So due to some technical difficulties with my host family's wireless I haven't been able to post in some time. However being a cunning exchange student I learned the password for my school internet and can now use my laptop during English class when I am banned to the library. School is going pretty good, though having already graduated I find myself with a bad case of senioritis and procrastination. Usually class time is sleep time for us with the occasional assignment of telling the class about our favorite book or sporadically participating in class. One thing this school has really taught me to appreciate is the amount of freedom I was given back in high school at home. At NHS you could walk around for an hour, practically leave when you wanted with no questions asked and unless you abused it, there was a fair amount of trust. Here you go to the bathroom and are immediately hounded by a teacher about why you are out of class. The only door out is locked and you must be escorted out by the principle herself but only with a parent present. The ten foot high walls keeping us in are lined with a pleasant layer of broken glass sticking straight up so no one can climb over. Although my school feels a little bit more like a teen delinquent center than an actual high school I still like it, the kids are always so inviting and energetic.
With Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday and the fact that I had yet to skype my family once or my friends in forever (thanks to the whole no wireless thing and my fams lack of a camera for their computer) I had low expectations for the holiday season. It’s the time of year that we all knew was coming and all the exchange students are feeling it, we refer to it as the holiday slump. But as it turns out I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Thanksgiving Day at school everyone in my English class had to dress up and bring in food. I was a turkey and part of the apple crisp group. So there in class during the middle of the day, dorkely dressed up like a turkey, I explained to my class why we celebrated thanksgiving and had my very own thanksgiving dinner. It was the most dysfunctional dinner I had ever seen but it was amazing anyway because I got to share it with all my friends there. That night I went home with my friend Anne who is also from the states to make pumpkin pie and skype my family for the very first time. Seeing fifteen of them squished in a tiny room, all shouting at the same time made the day that much better. That weekend Anne and I cooked an entire thanksgiving dinner for her whole family. Now, I'm not the worlds best cook. Or even a good cook. My abilities started and stopped with out-of-the-box brownies. So I was a little nervous about making this huge meal but everything turned out perfect (plus my stuffing was quite the hit).
The activities here in Ecuador are never ending. We just finished a four day long celebration for the independence of Quito. Every day there were parades, concerts in the park and Chivas everywhere. Chivas are basically these big wooden buses with the seats removed that you dance in while they drive around the city at night. It seems as if this city is in constant party mode. No matter where you are, you hear a song you like and the scene is transformed into a dance party. One of the best things about all the things to do here is that most of them are really cheap. You can have an amazing time without clearing out your wallet, which is nice considering were all poor exchange students. Last month me and some other exchange students were able to go to an Areosmith concert. I’ve never been a die hard fan but it was only 15 bucks and watching a thousand ecuadorians shout “Dream on” at the top of their lungs was definitely a high point. One of my favorite things that we’ve done is going to the Pro soccer games. Latin American soccer is like nothing I’ve seen before. Not only is the playing amazing but the atmosphere and the fans are insane. People are yelling, jumping, and singing while streamers and confetti are flying through the air. Everyone thinks us gringos are hilarious, especially when we yell things in spanish and try and cheer on Ecuador, we were even on tv once!. Living here has messed up my sense of what’s cheap and what’s not. Suddenly I can actually get a lot out of that dollar fifty I found in the bottom of my bag, or how ten dollars is now way too expensive for that really nice scarf in the market. I even had my first haggling experience in a taxi when the driver tried to charge me more than what the meter said, I felt so Ecuadorian. I count down the days to when we get to go on more trips. So far we have had two, Mompiche which I talked about in my last post and Manabi. Manabi, is a town on the coast where alllllll 140+ exchange students in Ecuador gathered for five days of jam packed activities. Never in my life have I had so much fun at and seen so many burnt gringos at once. We walked in a parade with our flags raised high and the streets were crowded with people who would cheer and clap and yell “Estados Unidos!” (united states) when we passed. We laid out on the beach casually sipping out of coconuts after tubing on the ocean. Then went back to the resort to dance the night away, stopping only when the boys finally caught you and you were pushed into the pool fully clothed. On the last night we squished into 3 chivas and rode around the city while cars followed us for blocks trying to get pictures and waving and shouting out their windows.
|The parade we walked in|
|Intercambios de Estados Unidos!!|
|My school held a carnival where the exchange students had to dance in front of everyone!|
|My host family and I went ziplining through the rain forest|
|whent to my first bull fight for the festivals of Quito, so horrible!|