Over so soon–six weeks have flown by and now I’m preparing to head back home this Friday. But, as excited as I am, I can’t get over what I real wonderful time I’ve had in Ecuador volunteering and traveling.
I am full of nothing but utter gratitude and real inner peace with my decision to have come to Ecuador. At times it has been challenging, but mostly it’s been fun. Ecuador is nothing short of beautiful in more ways than one, and throughout my time here I was often unable to stop staring out of my various windows, awe-struck and just grin to the point of tears at the sincere kindness that I’ve been met with. There have been countless laughs, very few tears, unreal sunrises on the mountains that surround Quito, and an amount of time that has allowed me to remain present.
The following are some reflections from my observations from the past few weeks.
Almuerzo — and this means soup followed by juice, rice, salad, some meat, and dessert! A real hearty meal for $2.20
Random conversation anywhere and anyone with other volunteers, tourists, Americans, taxi drivers, and Ecuadoreans
“El clima de Quito es como una mujer”
The beloved el recreo mall which was 2 minutes away from my house and has everything I could ever need
The efficiency of el trole and how shamelessly people will push and shove to get into a supremely packed car
The parks with their unique vibe..fresh fruit vendors everywhere..parque la carolina which is hands down the best park I’ve seen in my life. Huge and complete with a ton of different courts, tracks, fields, skate park, and dirt bike hills.
Constantly being told how good my Spanish is (because, compared to other tourists/Americans, it is quite good..) and the clarity of the Spanish spoken here
Fundación Guayasamín con el arte de Guayasamín, la capilla de hombre, y una bella vista
How long and narrow Quito is..the light..the surrounding mountains, especially at twilight
La avenida de los volcanes
todo sobre los niños
How genuinely (and almost surprisingly kind) the other volunteers were
The 84 volcanoes of Ecuador with 24 active ones
The ecotourism and also the use of eco with anything ecosana, ecopetrol..
Food poisoning and its’ mysterious causes
The completely different vibe that northern Quito has in comparison to the south
The sheer biodiversity of Ecuador and how green it really is
Voluntourism…alive and well…being an American volunteering in a different country…still have plenty of unresolved thoughts and feelings about it.
Bathroom stalls without toilet paper and paying 15 cents to get toilet paper and access to the toilets
Clubs that exclusively play American hits and illegal clubs (which are open past the 2am curfew) and $2 mixed drinks
All the nights playing cards with other travelers and volunteers
How cute and random and weird all the hostals were..bunny farms, ping pong tables, hammocks galore, limited wifi, unfinished buildings..
Seeing US dollar coins again!
La comida: bizcochos con queso y dulce de leche, tamales, cuy, (mucho) helado, ceviche, popcorn!, papas, sopa, yuca, y sanduches
$3.10 bus ride to Mindo and 25 cent trole rides
The air in the cloud forrest! Mindo with it’s butterfly gardens, frog concerts, chocolate factories, and several water falls. Our hostal owners who insisted on driving us around
The bouquets of $1 roses
Just everything about the galapagos: the sleepy sea lions, boobys with their babies, pelicans, penguins, aquatic iguanas, and every size land and sea turtle you could hope for. The best ceviche I’ve ever had. The oldest cacti in the world! Our How the galapagos even exists with the most random assortment of animals
Our hostal owner in isla la carolina who insisted on walking us to dinner, to snorkeling, and back on the ferry and his neighbor who would bring us fresh juice
Juice of every variation–moro, tomate, piña, sandía, frutila, límon, naranjilla..
The necessity of bottled water and how the world is still quite far away from universal clean tap water..
Quito, the tallest capital in the world y la ciudad de leyendas..