1) Discovered when they say immersion…they really mean it. Sólo en español… Thankfully, I understand a LOT more than I can speak, which my teacher quickly realized, saying “entiende mas que habla.” I just laughed cause it’s SO true!
2) Arrived at our hostel in Quilotoa 6 hours and 3 bus rides later. Naturally, I had to use the baño immediately, and somehow the door got stuck and I was locked in the bathroom! I ended up having to escape out the narrow bathroom window…who knew how many ways caving comes in handy? But, I learned the word for window!
3) Hiked down to Laguna Quilotoa, a beautiful turquoise colored crater lake formed when the caldera collapsed after an eruption 800 years ago.
4) The lake sparked a conversation about my research, lakes and El Niño, again entirely in Spanish. That was interesting! Already amazed at how far my Spanish has come in one day!!
5) Took a kayak out to the middle of the lake to enjoy the views of the crater walls
6) First experience peeing into a hole in the ground…
7) The ~1400 foot hike out definitely proved to be more difficult at such high elevation, and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. (learned later that the lake is situated at 12,800 feet) Fortunately, I felt better and better as the hike went on and was thankful for the Cotopaxi training right out of the gate! My teacher didn’t fair the same, and I worried she wasn’t going to make it. As a result, we finished just as it started to get dark….seems to be a common theme! Learned the word for nauseous (which is actually the same!): a bad combination of too many sweets, hiking and the altitude for my teacher…
8) Met 3 men from Holland over dinner, and since my teacher was sick and not eating, I got to speak in English for the first time! Paid the price later, when my teacher wanted me to practice by telling her all about it en español!
9) Learned how to say “run/jog” in Spanish, which ironically is only one letter off from the verb for “to try”. “Trotar = to jog” vs “tratar =to try.” The irony of this became even more apparent on my run at 12800 feet the next morning…