I’m in Quito safely and super busy with all the orientation things that my program has for me. It’s been a bit overwhelming with so much information and meeting new friends and already starting two long-term projects. It’s also really different living with “gringos” than living with a family of natives in Guayaquil. It has its ups and downs. At first I was so happy to meet people who speak English as their first language and with whom I could communicate effectively without anything being lost in translation. But now I think I’ve already lost some of my Spanish. Although I did buy “The Alchemist” in Spanish and I’ve been reading that every night and according to my roommates I’ve spoken in Spanish in my sleep the past two nights! So I guess my subconscious still knows it.
I am learning so much already and we’re already getting started on our ecology projects. This first week we’re based at a hostel called Hostal de Maple and it’s a really cool place in the Mariscal area of the city of Quito. Mariscal is the touristy area of the city so it’s kind of hard to find cheap places to eat here. The first day though I went out with my friend and asked an older woman where is a good cheap place to eat and she walked us there! We got a full lunch of soup (with some sort of meat in it), rice, fried plantains and chicken for one dollar and fifty cents.
I’ve enjoyed these past few days of orientation, but right now I just want to get started with the real deal. I’m sick of being with other gringos and I’m sick of being stared at on the street and I want to make friends with natives and get out of my comfort zone. I also am so excited for our trip to the Intag cloud forest this coming week. We’ll be there for the whole week so don’t be surprised if I’m out of touch for a bit.
The city of Quito is absolutely amazing, though we haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time out in the city. You can see the mountains wherever you go and it has been surprisingly dry even though it is the wet season. We’ve gotten lucky and have had amazing views. Especially on our drive up to Yanacocha cloud forest! I forgot my camera… oops! But the views were breathtaking. I’m going to LOVE living here.