Week 2 Quito,Ecuador (IVHQ)

*Disclaimer: I’m posting these all late, but I took notes and videos of almost every day. Take this with 90% accuracy. Also, as for my complaints, these notes are in real time. If I were to give an overall summary I would not sound so whiny. I’m know I sound SUPER petty. Believe me. What can I say? It’s my daily journal.

*I’ve decided to treat you all with some videos of my time in Ecuador that I wasn’t planning to add until I revived my YouTube channel in several months. The videos in this post can only be accessed here.

Room tour in Quito at Susanna’s home stay (IVHQ)

Monday 1/9– Got to tour the main city since orientation was canceled last week on a Monday. It was really cool. We saw a parade near La Ronda. Two of my suite-mates went to Banos for the weekend with some other volunteers. One came back on crutches because she got her ankle sprained literally within five minutes of getting off the bus. Unfortunately, the entire weekend she was stuck with a sprained ankle in a bed bug-infested hostel room. Yep, you read that right. I’ve got the pictures too. There were at least three volunteers who got bitten but hers was the worst as she spent all her time in the hostel. They gave her a $30 refund, medicine and said they were gonna “shut down” for the week. The name of the hostel is Hostal Transilvania. According to my suite-mate, Gina-the program coordinator- did not understand what she was saying with the bed bugs and the sprained ankle so there was no immediate assistance for her-at first- when she returned to Quito. Eventually, they assisted her and made sure she washed everything she owned. She hopped everywhere for the next week. It sucks as she is only staying in Ecuador for 2 weeks and can’t go back to volunteer with the street children program. My other house mate doesn’t like her Spanish teacher as well, she is also at upper-intermediate Spanish and says her professor only focuses on grammer (and her cellphone).  I felt a little bored in my Spanish lessons today. Wondering what i’m gonna do for the next 7 weeks. So many people are here for only a few weeks. So far I am here the longest. No good meetup groups in Quito except tech ones. Drinks here are warm sometimes. Thinking of doing street children program once a week?

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Bed bug bites from hostel.

Tuesday(1/10)– At school, the principal and another teacher took me out of my main class to take pictures with kids I’ve never seen before. Spanish lessons room is so loud it’s hard to listen but nothing is done about it even when I complained. There’s really no where else to go as all tutors and students are in the same room. My Spanish lessons have been improving a lot, we talked about all the food we wanted to eat. I believe it improved because I asked to reduce my hours. So far, this program feels like a factory , no one wants to give real attention to a situation because the situation will leave in a week or two. I went to the gym a block from the program office, it only costs 50 cents a day 🙂 It’s a really cool spot!

The gym!

Wed(1/11)– For breakfast, the host mom baffled my five housemates and I when we realized she used the microwave to heat water for our tea. I tried to fill my bottle with the giant bottled water all home-stay mothers are supposed to provide but was quickly halted and told that we could only have water at dinner -_-. Today at school the kids were all up in my hair asking if I use Vaseline in it lol. They’re so cute! One of them actually told me they used it in their hair. This left me so confused because this little girl literally has straight hair. They also asked if Yan (who is Chinese) and I are sisters…. My Spanish teacher is asking me what to talk about for class. He is the teacher. After I talk about my day what else can I say en Espanol? Remember, this class is an hour and a half. After halfway through he could not conversate (fake word). This week i’m frustrated that no one writes about the negatives on this program online or everything that goes on, we’ve reached the point where we (my housemates and I) are questioning if our host mom is getting paid enough to feed us. I will come in and state, however, that every house has its goods and bads. I really like our house. Also, the night before I requested a dish I saw online and she made it 🙂 Recent thoughts: compared to my Cuban home-stay mom i’d score her a 5/10 but study-abroad is much different than this program. She has to get acquainted with a new kid every week. 

Thursday (1/12)–  I was, unfortunately, 10 minutes late to my placement because I woke up with a stomach ache. Another teacher made tea for me. It must have been a “travel-bug” another housemate of mine is also sick. This morning, I was happy to notice Susanna normally boils hot water on the stove (yes I’m anal about that, I do not like microwaves) unless one of us is in the kitchen, so far two people have asked for bigger portions and better cleaning. Today I noticed that the Spanish lessons are unnecessarily too long and not great for advanced students. Students can’t even stay focused in an hour language lesson, let alone an additional 30 minutes. I wanted to stop at 12 lessons but I felt sorry for my professor. I’m from the US and privileged and I feel if I reduce my classes i’ll basically be robbing him.

Friday (1/13)– After my class assisting with the 8th graders, my wonderful amazing teacher(is that what I call her? I’m her assistant) pulled me aside and wrote the words: “bitch” and “beach” and asked me to pronounce the difference. I happily taught her. It honestly took me a good minute to curse on the board though. I’m such a prude, I skip curse words even when i’m reading a book. I freaking love this school. The kids are amazing, they clap every time I read allowed in English like i’m getting an Oscar or something. Even the 7th grader. Yan left and all the kids were crying. She left a real impact in her two weeks (lol emoji). I found out next week school will be closed, I told Gina but she wasn’t aware. My Spanish teacher was 11 minutes late and insisted that we focus on grammer lessons because he can’t work with advanced students. Right when I thought things were getting better we fall back. I asked him if it’d be best if I end at only 12 hours in total of teaching. I felt bad because I initially paid for 30 but once I realized that my teacher was only experienced with beginner level students I wondered if I should lower it. All but one of my housemates stopped going to their Spanish lessons. He told me we should work more together (he wants the $$$) but I wish I listened to my spirit and didn’t feel bad for him. I decided on 20 hours of lessons. Worst private lessons ever you all are better off with Verbling (I ordered 5 Verbling lessons online because my teacher only wanted to teach grammer). I would not recommend him if you are an advanced student. Advanced students will be bored out of their minds. He taught me things I already knew and then he’d say, “you don’t need lessons…. -_-” like I said, my conversation is not fluent enough. I beg all future IVHQ volunteers not to pay for more than 12 lessons until after a week with your teacher. That way you can experience what it’s like. If you’re a newbie you’ll be better off but even the newbs in my house stopped going to them. It’s not fun. I was looking forward to this. 

Saturday (1/14): I searched online for chill places to hang out, meet new people and get some work done. I took the bus to the meetup by myself. It was kind of nerve wracking. Getting on and off the bus was quite interesting. It’s really cheap, for foreigners, like less than 25 cents. I made my way to the meetup by using Google Maps and asking random people. The meetup I went to was at a burger joint in a lovely, hipster neighborhood of Quito. It was the most annoying meetup of my life. Never again. It was a language exchange, but from the moment I got there (unfortunately early) the two guys in attendance would not let me breath. I was so hungry, attempting to eat my burger and I couldn’t even take a bite until another half hour because more people came. The moment they turned their heads I ditched to the next table and managed to get a few bites before we began. They just wanted to practice their English on me. You literally had to have been there to see the craziness of it all. They ignored alllllll social IQ signs.

Sunday (1/15): This weekend was a chill one. I went to a church about a 15-20 minute walk from my homestay. It is called Iglesia Santisima Trinidad. It was an okay experience, nothing special unfortunately. Not really memorable as no one talked to me. In Japan and Cuba, I had better feedback. It was nice to see the park nearby with people  playing football/soccer. For lunch, I was really excited to try the Chinese food, I heard it was decent. Maybe, I ordered the lamest thing on the menu but I literally could not finish the meal. Ugh, it was not good at all. I also went to the grocery store. Look at the price of Snickers. $10! Some things that we have in the states for cheap are really expensive here, especially electronics.

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Here is the food my host mother fed us this weeks. I requested the first one. We normally get plain rice and beef.

Thanks for reading this post and bearing with me. The next one will be uplifting I promise. I’m trying to get the rest of these Ecuador posts out before the new year. I’m hoping to launch my Youtube one i’m finish posting this trip. I kept a weekly vlog of my time there. The next blog post will have one of my vlogs. See you soon!

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