Having The Time Of My Life

Sorry for not giving y’all an update last week, but nothing too exciting happened and I was sick, so I decided not to write anything.  Lately, I have been busy working my 2 part-time jobs 5 days a week, so that doesn’t leave much free time.  For anyone that is interested in teaching English, I must say that the past 2 weeks have been somewhat frustrating for me.  My morning class only has one student, so when she can’t have class, there is no class and I don’t get paid.  Well, recently, she has been very busy and we have only had 1 class a week, when we are supposed to have 4 classes per week.  My boss has sent out emails asking if we can teach certain classes but I am never able to because I am supposed to have my class from 7:30-9:30am.  So now I am not getting paid since my student keeps canceling, but I also can’t pick up other classes because I am supposed to have my morning class.  Anyways, it has been frustrating, but hopefully that morning class will be done this week and I won’t have to deal with this anymore.  In addition to work, I unfortunately was sick some of this week.  I ate a cheeseburger last Saturday night and was sick all day Sunday.  An Ecuadorean told me about a local remedy for sickness where they make oregano tea.  This did not sound appealing in any way, but I felt so bad that I figured it was worth a shot.  Much to my surprise, this actually helped me feel much better within about an hour- so if you are ever feeling sick, you should give this a try!  Since I was feeling better on Monday, I thought I could start eating normally again, and this turned out to be a huge mistake.  Monday night I woke up sick again, and this time I had to cancel my morning class.  Figures that the one day my student can actually make it to class, I have to cancel because I’m sick. But no worries, because I am feeling much better now- it only took about 4 days to get back to 100%.

Since I was feeling better, I decided last minute to join the weekend trip from the Spanish school to Mindo.  I went to Mindo with my family back in the beginning of February and loved it, so I thought why not go again?  After going a second time, I must say that I LOVE Mindo even more now!  There is so much to do in this tiny little town and it’s only 2 hours away from Quito.  We stayed at this super cute hostel that is associated with my favorite place La Casa de Chocolate- it’s almost as if God placed me there as a reward for surviving the sickness! Here is a picture of our room and the view.  And there was a river right outside our room, so you could hear that soothing sound all day/night long.

Once we got to the hostel, we ate lunch then went for a hike.  Our tour guide/teacher told us that it would be a 2 hour hike and we were going to see a waterfall.  I have been in Ecuador for about 2 1/2 months now, and I know Ecuadoreans aren’t always the most trustworthy, and I learned this lesson again.  There is a common joke in Ecuador that says “How do you know when an Ecuadorean is lying? Because they’re lips are moving”.  After about an 1 1/2 hour hike uphill, I started to realize that this hike is probably going to be a lot longer than just 2 hours, and we weren’t even at the trail to the waterfall yet.  It took about 2 hours just to reach the trail, but luckily, Mindo is at a lower altitude than Quito, so it didn’t bother me walking uphill.  We were able to see some great views along the way.

Once we got to the trail, the real fun started.  Not long after starting this trail, we discovered a part where you could continue on the trail, or you could repel down the rocks.  At this moment, I have to say that Ecuador Kim is much more adventurous than America Kim, so I decided to try the repelling.  I was the first to go after our guide and I haven’t ever repelled before so it was a little bit of a challenge for me.  And my legs are kinda short, so there were times where I physically couldn’t reach anyplace to put my feet.  It was a struggle to say the least-and being in Ecuador, of course, there was no harness or anything like that, just a rope

After successfully making it down, we moved on and found a tarzan swing.  This is so basic, but so much fun.  I took a couple turns on this swing and had people push me so I could go further.

It might have been an incredibly long hike, but it was so great because there were surprises everywhere you turned.  These little obstacles made the hike much more fun and interesting than your basic walking through the forest.  After what seemed like 10 hours of walking, we finally reached our destination of the waterfall.  We all wore bathing suits because you could go in the river.  There were multiple options: jumping off a cliff, going down the slide, standing in the pool beside the river, or be boring and not get in the water at all.  The cliff was probably 35 feet high and I know I said I am adventurous, but I’m not that adventurous, so I took the slide.  I was so excited until I looked and saw that the slide ends about 12-15 feet above the water.  Looks like I was going to be free falling into the river after all.  The slide was fun but man that water was COLD and the current was strong.  Since the current is strong, there was a guy working at the waterfall to help you get out, thank goodness!

When we were finished playing in the water, it was time to hike back up to the road…obviously stopping to play on the swing again.  Then, it was time to start the trek back into town.  Some took a taxi, but my friend Betsy and I decided to walk.  Now, I was starving at this point, so I was walking as fast as I could.  Betsy and I thought “ok, it took almost 2 hours to walk up here and we had to stop to wait for the rest of the group a few times, and now its all downhill so it should take about 45 mins, right”  WRONG!  It seemed like this walk was somehow longer than the walk up.  Once we finally made it back to the hostel, we found out that we had hiked a total of 15 km!  With this knowledge, we quickly decided that we could now eat whatever we wanted for the rest of the day, and enjoy the delicious brownies at La Casa de Chocolate.    For the rest of the night, we just ate dinner and then went out for a little bit, but we were all exhausted so it wasn’t an extremely late night.

Sunday, we had breakfast, then walked to the zip-lining place.  Even though we walked to almost Peru the day before, we decided to walk to the zip-line because it was only about half the distance.  This was a different zip-line than the one I did with my family a few months ago, and it was just as good. The guides let us do some more adventurous stuff than your basic position of being a cannonball.  On about the 3rd line, they said we could go upside down if we wanted to- yikes.  Of course I am a natural born leader, so I was usually the first to go and I couldn’t let anyone in the group show me up, so I went upside down.  This was scary but amazing at the same time.  It’s a completely different view and unique experience.

Once you go upside down, going back to the basic position is so boring, so the guides tried to keep us on our toes.  The next line, we weren’t allowed to go upside down, so they let us go without holding on, which pretty much just made you spin.  Finally after asking many times, the guides let us go upside down again.  Betsy and I also went down in superman position, but you had to go with a guide.  This was a little awkward, but you feel like you are flying so it was pretty cool.

On one of my favorite lines, the guide asked me “strong or weak?”  I had no idea why he asked that but of course I responded “strong”.  And remember, I always go first, so I didn’t know what was going to happen.  All of the sudden I take off and the guides start bouncing the line from both ends- and I’m flying up and down.  I could not stop giggling and laughing.  I was loving that!  This was definitely worth the $20!

After zip-lining, it was time for tubing.  We all thought that it would be a leisurely float down the river. Once again we were wrong- that seemed to be the theme of the trip.  There were about 8 inner-tubes tied together and we had a guide go with us.  Basically, this was taking an inner-tube down mildish rapids.  Not relaxing but of course tons of fun.  Some people were a little terrified, but Betsy and I were laughing non-stop.  The current was very strong due to the rain the night before, and there were rocks all over the river, so we were bouncing all over the place.

This was such an adventurous weekend, which I absolutely loved.  I definitely recommend going to Mindo if you are ever in Ecuador, and I know I will go back many times before my time is up here.  It’s a shame I have to go back to work, but I gotta work so I can enjoy more adventures like this past one!

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