John, outbound to Ecuador

I can't believe it's already been over 2 months since I left my entire life in Florida! It feels like I literally just wrote my first journal and here I am writing number 2! I'm currently in school but since I really don't do anything here I figured it's time to stop procrastinating and get to writing!

So last time when I finished up I was just a few days away from my trip to Salinas with Rotary. We had our language camp for four days and it was an absolute blast! We stayed at an amazing beach resort with so many things to do! The typical day started with our breakfast buffet from 7-8, after that we had Spanish classes for 4 hours then we had lunch and had a break until about 4 or 5 and we would have 2 more hours of classes. During our breaks we had so many things to do! There was volleyball, soccer, swimming in the pool or ocean, Jacuzzi, kayaking, water polo, tennis, and basketball! My favorite part was the food though, every meal we ate was a buffet with so many different choices ranging from French fries and burgers to Italian food and of course traditional Ecuadorian dishes.

When I returned home it was much like in the U.S after a vacation it's so bittersweet because you're finally back home in your own bed but then again you have to go back to school which means no more games and fun but school. When I got back from Salinas it was a Thursday so I had to go to school on Friday and then we had a 2 week vacation so it actually wasn't too bad going back to school that one day. Plus it was a half day so I was only there for about 3 hours. The next two weeks consisted of sleeping in, going out with friends, and more sleeping. Needless to say it was a great 2 weeks! So after a great 2 week vacation I went back to school but not for long! Rotary had a another trip planned for us in a small city called Bahia so after a 2 weeks break and then about 3 days in school I left for Bahia for a week!

Bahia was awesome! This time it was all 150 kids in Ecuador and not just the kids from the coastal cities. We had the whole hotel to ourselves and it was great! Everyday all of us would walk to the beach with a police escort. I found it pretty funny because a bunch of gringos already stick out like a sore thumb but a bunch of gringos with a police escort.. We were the spectacle of the whole town! Anyway we would all go to the beach and spend hours playing volleyball or swimming or playing soccer it was awesome! One of the longest bridges in Ecuador is in Bahia and it goes from Bahia to San Vincente an even smaller town. Our third day there we all walked across this insanely long bridge when the sun was setting and it was perfect the sky was an amazing purple pink and it was absolutely breathtaking. When I see things like that in this amazing country I can't help but think, "Wow, I'm here for a whole year!"

Our second to last day in Bahia we participated in a parade about an hour away from Bahia in my home of Portoviejo! When you're a gringo in South America people stare at you all the time especially when there's 150 of us. At first I liked everyone looking and noticing my "gringo-ness" but after a while you kind of get tired of it and this parade every eye was on us literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON watched us. It's a thing you just kind of have to get used to living here.

So finally I came back to Portoviejo and started the cycle again of waking up every day at 6 and going to school. But everyday there's something different whether it's something that happens at school or something I do after school and every day I learn more and more about myself and about the language and about my new home. I'm the happiest I've ever been and making this decision to pack up and leave for a year is already turning out to be the absolute best decision I have ever made by far!

Anyway it's almost lunch time so I've got to wrap it up, next month I'm going to the Amazon for 4 days and I'm so excited we're taking a raft up river for about 2 hours to our "hotel". I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to share in my next journals and on Facebook! Anyway, it's time for me to go eat some Pan de Almidon (one of the best Ecuadorian baked goods) it's similar to Pan de Yucca if anyone knows what that is. Well, peace out reader check back in next month!