On Sunday, Day 1 of the CFHI program, all the July students who would be spending at least part of their time in Quito met at the Amazing Andes School where we were introduced to the teachers and watched a presentation on different safety measures in and around Quito and other Ecuadorian cities.

After this we went out to lunch and then took a tour of the different hospitals that we would be working at over the next four weeks.  This was very helpful as it was our first introduction to the Trolé that runs North/South through the city of Quito.

On Sunday night we got our first exposure to the cities night life in Plaza Foch located in the Mariscal, aka Gringolandia.  The inner plaza is pricier but on Sunday night not much was open so choices were limited.  This was the first night out with a group of about 12 of us from the July Quito program.  For safety precautions we took a taxi back from Plaza Foch.  Comparatively taxis are cheap in Quito and the ride home from the Plaza cost only $3 and was split between Cristell, Mandeep, and myself.  As a side note: Ecuador switched to using the US dollar in the year 2000.

On Monday and Tuesday I had spanish language classes from 8am until 4pm.  My teacher is a man named Marco.  It just so happens that he was the one who picked me up from the airport on Saturday night.  He is a very funny guy who is very helpful and forces us to think and talk more than we would probably like.  The classes were long and tiresome, but very fun and followed Tuesday afternoon by watching the 7-1 Brazilian defeat in the world cup.


Upon Arrival

And so the journey begins:

My journey started in Seattle, WA with a redeye flight out of Sea-Tac airport at 12:35am.  This flight took me and another Claremont Colleges Student, Elizabeth Krawczak ’16 who attends Pizter College, to Chicago then Miami and finally onto Quito, Ecuador.

In Miami we met up with two other CFHI students, Jon and Julie who were on their way to Quito for a 4-week program.  Once in Quito we passed though customs only to be met with an hour-and-a-half wait at the airport.  This was actually a good time as we were able to become familiar with each other and begin our friendship.  After this initial wait we all hopped into a small mid 80’s model 2-door Toyota FJ and began our 2 hours journey from the airport to our respective home stays.

I am staying with a very nice grandmother named Señora Beatriz.  She is a mother of 3 sons and grandmother of 9.  I have a roommate, Mandeep, who recently graduated from UCSD and is beginning his gap year before attending medical school starting in the fall of 2015.  Our other house mate is Cristell who attends Rice University in Houston, TX and is a rising Junior.

Finding wifi in the local TropiBurger

View from my 4th floor room

View from my 4th floor room