It’s so strange to realize that I’ve now been in Quito for almost two whole weeks. I’ve been so busy attending orientation, starting classes, and exploring the city that it’s weird to think of how quickly the days have passed. At the same time, two weeks out of a whole semester is really only the beginning, and the fact that I’ve found myself having to re-learn such basic skills as riding the bus is a reminder of that. In our IES pre-departure handbook, we were told that in the first couple of weeks, we’d often feel like 4 year olds, reviewing how to complete seemingly simple tasks that become difficult in a completely new environment and culture. Born and raised in New York City, I’m normally very comfortable with public transportation, but it’s definitely been an adjustment learning how to complete such tasks as hailing a cab in Quito. Of course, most large cities are similar to each other (at least to an extent) in terms of transportation, but there are still some differences. Traffic is very busy in Quito, so figuring out where to even try to hail a cab can be hard enough, not to mention making sure you get into a cab that’s considered safe (make sure you see an orange and/or white license plate!) Just crossing the street is also an entirely new adventure; I may jaywalk all the time in NYC, but here, taking extreme caution when crossing the street is a necessity. Although a city girl, I’ve felt a bit like I’ve never had experience living in an urban environment.
Of course, it’ll get easier-this is only the beginning. But for now, wish me luck as I attempt to figure out the bus system!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Claire Fishman is a junior at Brandeis University, majoring in Psychology. Outside of class, she enjoys singing with the university’s chorus and playing flute with a student orchestra. Her hobbies include reading, writing, cooking. Claire has traveled to Central America twice (Costa Rica and Honduras), but this will be her first time in South America. Despite having grown up in a large city, she loves spending time in nature, and looks forward to exploring the biodiversity of Ecuador. As someone who loves to travel and try new things, Claire is thrilled to be embarking on this adventure!</span></p>