Days 6-11 (August 17-22)

Hi All!

Sorry for the failure to update in quite some time! I have been studying for a large exam in my medical Spanish classes on top of my homework so I have been quite busy the last few days since returning from Puerto Lopez! But here’s an update on the weekend as well as the beginning of this week!

Day 6 (Friday): The school hosted a lunch of a typical fish plate which I believe was tilapia (picture below) along with salsa, and yuca. It was delicious, aside from eating the bones on occasion oops! Classes were after, which were interesting as always and then straight from there I prepared for our voyage to Puerto Lopez. We ended up having to take two buses to get there since the original bus company had overbooked so we left around 10 p.m and people are very fascinated when they can practice their English with people from the United States. I met the sweetest woman waiting at the bus stop who is a teacher and has been studying English and she didn’t even want me to speak Spanish to her because she told me she’d like to practice her English with me.

Day 7 (Saturday): After a very long, tiring trip to Puerto Lopez, we finally arrived! Puerto Lopez is known as the Galapagos for the poor, but still is very beautiful with many interesting places to see and travel to! Our first day here we traveled right outside of the city border to a place called Agua Blanca, which is a community where an indigenous community once lived and where members of a family still reside to run the small museum and reserve that they have.  We got a tour of the forests and then were brought to a sulfur spring that looked like a huge swimming pool. There you were able to put on the “magic mud,” which is supposed to rejuvenate your body and skin so of course the four of us girls put it on and got to jump into the sulfur water! The only downside to that is you smell like hardboiled eggs afterwards. We then returned to Puerto Lopez a few hours later and ate traditional Ecuadorian dishes. After dinner we went shopping around the small shops and stands that run down one of the main streets across from the beach and bought hammocks which are very popular in Puerto Lopez! The night ended early because the next day included an early morning preparing for whale watching!

Day 8 (Sunday): After getting up bright and early we went to a small restaurant that served us a traditional breakfast of a type of bread, butter, marmalade, and cheese with freshly squeezed juice. We then boarded the boat and took about a 1 1/2 hour trip to Isla de Plata (Island of Gold). The island is not actually made of gold, but our tour guide told us that the rocks that surround the shore which have bird poop all over them and appear white, used to appear to shine like gold to sailors and other people who were near the island, hence its name. When we got right outside of the coast of the island, we saw humpback whales! They were huge and such a beautiful sight to see them jumping out of the water! They were so incredibly close to the boat it was amazing. When we docked by the island, we then took a 2 hour hike up the mountains of the island, learning about the various medicinal plants, and being inches away from the wildlife that lives there, including the blue footed booby bird! We got to see them starting to try and mate by dancing around each other and all the noises the males make in order to impress the females! We then boarded the boat again and got the opportunity to snorkel right off the coast near the rocks of the island which was awesome. The fish were were close, and you saw rays and all types of coral and everything. Although the water was quite cold, it was definitely worth it! We then took a cold ride back to Puerto Lopez and ended the night with a simple Pollo a la Plancha which is in essence a grilled chicken filet with rice and beans. We then had to catch the bus back at 8pm and we drove through the night.

Day 9 (Monday): After arriving home at 5am from the bus, I slept in and just relaxed for the day Monday. I had classes in the afternoon and after just came home and had a nice dinner with my host mother, another student Abi, and my house mother. My house mother had a very deep conversation about her life lessons and it was so sweet of her. It was a nice girls night if you will!

Day 10 (Tuesday): I woke up early to go visit El Centro Historico (Old Town). There I viewed a few beautiful churches, had a museum tour, walked around the main Plaza, Calle La Ronda, and then took a taxi up to El Panecillo which is a huge statue of the Winged Virgin and also where you can get great views of the entire city of Quito. (Pictures below) Learning about the culture, independence, and history of Quito was very interesting for someone who doesn’t necessarily get along with the subject of history! The churches were beautiful and I wish I could share more pictures, but most of them do not allow you to take pictures. I used a travel book of Ecuador that included the prices, opening times, and tips of what to look for throughout the churches, museums, etc. which turned out to be very helpful and interesting while touring the places by myself! I then took a taxi back home, which is considered New Town, and headed to classes completely exhausted!

Day 11 (Wednesday): After a long day yesterday, I decided to take a break from sight seeing and just slept in and relaxed for the morning. Classes were this afternoon again, and I have a test coming up on Friday on everything I have learned thus far which is a making me a little anxious but I keep studying as much as I can! Tomorrow, I plan on waking up early and going to visit El Parque de la Mitad del Mundo, which is where they have created a line that shows where the Equator is supposed to be but I have recently learned that they are about 600 ft. off!

Hopefully tomorrow I will have more pictures to share and time to post again!

Buenas noches!

Day 3-5: August 14-16

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the not updating in a few, but I will get my last three days in right now!

Day 3: My second day of classes went well, I’m learning a lot of vocabulary and things about different diseases in the different fields of medicine. My teacher has also been having me watch YouTube videos on parasites and cases of people who have had them it’s a little freaky but interesting! The rest of the day I just relaxed since I am fighting off a cold because of how the weather and altitude are a lot different than at home. It goes from around 50-60 degrees in the morning to in the 70′s in the afternoon and back down in the evening or maybe a bit cooler so my allergies are not liking it too much!

Day 4: Today I decided to change my program. I will be staying in Quito for two weeks and then doing two weeks of classes online via Skype with a teacher. This type of program worked out better for my future graduate school plans as well as I will be able to have time to go and see the sights of the city without being as busy. I mostly hung around the school all morning working on homework and just relaxing since it is a very comfortable setting there. In the afternoon I had classes again, and then afterwards I made plans with a woman from Boston to go and see a show called Jacchigua which is a dancing and music show that goes through the cultural setting of Ecuador. It was amazing and very interesting to see the dancing, all of the colors, and the live band that played the entire show. I have shared some of my favorite pictures below. The show took place a few blocks away from school. Many places in Quito are very accessible by walking to them otherwise taxis are very cheap. I made friends with the taxi driver after the show because he could tell that I was from America and he is a huge Chicago Bulls fan go figure! He has a sister that lives in Florida and said that he is obsessed with Michael Jordan and collects his memorabilia. After arriving back at my homestay, my host mother had cooked cuy (COO-E) which for anyone who doesn’t know, is cooked guinea pig! I did try a small piece and it is a very rich meat. It was just alright to me, but it is popular in cities outside of Quito. She had prepared it because the daughter of her friend that was staying with us is a big fan of it and she was going to bring it back to her in Miami. (PIctures of all of this are below)

Day 5: Today I felt like relaxing a bit before classes since I really woke up and was feeling worse. I left for class a little early to stop at a little cafe that sells delicious sandwiches and other Ecuadorian foods and picked up a Empanada verde con queso. It is like a corn tortilla but thicker with cheese inside. I forgot to take a picture of it but it was delicious! Classes were the same, and afterwards I picked up some of this awesome dish soap they have here that is more of a cream that doesn’t waste all of the liquid soap we do! I figured my mom would enjoy it and I’m going to bring it back to school!

That’s all for now, enjoy the pictures, and I will probably update my blog after the weekend whale watching trip!

Day 2 Part 2: A Little Brighter Day (August 13, 2012)

Buenos días!

Good news! My luggage finally had arrived by the time I got back to my home stay for the night. The rest of yesterday was a very long day, filled with running around everywhere. I took the public bus which is crazy crowded but very inexpensive with it only being $0.25 per way to go through the city! Most forms of transportation in Quito are very inexpensive as well as the food. While waiting for my classes to start I went around the corner from the school to a small cafe and had a quesadilla and hot chocolate. It was not like the quesadillas we eat in the US, but it was a sweet bread that was very good. I also signed up for a weekend trip to an island to go whale watching and snorkeling! I’m really excited to finally be able to experience some part of Ecuador. It also rained for the first time since I’ve been here which was funny because my host mother was saying how in Quito you can get every type of weather within one day.

My first day of classes was very interesting. My teacher is very informative and is not only helping me learn new vocabulary for the medical field but is also helping me to understand how the healthcare system works in Ecuador. I feel like already my Spanish has improved so much just being exposed to everyone around me speaking it. I’m really looking forward to more lessons in the different areas of medicine! My teacher and I also had a 30 minutes conversation about how healthcare is very different in Ecuador compared to the United States! Here’s another fun fact about many South American countries: Each person typically has two first names and two last names! That was something I definitely didn’t know about South America.

After I returned from classes, I found that my host mother had some friends from Miami that had been visiting Ecuador staying with us until Thursday, and they are very nice and funny. We all ate beef, vegetables, and rice for dinner and afterwards I worked on my homework which I had quite a bit of. Other than that, myself and a the other students staying with me along with my host mom’s daughter who lives there as well decided on some trips we are going to take which is something to look forward to!

I realized yesterday after my first post that the date is wrong for some reason whenever I post on my blog so I will try and remember to put the correct day in the title that I am talking about!

I will updated about each day the following day so that it makes it a bit easier for everyone to follow. Hope everyone is having a great day and I’ll write again as soon as possible!

:)

Below are some photos that I have taken so far! Enjoy!

Quesadilla y Chocolate Caliente de Ecuador

 

 


Rain on the school balcony
My school: Yanapuma School and Foundation!View from my bedroom Part 1View from my bedroom Part 2View from my bedroom Part 3

Hello world!

Hola Todos!

I have finally arrived in Quito, Ecuador and it is amazing! The mountains are surrounding you everywhere you look, and the weather is beautiful! Although my traveling day was less than ideal, I can say that I’m just happy to finally be here! My host family is very welcoming, and being exposed to Spanish everywhere I go has already improved my dialect.

Day 1: After my traveling day I took the time to walk around the city and become acquainted with it. My host mom gave me a map and it is fairly easy to find places near where I’m staying. I stopped by the supermarket to pick up some toiletries that I didn’t pack since I knew I could get them down here. The rest of the day I relaxed and got to know my host family and the other students that are staying there as well.

Day 2: Today is my first day of classes! I woke up early this morning to walk with the other students to find where the school was located at and to use the internet to update everyone on my trip! In a little while I’m going to go and get acquainted with the clinic I’ll be volunteering at in the mornings and then my classes start at 2 everyday. A little worried since I don’t have my scrubs because they are in the luggage that has been lost since I arrived but let’s hope it turns up soon! I will try and update more on my day later if I can find some internet access otherwise hopefully tomorrow!