Week 1: Part 3 - Salsa, Spanish, and Soccer!

July 10, 2018
Wow. All I can say is wow! The last blog post ended on Thursday, where I participated in yet another salsa class. After finishing writing my blog Thursday night, I went out salsa dancing with a few of the other volunteers. We took a taxi to a “salsoteca” called La Voe, and as soon as I stepped into the room, I felt like I was in a movie. There was a dance floor filled with people salsa dancing- and it was obvious a lot of them were professionals. I was super intimidated, and I could have been content just sitting in awe, watching them all night, but of course my friends encouraged me to dance. We happened to run into my Spanish and salsa teachers there, so we all were able to dance with them and learn a few “beginner” moves without being too embarrassed, at least that’s how I felt! They were super kind and patient with us as we tripped over our own feet, which made the entire experience a very positive one. Nevertheless, I am very eager for my next salsa lesson on Tuesday!
Today, Friday, I had another wonderful day at the hospital, where I was able to take an arterial blood gas test by myself. On Thursday, I only got to read the test, but today I also got to draw the blood. At first, I was pretty nervous, but once I actually started physically doing it, it was a lot easier than I thought. I was super happy I got to do it, and I am so thankful I was working with a doctor and medical student that enjoyed teaching and were willing to take the extra time to let me do it. I started working with another medical student who happens to be my host-mother’s niece! We chatted a bit about that as I helped her clean the wound of a man who broke his nose. For the rest of the day I helped her with the patients, all of which seemed to have pretty minor injuries. 
Traditional Ecuador Food - Empanadas, Salchipapas, Canelazo, and Colada MoradaFor my Spanish lesson, my class combined with another teacher-student combo, and we went to el Panecillo, a hill with a giant statue of the Virgin Mary, overlooking all of Quito. We walked around the area where people were flying kites, playing soccer, and laying in the grass. Then we went to some of the food stands and got some traditional food- empanadas, salchipapas (sausages with fries), canelazo (a hot, spiced, cinnamon drink), and colada morada (a spiced, berry drink). It was delicious!
After the lesson was over, we rushed back to the school to meet other students for a game of soccer in the local park! We drove to Parque La Carolina, and started our game! One thing I noticed while playing was that I lost my breath super easily! My body was definitely not used to the lack of oxygen due to the higher altitude in Quito, and I was panting the entire game. To make matters worse, I got the soccer ball punted directly into my forehead from a distance of maybe 5 feet- another movie moment. I flew to the ground, but I was laughing so hard the pain dulled quickly. Don’t worry- I’m totally okay! 
Now I am home and ready for bed. I need to wake up super early because tomorrow I am travelling to Mindo! Get ready for another adventure!
With love from Ecuador,