I’ve been in Quito, Ecuador for over a week now and I have a few points that sum up my time thus far:
- Adjusting to the Altitude
This was a bit of a challenge for me in my first few days in Quito. In fact, on my first day, while trying to rearrange items in my luggage I actually became short of breath and dizzy! For the next three days I had to take my inhaler after simple things like unpacking and walking up slight inclines. Now I don’t have many daily issues with breathing, but there are times (like playing soccer) that I can feel my heart beating far faster than it normally would while being active back home.
2. Safety Concerns
Back in New York City I rarely worried about my safety, no matter what time of day or night, whether I was alone or with friends. Here in Quito safety feels like a much higher concern. Even locals are extremely mindful about being pick-pocketed or robbed. There is even an unfortunate cab scam wherein a fake cab driver and accomplices kidnap a customer for a number of hours, subjecting them to beatings, while they force the person to withdraw hundreds of dollars from their bank account. In these cases the person is thrown off at a random location once the culprits have all the money they can get. Though all of this is off-putting I have been instructed on ways to take precautions against crime in Quito.
3. Spanish Skills
I’ve studying Spanish and trying to use it often, but I’m still a long ways away from feeling comfortable with my level. I’m at the phase now where when I can’t think of the word for something in Spanish a Nepali word flies out of my mouth, which isn’t helpful for me here! I’m remaining optimistic and trying to think back to effective language-learning tips from my past experiences. I know that increasing my speaking skills will service me well during my time here.
4. Ecuadorian Food
I love that many Ecuadorian meals include freshly made juice and fruit. I’ve also been lucky to have vegetables incorporated into my diet instead of being dominated by starches. Another huge bonus as an American is that Ecuador uses the US Dollar! When going out to eat lunch one can get a soup starter, second plate, fresh juice, and a fruit or desert for only $2.50!
5. Bumping Into Folks!
So this was something I thought I would no longer experience once in Ecuador. However, I’ve already had two separate occasions where I randomly bumped into people whose faces I recognized! One was at a supermarket and the other was at a popular late-night spot. It is a goal of mine to branch out and meet people beyond my teacher’s training. It will be fun to see where my social life goes while here in Quito.
Welp, those are the main points for right now. Sooner than it feels I’ll be adopting a teaching schedule and figuring out the next chapter of my life in Quito.