el día de acción de gracias

thanksgiving here was great. a big group of people (people from illinois and other people as well) all came over to our program director (maría)’s house for dinner. it was so much fun.
we cooked food together on wednesday and on thanksgiving, at maria’s house. i really enjoyed cooking ahead of time. & the food was deliciousssss.

there was a big, really cool group of people there on thanksgiving for the meal… some people from esmeraldas came and played merengue music – & some crazy dancing went down. also, one of the people who was there did stand up comedy, which was really hilarious. all in all, it was definitely a lot different from my thanksgivings in the us, but i really enjoyed my day- it was just a really nice group of people and awesome atmosphere in general.

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lately.

random stream of consciousness blog post…

last weekend, i ran a 10K to la mitad del mundo… it was so much fun, there were tons of people there, both running in the race and cheering… the atmosphere was awesome, lots of energy, super supportive, tons of encouragement.. i loved it. plussss, the race ended at the equator! so cool.

also, it’s been nice because i’ve been feeling so comfortable with my host fam this past month or so. especially lately, ive gotten to have some really cool convos with them… about past jobs, life in general, religion…

que mas… time is flyingggg by. i sort of flip flop between being sad about leaving and excited about going home, but for the most part i am enjoying the time i have left here… and am super grateful i got the chance to come here. at the same time, i feel like i’ll be ready to come home. i think at times, i had started to take things for granted about champaign… in particular, my fam & my church…

& here’s a pic i took the other day- baby lamb outside my window.

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el feriado!

last week, we had some days off of school, so chris, mary, fernando, and i went on an awesome trip… soo much fun. i’m not going to try to sum everything, but here are some nice moments:

  • train on the way to cuenca: it went through the mountains, and the scenery the whole way was so gorgeous. it was really relaxing to ride the train through all the pretty paisajes, and sing, and listen to fernando play the guitar.

  • ingapirca: incan ruins. we walked around the ruins and explored, super interesting to see & think about.

  • el parque nacional cajas: this was my favorite part, for sure, even though everything was really great. the four of us and geovy, adam, & andrew went from cuenca. this park is amazingly gorgeous and feels so peaceful- mountains, rivers, wide open, clear sky, forests, a lake, open fields, pretty wildflowers. we hiked around a lot, played in/relaxed by a river, explored, and found a field of llamas and horses (& were able to get super close). loved it, loved it.

  • cuenca: this city is just gorgeous- rivers and old architecture, flowers and trees, easy to walk around it. there was lots going on, because we were there during the festivales of cuenca. there was tons of people, lots of energy, lots of different events/markets/music/food. really fun to explore.

  • guayaquil: this city was great, and had a really different feel from cuenca or quito (it was more like chicago, in a way). my favorite part of being in guayaquil was when we climbed to the top of this hill where you could overlook the whole city and the river. we got there a little before sunset, and so we all sat on a bench together, played guitar and sang, watched the sunset over the city, and saw all the lights start to turn on throughout the city. fue lo máximo.

  • concert: our last night, we went to a concert in this really cool outdoor area- it was kind of up in the mountains/forest and there were tonsss of people there.

  • & overall, we just had lots of things fall into place really well, i feel like… for example, there were a couple times we really didn’t know how we were going to get certain places, and we were always able to hitch-hike, and the people were always really sweet and interesting. when we were coming back from cajas, it was raining and we didn’t know how we were going to get back to cuenca. then, two people ended up taking us a lot of the way back; there was a woman from chile and a man from spain, and they were traveling for a year in their van. anyway.. things just always work out.

so there’s some of my fave feriado moments… pics on my facebook, si quieres ver!

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feeling content.

lately, especially the past month or so, i’ve been feeling so peaceful/grateful/content.

last week, we had some vacation time, so i went on a really great trip with some friends (chris, mary, & fernando)- i’ll write more about it later. but throughout the whole trip, i was especially fully appreciating everything (do you know what i mean?), just appreciating how beautiful everything was. god is good.

then, when we got back from the trip, it was just so nice reuniting with my host family and all our family that lives around us. when i came back to lumbisi, i saw bunch of kids that i know from the english class in the streets (like usual) and played with them. and then i got to talk to all our neighbors, and i don’t know, i just loved the community-ish feel of everything. and the day we got back, i made ceviche with my host fam and i just felt so comfortable and at home.

and i was also really feeling thankful for my family and friends at home (hey!). just feeling really glad that i have the family i do and that I have such awesome people in my life.

& yes… i’ll stop rambling…  that is all!

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right now

here’s a recount of my last 24 hours or so… (pretty typical of life here!)

right now, i’m sitting out by the lake at the school. it’s so sunny and warm here, and there’s lots of people relaxing around the pond. i can see mountains in the background and “i know you want me” is playing at this sushi restaurant close by (lol).

yesterday, we went to papallacta, which is about an hour from cumbayá. we went hiking in some gorgeous, completely green, mountanous areas. then we went swimming in some hot springs. lovellyyyy and relaxing.

after we got back from papallacta, i helped grace (host sis) with some english homework, swapped some songs with alex (host bro), played on my aunt/uncle’s roof with their adorable puppies (picture!), did some studying for a test, talked/tried to talk to jenny and carly with chris using our slow internet, and read some anne lammott as i was falling asleep.

today, i woke up around 6, and went running on this really pretty road that goes through the mountains. i had breakfast with my host mom (eggs, papaya juice, bananas), and we talked about my previous driving issues. i.e; all my tickets. usually my host siblings are usually gone by the time i’m eating, so it’s usually just me and my host mom that chat in the mornings… it’s really nice and calm, we get along really well.

i also really enjoy taking the bus to school. it takes about 15 minutes, and the whole way is really gorgeous, mountainous…

my second class today got cancelled, so i just had one class (my favorite one). i took a test and then relaxed by the lake afterwards.

tonight, i’m going to small group for the church i’ve been going to here.

 

yep! hope all is well with you.

peace

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blackbird

i do not know which to prefer,

the beauty of inflections

or the beauty of innuendoes,

the blackbird whistling,

or just after

– wallace stevens

 

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gracias!

i was thinking about it the other day, and i realized how genuinely and completely i’ve felt god’s provision for me while i’ve been here. chevere, chevere.

people at the church i’ve been going to have been so welcoming and kind. they’ve really made me feel at home..

the death of a friend from home was really difficult, but i’ve felt comfort from so many people, like a friend from illinois who is here in ecuador with me, friends and family from back home, my host sister.

and so many other little things.

before i left, someone from church told me to pray psalm 91, which i’ve been doing since i’ve been here. i’ve really felt god’s protection and provision, like it says in that psalm. thankssss

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