More goodbyes. More sadness. More changes. More people. More adjustments. More excitement. Story of my life.
April 4 marked the end of training, our first three months in country where we lived in a bubble of sorts…apart from sitting through hours of Spanish/Kichwa/safety & security/health sessions/tech training, we got to see the other 35 trainees everyday, hang out on the weekends in Quito, eat pizza probably way too often, live with host families who hopefully weren’t offended when we said ¿como? instead of ¿mande? when we didn’t understand something.
Highlights from the last few weeks of training:
Mañana Deportiva – a day-long soccer tournament, 4 teams of volunteers, 1 team of 3rd year Volunteers (PCVLs), lots of cheering and Spanish trash talking, singing of Ecua/American national anthems, I think my team scored one goal the entire day.
Host Family Appreciation Day – organized entirely by the trainees for our host fams in Tumbaco, skits, food, dancing, sports. I somehow found myself in charge of organizing all the food for the day (100ish people). I chopped about a million onions and tomatoes, lugged watermelons on the bus, and had lots of great help from everyone getting the food together.
Mindo – traveled about 2 1/2 hours to a little touristy town north of Quito with some friends, went ZIP-LINING (!!!!), ate good food, generally got to feel like a tourist for the first time in Ecuador, nice to have a break from 8-5 training days.
Swearing In – being a governmental organization and all, the ceremony was relatively official considering we’re still in the middle of Ecuador. We had an oath, all raised our right hands, had speeches by the country director and the Consulate in Guayaquil, received certificates, etc. It was very much like a graduation, we had our host families in Tumbaco, some new host families, our teachers and staff who we’ve seen everyday for the last 11 weeks. We all said our teary goodbyes and promised to stay in touch as we attempted to manage our excessive luggage.
I made my way down to Latacunga (2 hrs south of Quito) with 2 friends who’ll be working nearby. My friend Alice and I hauled our 6 suitcases to a lovely pizza place…IN THE RAIN! We had our last meal of sorts before attempting to hail cabs to our respective dot-on-the-map towns outside of Latacunga. NOTE: I always have the best conversations with cab drivers. I forgot that Thursday is cray cray in Saquisili because all the Kichwa people come down from the mountain to sell their stuff in one of the 8 plazas in town. We finally made it to my little house and I lugged all my luggage upstairs by myself. Proud/scary moment looking at my new room.
Tomorrow is the first day of school. : / Not really sure how I feel about it. More updates coming soon.