Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jenna and I have officially been in Ecuador for three days!

I think we're still recovering from our crazy arrival day on Sunday when we awoke at 3:30 for our 6:30 am flight through Costa Rica to arrive in Quito at 2pm local time. FYI, Ecuador is central time, not pacific like I told everyone. Even though Ecuador is on the west coast of South America, if you actually look at a map (which I obviously did not), the west coasts of the two continents do not line up.

First things first - let me explain why we're here. Our program is called Andean Global Studies and it is basically a very flexible, very intensive Spanish language course. We are doing the medical Spanish program which means that the first week we take 4 hours of one-on-one Spanish classes every day, and for the following two weeks, we have the same instruction time but we will also be shadowing a doctor in a pediatric hospital here in Quito.

Jenna and I opted for an apartment over a homestay, but it feels more like a tiny hostel. We share the apartment with a really sweet German couple, and the man who owns the apartment lives in a house across the patio with his family. We have our own bedrooms, and there are two bathrooms, but one is outside on the patio and has no hot water - so I doubt we'll be using that one at all. Although the bathroom "with" hot water is really lukewarm at best, and sometimes is even icy cold. As we get used to 2 minute showers, and having to throw away our toilet paper instead of flushing it down the toilet (because apparently that clogs toilets), we are becoming happier with the apartment. Cesar, the man who owns the apartment, checks on us a few times a day and helps us call cabs at night.

While I don't have a great sense of the city yet (surprising considering how good my sense of direction is), our apartment is pretty far north of the "hip" part of the city. But we are about three doors down from the school which is very convenient. Other students may have hot water and wifi, but at least we don't have to take a bus to class. We are also in very easy walking distance of a huge mall with a food court, a bank, an internet cafe, and clothing stores (very necessary since we were VERY wrong about the weather, see below).

The most surprising thing about Quito is that it is FREEZING here. Considering we are in a country named after the EQUATOR, I was a bit taken aback. But it's because Quito is so high in the mountains. Since our beds are made with two fleece blankets and a quilt, we are warm at night, but during the day we are quickly using up our long-sleeved shirts and limited sweatshirts. Buying a fleece in the mall or an alpaca wool poncho in the market we're going to on Thursday is definitely a necessity we will be taken care of.

So that's your basic orientation to what we're doing in Quito! Updates soon on what we've been doing in and outside of class!

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