I arrived in Lima, Peru on September 3rd after 10 hours in a plane. Immediately I was surprised by the speed that people spoke Spanish. I traveled two more hours by plane and I was now in Ecuador. I was very nervous when I arrived in Ecuador because it was my first time in a country where I had to communicate in a different language. Nevertheless, I have had a great first week. Quito is located among many mountains and volcanoes. The drive from the airpot was very beautiful. The city is spread out as far as the eye can see. I have discovered that I love to see the city at night because there are so many lights on the mountain, and in the day I can see an ocean of brightly colored houses. I have already met many great people, and this week was very fun. After our orientation, the other students and I went to Old Town Quito. A church here named La Basílica had animals on the roof of the church (like gargoyles except animals!). I learned a lot about the interesting and fascinating stories of different buildings, and I ate chocolate for my first time in Ecuador. The chocolate here is the best I have ever had without a doubt. Another important part of the week was when I met my host family. I was super nervous to meet them, but now I am really happy that I am able to live with them. My host mom has an 18-year-old daughter, and two sons that are 22 and 26. I live in the house with my host mom, dad, brothers and sisters, an aunt and uncle, and a cousin. The daughter had her birthday on Wednesday. To celebrate, we ate a lot of cake and we laughed a lot when my host mom showed me old photos of the family. A favorite part of my week was when the group of students and I went to Jerusalem Park on Thursday. I saw many beautiful cactus flowers, birds, and trees. I learned a lot about the plants of the dry forest of Ecuador as well. For example, I didn’t know that a plant named “Mosquera” can help to calm an upset stomach. Also, my group found a cactus fruit and we were able to eat it. It was super delicious and very sweet. After walking throughout the park, I played soccer with other students and swam. I only swam for a little though since it was super cold. Saturday my host family had a party for my host sister’s 18th birthday party. I danced a lot and I had a very fun time. I learned some dance moves for salsa, which was really exciting! Finally, on Sunday my host family and I went to visit Volcano Pululahua. It is a volcano with people living inside the crater. It was cloudy so we weren’t able to see much, but I really want to go back when I can. Next week it’s off to the Páramo!
P.S. I couldn’t get the other photos to upload but you can find them on this blog I am doing for willow public school!