This is my first time blogging and I’m not a big social media person (Tumblr doesn’t count…) So here it goes…
For the past several weeks and months I have been trying to brush up on my Spanish in preparation for the trip. I haven’t taken formal classes since I was a freshmen at Xavier. I’m been using Duolingo and Mango Languages which I accessed through my local library. I think every little bit of practice helps, but I’m no where near fluent. Being able to communicate effectively with people in Ecuador is probably my biggest concern. This is definitely going to be steep learning curve. I’m expecting to be humbled and hopefully by the end of my trip, I will have significantly improved my Spanish skills.
During one of my residency interviews, one of the physician interviewers told me that he had also done a CHFI trip and thought it was a great experience. He also encouraged me to spend any additional time that I had available before or after the program traveling abroad. So since I had a week of vacation before the program starts on March 7, I decided to go to Ecuador early and do a 4-day trip to the Amazon.
Packing and preparing for the trip was not too difficult. I made sure I went through all the items I had at home before I went out and bought more. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am always well-stocked with food and other supplies. I’m not a hoarder, but I do ascribe to the philosophy of “it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it…” CHFI provided a generalized packing list which made things pretty easy. Everything fit into one regular suitcase and my carry on – and my suitcase only weighed 45lbs!
My original flight plan was to travel from Columbus to Dulles (Washington D.C.), then Dulles to Panama and then Panama to Quito, Ecuador. My first flight was delayed an hour, which caused me to miss my connection. So now I am currently in a taxi on my way to Reagan International where I will be traveling to Houston, and then hopefully to Quito. Hopefully there are no more surprises. The weather this time of year makes for interesting travel. Luckily my mentor has some connections at United and things are working out… I should be in Quito by the end of the day. Fingers crossed.