I arrived in Ecuador at the very convenient time of 10:40pm Sunday night. My host family graciously greeted me and helped me settle in even though it was past 11pm by the time I made through Customs. My roommate Antonia was sleeping when I came in, and I’m sure she was delighted to have a random stranger invade her room. Despite my not-so successful attempt to be quiet that night, she was very sweet once I officially met her. There is also another student, Paloma, staying here in the room next to ours. Both girls are from Germany. Last night Paloma, Antonia, my host mom, and I played an Ecuadorian card game, I don’t completely understand it, but it was really fun! My host mom is fantastic about only speaking Spanish, but also making sure that I understand what is going on. The past two mornings my host mom had breakfast waiting for me on the table, and even had a sandwich made for lunch. I was most definitely not expecting to have so much done for me! My host mom’s son also lives in the house, and works from home, he was saying they have had international students in their house since he was little. The family definitely knows what they are doing, and having international students come and go is just a part of their life.
For my first week in Ecuador I have language lessons at a school nearby. The school also does weekend trips around Ecuador, Ecuadorian cooking and Salsa lessons on week nights, will be the organization who is pairing me with an internship, and who I will be keeping in contact throughout my stay. This morning the new arrivals at the school had a lovely walking tour of the nearby Quito area, and in the afternoon we had our first lessons. The lessons are one-on-one; I absolutely love it! The school has 100 volunteers and at least 20 students had their own teacher and lesson going on at the same time. I was able to have conversations with my teacher, and I am already feeling so much better about my Spanish. To my surprise, most of the students at the school are from Germany. I am really impressed, they all can speak English in addition to German, and are now trying to learn Spanish through teachers explaining in English. I love that in addition to learning about the culture of Ecuador, I will also be learning about German culture as well. I do not know why I did not think I would be meeting more than just Ecuadorians and maybe some other students from the U.S. during my time in Ecuador, but I like how diversified it is turning out.
Another surprise is that our house has Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a luxury I was definitely not expecting to have, but will make my online classes, and internet in general a lot easier! I had prepared for a much rougher living situation; even though I know that Quito is a very developed part of the country. I am interested to see how different outside, rural communities live, and if there is a huge gap in the standard of living. I guess I will just have to keep exploring and find out!