Saturday, August 13, 2016

To the 'Thank You's, 'Goodbye's, and 'Hello's

(PS. Sorry for the lack of pictures these past two posts. Unfortunately the camera I used was on my phone)

Day 20:
     Already a better start to my day than it has been the past couple of days. To play it on the safe side, today --for my last day of work-- I took a taxi to my work site. I arrived at work and started drawing blood right away. The nurses said it was my day because I drew every person's blood, except for maybe 4 people. Good practice, good conversations, and 'goodbyes' were said. Unfortunately the doctor who was my supervisor wasn't there when I left, so I wasn't able to say 'goodbye' to him. Again, I took a taxi home.
     What a much better day I am having today. After work, I met up with the older couple from Australia and a couple others. We headed to a restaurant for lunch and great conversations. No offense to my generation, but I enjoy conversing and eating lunch with older folk. They know how to talk rather than sit on their phones the entire time checking social media. It was great being able to get to know this couple over the course of my time here. Such sweet, kind and gentle people they are. Towards the day's end, I rested and repacked, again, trying to fit everything into my suitcase and carry-ons. A good last day of work.
Day 21:
     Today is my last full day here in Quito. August 10th is Independence day for Ecuador, but because who wouldn't want a 3 day weekend, Ecuador celebrated their independence today. Because I didn't have work, I was able to sleep in and woke up at 6:30 instead of 6. It was a relaxed day with much walking around the city and exploring. The streets were very empty and silent because people were more than likely sleeping in longer than I! My friend from Minnesota, Emily, and I went walking towards the north to meet up with a woman who helps out at Casa Gabriel. Casa Gabriel is a house where they bring boys from the streets to help them back on the right track. This is a house where they are able to live, go to school, have tutors, and have people who care about them. The house currently has 6 boys living there. There is another house called Casa Adalia. This is a house for girls. They help get girls out of sex trafficking and prostitution. In Ecuador, prostitution is legal for women age 18+. We were told that the government helps underage girls get out, but the ones over 18 aren't helped. Casa Adalia provides a safe environment and home for these women. They even make their own jewelry to make a small income while at the house. These houses do not only provide shelters and love, but they also help bring Jesus Christ into the lives of the children. It's amazing.
     It was such an eye opener to see the house. We weren't able to meet any of the children/teenagers that were at the house because they were out visiting museums for the day. Thanks to Dr. Bob for the connection because I am glad we were able to squeeze this visit in, even if it was last minute.
Here is a link to learn more about Casa Gabriel:
     After visiting the house and learning about all they do, Emily and I headed back to our houses. I relaxed for a couple of hours, tried to get a little nap in (an hour), and ate my last meal with the family. I am going to miss this family. My host mom is a hoot and so very funny. I am very blessed to have had the living situation I did. I waited around, and waited, and watched more Netflix before I was picked up at 12:30am to head to the airport.

Day 22:
     The flight home was exhausting to say the least. After checking in our luggage and going through security at 3am, I was able to meet up with another girl who I had met in Banos who was also headed to Minnesota. After waiting and waiting, we were finally able to board the plane after it's 1 hour delay. This wasn't too horrible because thankfully the airport had wifi to watch Netflix. What made me worry was that the next flight originally had a 2 hour layover, which turned out to be a now 1 hour layover. Having to go receive our luggage, go through customs and immigrations, drop out luggage off again, and go through security once again, I was a little worried that one hour was not going to be enough time in order to make it to the next flight. The whole flight from Quito to Houston I was worrying and trying to think of what I would have to do if it didn't plan out as supposed to.
     When we landed in Houston, we sprinted --and I mean full on ran as fast as our backpacks would let us-- through the airport from each custom to checkpoint along the way. There was another man, who didn't speak any english, that followed us from the airplane to the next one as well. We lost him along the way because he wasn't a U.S. citizen and had to go through different customs. After running our way throughout the Houston terminal and taking the sky rail from terminal E to terminal B, we made it to our gate just as they started to board people. It took us just a little under an hour and a ton of sweat later. But, we made it! We were going to make it back to Minnesota at the estimated hour. Hello Minnesota! (We knew we had made it into Minnesota when we were flying over lake after lake after lake; I love that hometown feeling.)

     **I still can't believe that those three weeks flew by just like that. On the car ride back to the airport, I vividly remembered the car ride in the opposite direction, just as if it had been yesterday. I'm am glad to be home, but I am also thankful for the experience I was able to endure. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet so many wonderful friends and to be able to volunteer and learn at the same time. Through the good and the bad experiences, I definitely learned a whole lot about Ecuador, myself, and what it truly means to travel. Traveling and volunteering is, in my opinion, the best way to learn about the world and about ourselves. Thank you to Spirit Exchange for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you for following along throughout my time here in Ecuador.

                                                 With love from Ecuador, and Minnesota,

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From Bad to Worse, but Thankful in Between

Day 18:
     What a rough start to the day. This morning, close to midnight, I was woken up to a 4.7 magnitude earthquake. This was my first earthquake experience ever in my life. It shook my bed hard enough that it woke me up. My host mom said that it was the worst one she has ever felt, luckily no one was hurt and it only lasted for a couple of seconds (which of course felt like a minute). After waking up again at 6am for work, I wasn't feeling great. My stomach, my head, just wasn't feeling right. I went to work, but instead of working I went to see the doctor I work with. Luckily, he's an internal medicines doctor. He examined me and said that it was more than likely something I ate. He gave me some medicine and sent me back home. He didn't want me working today, nor did I want to work. So, I spent the rest of the day in bed and trying to feel better.

Day 19:
     Today I was feeling a little bit better so decided to get up and go to work. I finally had some sleep and was feeling better with the meds. On my way to work, unfortunately I was robbed. I was in the middle of getting onto the bus when people started pushing harder and harder. I took my hand off of my purse for a split second and someone grabbed my phone and wallet. The security guard in the bus station helped me try and find the person, but they escaped. He then brought me to the police station. Here I was able to contact my Dad via email and through friends who were able to call him.
     After this police station, I headed to another one. I rode in the back of a cop car. I filed a police report for my stolen items. Unfortunately my insurance doesn't cover for any stolen items. This was a huge damper to my trip. But, as everyone has been reassuring me... at least it was just THINGS. They were replaceable things that I should not worry too much about.
     Although all of these not so great things have been happening to me in these past couple of days, I must look on the bright side. I am thankful to work with such great staff who are more than willing to help me while I'm sick and are understanding of my conditions. I'm lucky to know that I have a host family that is concerned for me as well and are thankful that nothing happened to me. I'm thankful for the friends who helped me contact my father when I needed to talk to him at an eager time. Thank you to the organization and Jorge who picked me up from the police station to make sure I got back safely. I'm thankful and lucky that the robber only took items and did no harm to me. I'm thankful for the security and the police that assisted me in trying to find my items and make sure I got back safely. Thank you to the wonderful woman from Australia and my host mom who took me out to get ice cream after the incident to cheer me up.
     All in all, I have experienced different things that I wish I had not, but they have showed me that the world is not perfect. Out of all the nice people in the world, there are ones that only want to harm. The ones who are not the good, I pray for them that they understand the pain they may cause to others. I also feel bad for them that their only way of living is by taking what others work for. I thank that I am safe and am surrounded by more people who are here to help me than those who are here to hurt me. Hoping for a brighter future to come. Thank you to all who have helped me today and the past couple of days.

                                       Still a little bit distraught, but still with love from Ecuador,

Monday, August 8, 2016

Flying High, Gliding Far, and Getting Swallowed in Baños

Day 15:
     Goooooood morning. Today is the day we are leaving for Baños, Ecuador. This morning, I woke up and ate a quick breakfast before heading to meet the 4 others (Emily, Eric, Fabian, and Veronica) at Plaza Foch. It was very nice because a friend from the school has an Ecuadorian friend who has a car. She was so kind enough to drive us the 3 hours to Baños. Even we were all squished in the back of her Hyundai, we made it work. The first thing we did when arriving in Baños was heading to La Casa de Arbol. This is the famous swing here in Ecuador where you swing over the ledge, where you could presumably fall to your death. A man was there to push you to your limits. Thankfully, I survived and definitely would do it again. Fun, but a little terrifying considering your strength, one strap in front, and one strap in behind is what held you from your falling death. On the way out from La Casa de Arbol, we got some cheesey plantains (very interesting and not too half bad).
This is the famous tree house.
Flying high in the sky over the ledge to my death.
The 4 of us, missing Veronica.
     After we left and headed to the hostel, we got a little lost and asked a man how to get there. Being a kind Ecuadorian, he showed us our way by following him in his truck-- he had a dinosaur shaped truck. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. Once we dropped the car off at the hostel, we walked our way into the main town square where we searched for a travel agency to do the extreme sports (and of course we searched for some ice cream). We ate a quick lunch of Llapingachos at a market. The streets were lined with salt water taffy, too, so we always got a couple samples here and there. We found a travel agency called GeoTours and booked reservations for Zip Lining (Canopying) and White Water Rafting. We were very interested in going Paragliding, but the weather was too windy and crummy to do it.
     We went to get a little bit of ice cream and then headed back to the agency where we were picked up by a camioneta, or pick-up truck. We made it to the zip lining part of the forest and got geared up! What a fun experience this was. There were 6 different cables that we were able to zip line on; each had different scenery and different ways of riding. We say normal, went upside down, and did the superman flying across a river. While there, we met some very fun and interesting kids, and also a Opera singing couple. (These two are very good at their professions and travel around the world singing! You can look them up at and It has already been an eventful weekend.

The group on our mini hike to a zip line.
We found a waterfall so of course needed to take a picture with it.
Hanging upside down, ready to GOO!
This is one of the rivers we went over. 
     After finishing the amazing zip lining through the rainforest, we headed back to our hostel before leaving for dinner. We decided on a Hindu restaurant where you eat barefooted and sit on comfy pillows. Laying down on the memory foam mats after the big meal was great too. The meal I had consisted of chicken, onions, and zucchini skewers in aluminum foil. It was absolutely delicious. After dinner, Emily and I decided to head back to the hostel because we were both tired, while the others headed out to dance. What a great day it has been.
The beautiful atmosphere of the Hindu Restaurant.
My delicious meal, that might not look so delicious. 
This is our whole group. One of Eric's friends joined us there in Baños.
Day 16:
     What a beautiful day in the neighborhood.... or not. Today we woke up to the sounds of rain on the roof. When I looked out my window, there were swarms of mosquitoes, so first thing I did was lathered in bug spray. Emily and I headed to eat the complimentary breakfast that consisted of croissant rolls, pineapple juice, bananas, and oatmeal. We had a little friend eat with us too! After eating, we headed to the agency to gear up for white water rafting while the others finished eating their breakfasts and checking out of the hostel. When we arrived at the agency, the doors were locked and jammed so a grown man crawled through a tiny window to save the day, only to come out with a couple of rips in his jeans and shirt. We got geared up and jumped into the van to head to Rio Pastanza for our adventure. This river is definitely different than the Mississippi river back home. It was FAST, dirty, and with tons of rapids. Because it was raining all day, it was even faster than it had been the previous day.
Our little friend who ate breakfast with us!
     We got all of our gear on and had a quick briefing on what to do if anyone falls off, then we headed towards the raging waters. Oh my was this experience fun. Our guide brought us to the largest waves he could find and I felt as if we were going to get swallowed and sucked in by them! Instead, we just got a face full of river water. Emily and I were in a raft with 2 Germans and 2 French people. Luckily, I didn't fall, but I did decide to jump out of the raft when the instructor told me it was okay. We made it to the end all in one piece and were told "5 minutes to change!" We weren't expecting that. I decided to change in the back of the van. While I was in the middle of changing the driver decided to open the truck door! OOPS! We hopped back in the van and drove to a lunch destination.
Preparing to take on the cold water (with 2 more friends of Eric's).
Tuffing out some of the smaller waves. 
We survived!
     After lunch, Eric wanted to jump off of the bridge. This is different than bungee jumping because you fall and then swing, instead of bouncing up and down. That was terrifying to watch and luckily I was just the camera man. At least the views were gorgeous. We got the car and made our way back to Quito. What a successful trip it was.
The view from the bridge wth a rainbow over the town.
A view looking at the bridge and mountains behind it.
Day 17:
     Not a super interesting day at work. Today, I worked in the laboratory drawing blood again. I'm getting really good at it (not trying to brag). One woman said that no one has ever been able to find a vein in her arm, but I drew blood from it! Score :) After work, I headed back to the house to relax a little bit before heading to the food market of Santa Clara with Fabian and Emily. We got some juice and decided to make our way back. I was not feeling the best today, so returned home to try and nap, but it's really hard to nap with all of the street noises. There is another girl here at the house from Greece who is staying for one night and then heading to the Jungle to work. That's been my eventful and tiring past couple of days!
                                                                 Love from Ecuador,

Friday, August 5, 2016

Blood, Hamburgers, and more Blood

Day 13:
     What a strange day it's been. It started off with another weird dream and then on my way to work, a homeless man came up behind me and shouted in my ear. After that, another person said hi to me but I instantly jumped. Well, I made it safely to the clinic and worked the entire morning in the laboratory getting more practice drawing blood. On my way home from work, I wanted to walk home, but it's hard to enjoy it in downtown Quito. Every step I walk, I inhale tons of exhaust from buses and cars and taxis. However, I did decide to take a detour and see the basilica on the top of the hill.
     After a while, I went to the school and played a card game with two professors and two other students. That was a fun time. After the game, I headed home again and my host mom made hamburgers for dinner. They weren't half bad! (But, the hamburgers at home are better... not to be biased).
This is the creepy man that stares at me from my window.
For some reason, there were armed men outside of this supermarket.
This is the grand basilica just a couple of blocks away from the clinic I work at.
Day 14:
     Goooood morning. Another day of work before the weekend is here. Today I worked in the laboratory drawing blood once again. Today I was a little bit more independent while working. The nurse would say, "your turn". I'm really enjoying my time in the clinic, even if I am doing the same type of thing every day. I feel like I'm really helping and I'm also learning. I am no longer scared to "stab" people for good reasons. After a while, I went upstairs to the hospitalization area. There was only one nurse working the area and prepping people for their operations. I did a lot more than last time. She had me sort some papers and rearrange things. Even though it wasn't much, it definitely helped the nurse with her crazy busy morning.
     When I got home, I ate some lunch and started packing for the weekend. Tomorrow morning, 5 or 6 of us are headed to Banos, Ecuador to do some extreme sports and spend some time in the great outdoors. Can't wait to see what this weekend brings!

                                   The next blog will be more eventful. Hope to "see you" on Monday.
                                                  Thanks for reading. Love from Ecuador!

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Day 11:
     I can't believe I'm already into the 2nd week of being here in Quito. Today was a little bit different in the clinic than the previous days. Instead of working in the laboratory taking blood all morning, I was there for about an hour before my supervising doctor was going to bring me upstairs to the hospitalization area. I had to wait for a little bit, but I was able to watch the doctor take out someone's stitches first. In the hospitalization area, this is where patients are seen for pre and post-operative care. It was much more modern than the clinic below with a locked door, tons and tons of charts, rooms for the patients, and more modern equipment such as electronic pulse oximeters, automatic blood pressure monitors, and so on. They have about 10 patient rooms. Some of the rooms are private and others are shared with multiple beds.
Sitting behind the nurses station (and reception area).
This is what one of the shared rooms looks like. Pretty modern I'd say.
     When I first arrived, one of the ladies was helping take care of a patient who was prepping for operation. The nurse was teaching me how to do different things. While she was preparing the hand IV, it started bleeding a lot and luckily I know a little bit of Spanish medical vocabulary because I was able to help get things for her that she needed. After the nurse showed me how to give medicines through the IV, we went back to the reception/nurses station and she told me all about the paperwork they have to do -- all of which is done with pen and paper. They don't use their computers for any of the patient information or records.
I also saw this woman creating amazing spray paint
graffiti art. So very talented.
     After listening and waiting to help some more, I talked with a woman who was waiting for her husband to get out of surgery. She is an English teacher here in Quito and really wanted to practice her English, so we talked for a little bit. My Human Anatomy and Physiology class came in handy when she was asking about different types of bones in the face. Huge shout out to both my Spanish Med Terms professor and my Human A. & P. professor! I guess I am learning in school! :)
     When my longer day at work was over, I headed back to the house to eat some lunch, write in my journals, and relax for a little bit. After a little bit, I headed back to the school to meet another student here who is also from Minnesota. We chatted for a little bit and now are going to Baños together this weekend. I had a short interview about rules and regulations at the school (a little delayed because most was self explanatory), then I headed to salsa dancing. It was a good day and ended with a good dinner and a good night of trivia at a local restaurant.

Day 12:
     Good day! Today was a great day of practice with drawing blood. I got to the clinic and worked in the lab all morning until things got really quiet. I was able to draw blood all morning too. What an experience it has been. For some of you who may be reading it, you may be thinking to yourselves... how is that fun? Well, being a nursing major and having to be learning this anyways, it helps to have practice. I feel as if this will definitely benefit me in finding veins for starting IVs in the future as well. Communicating in Spanish with the patients has been smooth going when we are chatting about normal day things, but when it comes to asking questions about things in the hospital, that's up to the nurses to answer.
     The morning consisted of drawing blood, then I went up to the hospitalization area again for about an hour. There were new nurses there. They didn't really have anything for me to do because they were filling out paperwork. I was drawing on a scrap piece of paper when I noticed how their privacy system is VERY different than in the United States. (I may have also noticed this because I just filled out some paper work and done exams about my knowledge on patient privacy and care for school). While I was sketching on the scrap papers, I noticed that the patient's information and photo copies were on the backs of the paper. That was a little iffy. They also had a piece of paper with patients names, operations, and rooms laying out on the top counter for anyone to see. It was a little strange for me to see this.
     After work, I headed home to eat some lunch and then after a couple of hours, back to the school I went. Today was a cooking lesson! We learned how to make a traditional Ecuadorian meal called Llapingachos. It consists of a fried egg with potato and cheese patties, sausage, a delicious peanut sauce, and avocado. It was deeeeelicious. The food was great and made me tired, so I headed home to write a little bit, FaceTimed back home, and fell asleep faster than I expected. (Also, I have been having really strange dreams and I'm not sure if it's due to the altitude, being in a new place, or what. Any ideas?)
Llapingachos :) 
I sliced the avocados. 
                                                  Thanks for reading! Love from Ecuador,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Biking on a Volcano, Truck Rides, and Shopping

Day 8:
     Early morning start to the day. I met up with a couple of friends at Plaza Foch to start our day of hiking and biking. We took about a 1.5 hour drive to a lodge for breakfast. They served us pancakes with a background view of the top of Cotopaxi (the active volcano). While we were eating, the tour guides loaded the bikes on top of the van. We took another quick drive to a lagoon where I thought we were going to be hiking. It was more like a nice walk around a small pond. It was a gorgeous view none-the-less. Unfortunately, today was VERY very foggy so we couldn't see much while driving; we couldn't see the volcano either.
     After our 45 minute walk, we hopped on the bikes and hit the road. The first part of the road was gravel. The guide couldn't come with us because of a health situation, but before we left he said "no body fall and get hurt." What do I do? I attempted to bike over a little pile of gravel and flipped over the bike. Haha, definitely a great start to the downhill biking. We were biking downhill through fog, and then it started to rain. It was a very fun bike ride. We were going SO fast down the volcano and road, traversing and going around bends. Even though it was raining, I would definitely do that again. Our group of 11 flew down the mountain so fast that the guide let us go even further down the mountain.
We made some friends on the drive to Cotopaxi.
This is from our walk around the lagoon.
Biking down the mountain/volcano!
This is part of our group that went biking.
     Once our wet bike ride was over, we went back to the lodge where they served us a full meal of quinoa soup, meat, rice, potatoes, and a dessert. It was delicious and well needed after our adventure. The tour guide told us a couple things about the land and how things work in Ecuador:
  1. The Pan American highway goes through Ecuador.
  2. Chinese companies do construction and such in exchange for oil. The oil reserves are owned by China here in Ecuador. 
  3. The soil is great for the agriculture because of the volcanos. Soil contains great potassium, phosphorus, etc. 
  4. Cotopaxi, the volcano, became a national park in 1978 and stands at 16,000 feet tall. 
     After we got back from the adventures at Cotopaxi, the four of us headed to the Artesian Market in Quito. I got a couple of souvenirs there. After a while there, and hurting our wallets, we all went our own ways to our houses. I wrote in my journals, drank some hot chocolate and soup with the host mom. After dinner and waiting for a little bit, about eight of the students and I went dancing at a nearby disco. It was a fun time dancing with them, but I headed back earlier than the others to get some sleep.

Day 9:
     Oh what a wonderful day it was today! Today was a big souvenir shopping day at the famous Otavalo market. Christine and I met at Plaza Foch and found a taxi to the bus terminal Carcelen. When we got there, we bought some bus tickets and hopped on the bus for our 2 hour drive. The bus was loud because of a movie playing and the weird noises that it was making. When we got close to our location, we were dropped off on the side of the highway. From there, we took a taxi to Cotacachi. This is a lagoon nearby Otavalo. It was gorgeous there. We hiked a little bit to get some gorgeous pictures and see more of Ecuador. On one side there was the lagoon and two islands in the middle, on the other side was farm land and mountains. There were families hiking the mountain while picking berries. It was precious to see families out and about doing that together.
Christine and I headed towards Cotacachi.
The lagoon of Cotacachi.
Families picking their berries.

     After walking around and getting 'lost' on trails, we found a camioneta (pick-up truck) to take us back to Otavalo. This was so much fun because we were able to ride in the back of the truck. What was really nice was the fresh air we were able to breath. In downtown Quito, there are a lot of buses and cars that give off exhaust wherever you walk. We got to the market and started our shopping! The immensity of the things to buy in the market was a little overwhelming. I wanted to purchase everything! After a little bit, we stopped by a typical Ecuadorian restaurant. These are the best because we ate vegetable soup, a plate of meat with rice and potatoes, and a glass of juice for $2.50! I could live here because the food is DELICIOUS for a great price. I think the states should pick it up with their food. :) After we were all done with the day, we got back on the bus to head home to Quito. They were playing Shawshank Redemption in Spanish on the bus ride back. We made it back to Plaza Foch, I walked home and put my purchases away, ate a quick dinner, and fell asleep at an early hour of 8:30pm. It was much needed.
Christine and I in the back of the camioneta, headed to Otavalo.
Only one of the many walkways through the market.
Gorgeous alpaca scarves that were for sale.
Did you know the Panama hats actually originate from Ecuador?
This was only one plate of the delicious Ecuadorian lunch we ate.
Day 10: 
     After a long weekend, it was time for work once again. I woke up and ate a little bit of breakfast before heading to the clinic. Today wasn't much different than the other past days. I wrote on the vials and brought them to their proper places. The nurses and I talked a little more today about life at home and such things. I drew more blood today again. It really feels good being able to help in anyway I can. I know that I'm not doing much in the hospital, but being able to help by even walking vials across the room helps them through their process of drawing blood. It gives them the ability to draw more blood, faster. I'm hoping to visit more parts in the clinic this week. 
     Once I was done volunteering, I headed home to write a little bit and eat lunch. Afterwards, I went on a little walk by myself to the Artesian market again. This time, I finished all of my purchases here in Ecuador. I thought it was better to finish the gift and souvenir shopping earlier so I know how much space I have in my suitcase! Well, today has been a great day and relaxed as well. 
Until Wednesday, thank you for reading! :)
                                           With love from Ecuador, 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Work, Teleferico, and Tattoos

Day 6:
     Goooooood morning. The last two days haven't been very eventful or busy, but I have learned a lot more at the clinic. Today was a new breakfast than the other days with grilled cheese. This morning my host mom made us pancakes and a side of pineapple. After chowing down my breakfast, I headed to the bus station to head to work. I worked in the laboratory again today. Another younger worker came into the lab and was a normal worker. She taught me a couple more things such as where things go, or which vile to draw blood is needed for each person. I wasn't able to do a ton of things today, but hopefully tomorrow.
I forgot. This is the infamous Plaza Foch sign I walk past daily.
     After my time at work today, I headed back to the school to wait for my friend Christine. While I was waiting, I played a card game called "Cuarenta." When Christine was done with her class, we took a taxi to the bottom of the Teleferico. The Teleferico is a cable car that goes up to the top of the nearby mountain. Once at the top, the views are gorgeous. We were able to see for a ways. Down at the bottom of the mountain, it was very warm and not very windy. Once we got to the top, it was COLD. And for being from Minnesota, I might have become accustomed to the Ecuadorian weather. It was windy. But, this mountain was pretty neat. There were mountain biking trails, horse riding, and llamas at the top waiting to take their pictures with us.
The view from the top with Quito in the back.
Trying to contain my hair!

     We took our pictures at the top of the mountain with Quito in the background, and then we headed back to the school. The school was having a little get together for the volunteers with cake and snacks. It was pretty nice to be able to talk with the other volunteers. I met a couple from New Zealand who were very nice. Half of the volunteers here are from Germany. There is a retired couple who is here learning Spanish! The snacks were great, but I headed home to eat with the host family. I started talking to my host mom about the various Chicago and Germany magnets. I thought it was the perfect time to give her the magnet I got her. My host mom thought it was GREAT. It's a moose from Minnesota with springy legs. She loved it and couldn't stop laughing and hugging me. After dinner, I wrote in some journals and hit the hay.
The room for our get together with the volunteers.
My spectacular magnet!
Day 7: 
     Today was a great day! I ate breakfast and then headed to the clinic where I was a lot more busy today, even though the lab wasn't very busy. Today I prepared the viles with the necessary numbers according to the patients, put the needles on the adaptors, and brought the viles to the appropriate locations. An older lady that came in had dropped her bag on her foot which was bleeding. I cleaned that up while the nurse took her blood. I felt like I was helping more today than the other days. She was very appreciative. Today, I was also able to draw someones blood. Next week I will hopefully be able to do more too! I might even go to another department in the clinic. 
Here is a picture of the laboratory.
The doctors office where I first started my observations.
     After I left from the clinic, I went home to eat lunch, write in my journals, and rest a little bit. Today was also my first time going to the Supermaxi which is the local grocery store. Afterwards, Christine wanted to go get a tattoo! So, I went with her because I wanted to see what it was like and to be support and company. The tattoo shop was very clean and sterile. More sterile than I thought it was going to be. They had new needles, sterile mats, gloves, and autoclaves. Twas' interesting indeed. After the tattoo adventure, I went back home where Matthias, the German student, was packing up to leave. He left which was a bummer we weren't able to get to know each other more. Darn, maybe I'll have to go to Germany to visit. Once he left we ate a delicious dinner consisting of an avocado, tuna, tomato, and bean salad with banana chips. It was a great day before a busy weekend. More to come on Monday about the busy weekend ahead. Thanks for reading!
Myself, Matthias, and host mom Janett! 
                                                                Nos vemos el lunes :)