that got me through customs in Spanish.  It is always great to come home, but weird at the same time.  I had a really wonderful experience abroad.  I am most proud of my language improvement and my academic work,  this study abroad program has advantages and disadvantages but i know that my monograph with serve me very well for future research proposals and grants.  I will miss saying ‘buen provecho’ and ‘que te vaya bien!’  I will be practicing my Spanish every chance that I get and I will hopefully stay in contact with the wonderful friends that I made.

Reflecting on my experiences I am bringing back a better sense of what sharing is, the knowledge that money really doesn’t matter (this one is hard to find in the states and in my perspective needs a lot of reflection), and i recognize that time moves quickly wherever you are so go with your gut and enjoy yourself.

I am still standing on both feet trying to find my balance in life; balancing the spiritual with the physical and mental, the spiced with the bland, peace with chaos, and work with play.

I missed all of my friends and family dearly, I can’t wait to truly reconnect and put my changing link back into my growing circle.

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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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Chelsea: Why is everyone speaking English?

December 20, 2011

I am officially back at home in Illinois!

Last week my parents came to visit me in Ecuador – and despite some major problems with flights, we had a great week!

After finally picking them up at the airport, we headed back to stay with my host family in Quito! On Saturday, we went with my mom & brother around to different sites in Quito – we visited Mitad del Mundo (the Equator), the Basilica, and the historic center and on Sunday headed 2 hours north to Otavalo to visit the artisan market and the impressive waterfalls in Peguche. I had a great few days showing them my daily life in Quito and translating the conversations between my two families! We also visited my school on Monday and went up the mountain in a cable car. 

On Tuesday, we left for the Galápagos Islands to take a 4-day boat tour of a few of the northern islands. We had a fantastic trip! We visited a few islands, but got to see sea lions, giant tortoises, lizards, iguanas, crabs, and penguins and snorkel with sea lions, tropical fish, jelly fish, and sharks! An amazing experience with beautiful scenery and playful animals. We stayed on a small boat with only 5 other people and had a great time getting to know our boat-mates from Canada and Germany!

When we got back on Friday, we spent a final night with my family in Quito and went to La Ronda in the historic center to walk around, listen to some music, and drink some warm wine to celebrate my dad’s birthday!

Unfortunately on Saturday, we got delayed leaving Quito over 6 hours which caused us to miss our connection in Miami. After much time spent in the airport, we finally flew out (luckily) early Sunday morning and got home at about 4:00am…our bags got home over 30 hours later. But, despite the travel headaches, it was a fantastic last week in Ecuador and it feels good to be home! It’s weird hearing only English, throwing toilet paper in the toilet, and not eating rice everyday…but overall, it’s great to be home with a tiny bit of snow & I’m excited for the holidays! 

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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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Hilary: 7 days left!

December 6, 2011

Yes, 7 days left of my 6 months abroad!  I am currently back in Quito taking a break from writing my final term project.  Last week was a whirlwind of feelings, celebrations, and fun.  There was a big celebration at school on Friday to send me off.  I was showered in flowers, dancing, and many thanks.  I had a great experience teaching at Nazacota Puento and learned a lot about teaching in rural areas.  I know that my experience has helped me identify a lot of my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, and shown me that i have a critical but hopeful view of education.

On Thursday I held a meeting with all of the teachers in the school to talk about my experience at the school as a student teacher, and to share my point of view.  We talked about working as a team, using and reusing resources, sharing their successes and challenges as teachers, working better with the families of the students, and how to better the quality of education with the tools that they have.

I am writing my term thesis on the quality of education in rural ecuador and how pedagogy affects quality of education.  I am also commenting on how in general there is inequality in education as far as quality and how this inequality reflects the inequality seen in society as far as living circumstances and the valorization of life.

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Chelsea: Thanksgiving in Quito

November 27, 2011

I spent this weekend at “home” in Quito with my family – all in all, it was a fantastic weekend and just what I needed 🙂

On Thursday, our school held a Thanksgiving celebration for all of the students here. It wasn’t quite the same – but it was a nice thought and a great time to reunite with friends. It was held in a nice banquet room and everyone brought a dish to share! I attempted to make apple crisp, and despite a few different ingredients, it surprisingly turned out better than expected! Right after eating a lot (mashed potatoes and turkey!!! …and some not-so-traditional Thanksgiving food), the music started and I was grabbed to dance as I was still chewing dessert! Quite the change from the sweatpants and football game. So, we danced the night away and had a lot of fun!

The Thanksgiving feast!

My family definitely rocking the dance floor 🙂

The next morning there was a band competition between the neighborhoods here, that of course started at 5am right behind my house! A little later, at a normal hour, I went with my aunts and the kids from the daycare to go watch! It was a lot of fun, especially dancing with the little kids – adorable 🙂 And, our band won so we were even on the news that afternoon!

Also, later that night around 8:00, there was an Earthquake in Quito! It happened about 45 minutes from us and was magnitude 4…and I definitely felt it! My whole house shook for almost a minute – such a weird feeling!

Yesterday, I attended a “school program” for my brother Pablo. I was expecting a meeting at the school…and that was definitely wrong. We went to one of the students’ houses and basically had a party! We all danced (even the YMCA), played some intense musical chairs (where you eliminate chairs, but just sit on other people), tug of war (with a pool in the middle), and more dancing! So much for just the afternoon – we were there for about 7 hours (1 of which was the actual “meeting” of the parents between dances)

…musical chairs 🙂

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend here at home in Quito. Now, I’m heading back to Latacunga for my last week of my internship and on Friday, I’ll be back in Quito for my last week of the program! I absolutely cannot believe I will be home in just 3 weeks – this semester has flown by so fast! I’m excited to see family & friends and be home for the holidays…but I’m definitely not ready to leave Ecuador nor return to reality…

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