The worldwide Augustana College experience

New adventures!

Hey guys! I have had a very exciting couple of weeks! Since my last blog I have gone to the jungle, broke my computer, seen a festival at a local church, learned about superstitions and had the best pizza in the whole world. Oh! And  I went canyoning too!

We the for La Selva  at 8:30 Wednesday morning and rode the bus for at least 6 hours before we finally stopped for the night in Sucua. That was a great little town and is home to a restaurant with the best pizza I´ve ever eaten before. Sorry Mystic Pizza, you´ve been knocked down to number 2. We also visited a zoo. It was tiny but had some really cool animals including lots and lots of adorable little monkeys! The night passed quickly there as we all appreciated our last night in an actual bed and our last warm shower for the week. the next morning we left for Macas where we visited a church and got to stand in the bell tower. We could see the whole city from there! We had lunch then went on our way to a farm where we would walk from to our camp.

The Jungle was a really cool experience here! We were only about a mile and a half in but that´s just far enough to experience everything that´s makes the jungle so exotic. We hiked for about an hour and a half to get to our campsite and after we arrived we were ready to visit the river, everyone was tired and gross so we donned our bathing suits and went for a swim. It was a lot of fun but it´s a little difficult to wash your hair in a river. One day we went to a village nearby and got to play with the children! They were just adorable and so much fun to play with, we had a volleyball match and my team totally won, not that I was keeping score though. we showered one day in a waterfall which was awesome! really cold but great water pressure. :)   On one hike we went to a zip line that people use to transport goods across a big river, that was really cool. On our way home from the jungle we stopped in Macas for sleep and the next day we went to Hidropaute and took a tour of the house of machines which is in a mountain! Then we visited the dam that´s responsible for producing over 70% of all of Ecuador´s electricity! After that We stopped at a restaurant and had lunch and watched a little bit of the final soccer game on their tv. We couldn´t stay to see who won though because we had to get back on the road. I didn´t mind though, I missed my family. We finally got home with just enough time to nap before dinner, though I knew I´d miss the food of the jungle a lot.

The experience in the jungle was one I will always remember. I learned how much I depend on the simple things like electricity and showers and even walls of a house (our hut had no walls).

Back in Cuenca I returned to my normal daily routine and then, my computer broke. It´s still not functioning as I type this on my family´s computer but hopefully the techs at CEDEI will but able to fix it for me so I can have me weekly mommy-time on Skype.

Yesterday I went on a field trip with my teacher to a church in the flower market. I don´t remember the exact name but it´s the church of the virgin Carmen. They have been having a festival these past two weeks in celebration of the virgin and tonight is the last night of the festivities. There will be a procession in which the people throw rose petals and afterwards there is dancing by the indigenous. I´m really looking forward to it! I´ll let you know how it goes…

I went to the festival but we were late so we didn´t see the whole procession, just the last few minutes when the raised up the statue of Carmen and brought her back into the church. There was a band and people were singing and it was really cool looking! We didn´t stay for the dancing though because we were cold.

My teacher also talked to me about the superstitions here. At first she was surprised as to why I would ask about them but I think that every culture has different ones and it´s really interesting to hear about. There are ones like, if you try on the wedding ring or dress of a married woman, you will never get married; if someone sweeps your feet while they are cleaning the floor, you will never marry; if you walk backwards, your parents will die; if you dream about a fruit similar to a cherry, someone is going to die; if a flower blossoms on a specific type of tree, someone will die; don´t clean the house at night or it´s bad luck; they also have the umbrella inside the house is badd luck and throw salt over your left shoulder like we do. There are many other superstitions as well but there are way too many to list, there´s even more when you ask an indigenous person. That was a really interesting conversation but really cool.

Another awesome thing I did was go with 5 other girls to the mountains next to Cuenca and go canyoning! I was so scared at some points, I´m araid of heights so this was a big thing for me to handle. First we climbed to the top of the mountain which took about an hour and then we donned our wetsuits and man did we look sexy! haha I joke, we felt like penguins waddling around. The water was really cold but for the wetsuit to do it´s job, we had to be wet. The first thing we had to do, before we even repelled down any waterfalls, was jump. The only thing worse than being pushed into water is having to man up and force yourself to do it. I was terrified, i started crying but after a couple of minutes I was finally able to do it. It was about a 20 foot drop from the top of the rock and I prayed for my life the whole way down. Yes I know, I´m a drama queen. I thought that was the worst but then came the waterfall. It was HUGE!!! Well not really but remember, drama queen. After a couple of people went I finally had the courage to head down too. The guide at the top lowered us down to the guide at the bottom. It was so easy, we just had to sit there and make sure we didn´t do anything stupid. We made it through a lot more waterfalls and a couple little jumps when another biug jump came, bigger than the first. Of course I couldn´t chicken out so I worried, panicked, cried, then jumped. It was really deep but I still hit the bottom and when I came up I had the most horrible pain in my ears. Everything was clouded sounding and it hurt really bad. Shortly after we were at the end and had to climb out of the canyon and then down the mountain to the car. The indigenous working in the fields had a good laugh when we came waddling by. It´s ok though, I would have laughed too. All in all this was an awesome experience but once was enough for me. I can live without the soreness or the rocks taking chunks out of my hand (yes, that happened at it hurt).

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