(18 de noviembre 2008)For my first blog post of November, I’m sure you are expecting to hear more descriptions of the places I’ve traveled or some fantastic, surreal experience that I’ve had in Ecuador. But, in contrast to the blue waves of the Galapagos or the wonders of the Amazon Jungle, this month I’ve been surprised by a series of small experiences that are no less important to me than those of extreme grandeur.
My rafting group in Baños–together in one boat we had representatives from London, England, Brazil, the Netherlands, Ecuador and the United States. Pretty neat diversity.
During one of the first weekends of November I did decide to take a short weekend trip to Baños, a city about three hours away from Quito that is absolutely full of tourists and outdoor athletic events. On Saturday morning I went white water rafting, the first time for me, but rather than the rafting I was struck by a conversation that occurred afterward. Read More
I have been engaged for all of four days as I write this blog, so naturally I’m finding it hard to think of little else. So you’ll forgive me if I blog out of that excitement.Getting engaged is pretty exciting at Bethel. On such a small campus, it’s very likely that the people around you are people you know, and are therefore at least somewhat receptive to the overwhelming need the newly-engaged feels to share his or her news. They know you personally, and if your fiance attends too, it’s likely they know him or her too. The celebration that you’re having yourself spreads to the community. It’s a wonderful feeling. Read More
Convocation on Monday with Claudia Rankine, author of Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, was a catalyst for some disconnected thoughts that have been floating around in my head. Her poetry synthesized them into a whole and provoked several meaningful conversations outside of the auditorium, exactly like convocation is supposed to.The subtitle of her book is “An American Lyric,” and I struggled with that choice for a while after convo. The poetry in her book isn’t what I would call lyrical. It’s a synergy of free verse, formatted and content-driven as an editorial on world events. You could submit her poems to a newspaper and find them in the Op-Ed section, only different for the improved symbolic and aesthetic quality and the occasional stream-of-consciousness style. Read More
25 de octubre 2008 (2 months until Christmas and I have already seen reindeer Christmas lights in Quito. Wow…)After a day spent in the clouds of Bomboli I began to wonder about my impact on this earth.
The view at Bomboli. We were at the same level as the clouds in the backdrop.
I have never considered myself a true environmentalist. That´s not to say I don´t respect those who live in harmony with the earth; I can identify with their causes and the call to live simply, but due to laziness or perhaps hypocrisy, I have never implemented these values into my daily life. Read More
19 de octubre 2008
Qué increíble y qué surrealista. How incredible and how surreal–these are the adjectives that I find myself using over and over again to describe my experiences in Ecuador. A week ago Saturday I was in the Galapagos Islands, talking a solitary walk along the beach beside our hostel at dusk and trying to absorb the holiness of my experience. There was absolutely no one on the beach (don´t worry mother and father, I wasn´t far from our hostel and it was perfectly safe) and nothing between myself and the ocean. The sun slipped behind las montañas uncovering las estrellas (side note: with the light pollution and pollution in general it is often difficult to see the stars in Quito) and bringing me into a moment of pure joy. I am in Ecuador. I am in the Galapagos. I am surrounded by beauty that is beyond the capacity to be captured by the pixels of my camera or the adjectives and metaphors of any language. I cannot describe why, but all I could do was begin to skip and twirl beside the ocean, splashing the water between toes. I know it seems incredibly silly, but that was really the only way to realize the overwhelming sensation of awe within me. Read More
During this week of midterms, I am once again reminded that big projects and tests have an alarming coordination. Every other day, I’ve given a speech, taken an exam, submitted newspaper articles, or completed some other project of similar caliber.Sitting in psychology seminar today, listening to the science faculty outline the research projects they’ve been involved in, struck a related chord. As I listened to the rather impressive list of research papers that have been published by Bethel psychology majors in the past few years and stumbled on the recollection that I will be turning 21 in under a month, I started thinking that college years were the chunk of time that a lot of life’s milestones cluster together. And all of them have an unnerving “adult” quality. Read More
I’ve had a lot of encounters with Alumni of Bethel this week. I’m on a committee that’s planning events for Fall Fest in cooperation with the Alumni Office. I’m working on a story about a family who has been at Bethel in some capacity for five generations now. All of them have fun or significant memories of their time at Bethel, and it makes me wonder…What will I remember?My parents were here in the 70s and early 80s, and they have entertaining memories of atrociously boring convocations being interrupted by a Merry Melodies episode (Looney Tunes for those who don’t remember the program’s name) when someone commandeered the sound booth and switched the “Ascent of Man” video for the cartoon. Read More
This past week was probably the most unnerving and challenging period of time during my stay in Ecuador. Consequently, I’ve learned a lot.Every Tuesday and Thursday I’ve been attending sessions for “Twenty-somethings” at the English Language Fellowship church in Quito. I was introduced to the young adult groups through friends in the BCA program and this church has been a good way to meet and fellowship with Ecuadorians. We speak in both English and Spanish and every last member of the group is so welcoming and kind that I often feel undeserving of such effortless friendships. Read More
Who says a hurricane can’t come to Kansas?I don’t mean to make light of the damage that Hurricanes Gustav, Hannah, and Ike have done, and presumably more will do. My heart goes out to all of the people who have been forced to leave their homes or worse, have entirely lost their homes. But after wandering around on the Bethel campus for the whole day in incessant rain, I am dripping with thoughts.As I walked to work at the unseemly 8:00 a.m. hour, I surprised myself with a smile when I spotted the pond that grows out of the middle of the green between Voth Hall and Warkentin Court during rainstorms. Over a rainy day, the pond will grow to lake size, eventually flooding the sidewalk between the mods and the rest of campus. People have put goldfish in this monster puddle (they were later rescued). It might even be paddle-boat worthy. I wonder if anyone has tried. Read More
…If you own a guinea pig. That’s right folks. This weekend I had my first taste of cuy, a traditional dish in Ecuador and Perú and it was really quite tasty. The consistency is a little like chicken, but with a lot more bones and chewy skin. However, I couldn’t manage to eat the head of the animal (they serve the ENTIRE guinea pig on one plate. This includes the head, legs and, well, everything.)But this was only a small part of the wonderful experience that I had this weekend in Ibarra, a small city about ten minutes away from Otavalo (the host of Ecuador’s largest indigenous market). It was yet another example of the incredible generosity and kindness of Ecuadorians that I’ve encountered. Read More