I spend the majority of my time in Ecuador hanging out with my students, my host family, or the ladies from dance class. So when I went to Cotopaxi a few weeks ago it was unusual being with people between the ages of 18-27. Other than my host sister who comes home for the weekend, they were some of the first people my age I’d spent time with since I’d arrived in Ecuador in January. So obviously we made plans for the weekend after as well.
We are all living in different parts of the countries doing different kinds of work. Some are on a wildlife reserve an hour south of the capital working on a project about trees. Some are living in Quito doing murals for the government. And then there is me, a teacher in Otavalo. We decided that because two of them had birthdays back to back that we would have a bit of a celebration in Quito for them. And to top it all off, the majority of this group is headed back to their home countries in a week, so we had to have a going away gathering too.
We made reservations at a hostel (The Blue House) near Plaza Foch for Friday night. All of my friends arrived in Quito before I did and found out the hostel gave away my bed! So I decided to just go to the hostel right next door for the night and call it good. The lady who ran the hostel was around 70 and referred to me as “mi preciosa” the entire time I was there. She didn’t mind unlocking the front gate for me at 2:30 am when I got back from our celebration and I had a room for 4 all to myself. I think the Blue House giving away my bed was a blessing in disguise because the people there were not the friendliest. That goes to show, some of the hostels that look great from the outside might not actually be the best in town. Look for the older people, that’s where it’s at.
I woke up on Saturday morning to find the sweet old lady telling me that I should come eat some eggs because they are good for my health. I happily agreed and joined her and her husband for some breakfast. She gave me some medicine for the cold I was getting and before I left she handed me a wooden bead bracelet and said “so you don’t ever forget me”. She won my heart and hopefully I will be returning to visit her again before I head back to Michigan.
As for the group, they didn’t seem to be doing as hot as I was the next morning. Probably because they did get a breakfast made with a grandma’s love like I had. We went on a hunt for coffee near Plaza Foch, but it proved to be difficult. Plaza Foch sells more beer than it does coffee. We spent the rest of the day doing a bit of shopping and a lot of eating before we all returned that night.
It’s interesting what having a language in common can do while you’re abroad. Even though I only meet most of these people the weekend before, our common language tied us together pretty quickly. None of us are native Spanish speakers and are dealing with the same types of struggles here. We can all relate to having communication difficulties and it helps to know you’re not alone. And, hey, now I have friends from all over the world to visit when I travel.
I also want to say sorry because I completely forgot to take any pictures from this weekend. This is all I have….