I thought the best place to write my first blog about getting ready to leave, would be during my seven hour flight to Ecuador. I am very excited now that I am on the plane, but before getting on I was more nervous. When I arrived home from college, I unpacked my things from college and started to pack for Ecuador. I was running around preparing and going to doctors appointments and calling my bank and my cell phone company. There is a lot that needs to be done so try not to procrastinate too much. However, I know that can be hard to do sometimes. I spend my time with my family and at the beach. When I was at work, I was able to practice my spanish with my co-worker Romi.

The trip did not feel real until three days before leaving, when I realized I will be able to see the Pacific Ocean in about a week. I will see mountains, volcanos, and have the chance to meet many different people. The day I was leaving, I became very nervous about the trip. I could not eat all day. I was not nervous at all until this point.  However, I told myself that this is an amazing experience and I just need the strength to step on the plane. Once I do that I can not go backwards or change anything, but I could look forward and have a great time studying abroad. On the plane I keep trying to imagine what Ecuador will be like. I can not wait to land and walk onto a different, yet amazing land. I will take many pictures and share it with all of you!

Picture: Many websites said to bring your host family candy or a tourist gift. However, I wanted to give them something they could keep and remember me by. I got them a wind chime. They are very common where I live and especially on Fire Island. They are beautiful in appearance and sound.

Hello, my name is Samantha Manno and I am an organismal biology major with a minor in Spanish. This summer, I will be traveling to Guayaquil, Ecuador to attend the Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo (UEES). I hope that one day I can be a bridge between science in the United States and South America and help with accurate communication between the two continents. I am so excited for this experience so I can improve my Spanish, learn about and live in a different culture, and hopefully do new and interesting science in Ecuador!

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