Monday, November 21, 2011

freezing busses, family, weddings, and CHOCLO

So, I returned to Quito for the wedding of my host brother Roberto....turns out that the bus from Oyacachi leaves at 4 am! Of course I slept wonderfully that night, worrying about whether I would wake up in time..I didn't really need to wake up, just GET up really. I was pretty much awake. On board the bus I though surely they would have some sort of heat...nope. Apparently busses from Oyacachi have NO HEAT whatsoever. The man next to me was wearing a face mask, like a balaclava. good move sir, good move. I was wearing one pair of pants and a thin jacket....bad.

HOWEVER, I made it to Quito and got to see my host family once again, I spent the whole day making bocaditos which are small, cute, snacks for wedding, parties etc. We made SO MANY bocaditos, literally we spent the whole day. They turned out really nice though and they were all pretty delicious. The wedding itself was beautiful and I would put up pictures except my camera cord has stopped working. The whole family was there and Ecuadorians LOVE to dance, so we danced from around 3 till 9 at night. I borrowed some high heels from a friend and my feet hurt so bad. My host mother made the cake for the wedding and it was SO GOOD, I don't know what kind it was but it may have been the most delicious cake I have every had.

I go back to the freezing land of Oyacachi this coming Wednesday to finish up my project and then on December 2nd I'm bound for Quito and the Hostal Posada del Maple to reunite with my fellow compañeros de la programa. I am pretty excited to see them as well as see my real family in the states. This whole experience has been like an amazingly long and education vacation and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

ciao y hasta pronto

(oh yea, and choclo is this delicious corn that they have here, sooooo good)

Monday, November 7, 2011

off to the Páramo

Well, my family just whisked me off to celebrate the ferriada (holidays exactly one month before fiestas de Quito) on the beautiful beaches of the province Esmereldas. We spend our days on the beach and our nights....on the beach. There was seafood, swimming, and coconuts everywhere. However, returning from this sunny, hot, costal climate I am leaving tomorrow for my ISP!!!!!!!

I am going to the reserve of Cayambe-Coca wayyyyyy up in the Andes at about 4,000m and it is going to be SO cold. I will specifically be living in Oyacachi, a small mountain village and working on a project with two Ecuadorians about the Andean tapir. Specifically the study is trying to figure out whether the Andean tapir is an efficient seed disperser in the Páramo which means we will be collecting it's feces and dissecting them to see if there are more seeds, leaves or stems. All in all it's a pretty exciting project.

I have no idea about my internet situation so I may not be blogging for a while, but you never know here. Plaza Gutierrez, the cloud forest village on top of a mountain which we had to walk an hour to get to had internet access in one building in the town so I have faith for Oyacachi which at least has road access.

I am also going a month without access to showers or laundry. The only bathing I will be doing is in natural hot springs (WOAH!) and the only washing of clothes will be by hand. hmmmm. I am also living in a tent (I have yet to purchase a pillow) and cooking all my own meals with my two advisors. It will be an experience for sure.

I am extremely sad to be leaving my host family, I will miss them A TON while I'm studying in the Páramo, but fortunately I get to return for the wedding of my host brother Robert. I am really happy to say that I love my host family, I recommend them for any student who is coming here and I will definitely miss them. I would be the happiest if they ever came to the U.S. to visit. They seem skeptical whenever I mention this however haha.
Anyways, it's been a wild ecuadorian ride and it will only continue with this adventure in Cayambe-Coca.

ciao, and can't wait to see St. Mikes campus again!