Posts Tagged ‘Quito’

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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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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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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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Chelsea: Bye Bye Quito

October 24, 2011

his is the first blog post I write with tear-filled eyes…

Unfortunately, I leave Quito tomorrow morning…and with that I also leave behind many friends and a wonderful family. Although I will be back throughout the next couple weeks, it’s starting to set in how little time I have left here and I can already feel my heart breaking!!

…here’s a recap of the weekend:
On Friday, I finished my last day of class with an essay and presentation! After classes I was able to finalize all of the details for my trip to Peru (which I leave for this Friday, ahh!) and spend time with some friends! That night, I went with two friends to La Ronda, a more historic part of Quito which is beautiful at night! We ordered hot chocolate and huge empanadas (that are incredibly delicious) that we couldn’t even eat half of – definitely should have shared. Afterwards, we walked around the streets a little bit, went into a few shops, and just enjoyed the beautiful night!!

On Saturday, my brother had classes all day to make up for a vacation day next week (how horrible) and my parents had to work in the morning. But, afterwards we made chocolate chip cookies – unfortunately they turned out a little bit flat, but I still managed to sneak a bit of cookie dough to eat. I spent the afternoon with my family and then went out (at 4:00, haha) with my friend Liz and a few of her Ecuadorian cousins here. After getting a little lost (I was glad to know that Ecuadorians too got lost here!!), we arrived at a high school dance…no joke. But, it was actually a lot of fun! Here, you can buy alcohol and smoke inside – so it was a little different atmosphere, and it wasn’t all high school kids – it was mostly people our age! Overall, it was a lot of fun and many many hours of dancing!

Today was a great last day with my family! I went with my mom to her job a little over an hour away. Besides running her own daycare, one day a week she works as a psychologist for a school/daycare and today she was holding a conference for parents at the school. It was really interesting and I’m glad I got to attend! Afterwards, we went to a restaurant with the family and I willingly (I even asked!) to try fried sheep’s blood. I know, what has gotten into me? Don’t worry, I’m still freaked out by vegetables on my sandwich. But, surprisingly it was actually pretty good – it just tasted like a spice!!

Afterwards, on the way home, my brother fell asleep on me – it was adorable, and I finally feel like I now have a younger sibling! Then, we came back home and my mom and I fell asleep on her bed watching Finding Nemo…totally precious. As we were making dinner, my mom and I were talking…and this turned into crying. My mom has such a big heart and really considers me her child! It was super sad to realize that I’m actually leaving tomorrow, but luckily I’ll get to come back! Later, I watched a little bit of Willy Wonka with my brother and he read me a Franklin the turtle book, which definitely took me back! 

…now, I’m avoiding packing! It’s hard to pack up again, not knowing what to expect. Although it will be hard to be totally by myself and not see my friends anymore and to move in with a new family, I know that it will be an equally interesting / fun experience! So, here’s to starting a new chapter of my life here in Ecuador, that is if I ever get packed…

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Hilary: Looking forward…and backward

October 23, 2011

Today I find myself in the middle of the last Saturday in Quito before I start a six-week internship on Monday!  I have enjoyed my time in here, but I am ready to say chau, hasta luego!  For I know it will be all too soon when I am back in Quito on a Saturday preparing for my flight home.

On Monday, I am moving to Cotocachi, north of Quito by about 2 hours and about 20 minutes away from one of the world’s biggest artisan markets in Otovalo.  I will be living in Cotocachi and working in a school called, Nascota Puento, in San Pedro (about 15 minutes by bus).  I will be living with Marcia Tapia, a very experienced and influencial teacher at the school.  For the six weeks, I will be teaching English and helping the English staff plan a better English program.

My goals for this program are for the English curriculum to be: relevant to the students, the families, and the community; for the English to be of a high quality (yes vague, but I don’t feel I’m qualified to extrapolate); for the classes to be interactive, dynamic, and sequential; and for the program to be open, flexible, and adaptive for the future.

It’s been real Quito; my favorite things to do:

  • Going to the teleferico and climbing pichincha
  • Going running in the Carolina (big park)
  • Dancing to live music (rare, but it happens)
  • Shout out to the salsa club Mayo 68, excellent music, great dancers, safe and friendly place!  It is in the Mariscal, but its all locals!
  • Eating breakfast at the Colombian pan store just down the street
  • Listening to the music on the buses
  • Watching free Andean dance shows
  • Getting serenaded by guitar trios
  • Drinking candelasos in la ronda (A candelaso is a hot drink kind of like a cider with sugar cane alcohol)
  • Running into people who recognize my dreads but never my name
  • Watching telenovelas with my host-mom in her bed when I don’t want to go out
  • Only paying 25 cents to go all the way across the city
  • Walking through the Artisan markets
  • Meeting Mari at the supermaxi in Cumbaya
  • Forgetting how to speak/write in English
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Chelsea: Cuenca & Quito

October 20, 2011

I’ve had a great past week here in Ecuador! After classes last Friday I flew with two friends to Cuenca, a city about 6 hours south of Quito. After a quick flight (35 minutes in the air!), we landed in Cuenca and had the night to walk around the beautiful city! It seemed a lot like Europe to me and was so much cleaner and youthful than Quito!

An incredible sunset from the airplane – definitely a sign of a fantastic trip to come!

The beautiful city of Cuenca!

Overall, a fantastic weekend in Cuenca! We ate at a few good restaurants, walked around the city (it felt so good to finally be able to walk again, because we rarely get the chance in Quito), visit an incredible art market (Cuenca is known for its art, ceramics, and jewelry), and go out dancing with some Cuencanos that we met on Saturday! Unfortunately on Sunday, we had to leave. I definitely want to return – it was such a beautiful city and a fun weekend with friends!

This week is my last week of classes in Quito! I had a final exam in Spanish on Monday and my last essay due tomorrow…but luckily, we had yesterday and today off to write our essay! …and of course, that means time to explore Quito! Yesterday, I went with some friends to walk around Quito a bit. In the afternoon, we went to the Historic Center of Quito and went inside the Basilica! It was absolutely gorgeous and we climbed all the way to the top of the bell tower and steeples…there were a few really scary ladders and steps we had to climb, but we did it and it was a great view!

…off to adventure a little bit more this afternoon before actually writing our essay for tomorrow!

All in all, I can’t believe this is my last weekend in Quito! I’ve become so comfortable with my daily life here and it’ll definitely be hard to leave my family here – they’re already making me sad every time they talk about it! But, it should be a great last weekend here and then I leave Monday for Latacunga (about 2 hours south) to start my internship in micro finances for the next 5 or so weeks! Time is flying by – I can’t believe my time here is already halfway over!

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