So. I've been here for two months. And it's really, really hard to believe. The time has flown by. I feel like I just got here yesterday, and at the same time I feel like I've been here for years. I'm 1/5th of the way done with my exchange. Which seems like I have so little time left, but really there is still so much more to come!

So, I figured I'd compile a few findings from my first 8 weeks here in Ecuador.

Things I miss the most (In no particular order)

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******Note that these are THINGS not people, obviously I miss my family and friends and dogs most of all******

1) Coffee. The people here do not drink coffee! The only thing people drink is disgusting nescafe instant coffee. In my house, coffee means a spoonful of decaf instant coffee in a a cup of hot milk. I've yet to meet somebody who drinks real coffee. Ah how I miss the coffee from home which isn't even the fanciest in the world, just fresh and full of flavor and always around.

2) My car. I miss Harvey and what he means to me, freedom, empowerment, the amazing feeling of buying something big for the first time without the help of your parents. Me buying that car is the most American thing I think I've ever done, he represents all things USA. Not to mention I miss so much just being able to go when I want to or need to do something and not having to always rely on somebody else to get me there and back. I can't stand the fact that if I need to go to the grocery store I have to wait until a day when somebody has the time to bring me there!

3) My Room. My room at home is so perfect and cozy and pretty. My bed is so comfy and warm and I have about 8 pillows that I can just bury myself in. In the morning I just peek out of the bottom of my blind to see what kind of day it will be and take my time getting ready and hanging out and soaking in good energy from my yellow walls. I hate my room here, its so cold and dull and boring, and I have to sleep under a Lizzie McGuire blanket…. I will be so happy to get back to my bed.

4) The Seasons. I am missing fall weather so much. And now that Christmas is coming, I can't get over how weird it will be to be sweating as I open presents under the tree.. I could never live here for good, I would miss the change of seasons way to much. I would much prefer to be in a big sweater and boots and drinking hot chocolate at Christmas time than frying in the Ecuadorian sun!

5) Diners. Diners are such a beautiful and underrated phenomenon. To be able to go somewhere whenever you're hungry 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and ask for literally any meal you want, is just such a magical thing. I seriously miss American breakfast food pancakes, waffles, eggs, hash browns, home fries - their beauty is really hard to describe to people who have never experienced them before, and I think about breakfast food way more than I wish I did here.

6) Bagels - Speaking of breakfast food, I really really really miss bagels! I wish that I could have them shipped to me… but I have a feeling they wouldn't keep very well in a package for 3 weeks…

7)Parks - Here in the city, there isn't very much in the way of foliage. In fact its almost non existent. There are a few cactuses and the very rare couple of trees. Parks don't exist like they do in the U.S. There are two very small ones in the center but nothing that compares with those you can find at home. I really miss being able to just take a walk in the fresh air! (Especially walking with my dogs in particular).

8) MY MOMS COOKING - That's all I have to say, Mom you're the best. And I miss your delicious vegetarian meals!

Things I LOVE about living here! (In no particular order)

1) The People - The people here are so welcoming and caring and loving. It's such a beautiful thing. They genuinely want you to be well and safe, and completely comfortable. They greet everyone with a kiss on the cheek, even when they're meeting somebody for the first time. There is just always so much love to be felt when you're with people here. And, being an exchange student, I am constantly meeting new and interesting people. Especially now that I am a lot more confident with my Spanish, I am always making interesting connections!

2) Endless Summer - I know I said I miss the seasons, but it is quite nice to be able to have a perfect beach day in the middle of November, or to lounge poolside on a December afternoon!

3) The Cost - Everything that isn't imported from the U.S., is ridiculously inexpensive here. Of course I'm spending money like crazy, but at least food isn't costing as much as it would elsewhere. A bottle of water costs 40 cents, a soda 60. I went out to lunch once with two friends and the entire bill was $12. I mean it is just such a beautiful thing!

4) Friends - I am making some truly great friends here from all over the world. Ecuadorians, Americans, French, Germans. I am meeting some really amazing people and am always able to find something to do here. I'm even starting to be able to make jokes in Spanish!!

5) Get Togethers - A standard birthday party at home is some friends, a cake, maybe some dinner and presents. A birthday party here is all of your friends, a dj, catering, dancing, strobe lights, you name it - they go all out. And nobody has a birthday and doesn't have a party here. Even just a casual get together here with some friends at a house always involves dancing. ALWAYS.

6) The Geography- Though Guayaquil is pretty ugly, this country has some amazing things to see, and I've only traveled a little bit. From beaches, to mountains and volcanoes, to the Amazon jungle, to Galapagos! All in this little tiny country smaller than Nevada. There is so much to do and see that its pretty overwhelming, but mostly exciting! I am just itching to get out there and do it all!!!

7) Food - Most of the food isn't that amazing, but what it is amazing is that every day my house has fresh bread and juice. The bread here is so delicious and sweet, and always fresh every day. Every day at lunch there is also a different fresh squeezed juice. I drink about three huge cups of juice a day here, in fact, I think my house keeper, Susanna, makes more juice now that I'm here because I love it so much.

8) Having a Maid - This pretty much speaks for itself. I've become a spoiled brat. I never have to clean a thing, do laundry, clean dishes. It's unreal. I mean, she even irons and folds my underwear!

I'm sure that I could keep on going and going with both of these lists, but I think this gives a pretty good idea….

Today I am feeling so great. I've completed two months here I am having such an incredible experience, every day I'm learning and improving, and my soccer team won a really huge game this afternoon! I still can't completely believe that I'm really here and really doing this, like its all some weird long dream. I don't know if it will ever really feel real… it just seems too wonderful to be really happening! Until next week!!!


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