Blue Lagoons

It is half term this week (and if you’re not in the UK this is just a week off school/college halfway through a term/semester) and my mum had been saving up for us all to go to ICELAND. Obviously this was very exciting family holiday, we all went, eblue_lagoonxcept for my older brother so we missed him 😦 When we arrived on the first day of the trip, we got a bus to the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik around lunchtime for about 3/4 hours. Basically its a very blue volcanic lagoon, that was really warm. Which is just as well as it was bloody freezing outside. We had to run from the changing rooms outside to the water, think over-exaggerated cartoon robbers prancing about on tiptoes. It was very snowy and cold so our faces were freezing, and the lagoon absolutely stank like sulphur but it was fun! The water has collagen effects and its really good for your skin so there were lots of people smearing themselves with this pungent paste found in the rocks and the floor, including us. If you didn’t know what you’d walked into it would probably be quite terrifying as there were a lot of people with white face masks on. I have few more photos of my family but I thought they might not appreciate me sharing them with the world so top get the gist of what the lagoon looks like, you’re stuck with me. 10610557_10152723099743697_5958285885655499579_n

We were supposed to see the go on a jeep tour to see the northern lights in the evening as well but it was far too cloudy and snowy so everything got cancelled 😦 It was the part I was most looking forward to but at least it gives me an excuse to go back again, or visit somewhere else like Norway or all the way at the top of Scotland. We stayed in a self-cater apartment in the middle of the city, so we got the Icelandic supermarket experience as well as being surrounded by everything and anything. The houses there are so colourful, they even painted the roofs….how can you not want to live in such a colourful place? It was also Pancake day while we were there (or Shrove Tuesday) and in Iceland, the children wear fancy dress and go into shops to collect sweets, kind of like Halloween but a lot less demonic and more enthusiastic. I don’t know about where you live, but there’s fewer and fewer children where I live that take part in Halloween  properly 😦 I hope you all have a good weekend!

Z x

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“I want to live in a lipstick jungle”

Hi!

It’s been a while, I know. I do apologise sincerely 😉

I have been back from Ecuador nearly four weeks now, I can’t believe it had gone so fast already! I have thoroughly enjoyed my trip it has honestly been the best so far. I think its been so good not only because it was a new place, a new culture,meeting lovely people, travelling and a great experience volunteering, I genuinly believe that I felt like I had achieved something, especially having gone by myslef without knwoing anybody before I actually went to the departure meeting

I definitely recommend the organisation that I found my project through, I fundraised the money, and with this money they organised transport around Quito, accommodation with a wonderful family, all meals, a one to one intensive Spanish course, two nights out, donations to the project and an experience to remember. They had a pre-departure briefing as well to tell s about the project and the city, talking about absolutely everything you could think of which was very reassuring and helpful.The most difficult part was the actual coming home, I wasn’t quite ready to leave and I was experiencing reverse culture shock and post travel blues, but I’m now looking ahead to my travels next year either to Ghana or India!

My deafness didn’t get in the way of my trip (excluding some meal times when there were 10 plus people talking), if anything I noticed it less than I do at home and especially less than at college. Its quite strange really because I didn’t even realise this until I came back home again.I really did feel happy there and I think a big part of it was because I wasn’t so ‘deaf’ all the time. Everybody spoke Spanish, which I only knew the basics of as did the other volunteers so we were all a little clueless and it didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear them because I couldn’t understand the language enough anyway. The project was working with 2-3 year olds which meant that the only things they ever said were ‘papas’ (potatoes),’no’ and ‘peepee’ (which is toilet if you can’t guess). I felt an sense of belonging in Quito, I even noticed that a lot of Ecuadorian people are quite small so I didn’t feel much different from anyone else, well aside from being white and ginger, but what are you gonna do?

The organisation I went with is Outreach International, this is their website http://www.outreachinternational.co.uk/ and my project code was E11, in case you’re interested in finding out more information or maybe sign up for a project yourself! If you want to ask me anything, I’m happy to help! I am already planning my next volunteering project for 2016, when I have finished a foundation course, it will be teaching disabled women in Cambodia different sewing skills (night-school will come in handy now!) so that they can keep earning money while keeping in touch with the changing trends. And then I’m going to be touring around south east asia! After the gap year I will then go to university to study fashion design…yes I have actually made my mind up for once…I feel so free haha!

Finally, I want to give a great big thanks everybody that has supported me and sponsored me, it was truly amazing!

 

 

(by the way the title is a song that has been constantly stuck in my head called ‘Lipstick Jungle’ by Newton Faulkner, it just sounds like fun to live in a  lipstick jungle.)

El Jardin de infantes

So I’ve been having an amazing time in Quito. I got very sunburnt after only 2 days at the beach (I did put loads of cream on I promise!). The beach wasn’t what I imagined, it was very long, grey almost black sand (I guess from all the volcanoes) with silvery green water and bright cloudy skies. The road next to the beach is full of nice bars and restaurants, but behind that road the Atacamas is a different story. We could see that it was a very run down area, with crumbling walls, some with no doors, very small cramped living spaces and green murky water in the river that splits the town, with at least one stray dog on each corner. It was nice to get to know the other volunteers better but I was glad to be back in Quito.

I started my project at the kindergarten yesterday, I’m already tired but loving it! I am in a classroom of toddlers about 2/3 helping out two staff. They are all adorable, although some are fascinated by my glasses and appear to find it hilarious when they hit me on the head with plastic toys. I mostly help get the children seated for breakfast, lunch and dinner, brush their teeth, get them changed for nap time and play with them. The only thing I’ve struggled with is meal times, the children are made to eat everything on their plates, which are quite large portions for 2 year olds. They do kick up a fuss and some cry when they’re full, but are still force fed even when they’re still chewing the previous mouthful. Today one of the girls in my class actually threw up over the table because she had eaten so much 😦 Its also a matter of speed, to keep things flowing they try to speed up meals which doesn’t really help. It does mean that the parents don’t have to feed them when they get home but I do find it difficult to watch.

On the way back to Monika’s house from the project today me and Emily got split up :/ It was a stressful experience! Basically while I was paying to get through the barriers at the stop, Emily had already managed to get on the bus, which I missed. It was scary because although I got on the right bus back I couldn’t be certain that Emily hadn’t gotten off the next stop and headed back for me as she can’t receive or send texts on her phone here. When I got off the bus I rang Monika on three different numbers she had given me, two were invalid and one did pick up but I couldn’t hear anyway. So I thought the best thing would be top walk back to Monika’s which was lucky as that was where Emily was! 🙂 I wasn’t worried about being on my own but more so that Emily may have been deserted if she had decided to head back with no way on contacting anyone.

One of the volunteers called Chloe went back to Boston last night, apart from Emily, she was the I felt most at ease with. To celebrate her last night Chloe and I went to plaza and then we watched bridesmaids with Emily. At dinner, Monika told us about a volunteer who died last year when she was climbing a mountain and its been said that people still see her in the spanish school at night, her classroom light being on. Guess who was here teacher? Mercedes! I’m glad that I’ve finished spanish now because although I don’t believe it, its still scary that its the same room where I was taught! No wonder Monika worries about us all, she has been through a lot. We were all very jumpy last night so Bridesmaids was a good distraction! 🙂

Rucu Pichincha Volcano por favor!

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Today Monika took us to visit our project to meet the staff and choose our classes, I’ve decided on the toddlers and Emily is working with the older age group. They are so cute!!! I can’t wait to start my project but at the same time I don’t want things to go too quickly, the end of the first week is almost here D: Tomorrow night all six volunteers living here are going to the beach this weekend which I’m looking forward to. Emily and I took a ride on the cable car up Rucu Pichincha Volcano. We shared a car with four boys from Chile who kept asking us to sing our national anthem and in the end they sang theirs instead which made us laugh as they were very enthusiastic. The views at the top were absolutely amazing and I underestimated the size of Quito. The air was really thin at over 15,900 ft, it made it harder to breathe but it was worth it! We saw some alpacas at the top and we have seen lots of stray dogs around the city. I feel more comfortable in this house now and Im getting to know the other volunteers and Larry… I can’t say Bon Bon the dog is too pleased with me though!

Day Two

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This is the bedroom I’m in, the bed with the divine looking blanket is mine, its actually bigger than my bed at home. We were less jetlagged today so we got up at 6.20 instead of 5.30…progress! This morning I’ve been to Spanish chool for four hours, my teacher is called Mercedes and she’s a little crazy in a good way. I’ve got so much spanish to learn and she can’t believe I’m only going to lessons for a week, so she took me on a little fieldtrip to a shop where I had to ask for things in Spanish, I can’t say I did too well actually. We’re still planning the weekend to the beach, although the other volunteers are buying their bus tickets tonight. It’s only $9 for a 7 hour journey! :O We’ve been looking at the Devil’s Nose train ride which looks amazing and terrifying at the same time. The buildings here are really colourful which I didn’t expect and while we were at the market yesterday these tiny children kept trying to sell us things while following us around with these forlorn looks on their faces 😦 Monika has been scaring everyone with her warning stories including people who were mugged two metres from her house. The other volunteers are great, most are from America but one was from Norway, she’s actually flying home now though. I’m hoping to go and try this amazing ice cream shop that eveyone is talking about! 😛

Quitooooooooo

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My first full day in Ecuador! We’ve already been to buy tropical fruit from the market (so cheap!) And to the bigger market that sells all these amazing things like alpaca blankets and jumper and bowls…I literally want to take all of it home. This afternoon Monika, my host, will be showing us how to get to our project and the Spanish school.

My second independent adventure abroad!

I might have already told you, but on the 18th July I leave to go on an adventure of a lifetime to Quito, Ecuador! I’m so excited!! I’m volunteering for three weeks, for the past year I had been envisioning myself on my project in an orphanage. However, today I got an email from the boss of it all, saying that my project couldn’t have me as I wasn’t staying long enough. I hadn’t read the whole email just yet so, being me, started having heart palpitations, obviously it was shock to be moved when it had been organised, months of fundraising and letter writing and finding flights…

But not to worry! I’ve been put on another project that sounds just as amazing, working with children in the shanty town off the side of a volcano! :O I’m going to be teaching english, working mostly in the school and caring for the children. Its probably a good idea I’m not quite 18 yet as I’m pretty sure I’d want to adopt all the children!

http://www.outreachinternational.co.uk/ecuador/teaching-shanty-town-children.html I’ve attached a link to the new project I’m doing and this is the organisation I’m volunteering with, in case you want to embark on a volunteering experience abroad!

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh, I’m positively ecstatic!