Showing posts from February, 2013

My New-ish Apartment

Ok, so I moved into my current house 2 months ago. But I just remembered to take a picture of it, on an especially beautiful Quito day!

My awesome new house (the big one)
The funky street art across the street from me

Hard Adjustments for Foreigners in Ecuador

I have been traveling for the past month, in London, Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Florida, and I'm finally back home in Quito and back to work. The transition from third world to first world wasn't as easy as I thought, but neither is my current transition from first world to third world.

Quito is relatively modern, we have bagel shops and sorta reliable public transportation and Zara and other things that make living here a little easier on foreigners, but in the end, it's still in Ecuador, which is pretty third world despite recent advances. A couple things have really stood out to me in the last week and I thought I would write up a list for people thinking of visiting or relocating to Ecuador. These are the things that take some getting used to here:

No Flushing Toilet Paper- For the most part, you can't flush toilet paper. In newer buildings it's often ok, but assume in most houses, restaurants, etc. that the toilet paper goes in the bin next to the toilet. This see…

Correa Wins the Presidency

Ecuador can look forward to another four years with Rafael Correa as President. He won the election this weekend with 57% of the votes. Interestingly enough, he dedicated his victory to Hugo Chavez. I went with a friend to check out the street party the night Correa won and it was pretty typical. Live bands, street food, flags and noise makers.

Street party celebrating Correa's victory
What does this mean for Ecuador? More exploitation of oil, heavier crack downs on the media, public spending on roads, hospitals, and schools (populist policies that win over the lower classes), relative economic stability, developing diplomatic relations with China, social welfare programs, and probable increases in petty theft and burglaries (only because he didn't address these problems in the last term).

Like I said in a previous post, people either love or hate this president. I think he is emerging as an ideological leader of Latin America largely because someone has to fill the shoes of C…

7 Things Tourists Should Bring to Ecuador

1. Single Dollar Bills- No one has change in this country and you can't use cards for anything. If you try to use a $10 or $20 bill, most places will turn you away. They would rather not have your business than give you their beloved change. ATMs in Quito only give you 20s (which doesn't make any sense to me), so the best thing to do is make lots of change before you come. Seriously, bring $100 in one and five dollar bills. Things in Quito are so cheap you won't ever need a $20 bill.

2. Sunscreen- At 10,000 feet, Quito is probably closer to the sun than you are used to. Even if it is overcast, you can still burn in the city. I wear sunscreen every single day, even if I have no intention of being outside.
3. Flashlight- If you plan on traveling anywhere cool in Ecuador, you will need a flashlight. Who knows if you will end up on an overnight bus and want to read a book? Or drunkenly digging through your backpack in a hostel at 2 AM, not wanting to turn on the lights and wake …

I Almost Missed Two Flights in Amsterdam

Last week I had to catch two flights from Amsterdam Schipol and both turned out to be total disasters! And both times I blame my BlackBerry. The minute I leave Ecuador and I don't fear my electronics being stolen I am going to suck it up and buy an iPhone.

1. I had to catch a cheap EasyJet flight to London from Amsterdam. I went out with friends in Utrecht the night before, ate some lasagna and drank some wine, came home, set my alarm, and naturally woke up about two hours after I should have woken up. What happened? Even though my phone was connected to the local wifi, the time zone never updated so the alarm was set for 6 AM Ecuadorian time, not Dutch time. I ran to catch a train to Schipol and arrived ONE MINUTE too late to catch my flight, so I had to pay 70 euros and rebook it for the afternoon flight.

2. My last night in Utrecht I definitely set my alarm for 5:45 AM, thinking that would give me plenty of time to catch my 10 AM flight to Quito. That morning, I slowly rolled o…

A New Job in Hong Kong

Yep, you read it correctly. I have accepted a two year teaching job at a really great international school in Hong Kong! This was a big decision and I had some other options, but ultimately I knew Hong Kong was the right choice for me. I will be moving there on August 1.

I am excited for: Public Transportation- Taking the subway everywhere will be really nice.Food- Hong Kong has it all! My roommate used to live in Beijing and described Hong Kong as the NYC of the East. This means I will have access to some amazing food from all over Asia.Travel in Asia- Super cheap flights to Bali, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, etc.Safe City- I can't wait to get my independence back and feel safe exploring a city on my own. I will be a lot more comfortable moving around the city of Hong Kong.Tropical Weather- I thrive in sticky humidity. Can't wait to take my sundresses and sandals out of those boxes in my dad's garage.Adventure!- I have not yet been to Asia, so this is starting a whole new chapter…

Picture Post: Eurotrip, January 2013

I spent the last two weeks in the UK and Netherlands visiting friends, but mostly applying for jobs at an international teaching recruitment fair. I signed a two year contract at a school in an AMAZING new location, but I am gonna wait until a later post to spill the beans. Instead, enjoy some photos from my short little Eurotrip:

With Hannah in front of Parliament in London
Walking across the River Thames in London
Visited Marpessa in Utrecht, Netherlands
Spent a day bike riding around Utrecht
Marpessa biking around the cute streets of Utrecht
Typical Utrecht view- cobblestone, canals, bicycles
Cool view of the canal in Utrecht
Marp and I going thrifting in some vintage stores
Thrifting in a vintage store in Utrecht
Snowy view on a train ride from Amsterdam to Utrecht
We spent a day in Amsterdam exploring the Stedelijk Museum
Cool art at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam