I just wanted to start off my blogs with a small disclosure. As you have read in the title, I do identify myself as a Chicana. The webster dictionary definition of Chicana is “an American and especially a man or boy of Mexican descent,” but the Chicana identity is much more complex than that. Therefore, my view on Ecuador is based on my previous experiences and is bound to be different and abstract. With that being said, welcome to my first official post from Ecuador!
Quito, Ecuador gave me one of the warmest welcomes I have ever received. As soon as I stepped off of the airplane, I was greeted with the smell of freshly fallen rain and two new host parents who immediately embraced me in a hug and a kiss on the cheek (a traditional greeting that although I too practiced in Mexico had completely forgotten about in the U.S.). This would be the first of various cultural shocks I would come to experience and adapt to in Ecuador.
Another more random but easily the most enjoyable shock is the view. Everywhere I go in Ecuador I get a wonderful view of mother nature flirtatiously intermingling with modern city life. In Quito, there are multiple lavish parks, like my favorite El Parque La Carolina, with a running path, athletic courts to play various games, and peddle boats to take a small lap around a lake. I live in Quito but go to school about thirty minutes away in the Universidad de San Francisco in Cumbaya, and the landscape is breathtaking.
At, USFQ I take classes everyday from 8 a.m. to around 4 p.m. , and the work load is heavy, but for once I am thoroughly learning the depths of my Chicana roots. Here, the most important thing my professors have taught me is that my Latin American roots do not starts with the story of the conquistadors because they trace the LatinX roots to it’s original mother, the indigenous people of empires such as the Aztec and Inca. They do so boldly by introducing me to diverse genres of literature and authors like Pablo Neruda y Guaman Poma de Ayala. There is nothing more liberating then learning that my deep indigenous Aztec roots are built of head-strong warriors, innovative engineers, faithful followers of nature and spirits, upright and just communities, and lavish soil that produces innumerable amounts of rich resources.
(Universidad de San Francisco en Cumbaya, Ecuador. What even is Georgetown at this point?)
School was not the only activity that consumed my time during my first week in Ecuador. Being as I was in Ecuador, a trip to “el ecuador”, center of the world, was of course mandatory. The science experiments here truly blew my mind away. I witnessed the Criolis effect on both sides by dumping water down a drain and saw the shift in the wind/water movements. I tried walking on the equator latitude line and could not because I felt the pressure of both the northern and the southern hemisphere. Once again, mother nature blew my mind away and the Incas impressed me with their ground-breaking discoveries of the center of the world, a calendar, a clock, and cardinal directions.
(One Gaby. Two Hemisphers. #gabygoesglobal)