Going Down Under

…My life abroad

July 30 PM July 31, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 3:02 am

 Okay first of all sorry the last few entries were posted a little late.  I didn’t have internet access so I journaled on microsoft word and just did copy and paste to make three seperate entries.  I know they’re very detailed.  Like I said, don’t feel like you have to read all of it!  If you want to see pictures, I just loaded an album onto facebook and you can check it out!  It’s pretty good hope you enjoy!

 

 on to the actual blog entry…

 

Second day of orientation is now complete!  Today was interesting.  After breakfast we met Juan Francisco Guerrero, aka Pancho, who is one of the international student directors at USFQ, my school for the fall.  He started off the morning with a talk about safety.  Boy did it make me feel paranoid.  I mean, it’s good that they are very honest with us about safety concerns… but it made you never want to leave your house!  Although in the past few days we have been in a lot of dangerous areas, and I have learned to always keep my purse in front of me with my arm over it and turned around.  I never carry more than 10 dollars with me, and disguise other stuff.  It’s crazy to have to be so on guard; I wish it was like the USA where it wasn’t as important.  It really makes you rely on God when you know it is so dangerous here.  I know that He’ll take care of me – even though I will be amazed if I make it through the semester without getting something stolen from the sounds of things.  Unfortunately, only 6 students got free cell phones.  They pulled names out of a hat and sadly I lost.  I have to buy one and then buy calling cards – it’s pretty pricey.  But another good safety measure.  After our safety talk we talked about signing up for classes – I am going to take modern dance, tejido (weaving), Spanish grammar, a Latin American lit class, and then the class we have during the month of august which also counts towards my minor.  Should be a good schedule if all goes according to plan.  They told us that they wanted us to learn how to use the buses today so we took them to get to USFQ for a tour of campus.  Wow the buses are crazy!  Sooo crowded… forget personal space, and so hard to know when to get on and off!  The bus rides were long and we had to change buses twice.  It was good to have an idea of how long it will take Kara and I to get to school every morning, because our host family lives right by our hotel.  The view from the bus rides is AMAZING though.  We pass a white-water-rafting river, a few volcanoes that are snow capped, breathtaking views – not too shabby!  When we got the university, all of us were dumbfounded with how nice it is.  I’ve seen lots of pictures and everything – but, as has been the case with all of Quito, you just don’t get how gorgeous it is until you see it in person.  Pablo gave us a VERY LONG tour of the campus… going into a little too much detail… but it was good to get a feel for it.  We had lunch in the cafeteria.  It was the best meal every – three courses for 3.50.  It is served by chefs and they take your tray from you when you’re done – more like a nice restaurant then a cafeteria for sure!  The school has great classrooms and lots of beautiful fountains.  I love it.  I can’t believe I get to go to school here.  They say it costs the same to study here as it does in the states.  It is the first liberal arts college in Ecuador and it was only founded 19 years ago.  Pretty interesting how the school got started.  It helped me not to take my liberal arts education for granted – most Ecuadorians who are lucky enough to go to college have to go to a tech school and can’t just change their major or something.  I am truly blessed.  We then came back to the hotel and had dinner in the restaurant here.  Me and Sarah had a great talk at dinner, I am really enjoying getting to know her!  We are freakishly alike.  A bunch of us girls talked this morning about starting up a weekly bible study, I hope we actually do it!  There are a lot of girls here that are really solid spiritually.  It’s so encouraging.  We have a lot of fun but also they have that spiritual depth that is so hard to come by in friends.  Well that’s about all we did today – mostly just being at the university and braving public transportation!  Until tomorrow!

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July 29 PM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 3:00 am

July 29 – PM

 

What an amazing day!  I know I wrote this morning – but where to begin?

 

The altitude here has some funny effects.  I notice the change in two ways.  First, I sneeze all the time.  Everyone else has said the same.  Today I probably sneezed like 20 times in a row.  It’s nuts.  Also, I get really out of breath going up the stairs.  I mean I know I’m out of shape and that happens in the USA, but this is extreme.  We all are huffing and puffing after like half a flight.  It’s interesting.  Also, the sun is so strong!  And they weren’t kidding about it getting cold at night here.

 

This morning we went downstairs to breakfast.  We had this crazy array of juices to choose from, and being adventurous I went for the bright orange papaya juice.  Bad choice.  It was nast.  But the rest of breakfast is good.  Ecuadorian food has tons of crazy sauces.  I’m lovin it.  After breakfast we had a neat time where we all went around and talked about what schools we go to, what our major is, where we’re from, why we chose Ecuador to study abroad, our hobbies, and we talked about our families.  It was so cool to get to know everyone.  Our BCA leaders are awesome.  Their names are Pablo and Nieves.  Nieves is this awesome lady who loves the microphone and speaks pretty broken English.  She bosses her husband around a lot which cracks us up.  But she is so warm and kind.  Pablo is a real jokester.  He’s always saying these corny things but we laugh anyways.  He’s pretty forgetful so we’ve learned real fast to ask Nieves detail-oriented questions.  Pablo’s love for the city is awesome though.  He is American and Nieves is Ecuadorian.  They met when he came here from the peace corps and she was his troop’s Spanish teacher.  They’re wonderful.  Nieves pulled me aside this morning and said I could pick someone to live in the house with me (in the upstairs apartment).  I talked to a girl Kara that I met and really liked, and she jumped at the chance!  She goes to bridgewater and is a psych major.  I think we will really hit it off.  Her Spanish teacher also lived with Beatriz and Rodrigo, so she also has a weird connection to them!  What an answer to prayer that God worked that out! 

 

After our meeting we went on a bus tour of the city.  The mountains – okay – I know you might be picturing the ones in Dillsburg – let’s call those “hills”.  These mountains are out of this world.  Every turn you take is this amazing postcard-like view.  I took so many pictures today…you just can’t help it.  God is so incredible to have designed a place like this.  The first place we went to was called “El Virgin de Panecillo” which is a sweet statue, and when you go to it you can see the whole city from its base.  There are cute little vendors there and we got ice cream bars that were some weird type of passionfruit flavor called “taxo”.  The fruits here are loco loco.  So many.  We had a great time.  Then we went to a couple of major plazas in the city.  We went into some beautiful old churches.  One of the churches was called the Iglesia Sebastian, which is one of the seven oldest churches in Latin America.  There are lots of people wearing indigenous clothing even in the heart of the city.  It’s so beautiful.  At the statue there was this huge group of little nuns and they were so precious!  I shamelessly took their picture… forgive me Lord… haha.  I made friends with this little girl named Evelyn today outside of one church.  She was so cute – I’ll put up a picture with her at some point.  The second plaza we went to was called el plaza de la republica.  There were all these political protests going on – it was fascinating.  It felt very safe though.  We went into the lobby of the president’s palace, too.  The architecture is amazing.  Why don’t we build stuff like that anymore? 

 

Next, our leaders wanted us to be able to practice taking a taxi for the first time.  We split into groups of four and it was so fun!  We talked to our driver the whole way to the restaurant for dinner.  He told us all about Quito and the places we should go.  Our dinner restaurant was called Alice’s, and it was the best dinner ever.  There was an Andean band that came and serenaded us the whole time!  We’re not talking your run-of-the-mill el rodeo mariachi band.  They were GOOD.  We all clapped the whole time… haha speaking of…this one boy from my group is so funny, he marches to the beat of his own drum, he was clapping with his fingers.  You might not think it’s that funny but ask me to demonstrate it for you sometime and maybe you will! Haha.  I sat with Christa and Arelis at dinner and we had a blast.  We laughed so much.  Our meal was like 5 courses and so good.  Everything I try is such an adventure.  They served us red wine with dinner.  I tried a sip of it and I hated it!  Oh my gosh it was horrible!  I always wondered what it tasted like and now I know.  No thank you.  It like burns going down and tastes so bitter… blech.  No one else at my table hardly touched theirs.  Now our dessert on the other hand – fried plantains and passionfruit mousse – that was gone pretty quick.  Then we came back to the hotel and we’re heading to bed.  Tomorrow we register for courses so that should be interesting! 

 

Guys, I love it here.  I wish I could take all of you and plop you in Quito and live here forever.  You’d love it too.  Come visit and you’ll see what I mean! People have said that to me before – that it’s this amazing place – and I never understood.  After just one day I get it, at least I think I do.  I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be here and so excited for what’s in store.  God is good!

  

 

July 29 AM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 2:59 am

Hey there!  I’ve now officially been in Ecuador for about 12 hours.  It’s so exciting I can’t even explain the feeling! 

 

Yesterday was filled with hellos.  It reminded me a little bit of welcome week freshman year because everyone kind of asks each other the same 3 or 4 questions – what school are you from, are you a Spanish major, are you staying for a semester or year, are you excited to be here (as if we would answer no!)…  but we’re getting to know each other, little by little.  My suitcases were just as much of a pain as I thought they would be – maybe more, haha.  I have some pretty bad blisters on my hands from them!  All the Ecuadorian bus guys who helped me get my luggage into the bus from the airport were like… estas maletas… whoa!  Hahaha.  When we got to Ecuador and stepped off the plane, Pablo and Nieves were there to greet us all with roses!  It was so cute.  I did have one problem though.  When I was going through customs, the people said that the type of visa on my passport and that other paper with my picture didn’t match.  That is gonna be a big problem for me to leave if I don’t get that fixed.  So, I have to talk to Pablo and get that worked out at a consulate here.  It could be worse – Jenn lost her bags.  Poor girl!  That would be awful.  Quito is so much more beautiful than I pictured it or could tell from Kaelie’s pictures.  There is a volcano that I can see from my hotel window right now… I forget the name of it … but it is snow capped and gorgeous.  The sun this morning is SO bright and beautiful.  It’s the best way to wake up.

 

Last night I met a girl named Sarah who is partially here because she is interested in Latin American missions.  She’s a Latin American Studies major at George Mason and we hit it off pretty well.  Wanting to branch out from the Messiah crowd a bit, and knowing that she seemed like a pretty solid girl, I asked her if she wanted to room together at the hotel (we had to split up into pairs of two).  It’s been great.  She’s really nice.  We had a bit of a scare last night when she accidentally brushed her teeth instead of using the bottled water!  It’s hard to remember that stuff right away – it’s like, oh yeah, this is a third world country… could’ve fooled me because our hotel is sooo nice.  Another cool thing about Sarah is that she’s been dating this guy for two years and they’ve never been apart for more than 6 days she said.  This will be a hard semester for her too being away from him.  He sounds like a great guy and they eventually want to come back to Ecuador to do missions together!!! How cool is that?!?  It was nice being able to kind of know someone else who’s in a similar situation… although Iguess I’ve just been dating 1 month instead of 2 years but hey no big deal! Haha! Speaking of missing people – it was SO hard saying goodbye to my family yesterday!  But After I cried through security I was okay.  Well, I did pull out this letter my dad wrote to me on the plane and I had to put it away because after the first few lines I knew it would make me way sadder!  But being around the other students really helped.  Last night we were allowed to make a phone call from our rooms to tell our parents we were here and safe, but Nieves (Pablo’s wife) made it very clear that we had to keep it under 1 minute – since it was gonna cost them a fortune and none of us bought calling cards.  So my poor parents, I had to just tell them I loved them, I was here and safe and hang up!  It was good to hear their voices but I felt bad being so brief.  At least they know I’m in one piece!  Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go to the internet café today and I can post this online and maybe try out skype! 

 

 The next few days we get lots of meetings and orientations.  We meet for breakfast around 8:30 and we’ll see how my first Ecuadorian meal settles!  They’ve warned us about altitude sickness since we’re at 9,000 feet, but I feel fine.  Anyways, today will be so exciting and I am really looking forward to seeing the city.  Thanks for all your prayers and support – also pray for whoever will be staying in my house with me, that God will work it out to be someone really awesome that I’ll connect with well!

 

Attention ladies and gentlemen… July 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 10:49 pm

My dad…

…now has a blog.

check it out! There’s a link to it on the side of this page!  He jumped on the bandwagon and I couldn’t be happier!

 

Skype

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 6:14 pm

Hey everyone – sorry it’s been a few days!  I just have not had a moment to breathe during the last few.  I’ve been packing like crazy.  I think I’m almost done.  Thank goodness!  You try fitting your life for 5 months into 2 suitcases.  It’s a little tough.  But in the end I think I’ll be fine – if other people have done it, I can too.  Today I’m doing some more errands – including getting a haircut in a few minutes here.  No offense to all you homeschoolers out there, but my hair is at the “homeschool-long” stage.  That is when I know I need to take action.  Lindsay helps me to know when this danger zone has been reached.  What would I do without her? Haha.

One thing before I go – if you don’t have skype yet, you should download it!  It’s a free program like AIM, but with it you can make international phone calls for free!  If you have a headset and microphone and web cam, I can talk to you face to face from Ecuador!  It is absolutely free!  My skype name is the same as my screen name – “youbungalow”, so be sure to download the program and add me!  It would be an awesome way to keep in touch!  Let me know if you have any problems getting it set up… although considering how technologically handicapped I am I might not be of much help!

I’ll check in tomorrow – my last day in the US!  WOW.

Love to all – Andrea

 

Last Sunday… July 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 7:58 pm

Today was a hard day so far.  It was my last time in church before I go.  It’s cool to think that when I’m in Ecuador I’ll be worshipping God along with the people from my home church, but it is still sad.  Today the youth had the service to share about the Ireland and Trinidad trips.  It was awesome.  “Now Behold The Lamb” is a human video that they did at the end – it was so powerful.  I was bawlin’ like a baby.  I’m so glad it was my last service because it was one that I’ll never forget.  At the end I went to the altar and prayed with Lindz.  Man she is probably the best sister anyone could have.  I am gonna miss her and my family like crazy. 

Friday night we had a worship bonfire (or should I say BONEfire Helena?) at the Chaplin’s house.  It was so much fun.  Thanks for all of you who came out.  I will always have really good memories of that time.  Sitting around that campfire was so awesome – I love worshipping in a laid-back way like that, when you can forget the words and it doesn’t matter, and when people can just shout out “requests”.  haha. 

I am about to go pick up my friend Brittany from college and we’re gonna hang out!  I can’t wait! Love you all!

 

Read the entry below to fully appreciate this picture. July 20, 2007

Filed under: Pictures — Andrea @ 12:48 pm

My house for the next 5 months – dog picture and all.