1. Day 9 

    Hi guys! 

    So I’m finally getting around to posting pictures which I hope to do semi-regularly. I also posted a wannabe artsy pic of me looking out to Quito in the valley which you can see better in the info page. 

    Today, classes were good and I got lunch for $3.75. Sandwich, soda, and fries! Food here is good and cheap and I love it.

    In other news, a pipe in my host home developed a hole which prompted us to turn off all water to prevent leaks. While I regard my home as a generally nice place and did not mind the time without running water, there was a somewhat awkward cultural moment where there was a plumber fixing the pipe. It was very odd to see someone in the house that the family clearly knew (and gave food to) but was also unable to sit with us at the table and was talked about like he was not in the room. I realize that this is a cultural phenomenon associated with “the help” and it should not shock me, but it does. Whether it is because it did not occur immediately upon my arrival to Quito or because it is just against my inner beliefs, the whole situation made me feel very uncomfortable. And now I hope to sleep so that tomorrow I can finally register my visa.

    Until tomorrow - Luca

     
  2. My commute!

     

  3. The Second Sunday of Ecuador Time

    I just realized that chronologically in my posts, this should be day 7, but I also realized that this is in fact day 8 as I missed some time because of wifi connection issues. So I give you day 8’s post

    ITS BIRCH’S BIRTHDAY!!! WHOOO! (Not the tree, but the person abroad with me) Today I woke up to my host parents being gone and in their place were their daughter and her husband. After a slightly awkward encounter, we had breakfast. 

    I spent the afternoon tying knots (actually knots with rope) and then decided I need more rope :(

    Then it was off to the birthday party where much pizza and cake and chips were consumed. I had a blast with the group and even though we didn’t do much, it was one of the funnest times I’ve had since we’ve been here.

    In addition, I found out that I do not actually have any cord to attach my camera to my computer to download photos, however, do not despair as i learned I could transfer them manually through the sd card slot. AS A RESULT I WILL BE POSTING PICS VERY SOON 924 hours-ish) 

    Until the next post :)

    -Luca

     

  4. Days Five and Six

    Yesterday was pretty uneventful until last night when I went to the Plaza San Francisco de Quito to watch a revival of la Catuña, which was amazing. It was completely done with fireworks and even though I was pretty shy about getting very close to the stage, the performance spanned the whole plaza. I’m not one to be extremely scared of things, but I was taken aback by how crazy this thing was. At one point, fireworks were being thrown into the middle of the plaza from EVERY ANGLE by performers on stage, in bell towers, on balconies, etc. It was crazy. A blow-up 30-40 ft creature (we thought of it as a dragon but it was unclear) was also rode in with a bus and moved around the whole plaza. I eventually met up with my friend Christy, who made us go closer only to have us run away when ash from a firework hit her eye. No joke, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt by falling firework debris. Long story short, we reunited with other friends at an ambulance where her eye was washed out thoroughly. After that, the group hit up bars for food and drinks and stuff, but we all got separated because our group was just too large for one place to take us. After a very saddening cab ride with a driver who did not know the roads very well, I called it a night.

    Today was spent primarily on a city tour of Quito where we went museum hopping and explored churches and plazas. Just a note about this. If you ever want to go to Rome for the religious culture / artsy art history aspect, just come to Quito. The Baroque churches here are stunning and as someone who has been to Rome and has seen the statues and paintings and etc there, I can say this is equally as beautiful and has a lot of substance. That is also not mentioning colonial art which was also breath-taking. I was also informed of something very interesting about churches that I will share: Apparently, many churches will have 2 paintings at the main exits. One will be of salvation and the other of hell. This is apparently supposed to be a way of giving people who enter the church a choice to leave and repent and be a better person, or to continue living sinfully and accept the hell awaiting you. Pleasant images right?

    We also had lunch at a very nice restaurant where I got to eat trout again (this time without the head) and got a nice view of Quito from the mountains, along with a large cloud of smoke from a fire earlier in the day. Then we explored the city a bit more and I went home! 

    More to come soon :D

     

  5. When you take a taxi home at night and it costs you less than two dollars

     

     

  6. Third and Fourth days!

    Ok so I know I missed a day but I am still adjusting to the altitude :)

    Finally had my first rounds of classes and they are going great! It’s nice to know that my spanish doesn’t completely suck! 

    Last night was fairly uneventful but tonight we had a party in honor or Yang’s birthday! She even cried over how overwhelming it was! We also survived the major trouble of getting 10 people on an ecuadorian bus in rush hour and not getting separated. Our group has been here less than a week but in a way, I feel like we are extremely close already. 

    In other news: 

    Hello Kitty isn’t a cat? WAT? 

    My Spanish and Bio classes may be “intensive” but they are not nearly as intense as I thought they’d be - in fact they may even be fun!

    Just took a taxi home from Yang’s and it only cost $1.49. I love how cheap this country is <3

    This whole two buses thing is perfectly manageable in the morning, but it is the worst during rush hour. However, its a lot of fun to be with friends!

    This campus is so pretty. Like really pretty.

    Still no gastrointestinal distress, despite eating a trout from a mall with the head still attached.

    The mall near the school and even the one near my home-stay are so nice. Why don’t they make malls like that in America?

    I did take some pictures of the city today! hopefully I will add them soon (I’m the worst i know)

    Other than that, I guess I’m done for now. I hope to do more exciting things tomorrow!

     

  7. Day 2: Ups and Downs

    When I got accepted to this program and talked to different people about it, the response I usually got was “It was the best most exciting thing I’ve ever done” or something along those lines. That being said after talking a bit more about it, people elaborated and said that no trip is perfect and there are always ups and downs.

    Today was just one of those days. I left the house, got on the bus alone for the first time, managed to find my way to the right stops and switch buses at the right places and made it to school on time (and I even didn’t have to pay for my second bus - SCORE!) Needless to say, my day started off pretty well. My bus was also early so I spent some time exploring campus and then went to orientation part two which was fun but made me realize I know basically nothing about the metric system.

    After that things got really hectic while we tried to resolve problems of visas student IDs, photocopies, and lunch, and we all got a little frustrated with each other. Things were quickly resolved and we got on a bus(technically two buses) to register our visas. While being able to navigate what still seems to be a very hard to understand and vicious public transportation system and feeling accomplished, we eventually arrived to the office only to find that too many people were there and we went there for nothing. 

    So I went home to an empty house and began to try to sleep. Then right as I go to check something on my computer, the lights go out, and there is a street wide power outage. 

    Now let me make this clear, I’m not afraid of the dark. If this happened in my house in the states or in the dorm, I’d be throwing a party or trying fixing the fuse in my basement with my father. However, I am in a house I have been in for less than a week, in a country I do not know, while my host family is not present. The situation does scare me a little.

    After about ten minutes, my host parents return, give me a candle and see what they can do. The problem was not just our house so there wasn’t much they could do but it still felt nice to know that these people cared enough to give me a little bit of light and talk to me. The lights went back on after another half hour and we talked more, had dinner, and I learned that my host dad has a hobby for making ice cream (which by the way, tastes deliciously :D  ) and overall it was a pretty nice ending to the day.

    P.S. Also I found out that one of the students in our program was robbed (nonviolently) earlier today meaning that although I am sad he lost a wallet, I am happy that I’m at least being semi-careful on these streets :) 

    Also more to come :) I have also added a couple pages. Let me know what you think. And the photos will come soon - i promise!

     

  8. Hey everyone! (First Post from Ecuador)

    Hi guys,

    So this is probably just going to be a boring little post in which I tell you that I arrived here on Saturday Aug 23 and since then I have been loving it. I would have preferred to do I live update type of thing, but I only just got access to the internet. As a result, I have a few things to catch you up on. I am staying with a host family in their lovely house in Ecuador. I just attended an international student’s orientation at the university today and it looks like I’m going to have a blast for the next 4 months.

    In this blog, I hope to share my thoughts, my photos, my videos, and my fears and joys with this new experience. I will try my best to update as often as possible and be cool about everything (no promises). In addition, I may try to vlog and post funny moment gifs (I already have several ideas) and more! Mostly this is going to be an outlet of any boredom, downtime or awesomeness of this adventure, and I invite you and anyone you wish to share this with to join me AND by using the submit and question buttons, please tell me to elaborate on things, encourage me to do things (visit places, take specific pictures, etc), and even maybe tell me to stop doing things if you really don’t like a specific type of post I may do.

    So with that I will say adios for tonight (yes, i know, spanglish IS atrocious but it is my blog right?