Last Week in Quito: a reflection


Yo! This was my last week in Quito for the class phase of my study abroad program, and today is my last day in Quito. Tomorrow, I leave to Ibarra, Imbabura for my internship, and I hate to sound so cliché, pero like I really cannot believe how fast time has flown by. I have a couple friends who will be in the same city or near me so that will be good, and we are also planning on making our schedules free up so that we have 3-day weekends to travel/hang out. Still, I am honestly kind of sad at how fast this is going because I low-key (or high-key) don’t know how I’m gonna function back in the U.S.

This weekend (our last in Quito until we come back for Thanksgiving weekend, and then the last week of our program in December), my friends and I decided to go to the Centro Histórico of Quito & finally do Quito touristy things.

Not gonna lie, I am a little nervous moving to a brand new city with a brand new host family, especially since my Quito family has set such high standards #blessed 

I am going to miss my host family so much! My host mama Ceci has been the kindest, most patient, and most caring woman ever, and I have learned so much from her in how she cares for her sweet mom with dimentia, her pet animals, and me. We come back to Quito for Thanksgiving and the last week of our program in December, so I literally start a new life tomorrow morning. 

Colada Morada

For our last day in Quito, Ceci made a traditional Ecuadorian treat (from her hometown Ambato) called “Colada Morada” and “guaguas de pan”. They usually make this treat during Día de Los Muertos which is next weekend, but since I am leaving (starting to tear up) my host mom made it this weekend. 

It is a spiced berry and purple corn drink (kind of like Atole for my Mexican friends, pero without the milk and more fruity). It is prepared with black cornflour, tropical Ecuadorian fruits of naranjilla, babaco, pineapple, berries, cinnamon, spices & love. You can drink it hot or cold (I drank mine hot as it was freshly made; Ceci literally started cooking it the night before).

The “guaguas” (little kids) de pan are filled with a sweet jam filling (I think mine was guava?) and they are so buttery and flaky and usually decorated with frosting.

You dip the bread into the colada & it is so heavenly. Like if you are a dunker and you like to make your cookies or bread soak up in milk or coffee, this would be PERFECT for you.  To be completely honest, I had dismissed Ecuadorian desserts before because Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce is just so amazing and has set the standard so high, but I take back what I had said before about Ecuador’s sweets (oops) and I LOVE THIS COLADA MORADA AND PAN DE GUAGUAS!!!!!!!

Highlight(s) of the week:

  • We got to go to an actual Mexican restaurant (by accident) and I got to eat hand-made tortillas, and this made my soul so happy. The owners are actually from the same state of Michoacán that my mom is from. Although the owners made some patriarcal comments after we asked why one salsa was de mujer (the female version) and the other de hombre (for men), the food was so good. I’d include a pic but I may or may not have ate really fast and swallowed my whole plate.
  • Then, for dinner, my host mama made Mexican food again! She made flour “tortillas” that tasted more like pita bread but NO COMPLAINTS because they were so soft and warm and fresh (disclaimer: I actually like fake Mexican food; Taco Bell all the wayyyyy). Also her ají (salsa) was spicier than usual so, happy tummy happy soul.
  • Bike riding with Bici-Quito (they close down a road for bikers, runners, and walkers to use every Sunday) !!!
  • Recuperating all the calories burned & treating ourselves at Parque La Carolina to ice cream, obleas & manjar, granizados (raspados in Mex Spanish or shaved ice) with fruit toppings, etc.

Weird Moment:

I was at the bus station with my friend who is Venezuelan & some clown (I know this is where it all started to go down hill) was next to us introducing himself to some other guy. The clown told him he was part of this undercover business network that was actually going to make him rich (he said believe it or not he was going to become a millionaire), and he was talking so passionately that I believed him. The clown gave the other guy his business card & the guy left on the bus. So then the clown turns to us and he says, “Well, I guess I’ll have to start talking to you two.” He was asking where we were from, where we were going and everything;  I said I was Maria, and my friend said we were from Colombia, but he asked where, so I said Bogotá but I couldn’t fake the Colombian accent. My friend could only fake a coastal Colombian accent, so we were screwed and just had to be quiet. The clown asked what we were doing here, and I remember my host niece wanted to go to the Universidad Central so I said I was going there, and that I was studying medicine (which is such a lie because science and I are not pals at all).

But it turns out he used to live in Colombia so we got tangled in these lies, because he was asking how the dollar compared to the Colombian peso, and how we liked the soccer team from over there, and how people from Bogotá were so different than from the coast. I honestly had no idea what was going on but he kept talking and I started to get weirded out. But then it got weirder.

He asked if we wanted to join his business partnership, but I was like what in the world is happening and why am I talking to a clown at a bus stop wondering if I should join this black-market type of thing. Thankfully, he got on a bus and left after half an hour of confusing lies.

 A lil Quito Reflection: What my Quito life consisted of:

Re-learning how to love animals with my sweet host mama Ceci who would not hurt a bug & loves her three-legged cat

Learning how to stay away from stray dogs because joke’s on me they actually bite HAHAHA (I do not have rabies though… I think)

Afternoon runs to el Parque Carolina & telling myself I am out of breath not because I am out of shape but because of Quito’s high elevation

Daily snacks of fried lima beans (both candied & salty types), mandarins, dragon fruit, apples, & bread from the panadería

$1 lunches of cevichochos

Long nights of dancing to reggaetón, cumbia, & salsa

Long days in the classroom learning about the progressiveness of Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution only to find the contradictions in daily life

Weekly field trips outside of Quito

1000 different variations of potato dishes (from potatoes covered in peanut sauce to potato & rice cakes) 

Plátano maduro (banana) bread fresh from the bakery

Free “Cuba-libres”

Eating watermelon & pineapple in October

Eating avocados everyday

Realizing how much I use Spanglish back home & how difficult it is now for me to stick to one language

Missing my spicy salsa back home but too scared to offend my host mom’s cooking so did not buy a bottle of hot sauce

Speaking Mexican Spanish & getting myself in trouble when asking for dessert & having it misinterpreted as asking for a prostitute house

Complimenting a person in Mexican Spanish (chulo) only to find out I called the person a pimp in Ecuadorian Spanish

Cute alpacas & llamas

Daily bus rides & hearing all Colombian, Cuban, Venezuelan slang all at once with Quichua languages at once

Learning that although I may pass as Ecuadorian, it only takes me opening my mouth for my Mexican accent to seep through with a “no manches, guey”