The Start of My Insane Journey

Maria Mirza - Ecuador


September 7, 2016

Ok so I’m going to be straight up with you guys. I’m not very good at writing, so these blog posts are are going to be pretty basic while focusing on stories that I think are cool. I’m sorry, I know flowery language is fun to read, but that’s just really not my style.

Friday, August 19th

Saying goodbye to my family was hard, but I was crazy excited to start my year as a 2017 Fellow. Chris Iba and I were on the same flight to San Fransisco out of Long Beach airport and we almost missed our flight not realizing that everyone had already boarded. It was fine though, and we got on the plane and were ready to go, but then the pilot told us that a military jet had crash landed in the runway and we couldn’t take off until a military grade crane moved it. So we all had to get off the plane and were forced to wait in the airport for 6 hours until finally they told us that the crane was stuck in LA traffic and our flight was canceled. At this point it was around 7 pm, and we were tired and very pissed, but we had to get up to San Francisco somehow, so I called my parents, bought a ticket out of LAX, and had them come pick Chris and me up. We eventually made it to the Redwoods at 2am, and had to wake up the next morning at 6:30 for our sessions.

August 20th-26th

Pre-Departure Training. It was crazy; I met so many amazing people and got no sleep. We had a bunch of really cool speakers, but half the time I was way too tired to pay attention. The first half was at the Redwoods, where the food sucked, but I was staying in a Yert with an incredible group of girls, and we had many intense heart to hearts. We all went on multiple hikes and the HB squad(Rose Kyler, Chris Iba, and Dora Lee) and I all got attacked by a racoon. The second half took place at Stanford, and was amazing because of the beautiful and sunny California weather, which I am missing so much right now. Saying goodbye to all my new friends was hard, but I knew I was going to hear their incredible in country stories soon.

August 27th

The flight to Ecuador was long and sucked, but I slept through most of it because we had decided to pull an all nighter the night before. For our first day in Ecuador, we stayed at a nunnery that was adorable and had a great view. We had a perfect view of all these mountains, as well as the snowcapped peak of the volcano, Cotopaxi. After just one day of information about Ecuador, what to expect, and receiving our Volcano Kits and Ecuadorian cell phones, we got shipped off to our new homes for three weeks.

August 28th

When I first got my envelope telling me that I was going to be staying with two pastors who wanted me to sing at their church four days a week, I’m not going to lie, I freaked out a bit. I stressed the entire 30 minute bus ride over, and when I got into  a car with my host dad, another family, another fellow, and a hell of a lot of luggage, I almost laughed at how crazy everything was. Once we got dropped off at our house and said goodbye to the other family, my host dad Carlos proceeded to tell me which door led into our second floor apartment and which was for the Church that we apparently lived on top of for easy access. Needless to say, I was terrified. All of that went away, however, after meeting my new mom, Yolanda, and my new sister Lea. Once in the apartment I was taken over by their excitement to meet me and welcome me into their life. Yolanda immediately started feeding me fresh squeezed carrot juice and caring for me, and Carlos cracked jokes to make me feel welcome. Lea actually took me completely by surprise, because I was supposed to be living there alone, but I’m so glad she got placed in this family with me. She is a 16 year old girl from Germany who decided to finish her high school years in Ecuador, and is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I can easily say that she’s going to be my friend for a very long time.

I’m going to write more about what my daily life in Quito has been so far in my next blog post, and will tell you all about the multiple crazy experiences I’ve had. Check out my facebook account for pictures, and make sure to subscribe to my blog!


Maria Mirza