Ian Kelly ’12 – May 17, 2011 – Our first day in Quito consisted primarily of a tour of the Universidad Catolica. The University is gorgeous and contains a combination of outdoor and indoor facilities that create an environment far different that any college or university I have seen in the United States. One lobby has a large garden in it that is watered by a sprinkler and is covered by a partially open roof. The architecture school was also beautifully designed with just enough cover to block some wind and sun but still create a unique environment. The cool breeze and the feel of sun on your skin while walking around classes at a university were astounding. It made me feel at peace and more comfortable despite the foreign environment.
According to several of the people I have spoken to here, we arrived with the good weather and the climate is phenomenal. Temperatures hovering between 60 and 70 during the day time with extra heat from the sun due to Quito’s location on the equator, while at night, it gets cooler probably between 40 and 50 degrees.
Despite the beautiful environment, my host family has been an equally enjoyable experience. They picked me up from the airport with a sign on a piece of paper and whisked me away to their house. The best way to describe my host mom is to compare her to my own mom in the United States because both care for me with all their heart. There is a small language barrier, seeing as she only speaks Spanish, but we still managed to have a conversation for about an hour from 12:30 in the morning until after 1:30. I felt very comfortable despite the language barrier and felt right at home. Even more interesting than that was the nature of our conversation. We discussed the different cultural attitudes we see in the United States and Ecuador. I told her I thought our society in the U.S. was a little too materialistic and she referred to it as “siempre trabajan” or always working.
I tried my hardest to understand how people tried to enjoy their life regardless of how much money they have in Ecuador, she referred to it as “con nuestro corazón” or with our heart. The appreciation and hospitality she showed me, as a random student from the United States, truly touched my heart, and I cannot wait to have many more memorable experiences.