UW Study Abroad, Winter 2014
Departure and Arrival
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S HAPPENING.
Farewell to the University of Washington and Seattle for 3 whole months (which'll probably feel like a quick second) but nonetheless I'm beyond excited and thankful to be able to embark on this journey of a lifetime.
Welcome to my first blog page! As a fair warning this blog will mostly just be a bunch of photos and captions being that photos speak 1000 words, and... they don't require too much writing. This morning's flight from LAX to ATL at 6AM was a rough one, but I did get a good chuckle out of my passport photos. Boy much has changed over the years. Before getting on the flight I had the intention of being able to sleep through the whole ride, but the genius in me (or the Seattlelite in me) decided that it'd be a good idea to get coffee (who does that if they're trying to sleep?!). Though it was only a quick 3 hour plane ride, it seemed like it took forever being that I was so restless. After the flight I had a 5 hour layover in Atlanta and honestly it wasn't too bad; after finding the nearest fried chicken restaurant life was bearable.
From ATL to Quito
Now began the real journey.
As we boarded on the plane from Atlanta to fly into Quito, Ecuador, everything still felt so surreal. I couldn't believe that I was leaving school, work, and basically life behind in the States. 2014 really is a new year of new beginnings-- from travels to friends, it feels as though 2013 was a great book page that was just flipped onto a fresh new side that was titled 2014. Let it be a wonderful year.
There was nothing to complain about on our flight into Ecuador. To start things off, the 3rd person that was supposed to show up to Nikki and myself's row never made it! Talk about extra leg room. The best movies were playing on the screen, including "We're The Millers", and if you haven't seen that movie I highly recommend it, new top 10 forsureee. The six hours flew by in what seemed to be only a heartbeat. One minute we're here in the US, and the other we're checking into customs at UIO.
Say hi to the family.
After a 50 minute bus ride from the airport into the city at 2:30 AM I was finally "home". Home at the American Center for Latin American Studies (ACLAS). Driving through the streets of Quito reminded me a lot of Vietnam-- from the huge pieces of sheet metal that blocked the entry way of houses and garages to the old and rustic feel of brick buildings, a weird sense of nostalgia overtook me.
Once we all arrived into ACLAS' building we were handed our letters that assigned us to our families. "When I call your name, please grab your bags and file into the lobby so that you may meet your host parents", exclaimed one of the ACLAS workers in a semi-thick accent. My letter read: "Steven Do, Mother: Graciela, Brother: Steven" WHATTT CRAZY. I have a brother named Steven, too! Once in the lobby I was able to meet Graciela, a sweet woman who stood at about 5'5" with long black hair, red lipstick, a bright red scarf, and zero ability to speak English-- mother. Err well host mother. I was excited to really develop my Spanish.
Once we got to her apartment I had to pleasure of meeting my 25 year old brother, Steven, who actually, to our convenience for identity purposes, goes by Steve. After unpacking, I was finally able to go to bed at 4:30AM. I'm still getting adjusted to the altitude being that it's a bit hard to breath sometimes, but this is going to be home for the next quarter.
I would be lying though if I said I didn't feel homesick. However, home is where you find yourself, it's not where you sleep, but it's where you stand.
Quito, Ecuador- you will be my home very soon.