Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jacob in Ecuador - First Day

Yesterday I landed in Quito right on time at 6:30! The flight was awesome, but the food on the plane gave me painful memories of the mess hall back at school. I decided to go with the chicken, which I do not advise if you plan on international travel in the near future. The flight was around 4 hours long, and I knew we were close when I could see the mountaintops peeking at us from under the clouds. From the moment we landed, I felt the excitement of a little kid walking down the stairs on Christmas morning. Andres and I got off the plane as quickly as we could and met up with Dr. Segle and Dr. Urroz who were waiting for us in the terminal. We were reunited with a group of familiar Citadel buddies, and we all told war stories of the airplane food until our bus arrived to take us to our new houses. Andres and I were assigned to the Brito family, and I was overcome with joy when I saw that our house was on the same street as a gym and a Subway restaurant. I had been concerned that I would not have the opportunity to work out in Quito and that I would hate the food, but it turns out that I was worried over nothing. We met Senorita Brito, or Sandra, upon arrival at the house and she greeted us with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Apparently this is the custom in Quito. Sandra is very nice, and she warmly took us on a tour of her house and made us a delicious dinner of steak, green beans, and potatoes. We each have our own rooms with a T.V., and there is internet and a warm shower. Andres and I both agreed that our new home was far better than the barracks, and we feel very at home here. The only downside to our location is that we will face a 25 minute walk to the school each morning, and the first half is up a tyrannical mountainside. However, we will both be in great shape for LDAC when we get home!

This morning, I was awakened at 10:00 by a delicious smell emanating from the kitchen. Sandra had cooked us a delicious breakfast consisting of empanadas and coffee which I ate in a matter of minutes. Afterwards, we were given a quick tour of Quito by Sandra’s sister and nephew, Ricardo. They showed us how to get to the school where we will be taking classes, and all the bakeries and stores along the way. I was surprised at how modern Quito is, as I previously imagined that it would be far different from the cities back home. There is a giant mall, a really nice park, and many internet cafes and clothing stores. We had lunch in the parque de Carolina, which is a very popular place here. The food here is very cheap and tastes amazing! I had a dish which included beans, rice, pork, and a fried banana. After lunch we went to the mall, which was surprisingly huge and very nice. It was very similar to an American mall, and had many of the same stores and restaurants. We later met up with some friends at the mall for dinner and to catch up with one another. We will probably go to the mall very often because it is the “rainy season” right now and there are sporadic rain episodes almost every day. I was able to order food and make some clothing purchases in Spanish, which boosted my confidence! I am so happy that I decided to come to Quito, and I look forward to the upcoming month. 
View from the plane

First day of school

Andres and I

At Panaderia

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