26 julio 2006

why ecuador?

~this first entry is just an overview of my thought process in deciding what to do after graduating from truman state university this past may. i'll expand on some points later.~

about a year and a half ago i came back from a semester in seville, spain. i was a different person. of course i hadn't changed completely, but some of my life goals had changed. that's pretty serious. i came back from spain totally in love with spanish culture--especially the language. from that time on i knew that learning spanish fluently was going to be a top priority for me. at first i thought about returning to spain, but i had already done the whole europe thing (a couple times). so i started looking into central and south america for possibilities. i knew that if i really wanted to learn spanish i would need to live in a spanish speaking country for at least six months--and maybe more. after months of looking at websites and reading articles and talking to people i decided that ecuador (quito) was the place for me. here are some reasons why:

- it's a small country, but it has a lot to offer. in one day you can go from beaches to mountains to amazon rain forest.
- quito is a perfect-sized city (about 1 million people).
- the average year-round temperature of quito is about 70 degrees (no more kirksville cold!).
- the tallest active volcano in the world, cotopaxi, is there (i'm taking baby steps--rainier, cotopaxi, everest???).
- the equator runs right through the country (you can balance an egg on it and watch water drain the opposite way on either side).
- ecuador's currency is the american dollar so i won't lose money in the exchange (but it does seem sad that our presidents are on their money...).
- english teachers are in high demand--which brings me to what i'll be doing down there.

my plans so far are to fly to quito on september 1 and stay at a hostel for the first two weeks (maybe more). while i'm getting to know the city i'll look for places to volunteer and work. i hope to volunteer in an orphanage for a couple months and then when i start to run out of money i'll get a job teaching english (right now i'm working on my certification). that's my "plan" as of now. i also hope to visit friends in peru and chile.
above is the hostel, the secret garden, where i'll be staying my first couple of weeks. check out the hammocks. and the mountains. my kind of place. below is a plaza in quito. in a few months i'll probably know a lot more about it. for now it's just a pretty picture to show you where i'll be. in the future i'll feature my own photos.
if you would, please keep me in your prayers. although i love adventures like this, the unknown can still be a little intimidating. i know (from previous experience) that i can't do this on my own. thanks for reading. i'll keep you posted.

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