The one lesson I learned is that I need to be thankful for everything in life. I did not realize how great my life was until, I opened my eyes to a new world. For example, I remember walking to my host family's house and I saw a man washing his clothes in the river that runs throughout the city. Back at home, that would be an easy task by throwing the clothes in the washing machine. However, in cold temperatures, this man is trying his best to clean clothes. I can also remember seeing a man sleep under a bridge. Back at home, I had roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. It was in these moments I realized that I should never complain about anything in my life. As fas as I know it, I have everything that I need in my life. Overall, I highly suggest that any student study abroad in another country. It is fun, productive, worth wild, but also uplifting and humbling at the same time. Being immersed in the culture will not only help learn you the language faster, but will help you as a person grow into a culturally competent individual.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Books, Binders, Notebooks, and Pencils! Good bye Summer, school is now in session. As I think about my summer, I cannot stop reminiscing about my Study Abroad Trip to Cuenca, Ecuador. My heart lights up with joy knowing that I had the chance to travel to another country. Not only did I immerse myself into the Spanish culture, but the adventure opened my eyes and made me more humble. Overall, the trip was an adventure for a lifetime. Along with taking my two required classes, I participated in many excursions. I went on exciting hikes with my classmates, visited indigenous communities, took cooking/ dancing, toured the natural hot springs, and during my leisure time, spent time within the community. I loved every part of my adventure, but the trip had a huge impact on me.
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Lord, I cannot thank you enough for what you do for me and others. Last night, I was about to depart for the United States, when my flight was suddenly cancelled. We were suppose to embark on our journey around 7:15, but our flight was cancelled at 7:10. This cancellation was due to rain. Because of the terrible runway at Cuenca, Ecuador, any rain (heavy or light) can result in cancellation of flights. Can you talk about shell shock! My friends and I stayed in the airport for three hours trying to reschedule our flights. We did not wish to reschedule our flight for Cuenca because of the possibility of bad weather for the next day. While we were trying to find other flights, the lights started to turn off and the security told us "to get out/ vayanse." However, Juan, the director of Sampere School, came to the rescue and managed to obtain a van that was headed to Quito. Instead of flying out of Cuenca, we had the better option of departing from Quito. Yes, this was a better option, but it was an 8 hour drive to Quito. We left at 11:00 pm and did not arrive to Quito until 6:00 am. The ride to Quito was treacherous. Our driver would eventually dose off and we would have to either say something to him or snap at him so he could stay awake. Eventually, we stopped at a gas station and everyone replenished on food and coffee. Eventually, we made it to the Quito Airport. Now, I will be leaving Quito at 2:00 pm; I will arrive in Miami at 7:30 pm. Finally, I will leave Miami at 9:30 pm and I will land in Charlotte, North Carolina around 11:30 pm. Man, this cancellation and heck of a trip taught me an important lesson. Sometimes, things do not work in our favor, but God has everything in control. In life, we think we know everything, but we do not come close in comparison to God. The lesson, let God work his magic and for the person, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
Before I conclude this post, I would like to thank the Humanities and Social Sciences Department for giving me this scholarship. Thank you so much for making this dream come true.
Friday, July 1, 2016
YESSSSSS! Today, I concluded my four weeks of Spanish classes. I am so proud of myself because my Spanish has improved significantly over the last month. Yes, the classes were hard and the teachers were always pushing me to higher standards, but I have grown so much over a short period of time. I wish I could stay a little longer, but I know I have to return to the states. However, I am just thankful that these people took the time to help me learn more Spanish.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
My time in Cuenca, Ecuador is coming to a close! Just two more days and I will be returning to the states. Today, I participated in my last excursion, which was horseback riding. By far, this excursion was the best one so far. Yes, it was my first time riding horse and I was extremely nervous. During the first few minutes, I felt like I was going to slip off the horse. However, I started to feel more comfortable as I continued on my journey. My journey took about an hour and half, but it was worth it. I had fun and now, I can check this activity off of my bucket list. This was a great way to end my last excursion in Cuenca.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
My last week in Cuenca, Ecuador is officially here! I cannot believe I have been in this beautiful city for almost a month. Time flies when you are busy and having fun. Today, I embarked on my last hike in Cuenca. We traveled to Mount Pizarro and embarked on a five hour hike. It was long and treacherous journey, but I made it to the top. Unfortunately, I did not make it to the Lagoon, but at least I can say that I have hiked and chased waterfalls. I have one more excursion on Thursday which is horse-back riding. This will be my last excursion before I go back to the states. I cannot wait for this event, but until then, I will be in the bed recovering from my strenuous hike! Adios Amigos!
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Day 2 in Saraguro was perfect! Continuing our journey, we visited more indigenous communities and a gorgeous waterfall. We also went on a fifteen minute hike up a mountain and ate good food with people from a local indigenous community. Overall, this trip was worth everything. Not only did I get to have fun, but I also learned a lot about another culture. With this being stated, I love Ecuador and I cannot wait to see what the country has to offer me for the last week!
My time in Saraguro, Ecuador was amazing. Learning about the Indigenous Communities in Cuenca was a refreshing and great experience. Departing at 6:30 a.m., we spent two hours traveling through the Andes Mountains. It seemed like eternity to reach our destination, but two hours later, we arrived in Saraguro. There, we learned about the customs and traditions of the Indigenous people. It is fascinating how different the indigenous people live than the Ecuatorianos in the city. Without many resources, the indigenous people have to work very hard just to make ends meet. However, they accomplish so many goals and maintain their traditional roots. One amazing experience I had with the indigenous people was when our group observed the sacred prayer session. During that session, a man blessed us with spirit potion, a juice that apparently removes negative spirits around you. Then, I had the chance to drink another juice that was suppose to heal my body and remove all the bad spirits in my life. Being able to experience this was very interesting because one gets to see how other people worship. Other than this, my experience in Saraguro was great for the first day. Later that night, we listened to a local Indigenous band and got our groove on! Overall, the first day was great and worth it. We learned so much, but enjoyed every minute of it!
Friday, June 24, 2016
Gosh! My time here in Cuenca, Ecuador is almost coming to an end. During my time in this glorious city, I have spent time doing the following: learning and improving my Spanish in the classroom, participating in excursions, and attending Spanish/Dance class. With a busy schedule, I have not had a lot of free time time to explore Cuenca on my own. Today, I did just that! With friends, we ventured out and started to explore what Cuenca had to offer us. As we were exploring, I started to find graffiti art. At times, this art is seen as vandalism, but grafitti is beauty in disguise. It shows talent, skill, and creativity. Next, we found a recreational park on top of a mountain. There was different activities including: a swing that would swing of a cliff, a bougie cord, a zip-line, and much more. My favorite activity was the swing. The swing would swing off a cliff allowing me to get a glimpse of the whole city. The first drop was frightening, but worth it. Being able swing over a cliff and getting a great glimpse of the city, was a defining moment. After the swing, I went on a zip-line and enjoyed the rest of my time with friends. Today was a great day because I was able to explore more about Cuenca with friends by my side. Time is winding down, but I know Cuenca has more to offer before I leave.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
My second week has come to an end! I am halfway through my adventure in Cuenca, Ecuador! Even though time is flying by so fast, I am discovering all the amazing features Cuenca has to offer. Today, I visited Mount Chorro. Mount Chorro is classified as a level four mountain. This means that some parts of the mountain are very steep and a person has to use hands and feet in order to keep moving. Hiking up the mountain was very difficult. There not a lot of oxygen, my legs were on fire, and I kept slipping and falling. At first, I thought I would not make it to the top of the mountain, but I was determined to reach the destination. After a two-hour hike up the mountain, we finally reached the destination, the waterfall. Overall, the hike was worth every sore muscle in my body. I am proud of myself and I cannot wait to see what Cuenca has in store for me. And by the way, I apologize to TLC for not sticking to the rivers and lakes because we were chasing waterfalls.