Friday, September 16, 2011

one week in Quito

Well, it is friday in Quito and instead of going to spanish class I am going to my host families farm! It is about 3 hours from Quito and they have cows, chickens, crops and other cool stuff!

About class. . . my academic director gave me permission. I am also missing a 'charla' about the Andean bear, but I am not going to do my ISP about that so no big deal.

Anyways, this week flew by! We had normal class Monday, Wednesday and Friday (which means spanish in the morning and ecology or something else interesting like Ecuadorian History in the afternoon). However, on Tuesday we visited the Museo de Guayasamín. Guayasamín is an artist who paints GIANT paintings about human suffering, love, history using themes from all around the world. His paintings have a Picasso feel to them, but they are less colorful. Anyways, it was really cool.
On Thursday we went on a MINGA! to plant trees at a woman named Kathy's house. Each student was supposed to plant four trees to offset their carbon footprint for the semester. Of course, the trees they plant have to live 80 years in order to actually off set the carbon, so hopefully those baby trees will survive. I actually did not plant any trees as I am working on a sustainability project with 4 other students measuring the mortality of said trees from past semesters and deciding which ones live longest. There are Plots A-E of trees and we only got halfway through measuring Plot D, hence we will be traveling back there in two weekends.
I am adjusting to my homestay pretty well, the family is really nice and quite proper. They took me to the historic center of town last night and we bought a GIANT bowl of guayava (a type of dessert made with eggs and guava, it looks like ice cream. . .but it's not) and a smaller bowl of ice cream.
I have to take the trolle to school every day which is a new and sometimes scary experience for a rural Maine girl like me. Yesterday I basically had to shove myself onto the trolle into about 10 other people if I even wanted to get home, so I did.
Anyhow, still can't get a sweet background of my blog, I'm somewhat technology illiterate so I will keep trying.

hasta entonces,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

mi nueva familia

Well, I was out of touch for a bit because I was in fact living in the cloud forest Intag for a week (!), but I am yet again connected as my savvy new Ecuadorian family has given me their wireless password. Their house is also super chevre.

I can't really explain in words how the cloud forest affected me because it was something that I never anticipated nor imagined. I will instead sum up my activities and let you all decide how these experiences may have been.

-learned to i.d. about 10 plant species by their latin names
-mist netting (catching birds in nets and them)
-ate delicious ecuadorian food (RICE AND BEANS etc.)
-cloud forest drop off (alone time with the forest haha)
-helped build a puente (bridge)
-lived with a family from Plaza Gutierrez for three days (AMAZING)
-went on a 6 hour hike through the cloud forest
-harvested firewood and beans with my host father and brother
-danced with a farmer
-attended the 110th anniversary of Plaza Gutierrez party
-saw a crater lake from an old volcano
-bought some helado (ice cream)
-finally met my host family in Quito

and that is the very shortened version of my adventures. They have been incredible thus far and I only expect them to get more amazing as we have trips planned for the Amazon and Galápagos as well. ciao, Katí (because no one here can say Kat)