The list keeps growingQuito, Spring 2010

As of July 16 I have officially been out of Ecuador for 30 days and outside of South America for 5. I haven't even been home a week and I feel as though I've been gone forever. Studying abroad (at the risk of sounding horribly stereotypical and corny) was an eye opening, life changing experience that I would not change for anything. There is not a single thing I would change about my experience in Ecuador. Study abroad is also a hard thing to understand from the outside. Since I've been back so many people have asked me, "Why did you love it so much?" "What did you love most about Quito?" "What do you miss the most?" And I can never put into words exactly what it is, and every time someone asks, I want to say something different, or add something to the list of things I love and miss that grows each day I'm away from Quito. I miss the people, I miss the blue buses, the Ecovia, Taquito's quesadillas con carne, PilsnerClubBrahmaConquer, the Mariscal, cheap everything, Centro Historico, Gladys, Rene, Eduardo, Juan Carlos, everyone from IES, all of our Ecuadorian friends, cabinas, movistar, choclo, queso fresco, choclo con queso, fiora vanti, eucalyptus flavored gum, buying food on buses, chifles dulces, Coffee and Toffee (and how it always smelled just slightly of mold), Zhumir, speaking in Spanish all the time, rain at 4 pm everyday, Jardin Botanico, my host family, my host brother's amazing photographs on every wall, the friendly guard on my walk to the bus and his trumpet, Guayasamin paintings everywhere, Quito. I could make this list bigger, I could make a list of the things I don't miss, but there isn't much that makes me happier than to look back on my time there and realize I made a place for myself in a city/country so different from everything I'm used to. Although I don't necessarily know when, I know I'll go back, I know I'll explore more of South America, maybe (hopefully) even live there for a while. Now I'm back in the US, currently in Tacoma, WA where I go to school staying with some of my closest friends, enjoying delicious NW beer and coffee, and trying not to let myself start freaking out about graduating, let alone being back in the US. It hasn't entirely hit me that I'm here, and talking about study abroad in the past tense doesn't really feel right, but its time to finish college and see where life takes me. Here's a selection of some of my favorite moments, and photos from my time in Ecuador. [gallery link="file"] If you read all this, and looked at all the pictures, THANKS! You've got a better attention span than I do!
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