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!