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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recap Ecuador Day #2

It really takes a lot for me to get on here and write this. What it takes is meeting with my team and knowing that i need to share this experience... and so it continues.

Day #2: what a crazy first day. Not because it was crazy, but we were still all realizing the fact that we were finally in Ecuador, doing what we have been preparing to do! When we woke up, we found fresh bread for breakfast... and that was what we had for breakfast every morning, as well as bananas. On that first day we had known we would also have bananas, so on the counter we found a banana looking fruit, so we ate them! Come to find out, they were plantains. PERFECT!

After breakfast, we met Aide, our Ecuadorian translator/tour guide around the neighborhood. We headed over to a couple of our neighbor's houses, including Aide's families house where we met her mom, 2 sisters and little brother, and got to talk about to them about the differences between American and Ecuadorian life. We then went to Oscar and Jenny's house, met their whole family, and were very bluntly thrown very hard questions. Jenny told us about her life and how she grew up knowing she was great and very intelligent, and wanted to be a lawyer, but real life called and she couldn't afford the things she wanted. Now she is a very happy mother and wife, and that is her job. It really differed from the US and how if people tell us we are smart - we can go to college (well most of us), but just the difference in opportunities between the two countries and areas.  It is too unfortunate that this is the case and opened my mind to a lot of things and made me thing.

After lunch, tuna, fresh bread, and a veggie "salad" (same as every day). In the evening we had downtime while some of the group cooked dinner with Aide, and after dinner and more free time, we had our nightly reflection. it was the first real time when we got an idea of what everyone else was thinking. it was great to just reflect on this true lifestyle changed we had gone through over the past day!

PS: I don't know how i even slept while I was there, since not only was I sleeping in a room with 1 girl and 2 boys, but it was hotter and more humid than I have ever experienced in my life! But some how I did!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recap Ecuador Day #1

After close to 24 hours of traveling, due to a long delay between Miami and Guayaquil, we stepped into the humid and hot air of Ecuador. After going through customs and filling out all of our paperwork to enter the country, we found our volunteers from Rostro de Cristo waiting for us right outside. I found it already hard to comprehend being in a different country when I didn't feel like I was... like I had just flown for over 8 hours and traveled all day, and was still in the country. We went out to the truck, put our bags in the back, and hopped into the van. We were asked to have a silent ride to the house, to use to observe everything that was outside and that we were passing. It really helped my head to slow down and I wasn't worried about what other people were thinking but just was able to reflect on the environment that was passing me by.

Although this was nice a full day in Ecuador, and didn't land in our new country until 2 a.m., it was our first glimpse into how we would be living for the next week. It is funny to look back on now and thinking about what I now known about the community and the neighborhood that we silently drove by on that first night. My perceptions were changed drastically... from being nervous about the week, to passing by the same exact places on the way back to the airport and being so content, but sad to be leaving a place that I had grown to love. I'm sure during that ride I thought lots of about the week to come and now that I have been through it, I can't wait to share my experiences with everyone (especially you all!)

 Where we ate, slept, and lived for the week!
The group with Aide, on one of our first days!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lo siento!

So... it has been a few days and believe me, I'm feeling the pressure to update. I am still trying to understand everything and figure out how to reciprocate my feelings into this form of communication. It is hard to just sit down and talk about it, here or even in real life, and my feelings are continuously changing.

I have decided that the best way to explain what I experienced is to speak about each day separately, or maybe in half since we tended to do two drastically different things each day! A layout for this is the best thing I can do to start to ground myself in understanding of all the events and things that I encountered in Ecuador. I loved my experience, and I want you all to be able to understand that (well...not completely)!

Til' then! Ciao!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hola Estados Unidos!

Back in the US and it is a slight culture shock!
It was one of the best weeks I have ever had in my life, what a different world! I don't even know how to completely process things right now and have to decide what is most important about this trip and how to explain it all to you readers out there. It is a crazy different world in this other country, with very different people (though identical to us at the same time).
It was very refreshing to be surrounded by a community of the most welcoming and happy people i have ever met in my life. And although they aren't completely content and lack some essential necessities, they are so happy and want to learn!
Over the next couple weeks I will slowly recap the most essential and shocking parts of my trip and fill you in on a life after Duran, Ecuador, and my slow (but good) understanding of what I experienced!

Our group at the Hemiciclo de la Rotonda on the Malecon (Guayaquil boardwalk)


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fun Fact #8

Outdoor markets sell fresh and flavorful fruit, but the markets are a place where germs fester. We have to make sure to peel our fruits and vegetables. Ones that can't be peeled need to be washed with soap and bottled water!
Thankfully we will have a RdC volunteer to show us how to do all this.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fun Fact #7

The majority of Ecuadorians drink coffee - not the good stuff though, just instant!

Good thing that I don't drink coffee :)

EDIT: In fact, it is not the good stuff! It is a form of coffee that simply desolves into hot water... but it really isn't all that bad (and even good as iced coffee!).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fun Fact #6

If you want to wave someone to come over to you, make a waving motion with your palm down and your fingers pointed towards your body (like the upside down way we would do it in the States).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fun Fact #5

If you want to use your hands to demonstrate a person's height, place your hand ike you are going to shake someone's hand, not like you are going to pet a dog - placing your hand palm down expresses the height or size of an animal.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fun Fact #4

Personal space between Ecuadorians is closer than personal space for Americans - this should be interesting since I don't really enjoy strangers touching me! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fun Fact #3

In Ecuador, the sewage system is not built to handle toilet paper waste. In order to prevent a catastrophe, we have to drop any paper waste in a trash can - what is funny is that even though it is gross, i'm sure it will stick with me when I return to the states!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun Fact #2

If you haven't noticed, the past couple posts instead of saying Adios, I have said ciao... the reason for this is:
"In Ecuador people say 'ciao' for goodbye, not 'adios'. Adios literally means 'to God'; in other words, it is a formal way of saying goodbye and the Ecuadorians take it to mean they will never see you again until you both meet God."

I will see you all again!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fun Fact #1

Yawning in public is considered rude, and burping is even WORSE!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Estoy lista viajar a Ecuador... MANANA!

Tomorrow is the day. The first time I will leave the country, the first time in 5 years I will fly, the first time i'll get my passport stamped (the most exciting thing to me).
I really cannot wait... now if only someone would stop hogging the washing machine so I can finish my laundry!
One week away from talking to my mother every day might be the hardest part about the experience. She got very emotional the other day when talking about how she won't be able to see me before I get on the plane, nor will I personally be able to call her to say I landed in Miami and in Guayaquil. I did sarcastically offer the options of her coming down to Laguardia from Boston. haha
In all, it is a surreal feeling and been long awaited. I cannot believe it is finally here, but I am ready and just have to do a little more prep before 8am tomorrow. I'm hoping that during work tonight (COME VISIT ME driving the 9:30pm, 11:30pm & 1:30am runs) I will be able to listen to some more Coffee Break Espanol and get better at my spanish. I did pack my Spanish phrase book though... no worries.

During the break, I have set up posts to automatically post on here with some interesting cultural facts about Duran, and Ecuador in general!

See you all in a week!

Ciao amigos! Have a great Spring break!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ecuador blogs

I finally thought to look at other Ecuador blogs. I found this blog about a couple who has traveled to Ecuador, called the Ecuador Escape.
While skimming through the site, I found this post that I thought might help me, and my team, from a first hand experience of speaking Spanish in Ecuador (but most likely not!)... check it out!

Here’s my Top Ten needed Spanish Language Phrases for a Vacation in Ecuador... continued here 


Congratulations you leave in... 5 days & 18 hours?!

Holy cow! How did we get here?
Last night was our last meeting before we leave (which is Saturday), and had the lovely Emily, from the GO! office, come talk with us and remind us of things, go over stuff we learned early in the process, and get us ready to go.
After finally getting my check from my Give Forward fundraising, I was able to drop that off today (so that GO doesn't cancel my plane ticket... eek!) and now i'm ready to go. I am just STILL freaking out about packing. Thankfully our meeting definitely tied up some loose ends, and I was able to learn that a lot of other people are worrying about the same things, especially packing... well the girls at least. PLUS my mom is sending a pre-trip care package this week. So fun!

i FINALLY remembered to tell my team about this blog... HI TEAM! :) and sent them the link. I am excited to get some reaction back and some interest in other things I should write about, which I already have.

Since this week has been one of the most stressful of my college career, who would have thought it would have been my LAST semester, falling behind on here has happened. Now, with lots of ideas rolling in from these fantastic people I get to spend a WHOLEEEE week with, during this week I'm going to try and focus on culture ideas, so that i can focus on them myself.
I'm off to listen to some coffee break espanol and practice my spanish!

Ciao amigos!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Anxiety week (and a half)

One week from today I will be arriving in Guayaquil, Ecuador. It seems unreal. Waking up this morning, the first thing I could think of was the fact that it is only one week until I am finally in the single place that I have been preparing for for the past many months.

With the show (Into the Woods) ending tomorrow, I think that the stress that has been put on my body the past couple weeks will finally slightly be lifted. My body doesn't tell me that I am stressed in the same way that everyone else's does. Instead, this past week I have had the most horrendous pain in my stomach, which finally went away, but today, after going for a run, it came back. Not only that... but I also sleep texted a friend the other night - SO WEIRD! I have never been through this form of stress before, then again, i don't think i have ever been in this much stress before. Funny to think this is the most stressful semester and also is my last one - and it doesn't even end here.

Thinking past Ecuador is one thing I am trying very hard to not do is think about jobs and housing and graduating... and life. I shall have to wait until I get back, tooooo bad! :)

Tomorrow night marks the last weekly meeting before our trip. I need to get good at soccer ASAP (by the way)... maybe i'll be this!

Just a wish...

Adios for now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy Commissioning!

Yesterday was a very Ecuador filled day!
To start, from 1-3pm today we had a waffle brunch at Rodrigue's coffee house. Not as many people showed up as we had hoped but we made some money and had lots of fun playing games and just hanging out per usual. In between that I was able to finish up the program (though I had to skip mass) for Into the Woods! FINALLY.
Also last night was our GO! Spring trip commissioning ceremony held in the church basement. It was really nice to be able to see the other teams who are going on their trips at the same time as ours, it is actually really exciting! I can't wait to get back and talk to them all about there's, and thankfully I know at least one person on each trip. At the ceremony we were given pretty wooden dove cut out necklaces by our board buddy, chaperones and leader.

Unfortunately, instead of attending mass after the ceremony with my team, I had to head back to the library to slave away, only to see them again at 10 for our meeting. Our board buddy came to chat and check in on us, which was really nice, and actually really helpful because she went to Ecuador as well. She gave us a few tips on clothes and things to bring (especially bug spray apparently)! Our meeting went the same, per usual: longest highs and lows of all time, and a nice little chat about everything coming up. It is so ridiculous to think that next week is our last meeting before our TRIP! Eeeek!

Well off to the theater I go! Tech week = HELL... especially during midterms.

Peace&Love + Adios