Thursday, August 5, 2010

Last Night and Trip from Ecuador to Missouri

On my last night, I visited my first host family. I was lucky because it was my host-brother's birthday so all the family was congregating at the house. I said my goodbyes to all and then went to the exchange party. We had music and enjoyed one of our last parties in Ecuador. The Morochos (Johnny's family) stopped by the house, and I got to say goodbye to them. Normally I have a curfew with my host-family, but that night, I just had to be back by 4:30 a.m. when we were leaving for Guayaquil to catch my plane.

The hardest part was leaving my exchange friends after that party at 3:30 a.m. After this crazy year in Ecuador and being used to seeing them almost every day, they were like sisters to me.

When I got to the house, I lay on my bed and just thought how it came to an end. I finished packing my final bags (stuffing my guitar case full of objects - even squeezing things inside the body of the guitar).

We (host-family and Flavia) drove up to Guayaquil and waited at the airport. Alexis from Switzerland and Marcelo (the exchange student who lived in our house years ago) came to the airport to visit me. I tried to get Johnny to come, but he overslept and said that he couldn't end up going! I checked my luggage (fortunately I only had to leave one pair of old jeans!). I was carrying my backpack, guitar, gift bag, and Panama hat bag all stuffed to their brims, as well as wearing four t-shirts, gym shorts under my jeans, a jacket, and holding my Rotary blazer over my arm.

Stuffed guitar case

That was such a pain to lug around all my flights. At the end of the day, I thought my arms were going to fall off from so much weight. We had some breakfast, and I was feeling so nervous. Then took place another difficult departure. They were all waving as I walked down the empty hallway.

It didn't really hit me that I was leaving until I got on the airplane. When we took off, I felt so sad to leave the country in which I was for just over ten months. I felt like just another tourist on that plane. I was also sitting next to a loud American teenage girl who was chomping on gum and talking loudly to her mother about the trip they had and about future ventures to other countries. It also didn't help the sad feelings that I was reading the letters the other exchange students from Machala wrote me. I listened to Ecuador music that was a playlist of songs that I learned to associate with Ecuador over the year without indie or folk music.

Goodbye Ecuador

I arrived in Miami, hauling all my carryon bags, and encountered a strange feeling being back in the United States. When I went through the passport check, the man asked me where I was coming from. I answered Ecuador, and he just said "Welcome home." That felt nice. I was stumbling every time I had to talk to anyone in English and wasn't sure what to speak.

I made it to my gate and waited about four hours. Before the flight, I looked up and saw a woman in the distance who appeared to be Marlene Medin. I looked to the right and saw a man who was closer with a goatee who resembled Ron Medin. I just sat and stared at Ron as he put his stuff on the bench catty-cornered to me. He looked up and saw me and I think he said, "Well, what do you know." I gave them a great big hug then. They claimed they were organized to be my welcoming crew for my arrival in the USA. I let them watch my stuff, as I could finally go to the bathroom without leaving my stuff alone. I also got a drink from a water fountain which I greatly missed on my exchange! Ron shared some pizza, then we had our flight to St. Louis.

I was sitting in between a group of Colombian kids who were off to a camp in Springfield to learn English. That was nice, and I felt comfortable speaking to them in Spanish; they have many similar words to those in Ecuador because they share a border. I got home and was greeted by my sisters! We then drove to my abode in Jefferson City.

A little taste of America after taking off all the excess clothes

Final Days in Ecuador

At the end of my Ecuador trip, I left school and enjoyed my days. This involved watching the World Cup with some of the other exchange students (mainly with Alexis from Switzerland and Flavia from Brazil). We picked teams and cheered them on.

Another thing we did was watch all six of the Star Wars movies. That was fun. It was with Katherine from the US, Alexis from Switzerland, and Tjarko from Germany. We started at about 11:30 a.m. and that lasted until 2:10 a.m. We did have two eating breaks and not everybody stayed awake through all of them (although I did stay awake until the sixth and fell asleep for only a half hour). I'm pretty sure Tjarko saw a total of 30 minutes of Star Wars because he was off on his computer then he slept through like four of them. And in case you were wondering, we watched them in the order of the series, not order that they came out.

I got to meet my host brother who was in Alaska while I was in his spot. He got to Ecuador two days before I left. He's a fun, nice guy. He got in Thursday night, we hung out Friday, and then Saturday I left.

On that Friday, we had a big lunch where we got the exchange students and Felix's friends over. We just talked then left to prepare the exchange student party. We exchange students had a goodbye party at an exchange student's house where we invited all of our friends from school and everywhere.