Sunday, January 10, 2010

Settling in

Friday morning the CIMAS bus came and picked us all up from our hotel and took us to the fundacion buildling in northern Quito. The facility is brand new (they just moved into it in November 2009) and it is incredible. It must have arguably one of the best views in Quito and the buidling was designed with huge bay window and terraces so that you can see it from anywhere you are standing - I don't know how I'm going to get any work done, I couldn't stop looking outside the whole first day. I'll post a picture when I can.

After an introduction to the program and a safety briefing from the US embassy (I can now accurately identify a safe taxi, among other things) we met our host families! My immediate family consists of my mother Catalina and her son Diego. They are both really warm and open, and Diego speaks really good English so when I'm at a complete loss of what to say he helps me out. However, as i'm learning is common in Latin America, visits by members of their huge extended family occur almost daily.

Friday night we were joined by lots of cousins and their wives, children and fiances. It was a little overwhelming because they were all speaking really fast, but it was fun to meet everyone. Baby Maya had just learned to walk that morning so she was practicing all over the apartment - so cute! She stayed the night so I got to spend the next morning playing with her. Here she is:

Had a nice relaxing weeked to unpack and settle in - my new home is lovely. It is a comfortable apartment on two floors, with amazing view of the city from every window. This is mi vista from where I'm sitting now:

My host mama is so great - she makes fresh sqeezed juice every morning because she likes her jugo frescito, and its so delicious! She uses all these fruits I've never heard of before which is really fun. And she just brought me fresh popcorn (made on the stove of course, because she says it is much better than the packet kind). Apparently the word for popcorn changes from country to country here.

Also, random note, Ecuatorianos use the word "chevere" ALOT. It means cool, exciting, fun, etc. Apparently its used only in Ecuador. I've also learned some less savory palabras de Ecuador, but hopefully I won't feel the need to use them too often...I feel weird using chevere though, since I'm not actually from here.

I'm about to go to a movie with one of las hermanas de mi vecino who goes to college in the US but is home right now on vacation, and then tomorrow is my first day of school!


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