Ahhhh, day 4 of life in a foreign country. For those of you who haven´t experienced day 4 syndrome before (either because I just pretty much named it right now, or you´ve never lived in a foreign country), I can sum it up in 2 words - SENSORY OVERLOAD. I remember it vividly from when I lived in London, and it´s pretty similar this time around.
I´ve moved into a new house, adopted a new family, made new friends, started learning a new language. I´m eating new food, sleeping in a new bed, adjusting to a new schedule, mastering a new transportation system, shopping in new stores, and the list goes on...basically, I´ve had a headache for the past 2 days (and it´s hardly the altitude´s fault anymore) and I pretty much feel like I could take a nice long, 14 hour nap!
That said, I´m doing great and still loving every minute (almost) of life in Quito. I know this is all just part of the transition, and I will continue to adjust as time goes on. I also have to remind myself to embrace the new and unfamiliar surroundings because, all too soon, they will become dangerously familiar and comfortable - where I no longer experience the awe and wonder from merely stepping outside in the morning or glancing out the window at an internet cafe to see the beautiful mountains straight ahead (as I am now).
After a rocky start to yesterday morning, we arrived at Vida Verde Spanish Language school 2 hours late! Luckily, they were extrememly welcoming and accomidating, and matched us up with tutors right away. We have one-on-one tutoring from 8:30 to 12:30 everyday, with a 20 minute break in the middle. My tutor for this week is Priscilla. The first 2 days have been frustrating and overwhelming, just as I expected! However, I feel like I have already learning so much, and Priscilla is very patient with me. Dan and I spent 2 hours studying last night and I after today´s class, I don´t think that was enough. I´m pretty sure I will be studying more in the next two weeks (and thereafter) than I did my entire senior year of college combined! Oh, I also met 2 guys at the school who I´ll be living and volunteering with for the next year at CMT. They both seem very cool, and it will be nice to already have those connections before we move in Sept. 1.
Dan and I moved in with the family we´ll be staying with for the next 2 weeks last night. The family consists of aunt Ruth, her son Estefan, and his cousin Dayla. Dayla picked us up and immidiately started speaking english with us - she viewed our presence as a way for her to practice her english. Well, let me tell you, aunt Ruth has an entirely different agenda in mind! She understands english perfectly fine, but made it clear from the start that we are not to speak english in the house - not to her, not to Dayla or Estefan, and not to each other! She really is a very very sweet, energetic, loving, fun lady, and we are so lucky to have her. She took us grocery shopping last night, and it turned into one big spanish lesson. We ended up spending almost 2 hours at the grocery store! I loved it though. Since Dan knows more conversational spanish than I do, the two of them dominate most conversations, but Ruth encourages me to participate and puts me on the spot from time to time. It´s tough, but so helpful.
All in all, the unknowns are definitely turning out to be blessings. I still can´t believe that I am actually here and doing the things I´ve been talking about and planning for the last 6 months! Thank you all for your emails, thoughts, and prayers. They really are bright spots in my day.
Until next time,
P.S. After hearing from a few of you, I realized that my blog website shows up in Spanish to you at home, as well (duh, keely). I apologize for that - thank you to those who tried to comment and couldn´t quite figure it out, and mucho thanks to those (Beth) who tried and succeeded! I´m not sure if I can fix it, so I guess we´ll just look at it as a learning experience for all of us. I want you all to be as much a part of my cultural immersion as possible ;), and, believe me, I´ve definitely had to break out the pocket dictionary a few times to figure out what I´m trying to do on here...