YFU Switzerland

Helsinki

Samedi matin, très tôt, Lara et moi conduisions de Tartu à Tallinn. La nuit, j’ai dormi chez Lara, parceque sa maison est très proche de la station de bus. A Tallinn, nous cherchions (et trouvions!!) le port, où nous nous rencontrions avec les autres.
Aller au bac était comme aller au aéroplane et le port est certainement plus grand que l’aéroport de Tallinn.
Quand nous arrivions à Helsinki, nous allions à l’hostel et faisions des groupes pour le reste de la journée. Nous pouvions trouver certaines places dans la ville, prendere des photos et réprondre aux questions. C’était une divertissante compétition et le soir, nous connaissions Helsinki bien. Les temps étaient bons, pas trop froids, mais un peu venteux et toutes les rues étaient decorées pour Noël.
Dimanche, nous visitions nous places préférées encore une fois. La Cathédrale luthérienne d’Helsinki par example plaisait très bien à moi. L’après-midi, nous voyagions retour à Tallinn. Là, deux amies et moi regardions un petit peu la vieille ville de Tallinn, mais il était déjà sombre et nous n’avions pas beacoup de temp, jusque le train à Tartu venait.
Tard le soir, ma venais fatiguée mais contente à la maison, qui avait décoré pour le premier dimanche de l’avent.
A bientôt!

Christmas time is here!

Hi everyone out there,

I’m very happy to tell that I feel much better already. I’ve got used to the new situation and feel alright. Of course there’s homesickness coming up sometimes but all together I’m happy.

This week there finally happened things and I came out of the house quite a lot.

In the afternoon I often do something with my host sister, if she’s not too busy with home work. That is really nice.

On thursday I even rode the bus on my own the first time. Believe me, it’s not as casual as it sounds. It actually was quite an adventure for me 🙂 I’m sure I will do this often from now on, because if I want to come to the centro with the taxi, it costs me 2.50$. Then I prefer to pay 30 cents for the bus and sit more uncomfortable.

I’ve been in the centro so often this week. Nearly every day. It is very lively there, you can buy a lot of stuff and most of all, you need to watch over your own things very good. Portoviejo is a rather dangerous city, so never ever let your bag out of your eyes!

On friday I got bit by a dog at school. It was following us around all day and we played with it and petted it until he all of a sudden got really agressive and attacked me. It wasn’t too bad, and I’m vaccumated against rabies and tetanus, but the lady from the nursing station at school told me I had to get an injection. So then we went to buy that.
I was very surprised to see how they do that here. You go to a pharmacy, there you buy the injection, it cost 5.50$ (yes you can buy anything without a doctor receipt here), then you go to a “red cross” station. There a woman put the injection in my butt for 2$. The day after it still hurt when walking 😉 . At least my hand is fine now, my butt too and I’m gonna be more careful with dogs I don’t know.

On saturday I went to an old people’s home with my host sister. There we stayed for 2 hours and talked with the old people and made some handmade art. It was a bit boring for me, because I didn’t understand anything they said. Sadly my spanish isn’t good enough yet to understand quiet mulmling old people. But still it was nice to see these people that have gone through a lot, smile towards us.

And today I made “Mailänderli” (swiss christmas cookies) with my host sister. That was really nice, even though a bit complicated because kitchens here are equipped very differently. Everyone in the family liked the cookies, so that is great.

a part of the final result

a part of the final result

My host sister making cookies

My host sister making cookies

Cookies in progress

Cookies in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To me it’s a bit difficult, now that christmas time is here. Christmas is a family celebration and I miss our christmas preparation at home. Here everything is full with blink lights, glitter and plastic. I think it’s too much, but the people here appearently like to decorate their houses with 1000 blink lights. Our house isn’t too bad, but when we drive through the city I often think like “Who would even put stuff like that on their house?”. But the taste is just different here and I accept that.

Our living room with the plastic tree

Our living room with the plastic tree

The fact that it’s 30 degrees every day with a lot of sun, doesn’t make it easier to imagine that christmas is right around the corner.

As you might hear, there’s finally happening a bit more in my life here and I feel good.

 

 

 

 

 

Un fuerte abrazo,

Annette

No Title

Heii

Viel Zeit ist vergangen seit meinem letzten Beitrag, und viel hab ich erlebt. Also der Sommer ist mittlerweile da und fast täglich zeigt das Thermometer um die 40 Grad Celsius an. Manchmal sind es auch nur so um die 35 Grad aber mit der grossen Luftfeuchtigkeit, fühlt es sich weitaus mehr an. Das Gefühl, wenn du im Bus fährst und du die Schweissperlen an deinen Beinen beobachten kannst, und du dich fragst wie es im Januar sein wird, der heissesten Zeit.

Meine knapp drei Monate Sommerferien haben begonnen. Jeden Morgen treffen sich viele Junge im Club um Volley zu spielen, danach gehen wir uns Sonnen und im Pool erfrischen.

Gestern war ich am “bañado”, einer Aufführung in einer sehr armen Zone Paraguays. Dort gehen meine Schwester und zwei Cousinen jeden Sonntag morgen freiwillig den Mädchen im alter von 2-6 Jahren Ballett unterrichten. Es war sehr berührend, die Kinder in ihrem Element zu sehen, glücklich und sorgenfrei. Zuerst spielten einige Musikgruppen und ein kleines Orchester, eine Theatergruppe, danach kamen die Tanzgruppen. Ballett, paraguayischer Volkstanz (mit langen Röcken, traditionell handgemacht; balancieren Körbe und Tontöpfen oder Glasflaschen auf ihren Köpfen; die Musik ist fröhlich und aufmunternd) und Modern Dance. Das ganze Dorf hat sich versammelt, um die Aufführung der Kinder zu sehen, der kleine Raum bot dafür nicht annähernd genug platz.

Ich ging an meine erste Hochzeit hier in Paraguay und generell die erste wieder seit langer Zeit. Die Schwester meiner Klassenkameradin hat geheiratet und meine ganze Klasse war eingeladen. Wir kamen ein bisschen spät an, alle waren bereits am Tanzen, verpassten also das Essen und den Balz. Es war eine super Nacht, wir tanzten fast “non stop” bis die Hochzeit fertig war. Die paraguayische Band “Kchiporros” trat auf, dessen Musik ich schon oft gehört aber noch nie live auftreten gesehen habe. Und auch an diesem Fest habe ich natürlich wieder neue Bekanntschaften gemacht.

Vergesse immer wieder, dass jetzt dann bald Weihnachten ist. Die geschmückten Weihnachtsbäume aus Plastik in den Shoppingcentern und die leuchtenden Sterne in meiner Strasse erinnern mich immer wieder aufs neue daran. Sonst gibt es aber kein Anzeichen, dass Weihnachten bald da ist. Eine Adventszeit, wie wir es zelebrieren, mit Adventskranz, Adventskalender und Weihnachtsgebäcken, existiert hier nicht. Ausserdem ist es Sommer hier, keine Rede von Kälte, Schnee und gemütliches zusammensitzen und sich auf Weihnachten freuen. Die Tage vergehen wie jede anderen zuvor, ohne spezielle Zelebration der Vorweihnachtszeit.

Weihnachten werde ich in Buenos Aires verbringen, und über Neujahr gehen wir nach Urugay, Montevideo und Punta del Este am Meer. Mehr dazu ein anderes Mal

Bis bald

 

 

Familia número 2

Hi everyone

So I finally got to change my host family. I’ve been here since Wednesday. The family consists of the two parents, the grand-mother and three kids. A boy that’s 12 and 2 girls that are 14 and 16. It all happened very fast, so I think wether the family nor I were really ready for it yet. The family comes from the middle class, just like most people in Ecuador and they own a little company, that sells wood. The “fabric” is right behind the house, so during the daytime you can always hear the electrical saws.

My new home from the front

My new home from the front

The "fabrical" part

The “fabrical” part

Behind the house

Behind the house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live outside of the city centre, but still in Portoviejo. I have my own room, what I find really great. It sadly doesn’t have windows, so it gets hot quite fast when I don’t put on air condition. I’ve already decorated it with photos and I spend most of the day there. It’s quite sad, that my host family members spend all day in their rooms, sleeping, doing homework, watching TV or just being on the phone. I’ve tried going into my host sister’s room sometimes and talk a bit, but I notice that she doesn’t really feel like talking, so the conversation usually ends very fast. So then I just go into my room again, converse with my people at home, watch TV-series or read. Those things also distract me from the upcoming homesickness. Always when I feel like I just want to curl up in bed and cry, I read. Because like that I can concentrate on another story than my own.

A little "garden" in front of the house

A little “garden” in front of the house

The view from my room

The view from my room

My room with a big bed

My room with a big bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There also live some dogs on the area. But there’s no one looking after them. My host sister even hits them when they get too close to her. That really hurts me to see, so sometimes I go outside and sit dowm to pet them or play with them for a while. Becuase they are really cute and friendly dogs that deserve attention.

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So now to how I feel here:

I really had hoped very much to come to a typical, host friendly and open ecuadorian family. Just like the ones I got to know in Machala. Well, sadly that wish didn’t come true. I really am thankful for the family to take me and I’m sure they are very nice people, but I don’t feel very welcome here. My host siblings find it really cool to have a swiss sister. They want to take photos with me all the time and show me to everyone and walk through the streets with me so everyone can see they know me. But my host parents don’t talk to me at all. My host father went to the US for a week on saturday and I haven’t talked to him at all, and my host mom I nearly see. I don’t think they really understand what a host family is meant to be, because no one told them. YFU hasn’t had a lot of contact with them. But I don’t think they are like that only towards me. For them it’s just normal to sit in their room all day and not talk to each other a lot. This is quite difficult for me, because like that I miss my caring family at home even more. What I miss the most is the feeling of being welcome and appreciated and that someone cares about that I’m there. But I’m trying my best. I start talking to my host mother or grandma even though they usually don’t continue the conversation. I try to integrate myself in the conversations of my host sisters and I try to do everything right. I hope I will feel more welcome here soon. Because at the moment I’m not even sure if the change brought me anything unless extra stress through the new surroundings. But I will try my best ,even though I often feel without energy, and wait…

My host sister Gema

My host sister Gema and me

me with my host siblings

me with my host siblings

We went to the movies

We went to the movies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On sunday we went to the beach, that was nice but I didn’t have time to put on sunscreen because all went very fast, so now I’ve got a bad sunburn.

That’s it for now. I hope I can tell more happy things in my next blog. Maybe I just have to get used to everything.

Un beso de Ecuador and I miss you all very much.

Oriente

Hi everyone,

So I’m writing this after a week with many happenings. As you might have know, I went to Oriente (that’s how we call the rain forest part of Ecuador here). I saw a lot so I will tell about it in chronical order.

Wednesday, 18th:

In the morning we took the bus to Quito. All the Portoviejo people went, so I wasn’t alone. Because of some street problems, the ride took about 10 hours. It was boring but I’m used to bus rides here, so it was okay. The streets are not very comfortable and the drivers usually drive very dangerously, so the ride itself was an adventure too. When we finally arrived in Quito we

view out of the bus window

View out of the bus window

were all shocked by the cold. Two of us even only wore shorts. I luckily had thought about the climate change and had a hoodie with me, but it still was very cold. Quito is in the sierra (mountain area), so it’s always cold there. We then took the taxi to the hotel and there we met everyone again. It was so great. I was really happy to see my friends again and it was a good evening. We went to a bar and talked a lot. The Hotel was nice. Not very luxurious but clean. I went to sleep quite late that day, just like the following days 🙂

Thursday, 19th:

 

After eating a small breakfast at 7.30, we packed our stuff and got on the bus. This bus was only for YFU students (we were about 30). The 5 hour trip was very interesting. It was nice to see the nature change through the time that passed and I talked a lot with the people. To the hotel we came by boats that picked us up. It was really cool to drive to the “casa del suizo” (the house of the swiss guy) that way. The following days we always got from one place to another by boats. When we arrived we first got lunch there. We were really enthusiastic about the food. There was a buffet with salads, warm food and desserts. Especially the dessert buffet I was a big fan of (as people that know me might understand 😉 ). We then went to swim in the pool and after the delicious dinner we just chilled and chatted. It was very nice even though the mosquitos were disturbing. I used so much anti mosquito spray in the Oriente.

The first boat ride

The first boat ride

"la casa del suizo" (you can see the ecuadorian and the swiss flag next to each other)

“la casa del suizo”

The beautiful hotel with a great pool

The beautiful hotel with a great pool

View from the pool

View from the pool

me with some group of friends

me with some group of friends

the view from the room

the view from the room

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Friday, 20th:

Here our real jungle adventures started. After the amazing breakfast we all got rubber boots to put on and then we drove to another place with the boats. There a guide showed us through the primary and secondary rain forest. He really knew a lot about the plants and animals there. We also swang on a liana, what was funny. In the rain forest it’s really hot and humid, so we were all sweating waterfalls. After that we drove to a Zoo where they hold rescued animals, such as monkeys, parrots, alligators and more. There are many european volunteers that work there. After those sweaty activities, we got to float down the river on tires. It was really refreshing and lots of fun.

In the rain forest

In the rain forest

View worth the walk

View worth the walk

cute tucan

cute tucan

A cute animal I couldn't identify

A cute animal I couldn’t identify

there were so many apes in the zoo

there were so many apes in the zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After lunch at the hotel we got on the boats again and drove to an island. There we went to the house of a family of indigenos. They live there on their own with some other families and have their own farm. There they showed us how to make chicha. Chicha is a very traditional and holy drink, that’s made out of yuca and some other spice. They then let it stand until it reaches some alcoholic status. I don’t think anyone of us liked it, but it was great to taste it and to the people there it’s really important. It was very interesting to see how the people live there so far away from civilisation. They learn spanish at school, but the traditional language is “Quechua”. Then we drove to another place where a indigena showed us how she makes ceramic bowls out of natural materials. I find it fascinating to see how these people know so much about the nature we live in. After that we all went to the pool and ate good food. In the evening we went to the village behind the hotel, where they also have a dicso. I didn’t dance, but I talked a lot to the others, so it was nice.

A little Quechua girl

A little Quechua girl

Chicha (not really my taste)

Chicha (not really my taste)

Girls washing their clothes

Girls washing their clothes

Showing us how to make ceramics

Showing us how to make ceramics

beautiful landscape

beautiful landscape

The ceramcis shop

The ceramcis shop

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Saturday, 21st:

We again walked through the rainforest for about 2 hours. It was soooooo hot, but really beautiful. We even saw a poisonous snake that people usually don’t get to see, how the guide told us. After that we drove to a little beach where there were some floats on the water. From there we floated down the river and also got to bath in the Napo. It was really cool.

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The bridge was really scary to walk over

The bridge was  scary

Huge trees

Huge trees

Like a Tarzan

Like a Tarzan

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breathtaking nature

breathtaking nature

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Then we had lunch at the hotel and walked to the butterfly house. It was very beautiful there. There were many butterflies that even came and sat on our hands and heads. The butterfly house belongs to the hotel and I liked it a lot. Later we walked to the place of an artist that makes animals out of wood. His work is all handmade and I think it is very beautiful. Then we came back, swam in the pool and ate our last dinner at the hotel. The evening we spent playing cards, talking and walking through the little village.

 

beautiful colours

beautiful colours

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I became friends with it 😉

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There were also nice flowers

"casa de las mariposas"

“casa de las mariposas”

The cocoons

The cocoons

making wooden art

making wooden art

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Sunday, 22nd:

We all were very sad having to leave the beautiful Oriente and we enjoyed our last breakfast at the hotel. I may or may have not eaten 3 pancakes 😉

Then after packing our stuff, we went to the boats that drove us to where the bus was waiting. From there we drove for about 6 hours to Quito. In Quito we went on a market, where they sold clothes, jewellery, chocolate, coffee, handbags and much more. It was a market of the indios and I bought quite a lot. I love the poncho that I bought for myself. On these markets it is important to try to lower the price, because they want to sell their stuff more expensive. So through talking I got my poncho for 16$ instead of 22$. Then I also noticed very well, how my Spanish has improved. In the evening we chilled at the hotel (it was the same one like the first day in Quito), played cards and talked. It was a bit sad because it was the last day, but I enjoyed it.

one of our guides

one of our guides

Last breakfast

Last breakfast

A group photo of us all

A group photo of us all

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Monday 23rd:

After breakfast I had to say goodbye to Noelle, who had to travel quite early. It was very sad to say goodbye and I would have given anything to not having to go back to Portoviejo and my stressing family situation there. After breakfast I had some time to talk to the others but soon we had to drive to the terminal. The goodbye was hard. I don’t know when I will see my friends again, but I hope I can visit them in the big holidays. Then we drove the bus and arrived at 6 pm. in Portoviejo. Back again the homesickness came back immediately. I hope very much that in my next blog I will be able to tell you that I finally got to change my host family.

 

A big hug from Ecuador

Ps: I’m so sorry for how it looks with the photos. I’ve been trying everything but somehow the blog programme of YFU doesn’t allow it to work free with the photos so they always get aligned in a very weird way. 🙁