Ecuador Ama La Vida

Holly Callahan
January 13, 2015

“Ecuador loves life” This is the slogan of many signs in Quito and is even on the sides of hills written in stones. It is true. Ecuador is very lively and I learned it has the highest biodiversity of any country!

My flight here was interesting and more complicated than I expected. I said I wanted get out of my comfort zone, but I wasn’t planning on having to sit next to a barfing woman on the plane to Quito (for those who don’t know I have always hated barfing). It ended up being okay, I just blasted music, smushed my face against the window and breathed through my nose.

My host family picked me up at the airport and they are incredibly kind people.

Quito_Puluhau_Family_Holly Callahan

This is them at the crater of the volcano Pululahua, where we went on Sunday. They have a daughter who is 18 and a son who is 13.

Quito_Cumbaya_Room_Holly Callahan

All of the rooms in the house have their own bathrooms which is nice! This is the view from my room.

Quito_Cumbaya_Pinky_Holly Callahan

The family has a dog named Pinky. I love dogs and have a soft spot for Golden Retrievers, but they don’t let him in the house (they thought I was crazy when I said our dogs owned the house!) and he doesn’t get much attention.

Another student, Darcy, lives in my house too because something happened with her original her host family. She is really nice and It is great to have someone to go to school with. Also she speaks Spanish really well, which helps me.

My Spanish is slowly improving, but I feel like I can no longer speak English properly at the end of the day because I am constantly thinking in bad spanish translations. I am looking forward to improving and my host family and I practice with each other (they speak English and I speak Spanish).

Yesterday after going to Pululahua, we went to Mitad Del Mundo.

Quito_Mitad Del Mundo_Holly Callahan

It is a beautiful spot and it is always fun to be in two places at once! We looked in all of the tourist shops at the Mitad del Mundo, and this is the outside of one.

Quito_Mitad Del Mundo_shop_Holly Callahan

Today was the first day of the program. We met each other early in the morning and went to Quito to have our Visas checked. They took our passports until Wednesday which worried most of us I think! Everyone is really nice and I think we will all get along well. Surprisingly, I am the only Marine Biology major in the group!

We then went to a fancy lunch in Quito that overlooked the valley of Cumbaya (where our University is located). 

Quito_Quito_Lunch_Holly Callahan

Here is all of us at the table. We met up with the people from the other program from IES, but they spend the four months only in Quito. There are about 20 people in both programs. Lunch was delicious and had 4 courses! Bread, soup, chicken and rice and dessert.

Quito_Quito_Welsome Lunch_Holly Callahan

The view was the best part for most of us! The valley and the mountains are so beautiful!

So far everything is going really well. Tonight Darcy and I helped our host brother and his friend with their English homework and later Alejandro, my brother, wants to play video games with us. We will see if we have the energy.

Tomorrow we continue orientation in Quito and later this week we will have an orientation for the program in the Galapagos. We will also be given our cell phones later this week (maybe Wednesday) , which will make all of us feel more comfortable about exploring the city.

Exercise doesn’t seem to be a huge pass time here in Quito, so running and swimming might have to wait until the Galapagos. I am sure when we are there we will have ample time to do both!

I am looking forward to starting classes and exploring Ecuador more!

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Holly Callahan

<p>Hello! My name is Holly and I love nature and the ocean. For four months I will be studying Marine Ecology in the Galapagos Islands. I can&#39;t wait study, live and explore one of the most beautiful and wild places in the world. Adventure awaits!</p>

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