Where am I????
Quito, Ecuador. A place that about three months ago, had never even crossed my mind. A perfect mix of fate and convenience has brought me to this vivacious city for a full 6 weeks. I have successfully managed to make it through three thus far… It’s incredible how quickly you can acclimate to such a foreign place. Already, I feel as though I am home. Now, allow me to bring you through the events that have brought me to where I am today.
And it begins…
The first few days were a blur, it’s a lot to take everything in all at once. Luckily, I’ve been disciplined enough to journal every day for when my memory fails me. On this journey, there are nine other students alongside me, none of which I had known previously. We’re all staying a large, five-bedroom apartment. By the grace of God, we got all got along swimmingly from the get-go. It only took us until day-two to cave and order Domino’s…
The first week was a time meant for settling in. We mostly just did a lot of tourist activities. Went to the equator, zip-lined through the rain forest, etc. Makes it really easy to fall in love with a place with sights like these. There were definitely a few things to get used to, however. The constant rain, not understanding anything that anyone is saying, not being able to flush your toilet paper, all that fun stuff. Culture shock is real and it still affects me three weeks later. The food here is surprisingly bland. Good, but no spice? Apparently Ecuadorians don’t do spicy. What they do love is lunch, or almuerzo. That’s their big meal of the day. For a little over $2, you can go to an almuerzo spot and get a bowl of soup, an entree, and fresh-squeezed juice. This, I will surely miss.
Far too quickly, internship week came upon us. I was told that I was placed at Camp Hope, which is a place where those with special needs go during the work week. When I first heard of this placement, crippling anxiety boiled within me. Me? With special needs kids? Actually my worst nightmare. I may just be the least nurturing person I know. I don’t do well with babies, the elderly, or really anyone who can’t take care of themselves. Sounds bad, but hey, I’m just being honest here. After a lot of prayer, meditation, and reflection, I got over myself. I saw it as an opportunity to better myself, to do something that I didn’t think I was capable of. Guess what? I survived. (barely)
I remember on day three at Camp Hope finally feeling this overwhelming sense of peace rush through my body and mind. My prayers had been answered, and it was then that I knew that I could do this. The rest of the week was fairly easy, still incredibly boring, but easy. Oh, and for the record, I continued to decline the diaper changes (that’s where I draw the line). Although I had learned a lot and had these realizations, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I came to Ecuador to further my education in sociology and to intern somewhere that would nurture that. I prayed on it and talked about it with Mika, our supervisor to see what she thought about it all…
Oops! I meant “internship(s)”
So, talked to Mika and told her how I didn’t quite feel like I was gaining from my situation. If that’s where I’m meant to be, then so be it. I will milk the opportunity and gain all that I can from it. If not, I wanted to see what my options were. She listened and talked about how maybe I was only meant to be at Camp Hope for that period of time to learn what I did, maybe there is something else out there for me. She prayed on it and another door opened. There was an opportunity for an intern at IMPAQTO, which is a co-working space/ business. I started immediately and I’m loving it so far. Definitely makes more sense with my major and I don’t have to change anyone’s diaper. It’s really cool to see how they run business in a place like Ecuador.
Coming into this, I knew that we had some scheduled jungle time allotted into our trip. What I didn’t know was that it would be a full 4-day expedition. It was about a 5-hour drive to the Amazon jungle, Misahualli to be specific. It was unbelievable. The culture, the food, the wildlife. Unlike anywhere that I had ever been before. It was nice to all be together as a group, great bonding experience. We went on a waterfall hike (where we almost died a time or two), played with monkeys, and helped out at a nearby school that Living and Learning partners with. The only part that I don’t miss is the suffocating humidity and the absence of air conditioning. That I can do without.
In Conclusion (for now)
I am now fully accustomed to life in Quito. I’ve officially made it a full month, the longest I’ve ever been away. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better experience and I’m excited to see what my last 2 weeks bring me. I’ve already learned so much, I’m probably going to come back as a “super human”. I hope the few of you that have stumbled across this have enjoyed my first-ever blog post. Now, I will depart with some more photos for you to look at.
Last modified: July 2, 2018