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anita

A Mi Lindo Ecuador

ECUADOR | Sunday, 26 August 2007 | Views [523]

The subject is actually the title to the unofficial national anthem of
Ecuador. Every morning, my host mom is singing it as she´s preparing
breakfast with the idea that I will know all the words by the time I
leave. As for now, I just end up whistling it all day (haha..it´s
actually playing right now..)

Other news, this is my new email address, [email protected] I
got it because my poor wiscmail one keeps filling up, so update your
email address books to this email address. I´ll still receive emails
in my wiscmail one, but this one is sure to always work.

Anyway, I arrived to Ecuador safe and sound on Thursday night and I
was greeted by my host mom Lucia (or Lucy or Lu) and her uncle and his
son. It wasn´t until we reached the car in the middle of the dark
parking lot that I realized Lucy´s mom had come along and was waiting
patiently in the car. I´ve learned that trips to the airport are
quite the family affair (yesterday we picked up one of my host sisters
and we had to take two taxis for all the family that came, and that
was just from our house! Another part of the family came to the
airport in their own car).

Lucy is a single mom, divorced twice over with one daughter from each
marriage. It is because of this, in my opinion, that she is very
real, she doesn´t sugar coat things, and we get along wonderfully.
She is exceptionally excited to have me as her "huesped" as I am the
first she´s had (some people I was talking to, they are their host
family´s 17th or 18th foreign exchange student, and though nice,
aren´t overtly warm). Lucy on the otherhand is always referring to me
as "mi mija, mi reina, mi princesa, mi linda.::" She, along with the
family friend Lauro, and I drove all around Quito on Friday, stopping
by Panecillo (big virgin statue on top of a hill where you can see
Quito) and drove around "old Quito" where the colonial buidings still
stand from the conquering days. Saturday and Sunday we spent the
weekend two hours north of Quito in Ibarra...with 15 members of the
family. By the time we left I figured out how everybody was related,
though it was no easy task. We visited Cuicocha, a lake situated on
top of a supposedly active volcano (though my guidebook claims it is
dormant, but the guide and the postcards say it´s active...) and we
took a 1/2 hour boat ride where you could observe bubbles, from the
underwater volcano, rising to the surface.

The last two days I´ve had to be at the University from 8am-1pm doing
orientation stuff, learning about the dangers of Ecuador, the
sicknesses, the cultural differences...it´s actually quite draining
but all 250 of us international students have been sitting in the
auditorium, patiently listening to all the speakers...and it´s been
quite an experience meeting everybody. The campus itself is super
posh and as one of the speakers described it, it´s like your stepping
into the tv show Laguna Beach..and it´s so accurate! A pond with
beautiful flora around it is the base for a yoga/meditation studio
that is of oriental style, apparently in attempting to be a true
liberal arts university inclusive of all cultures. Everything is
super clean, buildings are constructed of white rock/marble, fountains
with cherubs spewing water dot the campus area, and it is apparent
that much care is put in all of the flora that provides decor. The
girls are all perfectly manicured and make up-ed and have their
matching jewelry and carefully picked out outfits that leave them
looking like...well they are trying out at the casting of Laguna
Beach. To me, it leaves them looking very superficial, but maybe they
aren´t, so we´ll see. Tomorrow is the first day of school, but I
don´t have classes Wednesday, so I´m going to go just to explore
around, get my computer hooked up to the internet there, etc.

I know this is getting really long, but I just had to add in a
cultural insight I noticed in my first 3 days here. Everybody, it
seems, is their own self-employed doctor/pharmicist. Anything from a
pain in their knee to high blood pressure to needing a supplement to
help with digestion can be fixed with a visit to the nearest pharmacy
where the lack of a perscription is no problem. On more than one
occasion I´ve overheard conversations within the family of "why are
you taking this medication" and the answer will be something like
"I´ve heard that it helps with blah blah blah.." and from this simple
suggestion, a pharmacy visit is in demand and a new medication tried.
What a system..

Anyway, I have to get going because we are off to the airport, again,
to pick up Valeria, my 13 year old host sister. She was vacationing
in Loja, in the south of Ecuador, for the past two weeks, so I´ll
finally get to meet her. Apparently she is super super excited to
meet me, so I hope I´m no disappointment! Daniela, my 24 year old host
sister, arrived yesterday from New York as she had to cut her 6 month
stay in the U.S. down to one month because of problems she was having
with her work and studies. We talked all last night and she´s super
nice, like the whole family. My favorites of the family though are
Lucy´s uncle and Lucy´s brother (who strangely are almost the same
age..like 45ish) who are quite the hilarious characters. Lucy´s 19
year old cousin is chevere (the over-used adjective to say
cool/sweet/chill/nice/anyt
hing positive) as well, and it´s fun
learning about things from someone more my age. It seems as though
they´ll be down in Quito this weekend, so more family time (an
apparently every-weekend event)!

diosito

annemary

Tags: Living Abroad

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