Lost in Quito

Lauren Guido - Ecuador


September 13, 2013

The day started off well. I hiked Cotopaxi , one of the world’s highest volcanoes, managed to talk to my family almost completely in Spanish , ate dessert with my friend Charlotte and met a well known British puppeteer. After departing from my friend and the puppeteer my biggest fear came true, getting lost at night in Quito. A day I had feared since landing in Ecuador a week and a half ago.

Nearly 20 minutes after getting on the bus I realized it wasn’t the correct one. Yes I had passed the soccer field, SuperMaxi and Tony Ramos that I vaguely remembered on my bus ride home from Spanish classes. I knew I was in trouble shortly after the bus turned left instead of continuing straight past the old airport. I immediately managed to push my way to the front of the crowded bus where I mumbled the avenue I knew I should be on. Hoever the cashier quickly said a street I had never heard of. At that point I wasn’t scared but disappointed in myself for not being more aware of my surroundings. I quickly got off at the next stop; which was luckily a bus terminal.

After about five minutes of uselessly communicating with a bus terminal cashier I brought out my most valuable item; my cell phone. Thankfully my friend was able to help me figure out what to do. I ended up calling my host brother but did this as a last result. I had resisted calling my family because of the embarrassment and loss of trust I knew I would endure. Within 25 minutes of calling him, I was in the safe haven of the family car and out of what I now know as an extremely dangerous part of North Quito.

This was quite the test and wake up call for me. It brings me to a few questions.  How will I survive the next 7 months in a non English speaking community in the Napo region of the Amazon? How will I be able to function at my eco-tourism apprenticeship? What am I doing here?  Will I ever learn Spanish?

This year will for sure be one of the toughest of my life, I know that. Now I just need to figure out how to survive it.

Lauren Guido