So this was one long day.
After flight delays due to a broken toilet (what) and a pilot flying for too long and having to leave, I finally arrived in Quito at 5 Am.
I was greeted by my host mother, Consuelo Yerovi de Heredia, but I was told to just call her Consuelo. She was with her two daughters that are also housing other IES Abroad students from my program. After the 30-minute ride from Quito to Cumbaya we arrived at the house! Luckily, one of the daughters that is housing a student in my program lives in our neighborhood so we are planning on walking to class together since campus is only ten minutes away but on a busy highway.
The house is in a gated community with gates surrounding each house. Ours is an adorable yellow with a lot of beautiful natural light due to big windows and skylights. Once I was shown to my own bedroom and bathroom (yay!) I thanked Consuelo and tried to go to sleep even though it was 5:45 Am and I had to get up at 6:30 Am to shower, but my mind was racing too much with the thoughts of officially being abroad. After getting dressed I joined Consuelo for breakfast, which was composed of yogurt with bananas and corn flakes, along with eggs and guava juice. Breakfast was very quiet due to my lack of spanish skills and Consuelo's lack of english skills. After breakfast Consuelo picked up Katie and we drove to campus to begin orientation. When I was getting out of the car Consuelo turned to me and in her best english she says, "have a great day" and kisses me on the check and gives me a hug. She is one sweet lady.
Once my whole group arrived we drove to the IES Abroad Center which was 30 minutes away for orientation. Orientation was long and at some points boring. And it mostly consisted of IES Abroad telling us different ways we can get diarrhea or mugged. Although, there was two positives that came from orientation. The first was the gorgeous view that over looked the smaller of the two volcanoes in Ecuador named Cotopaxi. The second was that they took us out to a restaurant for our first traditional Ecuadorian meal. It consisted of four courses (shrimp- but veggies for me, vegetable soup, main dish of chicken, french fries, rice, and veggies, and then dessert in which the sugar melted in your mouth.) Don't forget the juice. I sat with Katie and got to know her more, met a boy named Andy, and another girl I found to be nice and funny but am blanking on her name.
After lunch we finished orientation for the day and went back to campus for our parents to pick us up. Once back at the house I organized my things due to Consuelo's suggestions - she's a tidy lady. And then wrote in my journal as she cooked dinner. Dinner was delicious- breaded fish, fried plantains, rice, and veggies. AND JUICE. -- they really love juice here --
I was pretty down and out about being exhausted, feeling uneasy about the group I was studying abroad with, and the lack of communication between me and my host mom but I was determined to turn it around at dinner so I whipped out my laptop and pulled up google translator which really helped me ask Consuelo questions about herself and answer her questions about me. It went much better than breakfast! I am now feeling more at ease now that I write and listen to the rain pour down outside my window and am no longer thinking "dear god, Bre, what did you get yourself into." Also, Consuelo calling me "mi amor" after dinner was also pretty dang heartwarming.
P.S forgot to mention this but I must! There is a cute little dog here named Lucas that lives outside and likes to stare into my room at me through the sliding glass door (even at 5 AM when I first came into my room- scaring the crap out of me).
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