I was talking to my dear friend Erin Lawlor I can't remember how long ago, and I was telling her that I just felt homesick. She told me that I needed to make a list of everything that I like about Ecuador, down to the most mundane thing. That way, I can remind myself why I am glad to be here, even on rough days. So here's my list of things I like about Ecuador.
1. The mountains.
2. Speaking Spanish all the time (usually).
3. When I'm on the bus, and the music is all Latin American and awesome...and then a Hannah Montana song comes on. It makes me feel like I'm back at CCC with my junior high girls again.
4. Everything pineapple...pineapple juice, pineapple ice cream, pineapple marmalade, pineapple candy, pineapple cake...
5. Procrastinating on my homework, because that's what I do. Why should it change if I'm in Ecuador?
6. My beautiful campus. It makes the hour long journey to the U much better when I arrive to see palm trees, white brick buildings, and tropical flowers.
7. Going to the market and bargaining with the vendors. I use the "I'm a poor college student" excuse a lot. I've started to pity all the tourists who come and TRY to bargain and still get ripped off....yeah, that's right. I live here.
8. The fact that it is almost December and still 70 degrees and sunny every day.
9. My host family. They are all incredible. I've slipped up and called Papi "my grandfather"; I can talk to Mami about anything and she's already helped me through some tough stuff; I love having conversations with Fer; and Elías is so much fun. I am so incredibly blessed to have been put with the Lopez family...I honestly don't know what I would do here without them. They've made a huge impact on my life already through their willingness to welcome me into their family and culture with open arms.
10. Having my own room at home. It's the first time in years and years and years. It's kind of nice to have my own space.
11. TRAVELING. Every weekend, a new adventure.
12. Meeting new people from all over the world. Literally. In one of my classes alone, there is a girl from Canada, a girl from France, a guy from Sweden, and a girl from Ecuador; one of my good friends here is from Norway. It's so interesting to learn random tidbits about so many different cultures.
13. Galak white chocolate. Mmmm.
14. NOT having to drive in the ridiculous crazy traffic here. I would probably get myself killed. Ecuadorians are the craziest driver in the whole world, I swear.
15. Batidos (fruit milkshakes).
16. Empanadas de morocho and ají!!
17. Our crazy little dog Nacho. He's so cute. Except when he eats my earrings. But I love getting home and seeing him run to the door all wiggly and excited that I'm back.
18. Getting mail. It always brightens my day when I get home and see a letter on my desk.
20. The coffee here is SO good.
21. I love the jewelry here. It's so unique and pretty and CHEAP. I have bought 20 pairs of earrings so far, and several necklaces, and several bracelets...
22. The cookies at the café on campus. Yum.
23. The fact that classes are almost over.
24. Experiencing all the different holidays they have here!
26. MY super awesome really fun jewelry making class! I get to play with fire and use all kinds of dangerous tools. And design and make my own jewelry.