That’s my first post from the other side, the other side of the world! Yeah, I made it. It’s my second day in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I’m going to stay for another 1,5 months. I haven’t actually wrote about the purpose of my visit here.
I’m going to be engaged with an AIESEC project Yo Creo En Ecuador (I Believe in Ecuador), which is a project enchancing social responsibility and responsible entrepreneurship among under- and young graduates. My exact role is still to be clarified though :). I hope to meet with my „boss“ Carlos today or the day after, he’s currently busy with his exams...
I didn’t have much time to write about my preparations for the trip...hehe...I actually didn’t have that enourmously much time to focus on preparation either.
I came up with this plan to come to Latin-America for a CEED (as we call it in AIESEC, basically it’s being involved with AIESEC and also experienceing different culture in another country) about 2 months ago since I hadn’t found any internship on CSR that I was looking for. Found out that AIESEC Guayaquil would be ready to host me for 1-2 months, and I would have an opportunity to contribute to a project on corporate responsibility.
So I bought the ticket (one way, just in case) about 2 months ago, and left the rest of the preparations for a little later. Was busy to still work on my other things here in Estonia (finish internal auditing work, graduate masters, work on CSR projects, give a few trainings with the European Youth etc).
As the date of leaving Estonia came closer:
- I got the injections done (yellow fever, the others I had from previous travels already)
- Started to work a bit on my Spanish (I actually failed my ambitious program on studying Spanish every day),
- Checked the visa conditions, appeared that Estonian don’t need visa if they come as tourists for up to 90 days, and that is possible to also extend it for another 90 days. So no worries with that.
- Did last minute shopping for some souvenirs from Estonia as well as the got the materials about Estonia from Eesti Instituut
A week – actually 5 days – before leaving Estonia, I got the hit news about being selected for the traineeship in Brazil!!! Yehuuu, great news!!! And a slight panic situation with now knowing that I’m going to stay abroad for at least 14 months (2 months Ecuador + 1 year in Brazil). Tried to get all possibly necessary papers with me to apply for the Brazilian visa in Ecuador (fingers crossed for that!! Still have to negotiate with the Embassy here in EC). In the worse case scenario I will need to apply via the Embassy in Helsinki. Let’s see how that goes...
So now I’m here – after about 48 hour trip, firstly with Czech Airlines to Barcelona, then waiting for about 24 hours for the next flight with Air Madrid from Barcelona to Guayaquil. The flight was 5-6 hours delayed, so initally set departure of 9 am from Baca took finally place at 2 pm.
Not much of a problem for me though, I used the time for napping around in various chairs in the airport, since I had been up the whole last nite in Estonia, celebrating mid-summer’s day with friends, after that finalise packing...huh still ended up with 5 kilos overweight, although took at least another 5 out in the airport and left it for my brother to pick up from there.
Not surprisingly the 13 hour flight (with a stop in Tenerife) went smoothly as I used the opportunity to sleep some more :)). At my few awaken moments I ate and took a crash course in Spanish...red the Spanish book I had brought along. When I finally arrived (5 hours later than intended) my Estonian friends Meeli and Rauno were waiting for me together with Jorge and Hector from AIESEC in Gye.
First impressions you ask!
Hehe funny enough...when I stepped out of airport the country reminded me of India :), that was for the way the air smells and feels here. It’s not too hot (about 32-35 degrees, the city is near the ocean), the air somehow has this sort of slightly sweet tropical scent to it. The houses reminded me of India again – mostly 1 or 2 storied houses with flat roofs (something that you dont see so often in Estonia), the traffic is busy but again nothing beats India I think :)). Generally the streets are quite clean I’d say, couldn’t really spot trash laying around or anything.
I’m staying in trainee house with 1 Estonian, 1 Romanian, 2 Polish and 1 Italian – mix of nations like you often meet in AIESEC!!
It’s my second day in Ecuador now, and by now I’ve managed to almost get rid of the India-like feeling. Afterall it’s Ecuador where I am!! (Si se puede!!).
Yesterday – the day no 1 – was great, I think Rauno wrote in his blog about it so I’m using the opportunity to refer to his experiences in Latin America :).