Today is my first full day in Ecuador and this journey is already off to a great start!
I arrived last night and was met at the airport by one of the Foreign Service Officers I will be working with. She connected me with the Embassy driver who would take me to my apartment. Immediately, I was struck by how welcoming and friendly everyone was. Even though my Spanish is rough (but already getting better!), I was able to have a nice conversation with the driver about the Embassy and how Quito is situated.
He dropped me off at my apartment, located just a short walk from the Embassy in a nice gated community, where I promptly set off my apartment’s alarm three times before finally managing to unlock the front door. Already exhausted, I was extremely thankful that I had been given a local phone and could call my supervisor and have him guide me through disarming the system (and that he didn’t mind me calling so late at night!).
The Embassy provided me with the apartment and it is amazing. I have three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, laundry, and a balcony overlooking the Embassy that allows me to see the American flag waving high every day even though I am thousands of miles from home. Right now it is just me in the apartment, though there will hopefully be another American college intern coming down here soon.
All of my anxiety was gone the minute the sun came up this morning and I was able to see the beautiful views of Quito that my apartment provides. Those views completely solidified my choice of coming here and made the six and a half months of waiting totally worth it.
My supervisor was nice enough to pick me up and take me to the grocery store so I could stock up on everything I needed. Food, especially produce, is much cheaper here than in the U.S, though there were a few surprises as I walked up and down the aisles. Milk and eggs aren’t kept in the refrigerated section of the store and yogurt comes in bags. My supervisor brought me back to his house for lunch with him and his family, including his two very cute little kids. I’ve heard that there are a lot of young families here at the Embassy and I’m really looking forward to meeting them all.
I decided to get out and see the sights right away this afternoon and am writing this post at the Guayasamin Museum, which showcases the works of one of Ecuador’s most famous artists, Oswaldo Guayasamin. The art was incredible. Guayasamin focuses almost all of his pieces of the suffering and injustice faced by many indigenous and minority populations in Latin America. Many of his pieces are painted on panels that are interchangeable, giving each piece many different interpretations. I would definitely recommend the museum to anyone visiting Quito as they have done a wonderful job preserving Guayasamin’s artwork and house.
Tomorrow I plan to tour the city on one of those hop on, hop off buses since the Embassy is closed for Martin Luther King Day. Stay tuned for pictures and more adventures!
Thanks for reading!