Tuesday, June 11, 2013


 A little something to think about.  Read Jillian's reflections on her experiences here so after her first month in Ecuador.

          ...If you find yourself more interested in the character development of a poorly made Jackie Chan film rather than the climax of the plot, you should continue reading this blog post. My time in Ecuador thus far has been comprised of countless meaningful details that have contributed to my personal experience rather than large awe striking events. For example, in this blog post I will not focus on the breathtaking zip line trip across a valley with hundred foot waterfalls, but rather on the fact that Kristina’s loving grip on my left hand reminded me why it is so much more enjoyable to experience these things with other people. Even if it results in a sore knuckle and a pierced left eardrum.
            Additionally, I will not focus on the movie night thrown in the teen center at the library last week, which featured the Amazing Spider Man, fresh popped popcorn, and a seemingly endless amount of Fanta orange soda. However, I would rather mention the fact that I played Bananagrams in Spanish for the first time. Already intimidated by my two new Spanish-speaking friends urging Jenni and I to play, I was exceptionally proud that I could take ownership of at least eight words by the third round of the game. (It doesn’t matter if Los Chillos is a name for something, it automatically implies that el chillo is a thing as well, right?)
            I couldn’t possibly force you to read story after story about our wonderful weekend in Baños riding bikes, relaxing in day spas, and consuming an absurd amount of delicious food. I would much rather help you imagine what it was like for us on our initial bus ride of the weekend from Sangolqui to Tambillo, a forty-minute trip. Picture a large plushy bus donned in decorative fringe and curtains, with a bumper sticker declaring, “We brake for no one”. Now, remove the bumper sticker and imagine the passenger capacity at double the suggested number. Throw in a group full of gringos with overstuffed backpacks and duffle bags, and you’ve got yourself a legitimate test of human strength and balance. But really, if your triceps and forearms aren’t sore by the time you get off, you’re doing it wrong. Throughout the course of the forty minutes we were guaranteed no seat, at least a half dozen face-to-armpit encounters, approximately four smashed toes, three awkward hand placements, and multiple wafts of unexpected scents including, but not limited to, cologne, body odor, street food, hair gel, or animal (questionably domesticated).
            There is nothing quite like finally getting a seat and being able to rest your shoulders. After we were all able to sit down, we realized the unsolicited workout we had received on our abdominals, as we had not been able to stop laughing at the chain of events experienced during the first twenty minutes of the ride. It was this enjoyable bus ride full of laughter and muscle conditioning that started our weekend in Baños off on the right foot for some much needed fun and relaxation.

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