Tomorrow is the day

June 11, 2013

Tomorrow is the day that I am leaving for Ecuador. For the past couple of days, it has felt like the days were limitless.. but tomorrow I am getting on a plane, stopping in Panama City, and then I am actually going to be in Ecuador for nine and a half weeks! There are many mixed feelings, so many things that have been going through my mind about this trip: What is going to happen? I am going to get along with my host family? Will I be able to speak Spanish as much as I want to while I am there? Will I like all of the food? All of these questions are rushing through my mind like rapid fire even though I have already thought about them multiple times.

At this moment, it doesn’t feel like reality. However, tomorrow is the day…

Before the Adventure

June 1, 2013

Making the decision to go to Ecuador was not only time consuming, but it was a choice that I knew was going to change my life. During the past few weeks, I have been back and forth about my decision to go to Ecuador.  The reality of the trip seems unbearable to comprehend. I constantly need to remind myself that this trip is going to be beneficial towards my future career as a teacher and also that I am going to grow from the experiences that I am going to have. I have traveled before, but never like this. The amount of culture shock is not going to be as dramatic as is the time away from home. There have been times when I have really regretted this decision, but normally it happened during the late hours of the night. Key note: Do not think about your trip during the night time because your mind wanders, especially the possible negative aspects of your trip!

One of the main reasons that I have decided to take on this incredible adventure is the teaching aspect of the trip. It was the main reason that lured me into signing up. I am an Elementary Education major with a concentration in Spanish and I have a minor in Psychology, so this is going to be so very helpful.  I am extremely looking forward to teaching students, becoming their teacher, taking what I will learn and carry it with me throughout my future career as a teacher in New York, or wherever I may be when I get a job. I am curious to see the differences between the cultures, and the ways of teaching in the classroom as well as the curriculum. I am almost positive that if I am going to be teaching, I am going to be working with the English department of the school that I am assigned too. I hope that is actually what is going to happen. Otherwise I am assuming that I will be happy any placement.

The idea of leaving home for such a long time is the only thing that is holding me back from being 100 percent excited. The rest of the feelings are filled with curiosity and a strong drive to succeed this new challenge!

Extreme sports abroad

Throughout the semester, I have traveled around Ecuador sightseeing and learning about the culture. One thing I did not expect to do on this trip was some extreme sports. I was able to travel to a city called Baños. It is a place where travelers go and have some extreme fun. Baños is 5 hours east from Guayaquil and is located in the center of the country. It is also known as the adventure capital of Ecuador. In Baños, I was able to canopy (zip line), whitewater raft, and canyoning (repelling from waterfalls). Participating in these activities was the most thrilling moments in my life. It is nothing like being in a roller coaster ride for a few seconds. I was very impressed at my abilities and my willingness to actually participate in these activities. It was a lot of fun and hope to do that and other sports once more next semester.

While in Baños, I was able to meet a lot of people from all over the world.  I meet an awesome couple from Iceland who were backpacking all of South America. It was really cool meeting them because they had lots of stories to share with us about their travels and Iceland of course. After meeting them and many other amazing travelers from all over the world, I was inspired. I was inspired to continue traveling. It has inspired me to finish school, save up money, and travel travel travel. I am in awe with people who are young and have already traveled to different parts of the world. They have really taught me great values in life. I think that if you have the time and the willingness to travel and learn about cultures, it will only make you a better person. You become more open minded and just an overall amazing person. I know that I have to take advantage of this time period in my life, and I will!


Macho Macho Man

As said by many, Latin America is known for its very machismo idiosyncrasy. Hearing this several times by many people, I never really gave it a thought till I got here. Every day without a doubt, I am whistled at, hissed at, honked by drivers on the road, and receive cat calls in every corner that I turn. There is not a day that goes by in which this happens, not only to me, but to all of the women that walk by men, especially on construction sight. It does not matter what clothes you wear, how bad your hair looks; you could literally roll out of bed and walk outside and there will a number of men that will hiss, whistle, and honk at you. The men will go out of their way and stop what they are doing to try to get the women’s attention.
As stated in the dictionary machismo- is an exaggerated sense of power or the right to dominate. Many men in Ecuador believe that the women are the one to cater to their every need because they are the ones out at work and making the money. Living with a host family and talking to Ecuadorian women about this matter, really allowed me to see how machismo is really like among men.
Every day around lunch time, my host mom is at home alone and hard at work in the kitchen preparing an amazing two course meal for her son, daughter-in-law, herself, and me. I am one of the first to get home from school and I help her with preparing the table. Sometimes my host brother comes in right when the food is served and we are eating. First thing, he begins to complain about how hungry he is and how he wants to be served right away. My host mom or daughter-in-law has to stop eating to serve him. And, when he is done eating, he gets up from the table and walks away without giving thanks for the food and without pulling in his chair or taking his plate to the sink. He does not cook, clean, or pick up after himself because he believes that is the women’s job.
They’re many times in which I ask my host my why are men that way and her response is that’s how it is and that’s how it’s been for centuries.
The women in the Ecuadorian culture are seen to serve the man and children in their family. So, once they’re married their needs become second. For instance, I met this really nice girl in Cuenca, who was a mother of three handsome little boys at a young age. She was 17 years old when she got pregnant and was forced to marry her current husband and father of the 3 boys. As we spoke, she was intrigued about me being from the states and studying abroad. As she said that, I notice a sad reflection in her face. She is a woman with many goals and dreams, and one of her dreams is to go back to school and get a degree. I ask her why doesn’t she just go and sign-up for school, her responses is that her husband will not allow her. Her husband is a very jealous man who is not comfortable with her being around other men at all. And, this is only one of the many cases of the women in Ecuador.
They’re so many things that could be said about how women here are being treated, but there is very little to say about how women are fighting against machismo. I know that there will be a day when the women will not give in to machismo and will fight to diminish that type of behavior. It will only make it a better and safe place for women not just in Ecuador, but all over the world.

Hogar de Christo

One of the most special moments of this wonderful trip was helping build a home from scratch in 6 hours  for a very poor family.

Hogar de Christo is a non-for-profit organization that works with the poor population of the coast region in Ecuador. The organization was founded in 1991 by a priest who felt the need to help the poor and give them a roof over their heads.  Today the organization builds over 32 homes a day and over 100 homes a week. So far the organization has build just about 187,000 homes for the less fortunate families.

According to the spokes person of Hogar de Christo, 30% of Ecuador’s population lives in poverty. They make just about $2.47 a day from jobs they find on the streets. So these homes are relatively cheap for them to buy or pay off.

The homes are made out of cane and wood which can last up to 6 years. Once the families save enough money they can little by little change the cane and wood to cement walls.

This was an amazing experience because it made me see what is really is to live in absolute poverty. The homeless people in the US are better off then the less fortunate people here. It breaks my heart everyday to see children beg for money, food, and a place to sleep. By partaking in this experience, I have learned to not take anything for granted and give thanks everyday for the roof over my head and a bed to rest my head.




Yum yum yum

One of the amazing things that I most definitely love about Ecuador is there food. Food is my life and Ecuadorian food is not an exception. My host my since day one that I’ve been here she has been cooking amazing typical Ecuadorian dishes that are made in the coast of Ecuador. She uses just the right spice’s that makes my mouth water by just taking in a deep breath.  As preciously mentioned, Ecuador is divided into 4 regions which are the coast, the highlands, the east, and the Galapagos. All 4 of these regions have their own dishes.


 For example in the highlands there focus is on potato’s, pig’s (chancho), and there deliciousy Guinea Pig (Cui), and a delicious creamy soup that called locrio which consist of potato, cheese (that does not melt), and a slice of avocado.

In the cost they specialize more on seafood which is my favorite!!! They eat a lot of crab, shrimp, calamari, octopus, fish, and many more.

In Ecuador there main meal of the day is lunch. Lunch is the most important and the biggest meal of the day. Every lunch HAS TO HAVE a bowl of soup, and a side of rice. Lunch is not complete without those two things. It is interesting really because back home in the states the only time I found myself eating soup was when I was sick or when there was nothing else to eat.

Out of the many dishes that my host mom has cooked and that is one of the typical dish in the coast of Ecuador is “El Ceviche” which is a soup type dish that consist of any seafood of your choice mixed in with sliced and diced tomatoes  onions, cilantro, and lemon juice. O and of course its side of rice.

UEES, the university, has an amazing culinary arts department in which I along with the other international students, had the opportunity to be chefs for a day and learned and cooked our very own ceviche plate which practically is the same plate as the picture above. Very good, but not as good as my host mama!!

Here are other delicious foods that this person right here got to eat!!


Also before I forget, Ecuador is one of if not only, the places that produces green plantines or green bananas for those who do not know the that term. They also have huge fields of cacao! Hopefully in the next couple of weeks my host mom will take to where her parents have their green banana and cacao plantation!!!!

The Galápagos Islands

Wow!! I am left breathless after indulging in a week vacation to the Galápagos Islands. It was the most amazing experience I could ever ask for.
The Galápagos Islands is made up of 13 islands around the equator in the Pacific Ocean that is located west of continental Ecuador. It is where Charles Darwin did his studies on evolution. It is a national park and a biological marine reservation that is home to a vast number of endemic species.
I traveled to the Galápagos Island with an amazing group of girls that were eager as I was to learn and take in all the beauty that the Islands had to offer. Out of the 13 different Islands in the Galápagos Island, we decided on visiting 3 islands due to our tight budget and time, but just being in one Island would have been enough because of all the many things that were available to explore.
Upon arriving to San Cristobal, we were immediately greeted by lovely sea lions that were resting and sun bathing on the sidewalks of the main streets. In San Cristobal we wasted no time and began to explore. We found a hostal and booked an amazing two day tour for CHEAP, and then headed to the beach to snorkel. Everything in San Cristobal was walking distance, so we walked over to Cerro Las Tijeretas (Frigate bird Hill) where I snorkeled for the first time in my life. It was the most thrilling experience ever. I was determined that I was not going to panic and just enjoy what was to come. We did not see very much sea animals, but that was only a warm-up compared to what we had coming the next day.
On our first day tour, we took a boat to two different sites which to me felt like a whole other world. We snorkeled in Islas Lobos (Island of the sea lions) where we saw tons and tons of schools of fishes, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, vibrant colored crabs, and Marine Iguanas. We then headed over to the León Dormido. It is called the León Dormido because from the highlands of San Cristobal, you can see a huge ‘lion shaped’ rock sticking out in the middle of the sea. Between the rocks it is formed a channel of water where the girls and I snorkeled through with a guide and that is where I could not believe my eyes. I felt like I was in the ‘Finding Nemo’ movie. Under water we saw sea turtles, all sorts of colorful fishes, and Galápagos sharks. Yes, I said it, Galápagos sharks. I swam with sharks. It was AMAZING!! Never thought I’d ever do that. It was the best feeling in the world. I can now say that I, Lorraine Perdomo, swam with sharks.
After a wonderful 2 ½ days in San Cristobal, we head to the Island of Santa Cruz on a small boat for 2 hours. That was an experience in its self. Upon arriving we again wasted no time and explored the Island. We went to Tortuga Bay (one of the largest beaches of white sand in all of Galápagos) and spent an entire day sun bathing, relaxing, and enjoying each other’s company.
The last Island we went to was Isabela, where it is home to Giant Turtles, Penguins, Flamingo birds, Marine Iguanas, sea lions, and Tintoreras (name for white fin sharks), which we all got to see.
This trip was a well worth every penny trip. I would most definitely recommend this trip to anyone who is thinking about traveling to Ecuador. I learned so much about the Galápagos Islands, and its beautiful and unique species. It is definitely a unique place to visit. The natives of Galápagos are amazing people filled with joy, happiness, and passion for its animals. It is a place that is protected and kept clean to prevent anything that would cause harm to their species.


“Welcome to our 3rd world country”.

It has been almost two months since my arrival to Ecuador, and so far I have learned a lot about this country. Ecuador is rich in culture and with an amazing history. Till this day I wake up and say to myself “wow, I’m really in Ecuador”. I say this because I am really out of my comfort zone. This is my first experience living abroad. And, so far there are many things that I love about the country and there are many other things that I dislike.
As many of you may know, Ecuador is a 3rd world country, but I didn’t really know what a third world country would be like, till I got here. In the area that I live in, Samborondone, a city with in Guayaquil, many times you forget that you are in a 3rd world country because it is very commercialized. Its 2 big shopping malls, its expensive restaurants, and luxurious homes makes you feel like you’re in, I don’t know, Miami perhaps. Compared to all of the places I’ve visited in Ecuador, this is the place that lacks the most culture. It is much Americanized, and the people here love it.
It is said by many that the people that live in this area, live in a bubble. They live in a bubble because they don’t realize that in the outskirts of the city and around the country, live people in extreme poverty. Just this past Wednesday night, as I was on my way home from school on the bus, my friend jumped up and almost screamed because the school’s bus driver almost hit a little boy who was probably less than 8 years of age. As I look out the window, the little boy left running; he was not scared at all, it was as if it were something that happens to him on the regular. As I looked out the window, astonished by what my friend and I had just witnessed, an Ecuadorian student blurred out “welcome to our 3rd world country”.
It is really sad to learn that while the rich are getting richer the poor can barely afford a full meal to eat. Ecuador is a country full of potential, but because of its corrupted people it won’t and will not progress.

My trip to Cuenca

My trip to Cuenca


This weekend I along with a few others international students had the opportunity to travel to a very interesting city in Ecuador called Cuenca. Our journey to Cuenca was a breath taking experience. As we drove to Cuenca, we were able to see the Andes Mountain’s and we were able to hike Cajas National Park. My trip to Cuenca was an amazing experience. As soon as I got off the bus, upon arriving to Cuenca, I immediately feel in love with the city. I definitely learned a lot about the city and its people. Cuenca is a city that has a very Spaniard feel to it. A lot of its architecture comes from Spain. The Cuenca flag is very similar to the Spanish flag. It has the biggest church in all of South America. It was built by both the Spaniards and the indigenous people.

One very interesting fact that I learned was that Cuenca was or is still considered the second capital for the Incas, Machu Picchu being the first. During our trip to Cuenca, I was able to see a lot of indigenous people everywhere. It was amazing. They women were dressed in there traditional attire. Seeing the indigenous women was a very warming feeling. It was a feeling like no other. They made me appreciate their culture. They were kind, friendly, and hard working women.

I definitely have to say that two days was not enough time to explore and to learn more about the city. This city is rich in culture and is a wonderful place to live and learn.

Interesting Facts that was learned:

Cuenca was rated one of the top 10 places to live.

It is home to many retired American’s (EE.UU)

Its delicacy is CUYE (Guinea Pig)

There are more than 800 different species of potatoes and over 1000 different types of corn.

Known for their panama hats.