Carnaval in Montañita was probably one of the best vacations I've ever had in my life. Our hotel was beautiful and the other group of students at our school rented a huge beach house with a private beach just down the road. We took surfing lessons, swam in the sunrise, went dancing, ate some decent seafood, made a bonfire on the beach, and had such an incredible time. I actually got made fun of once for my "cuencana accent" which is pretty hilarious to me. (Random fact: All over Ecuador, Cuencanos are known for their very musical accent - when they talk it's more like singing. I hope it sticks when I go back to the US and speak Spanish because I think it's really pretty and unique!)
(Surfing lessons - they had us practice on the sand first)
(The view from the beach house)
Here are some pictures from some other stuff we've done:
(Zip-lining through the mountains on our one free weekend)
(Baños de Cuenca - pools heated by hot springs)
(Futbol - Cuenca vs. Quito... it was a tie)
(View from our hotel in Saraguro - a weekend trip to an incredibly beautiful indigenous pueblo in the mountains)
(My group from North Park with some of the staff at CEDEI. Love them all!)
(Río Yununcay in the morning)
In other news, I'm going to change the location of my internship for the second half of the semester. I absolutely loved the school I was at before, but it was so unorganized and I didn't really have anything helpful to do there. Today we visited a school in Turi - a mountain pueblo right outside of Cuenca. I don't know a lot of details about the school at the moment, but I know it's the only school in Turi and it serves poor children. I also know that I absolutely LOVED spending the morning with the kids today. They are quite underfunded and are pretty desperate for teachers. If all goes as planned, I will be actually teaching English classes for the kids and probably spending time playing outside with them too. I don't know the details, but I am so incredibly excited to work there. It will be a lot of work preparing classes and I'll be spending many hours there, but I can't wait to get started. It feels good to finally be doing something to serve the wonderful people of Cuenca.
Tomorrow I leave for spring break. We're going to Guayaquil (the largest city in Ecuador) for a day, then spending a week in Lima, Peru and Cusco to visit Machu Piccu! I honestly feel like my life here is a dream and I can't believe how blessed I am to have this beautiful experience.