Sunday, February 22, 2015

2 weeks later and a few pounds lighter...

Here I am trying to keep up with my weekly blog post that I promised you all! (cue the applause)

So first of all I thought I would share some things I've learned about myself since living in Ecuador.

-I am way more of a picky eater then I thought I was, hence the few pounds lighter. I skip a lot of meals and replace it with this stuff:

-I also learned I am capable of drinking my coffee like this without loads and loads of vanilla creamer!

So obviously I have done a ton of evolving while I've been here.
But really.

I really don't have anything to complain about with the food though, we have our own personal chef that cooks all our meals for us, which is basically the best thing ever. I am just so picky, I'm learning not to be though. I at least try everything that is cooked for me, I even discovered I don't actually hate fish like I always thought I did!

-I learned that my social anxiety is also much worse then I thought it was. The language barrier definitely doesn't help either. This is something I will be working very hard on while I am here. We had a game night at our house last night and there ended up being about 40 people here and I tried to stay and mingle as long as I could but this is something I will have to take baby steps with, just attending and not hiding as soon as the first person showed up was a big deal for me.

-I'm not as bad at public speaking as I thought I was........ so I've been told. Unless everyone around me is lying. Still not something I think I will ever really look forward to doing but knowing I don't completely suck at it is pretty great :)

-I actually really love learning! Who knew?? I always thought I hated learning and taking classes but when you put yourself in the environment that works for you then learning is actually pretty fun. I am enjoying all my classes so, so much. Even if some of them are very challenging for me. *cough*public speaking*cough*
We take a class called 'Inspire' and right now we are learning about rejecting the normal in our lives. We are working on rejecting what is normal for us and not accepting that the way we've always done things is necessarily the way things have to be. For example I've always accepted that I am uncomfortable and awkward in social situations but If I choose to take steps towards not allowing myself to feel uncomfortable and putting more effort into social situations that does not have to be my normal anymore. I can be comfortable at a large gathering of people I don't know if I choose to. Being uncomfortable all the time doesn't have to be normal for me anymore. So like I said, something I will definitely be working on among other things.

-There is an app that you can borrow ebooks from your local library! Mind. Blown.
How did I not know about this before. Its called Overdrive if you were wondering.

-I value alone time much more then I realized I did. I've always known that I need to have alone time to kind of recharge but I didn't realize just how much I enjoy being alone. I realize how lame this probably makes me sound but I love doing things by myself. It never occurred to me how I spent most of my time by myself because I didn't have the option of doing most things with anyone because I usually didn't have anyone to do things with me so I just did them by myself. Since the only thing I can do alone here is walk across the street and only during the day time my Independence has felt a little choked. The only reason I can't do things alone is because of safety issues, so it totally makes sense and It doesn't upset me by any means it has just really opened my eyes to some of my personality traits that I wasn't aware of. 

-Also we took a personality test. I'm 89% introvert. Surprise, surprise. Not gonna lie though I actually thought the percentage would be higher.

- We did our first campaign on saturday morning: The dream Campaign.
Its where we ask people to write down a dream they have for their life and take a picture of them. Some people let life pass them by and never really think about or pursue what they really want in life. We hope to remind them to keep dreaming and going after what they really want in life and that you are never to old or young to dream :)

"Mi Sueno es Adoptar"-My dream is to adopt.

In case you don't know my dream is to adopt and not only adopt but to adopt a special needs child, specifically a downs syndrome child. A few years ago I read an article about how special needs orphans are treated in other countries and it was one of those things that made me so angry that I knew I had to do something about it. Reading about these children stirred something inside me that has never left. I know I cant change the entire world but If I can change the world for at least one child, if not more then I've done what I've been called to do. What was kind of ironic was right after I took that picture we went and talked to our first person that day and it was a woman with her 4 year old daughter who just so happened to have down syndrome.

I felt almost like it was a little bit of a confirmation that ya that is what I want and what I'm supposed to do. Sometimes I wonder if I will be cut out for it or if its what I'm supposed to be doing but after seeing this little girl I knew it was. She was so adorable, she took the pen and paper from us and plopped down on the ground and started coloring all over her mom's paper.

I just realized I've written quite a bit in this post which was not my intention, I'm looking out for all you ADD peeps like me. So I'll share a couple fun things real quick and be on my way!

Please look at my super cool new Ecuadorian phone.

What?? Who knew these types of phones still existed! I almost broke it immediatly after recieving it because its so light I accidently flung it across the table. whoops. But it survived.

Also I got this shirt.

 It's basically my life motto.

Give me all the pizza!!

K I'm really done now, keep an eye out for me next week ;)


Saturday, February 14, 2015

My first week in Ecuador and how I locked myself in the bathroom.

Well I officially live in Ecuador now! On Monday it will be a full week that I have been living in Ecuador. It kind of still feels like a dream that I am here. I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't always so sure I was actually going to make it here, some days it seemed like it would be impossible to raise all the money to get me here but I should have known that God would come through if I trusted him. If you are reading this and have supported me in any way then let me tell you how thankful I am for you. Even though I have only been here since Monday I can already tell you what an amazing experience these next 5 months will be. I will continue to try and keep you updated with everything we are learning and doing. Also if you want to hear about my bathroom mishap then you will have to get to the bottom of this post ;)

These are my roommates and teammates for the next 5 months of submerge! All these girls are so awesome and I'm excited to get to know them all more over the next 5 months.

The first couple of days here were a bit brutal for me only because one of my flights got delayed causing me to not arrive in Ecuador until Monday morning at 7am. I ended up traveling for a full 24 hours and then went straight into orientation Monday morning when I got back from the airport. I thought about writing a blog post ( actually I did write it) about my travels because it was quite the experience but after writing it realized it just sounded like a whole lot of complaining and no one wants to read that. Just know that it was a nightmare and one day I might find it funny....that day hasn't arrived quite yet.

Some of us really like red flannel...

So after the first couple days of orientation we did what they call 'Go Weekend' on Thursday and Friday. Basically we did a bunch of random activities which were all surprises to learn about our core values in the submerge program. Which are: Love, Authenticity, Creativity, Pro activity, Excellence, Fun and Vision. We first got to tour a little bit of Quito and had our own personal tour guide showing us around.

The first photo and this above photo is the 'Virgen De El Panecillo' which is a huge statue in the middle of the city of the virgin Mary, you can basically see the statue from anywhere. It's one of those places you have to see if you ever visit Quito.
At the top of the Virgen De El Panecillo

Then we went to the Basilica Del Volonacional which was built to look like Notre Dame. They are continuously building on to it because they believe that once it is completely finished that the World will end so they will never complete it. They have Gargoyles on the outside but instead of normal gargoyles they are animals that reside in the Galapagos islands.

After we finished touring the city a little bit we learned about our first core value which is LOVE. We were in a busy area and we split into teams and were each given $5 to go bless someone somehow. It happened to be a really hot day that day and over where we were there were these young boys who went around shining shoes for money. None of them go to school, they just go out there everyday and shine shoes to make money for their families. So we bought them all Popsicles and just sat and talked with them for about an hour, it was really fun, they wanted to learn English phrases like 'hello love' and 'you are beautiful' they were so funny.

I won't go into detail about what we did for each core value but each task we did was so awesome. Some of it was a little difficult because we had to break down some walls and talk about stuff in front of everyone that I wouldn't ever normally do but it was surprisingly enjoyable even if it was uncomfortable.  One of our tasks was also mentally and physically difficult, we had to spell excellence with dominoes and they all had to fall from beginning to end without leaving one domino up.
It ended up taking us 5 hours and we were up until almost 4am doing it. The satisfaction after finally finishing it was great. I think we all got to see how we act under pressure and being exhausted from a super long day and even though I think we all got very frustrated at some points I think we all handled it pretty well. I would be lying though If I said I wasn't going to cry if we hadn't have gotten it on that last try though lol.

Yesterday we learned about the core value 'FUN' and we did a scavenger hunt for different Ecuadorian fruits and vegetables at a farmer's market.

Then we went to the park and had a paddle boat competition. But before we started we had a bathroom break. Well I went into the bathroom and there were like 3 different locks on the door and I just picked the one that has the little bar that slides across and locked it. This also wasn't like a regular bathroom stall with the metal doors, it was a single toilet with a regular door. So then when I went to leave I couldn't get the door unlocked. Luckily some of the girls were still standing outside the door so I was able to yell for them and I had them pull from the outside and try to do it but It just wasn't budging. Then I looked up and saw a window that was just the right size for me to climb out of but it had the same type of lock on it and it wouldn't budge either! I was trying to stay calm but inside I was having a little bit of a panic attack. I do not like small spaces and a bathroom is the last place I want to get locked into. Finally we decided there was no way it was going to unlock so one of the guys had to kick the door down :/ We broke the whole door jam but I bet that place learned their lesson about putting locks like that on their bathroom doors.

We ended the day visiting Mitad Del Mundo which means the 'Middle of the World'

Ecuador sits right on the equator so I was able to stand on both sides of the equator at the same time.

At the end of the night we got to stand on a rooftop and see the city lights and talk about our last core value which was 'Vision'

I am so excited for what the next 5 months holds for me, please keep me in your prayers as I continue on this journey, I'm sure I will have some great stories to share with you as time goes on!

Chao! (goodbye in Spanish) I'm already pretty fluent in case you were wondering.
Not really though.
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