The first thing I need every person who reads this to know is that I have no idea what I’m doing. I have been the biggest fan of words for as long as I can remember (my mom used to scold me for having my nose in a book while we were doing our grocery shopping). I have always loved to write and reflect in a journal, but I’ve never shared my personal thoughts and experiences in such a vulnerable way before.
Welcome to my blog. For the next four months, I will be traveling around the little, paradise country of Ecuador, attending la Universidad de San Francisco en Quito, living with a host family, and pretending I don’t miss my puppy and peanut butter way too much. I know that this mediocre website will never come close to doing the country justice, but I do hope that it will help me reflect on the beautiful adventure I get to call a reality for the next few months. Thank you for reading and sharing this journey with me. Enjoy.
I first learned about Ecuador when I was in 4th grade. As a little girl, I went to El Puente, a spanish-immersion school, where the majority of my teachers were from México and taught 90% of the curriculum in spanish. When I was nine, one of our teachers, Nelly Rodgers, introduced my classmates and me to the world of Ecuador. Her family had just moved from Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, to Portland, Oregon, and it seemed like she brought her home-country with her and planted a little bit of that faraway land inside of me. I can still vividly remember her telling me stories about the cobblestone streets she’d walked down every day, showing me pictures of beautiful women dressed in vibrant textiles, letting us taste Ecuadorian fruit we had never heard of before. Ecuador became the first place I ever fell in love with, and the fact that I am writing this entry from a colorful cafe nestled in the heart of Quito still seems surreal. The 4th grade Lucy inside of me is still blown away every morning I wake up and walk down these cobblestone streets to catch my bus, every time my host-mom, Alex, places a new exotic fruit on my plate, every time I pass by a beautiful Indigenous woman dressed in the traditional embroidered blouse.
The first time I went on a run in this new city, I had no idea where I was going. I decided to run east as far as I could. I got about five blocks before reaching a view that literally brought me to to my knees. (Of course, the lack of oxygen here at 9,350 ft. may have had some impact on that drop to my keens as well...) It felt like I had run into a National Geographic Magazine cover. A deep valley stretched out as far as my eyes could see, covered with tall, lush trees and scattered with colorful homes nestled into the hillsides. I don’t have the words to describe that moment, but I do know that I had never felt so insignificant in my entire life. It was humbling to realize that the most unimaginably beautiful places in the world are out there and I will not get to see them all. As I knelt at the edge of city, I told myself that I will never allow myself to forget that feeling. So, here’s to doing as much as I can to honor that feeling with these words, and here’s to working as hard as I can to see as many views that can bring me to my knees as I possibly can.
My first three weeks here have flown by. From city-tours, to zip-lining over the jungle, to the largest Saturday Market in South America, I have fallen asleep every Sunday night saying “I just had the best weekend of my life.” I can’t wait to share more detailed stories about my first few weekends of exploration, but for now I just want to say that I am so thankful for every day in my new home.
Thank you for reading.