So…. It looks like I am going to be living in paradise for the next three months.
We’ve been here in the Galapagos for two weeks, and I can already tell how different the lifestyle here is compared to Quito and America. After living in NYC this past summer where everything is go-go-go, I was pretty much always in a rush (with pretty severe sidewalk rage). Now, there’s probably no better place for me to “Learn how to relax” than here in the Galapagos. Siestas, living at the beach, and daily fiestas… Wow, what a lifestyle shift.
Since we only have class from 9am-12pm everyday, we are pretty much free to do anything starting in the afternoon. However… we learned early on that everything other than restaurants close right around noon. And, lunch is basically served for only an hour! I learned this the hard way since I went snorkeling right after class on my second day, and I completely missed lunch hour.
Living in America, I’ve come to define business hours as 9am-5pm…. I mean, obviously, right? Wrong. Here, business hours are from 9am-12pm, and again from 3pm-6pm…. Or whenever businesses want to open up. It’s still a mystery to me regarding where people go and what people do during this three-hour siesta. I’ve already had an experience where I needed to go to a scuba diving store, so I ended up having to wait in the neighboring café for 3 hours for them to open up. When the owners of the café wanted to go on their siesta, they were kind enough to leave me alone in the café for a few hours. It’s a bit tricky to deal with, but I’ve learned to just accept this and chill out… Why is it always necessary to be in a rush anyway?
The beaches here are unreal. Well, the fact that I live ten minutes from 4 beaches is unreal. We are living in San Cristobal Island - an island that is residential and not very “touristy” - and wi-fi/technology availability is relatively limited. But this gives us the opportunity to really live in the outdoors - aka go to the beach.
The beaches are absolutely unbelievable, and I've already started to make some new friends...
If I’m not at the beach, I’m doing homework at a café overlooking the beach. Since there is more life underwater than there is on land, I’m planning on spending as much time in the water as I can. If I can leave these next three months with my advanced diving certification and take lessons on how to surf, I'll be a pretty happy camper.
Maybe it’s the sun, but I’m finding myself in a pretty good mood here most of the time. And it’s not just me! After my day’s activities, I’ve gone home to my host mom blasting dance music while cooking. My host family also takes me to spontaneous family get-togethers, or they have frequent visitors.
My host mom and dad each have about 6 siblings, and everyone lives relatively close to each other. It is such a fun and lively dynamic, and I feel welcome although I speak very little Spanish and come from such a different culture.
Not only are families close-knit, but the community here on the island is also very tight. There are only around 6,000 people, and it’s true – “everyone knows everyone”. I was able to attend a Quinceañera this past Saturday with my host family, and it was such a “woah” experience. This girl’s 15th birthday party is probably more extravagant than what my wedding will be! She had a 30 min choreographed dance with 30 of her best friends, speakers (including the mayor), and a few traditional ceremonies. And of course… beautiful cakes.
I am loving the Galapagos already (well, I loved it since the plane landed), and hopefully being here will be a good escape to just relax, chill, and enjoy life.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(85, 85, 85); font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'Lucida Sans', Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">Senior at the University of Rochester studying economics, sustainability, and art. Pursuing a career in the corporate world but not-so-secretly a nature obsessed forest kid from Oregon and New Mexico.</span></p>