Posted by Nolan Sutker in Ecuador 02 Mar 2018
WorldTeach Volunteer Sydney Thompson is currently teaching in Quito, Ecuador! She just hit the midpoint of her volunteering experience.

Have you ever ran some type of race, and when you reached the halfway point, you either wanted to stay consistent, push harder, slow down, or give up? I’m now at the midpoint of my 10-month service here in Quito, Ecuador, and I’ve been reflecting on how far I’ve come and how I want to proceed.

WorldTeach Ecuador September Cohort wearing alpaca blankets.

Reflecting on this past month, I went to Baños for our cohort’s mid-service conference, took a trip to Pasochoa (an extinct volcano) and hiked with some new friends, attended a Super Bowl party and ate some wings, and visited Amaguaña for the Carnaval. I also had some coffee with friends and ate a delicious cake for Valentine’s Day, and that weekend, I baked some brownies with my friends as they made delicious aji and lentil hamburgers, and I visited a vegan festival and tried a soy hot dog.

The mid-service in Baños was a pretty fun time despite the 4-hour trip to get there from Quito. We reflected on our time here and our goals, we discussed teaching strategies, and we received alpaca blankets as gifts. Can you find me in the picture? I chose a white blanket because my dog will get his white hair all over it when I get home to the States (haha).

The following weekend, I hiked most of Pasochoa with a couple new friends, and we discussed life and its challenges as well as other journeys we have endured. I enjoyed being surrounded by fresh air and nature; however, I don’t hike very often, so I nearly passed out from the altitude, but I didn’t have to sit during the hike, which counts as an achievement for me.

Rockin’ my hiking hat with two new buds.

I went to Amaguaña (an hour southeast of Quito) for Carnaval, which was February 10-13, but I was only there on Sunday, the 11th. I went with my friend, her boyfriend, and my friend’s roommate. From a parade full of dancing to concerts filled with music, I enjoyed partying and eating tasty foods. I can’t count the number of times that I got sprayed with foam, smashed with eggs, thrown at with flour and black colors, but I think I’ll never forget my hair feeling stale.

I met a lot of new people this past month, and I enjoyed taking time away from working and studying Spanish. Lately I have questioned if my Spanish and teaching has improved because it’s hard to tell. I have felt frustrated sometimes with these goals, and I know I have to keep moving forward. Thankfully, I have felt more comfortable with teaching this cycle, and it’s a relief to have a better grasp on the material. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and enjoy other things though to recenter yourself and not get burned out.

Enjoying some cake to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

It’s shocking that it’s been five months, and I have five more to go! I was disappointed that I didn’t go to Cuenca for Carnaval, but I’m hoping I can go there during the March break. I also found out my family will come to visit me over my 27th birthday during the last week of May, so I’m looking forward to that. I suppose plans change and evolve over time because life has different plans for you. It’s a challenge to stay grateful and positive sometimes, especially when after 5 months, the mail service here says you can’t have your package…

Each day comes with new challenges and duties, and sometimes I have to be patient and roll with it. It’s hard though to think about what my life will be like after Ecuador when I return to the States! I’m trying to take it day by day and live in the present.

Thank you for reading my monthly journal of my time in Ecuador!

Disclaimer: The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are my own and are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach.

Read more of Sydney’s blog posts here and stay up to date with her travels!

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