Nearly two more weeks have passed, and plenty worth writing about, but I promised to keep this shorter, so I’ll try to hold to that.
I stuck that picture at the bottom of the last post to lead directly into this one. Sunday nearly two weeks ago now, Angella (an amazing fellow student at my language school who was also a grad student at UNC and worked for the CDC for several years) and I took off on a hiking adventure about 30 miles south of
We also had an interesting end to our day. We had to run parts of the way down the mountain in order to make it back to the base before dark. Once we got to the entrance to the trail, we realized that there were no taxis and that the hike to the town with our bus was another 6 miles (we had hiked over 15 after getting a taxi to the entrance). Right as we made it to the road, though, a family of four-- with two adorable little children-- was just getting into their jeep. We ran over and asked if we could get a ride into town, and they graciously accepted. We hopped into the car right as it began to pour down raining (and remember, we are covered in mud), really thankful for the incredible luck. Instead of taking us to town, though, they ended up driving us the hour and a half back to
Other big adventures of the last two weeks:
- Attending a professional soccer game (Liga, the best team in
, vs. Palmeiras, one of the Brazilian clubs) with Angella and my professor Fredy. Before the game, Fredy spent part of my class teaching me the Liga fight songs. We then got to the game hours early to get seats right behind the goal and right next to a huge base drum with an enormous guy pounding it with all his might (yeah, for those who make fun of my over cautiousness, I definitely held my ears for a while). I quickly discovered the joys of South American football—singing songs and jumping up and down the entire game, laughing at the toilet paper and confetti flung onto the field, and loving fans running around with torches and people climbing the fence around the field whenever goals were scored. We enjoyed drinks, hotdogs, and a great game of soccer that ended with Liga scoring a sweet goal to win it 3-2. (if you want to see the goal and the area where we are sitting behind it, check out this video on youtube-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd3_ivlECus&feature=related ) Ecuador
- Traveling to Otavalo with Amit’s parents and the normal group of friends. Otavalo has the biggest market in
, full of colorful paintings, scarves, hammocks, and more. I didn’t really buy anything, but enjoyed getting lost in the middle of all the colors. It was also great to catch up some with Amit’s parents before they headed to the Ecuador Galapagos Islandswith Amit and Priyanka the next day. Normally, people make the trek to look out over the two volcanoes and lake in Otavalo, but unfortunately rain changed our plans…
- Continually debating my new male professor (who is an incredible professor other than this) about some aspects of the Machismo culture here and trying to find creative ways to get him to listen to me. Also getting continually destroyed by his intense teaching methods. One day, I had to do a set of 15 exercises using all different tenses (hard for me) and if I missed a single one, even partially, I had to do 15 more. And on it went until I had done nearly 100…
- Eating almost daily banana splits with Amit and Angela at the KFC near our school. Seriously, I don’t like KFC that much in the states, but the banana splits at this KFC hit the spot every time…
- Enjoying the company of Amit’s family. After arriving back from an adventure in the Galapagos, they returned to treat us to Crepes and Waffles, one of my favorite restaurants here…I got to hear some amazing animal stories and we got to hear some interesting medical stories from Amit’s dad (definitely glad I’m not planning to be a doctor).
- Saying goodbye to the language school. Today, I finished my month of intensive language classes in
, which have flown by. I have loved getting to know the professors and other students there, and it reminds me how easily I get connected to people and places. I had the hardest time saying goodbyes to these people I’ve known for four weeks and only with my limited Spanish… I get too attached for sure. But it is amazing how every personality stands out here in some way, and there is something about every person at that school that I’ll remember… Quito
(in the photo: all students and profs at amit's goodbye party). Other than these more newsworthy events, there isn’t too much to report (hoping more reflective stuff is to come). I’ve been searching for jobs for the summer while I still have internet, slowly and painfully learning guitar, taking Salsa lessons every so often, and reading a book about the Lost Boys of Sudan. I began packing this afternoon for the backpacking journey that begins tomorrow—we head to the Quilotoa Loop, a 3ish day hiking adventure around a crater with a beautiful green lake in it, surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. I have loved my time here, and the Spanish was DEFINITELY essential. But I am ready to get out of the city and begin the next two months. I would love to hear from any and all of you. Thanks to any who have dropped me lines and sorry if I have been delayed responding. Love to you all.