Our First Week – Settling In

We’ve been in Quito for a little over a week now and, in some ways, we’re already beginning to feel at home. But in many other ways, it’s still a huge adjustment. Language has been one of the biggest adjustments for me, but I did manage to place my first unassisted meal order at KFC the other day. I’m learning new words every day, but it’s going to be years before I’m anywhere close to Angela’s proficiency. I would be completely lost without her!

My unorthodox KFC meal: lentils, rice, salad, fried plantains, and chicken strips.

Truth be told, there are already hundreds of stories we could tell and it’s only been a week. For now, I’ll just hit some of the highlights in a few different areas.

Settling In

We’ve been staying at our friends, the Beckers, since we arrived in Quito. It’s been great to have a nice, furnished place to call home for a few days, but we’re still living out of our suitcases and are itching to get into our own place. We actually got keys to our new apartment on Monday. It’s in a great location and will be perfect for us. Unfortunately, it’s unfurnished and obviously, we didn’t bring any furniture with us. So, it’s been a week full of tracking down tables, chairs, beds, and other necessities. We also have to buy a refrigerator and washer/dryer since most apartments in Ecuador don’t come with appliances (ours at least came with a stove!).

Monopoly Deal at the Beckers

Now, in the U.S., we’d drive to some furniture stores, order a few things online, and make quick work of the to-do list. It’s not quite so easy here. For one thing, we don’t have a car, so we walk where we can and take taxis/buses to more distant locations. It’s a great workout, but not exactly the most efficient way to get things done. For another, the majority of stores here don’t have a website, so we can’t just do a bunch of research from home. We basically have to pound the pavement to find what we need. And most of the time, the stores have items that are either beyond our budget or are of such poor quality that we question whether they’d last us for the next three years. It’s been tough to find a good balance.

So far, our efforts have yielded a bed, a couple of nightstands, a dining room table (to be delivered in a week), and a refrigerator. Once we find a couch, we’ll really feel like we have something! But don’t worry, we did get two basic office chairs so we’ll at least have a place to sit in the meantime.

It’s been an exhausting week in many ways, but it feels like we’re approaching an end to all the craziness. We’re beginning to envision a time when our clothes will actually be hung in closets, we can sleep in our own bed, and we can relax on the couch after the end of a long day. We haven’t had all that since we moved out of our Seattle apartment two months ago. And it will be glorious!

If everything goes as planned, our first night of sleep in the new apartment will be tomorrow! Of course, that will only pave the way for another kind of craziness – school…

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doug August 17, 2012 Ecuador