Over the past two weeks in Quito, I have had good days and bad days, tough experiences and superb ones. I hope that this post will give you an idea of some of the things I'm struggling with as well as things I'm enjoying.
+ Public buses and taxis here are super cheap! For example, this weekend I paid $1.50 for an hour and a half bus ride to another city. For a 1/2 hour taxi ride to the bus station it cost $2.50 per person.
- Buses here in Ecuador have no capacity limit. If you think that after all the seats were full, no one else would get on, think again! Even on bus rides longer than an hour, people pack in like sardines and shove their way to the front to get off at their stop. I was feeling seriously claustrophobic this afternoon after being tossed about in the aisle every time we stopped, mashed up against about 10 other people!! Gah.
I've said this before, and I will say it again: there are good and bad days with Spanish. Sometimes I feel like I can express myself well, other times I am often misunderstood.
+ Many people have told me I have great Spanish (one man even said it was perfect!). This boosts my confidence ever so slightly. :)
- These offhand comments are far from the truth...if only he could have heard me trying to purchase a cellphone. At times people telling me I can speak well only makes me more frustrated, knowing how limited my communication can be at times.
- I don't have a set schedule yet, which is a hard thing for a planner like me. What I do know is that I'm supposed to support the church in its activities and events, while taking Spanish classes in Quito. This basically means going along to different meetings and learning a lot of new names.
+ I do have Spanish class 4 days a week, in the mornings. I'm also helping to reorganize the small library here at the church one day a week. Random other opportunities have come up, like this weekend going to El Prado to do a kids' program (super fun!). Also, hopefully next week I will start teaching English one day a week at a small school affiliated with a Methodist Church.
- As of now I haven't met many people my own age. This is a hard adjustment for me since for the past 5 years I've been around lots of young adult peers, in college and YWAM schools. Being a people person, I've had to learn how to have fun doing things by myself or with other adults.
+ On the plus side, I have met lots of very nice people in the Methodist church here. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, and I have high hopes that once I move to Romerillos, I will make some good friends there.
+ I am very thankful to have a safe, comfortable abode here in Quito. My apartment is simple but cozy, and I enjoy cooking my own meals and having some time to relax there.
- Sometimes I get stares from people on the street, seeing as there aren't too many gringos here. But I don't mind too much. For the most part, people here are very friendly and helpful.
So, as you can see, I'm bumping along the road, up and down, up and down. Highs and lows. Hills and valleys*. But through it all, I know that God is with me. He's guiding me through the hard times and rejoicing with me in the beautiful moments. This verse has given me comfort:
"But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end." Deuteronomy 11:11-12
Though maybe not literally what the author was talking about here, I can relate. Being in a new land, I am assured that God knows we will have ups and downs in life, but still cares for us and watches over us always.
*The title of this post was inspired by the song Hills and Valleys by The Rocket Summer. You should check it out!