My time is quickly wrapping up & the truth is I really do not want to leave. I feel like this is all temporary & everything that I am learning, experiencing will all quickly come to a close. I really do not believe that I am ready for this close, though.
Here is what I have been up to.
Weekend in Mindo:
We took a weekend trip to Mindo, where we got to go CHOCOLATE TASTING. Never in my life did I think I could do this and I got to try the fruit of Cacao which is actually sooo sweet, juicy & tangy.
We spent one night by the river watching the stars with friends until like 3am. So amazing to get away from all the pollution and actually get to enjoy these raw forms of beauty and space.
A Quito Thanksgiving:
My abroad program has the annual Thanksgiving feast in Quito, where we all return from our internships for the weekend back with our original host families and share a big dinner all together. (I did not get the memo that this place was gonna be really fancy so I showed up with some jeans, pero it was all good.) Interestingly, I did not get homesick. I have been phoneless with no access to Snapchat but maybe that is a good thing because I am finally just living the present, with no sense of time, no sense of urgency, and let me tell you this takes some getting used to after being a busy college student back at SCU.
My friend organized a talent show & my friend & I decided to teach a Zumba class so we came up with some choreo & taught it to the whole audience.
My host mama made a delicious pineapple carrot cake that was amazing. We had turkey, purple sweet potato casserole (you know with the marshmallows? It was sooo good & fluffy), deviled eggs, mac & cheese, and all that good stuff.
We danced cumbia, salsa, merengue, reggeaton, & even YMCA. I was feeling really Mexican so I asked for Caballo Dorado line dance & we got to share that with all the students & Ecuadorian host fams.
However, this Thanksgiving, things were a lot different for me. Especially living in such close proximity with indigenous people, I think it has really hit home my place & privilege in society.
I have always loved Thanksgiving comfort foods: pumpkin anything, mashed potatoes & don’t even get me started on STUFFING. I got to remember and recognize our darn privilege in celebrating this. This was the start of a genocide that continued in the Americas in trying to eliminate a whole group of people because of their ethnicity & land. Now, the fight continues for these people who continue to resist but face constant discrimination.
It was really weird sitting with everyone and having these thoughts in the back of my mind, but honestly I am glad I got to sit in my discomfort and I am glad I am finally starting to question traditions built on privilege like these.
The 25th was the Day of Eliminating Gender Violence and la Misión Scalabriniana along with different NGOs & ministries of Ibarra organized a march. Working with the women at la Misión, I have heard some incredible stories of discrimination (for being Colombian or Venezuelan), of domestic violence (in their families, husbands, brothers, uncles, etc.), of fear (having to flee their home countries because of the dangerous possibilities, and so much more.
I have heard of their young sons being kidnapped by the guerrillas and never knowing what happened to them. I have heard of rape, of physical abuse, of cycles of emotional abuse.
I have heard of migrants not being given the opportunity for employment, for housing, for education simply because they are not Ecuadorian.
Honestly, it’s been hard. To take it all in, feel this guilt of being privileged, and angered by all that is reality.
This Saturday, I got to march and stand with these women who have taken me in, given me arepas (Colombian & Venezuelan), laughed with me, invited me over to their homes, shared with me their stories, and made me feel at home in a country that is not home for neither of us.
Fiesta de Los Pueblos
My internship got to celebrate the different nationalities and commuities we work with. We had various contests, games, dance & music presentations. And my groups finally got to present our dances that we had been working on.
Caballo Dorado with the kids & pre-teens
In this hot & steamy room practicing for hours. We literally leak sweat trying to get this Mexican line dance
Game day!!! Presenting with the kiddos
Brazilian Folklórico with the workers at la Misión. Soooo different than Mexican folklórico but so fun & beautiful.
I am gonna miss all this dancing & being able to actually dance Latino music (not just banda, sorry my Mexicans) with everyone. I am gonna miss all these beautiful faces and even more beautiful souls. I am gonna miss being greeted with Colombian snacks by the women at la Misión. I am gonna miss all of this so much.
Coming home & having my house decorated so nicely for Christmas. I LOVE Christmas & I love that my family loves it & ah yes so excited. However it’s a lil
Teaching Caballo Dorado (mexican line dance we dance at parties) to the kids
Learning how to dance a Brazilian Folkloric Samba by the Brazilian nun
Learning Colombian Folklórico dance
FYI all these dances are for our annual “Fiesta de Pueblos” next Sunday where all nationalities & countries represented in the mission get to perform their country’s dance, bring traditional foods, listen to music, dance, etc.
My host dad telling me about his travel adventures all over Cuba, Dominican Republic, Colombia, etc.
Drinking hot chocolate with my Colombiana & Venezolana friends on a rainy night after work
Canción of the week:
Olha a explosao-by MC Kevino