Friday, February 26, 2010

¡Language School in Cuenca!

We are wrapping up another week of this bacancisimo trip and figured it was about time for another blog! Today was our last day of Espanol classes and its been SAMtastic. Each person has been learning and improving at their own pace. We´ve have been spending our mornings from 8 to 12 in class or going on creative field trips to markets, museums, or parques and then later enjoying the lovely city of Cuenca. The group even impressed some locals when we showed off our great dance moves at a salsa dancing class. Drew and Amanda have been joining each student and their homestay family for meals throughout the week. They have been able to visit and really get to know our new families- sorry mom and dad. Tonight we are planning on going to a cooking class and then spending or last night with our families! Each student has really gotten to form special bonds with their homestay´s and it has been really incredible experience.
With the exception of a few hospital visits, altitude sickness, and throwing up due to vegetarians eating meat, everyone has been relatively healthy... don´t worry the medical systems here are great! In addition, most Carpe Sammers contributed to a local tattoo/piercing artist´s bank account, named Sergio-what a nice man. Everyone looks great!

Tomorrow we are continuing on our adventure throughout Ecuador and will be visiting hot springs in Banos on our way to Otavalo. The next two weeks we will sadly be split up and half the group will be volunteering teaching English while the other half continues to accel in their Espanol. You will be getting blog updates with more information next week but, unfortunately with new blogger extroudinares.

¡Signing off! ¨Sloth life¨ and ¨miss_j_hollywood¨

p.s. please feel free to check out Alex´s blog that already has uploaded pictures from throughout the trip:
p.p.s. floss thursday´s are definitely the new thangg

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rio Muchacho and on to Language School in Cuenca

¡Hola familia y amigos!
Its been a great past week spent in Rio Muchacho- an organic farm in the transition region of Ecuador. Not only have we spent the past week farming and adjusting to creating zero waste but we have also been learning about the different aspects of organic farming such as composting, the lunar calendar, and problems with most US farms. We have been able to meet incredible people from all over the world including Germany, England, Canada, and Wisconsin! All have been in different parts of their lives but are still searching for the common goal to Carpe Diem and travel abroad. Everyday we took part in different activities on the farm like making jewelry out of nuts as well as chocolate and cheese making. Yesterday we went on a minor "field trip" to the environmental school that was created just 14 years ago. It is truly amazing to see all of the progress and positive impact that Rio Muchacho has made on its community.
On a seperate note, we also celebrated Valentines day with our newest member, Zoe! Her plane was delayed as a result of weather conditions in the East Coast but she adjusted quickly upon her arrival and is now having a blast! For Valentines day we each exchanged gifts with our "secret Valentine" and it was quite funny, there were some interesting gifts exchanged like poems, friendship bracelets, peacock feathers, and of course fake bacon (because we temporarily changed to a vegitarian diet at the farm). Overall though the group dynamics are really great and whenever we are not exchanging funny stories or talking about poop you can pretty much guarantee someone is starting a singalong.
Today is a free day where we can enjoy the beaches of Canoa and possibly laundry. Tomorrow we will be heading out to Cuenca to start a week of homestays and Spanish language study. Hope the States are treatin ya well and we can try to send some of this gorgeous weather your way! Love and miss you! Live, laugh, love, and obviously ¡Carpe Diem! We (Hannah "sloth life" and Jordan "miss_j_hollywood") enjoyed being your blogger extraordinares.

SAM Carpe Diem

ps everyone really does miss their families and friends and hopes they are all doing well!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Our first three days in Ecuador have been incredible! We arrived at our hostel, Hostel Saiananda, in Bahia, Ecuador Thursday after many hours of travel by plane and bus. We arrived early Friday morning, got a couple hours of sleep and awoke to a delicious breakfast of local fruit, eggs, and homemade bread. After some bonding activities, we set out on our first adventure, a scavenger hunt through Bahia. Our leaders, Drew and Amanda, split us up into pairs, gave us a bit of money and sent us out to catch the bus. We all ended up getting off the bus about a mile out of town, which took everyone a little while to figure out, but each group figured their way to the center of town. Our scavenger hunts took us to every corner of town. We had to find out information about local hostels, museums, and transportation for later trips. They also encouraged us to talk to locals about the politics in Ecuador and the daily lives of locals. We reconvened back at the hostel at 6:30 for dinner and discussions about the day.
Our next day was absolutely amazing. We traveled to Isla del Sol, an island made completely of mud and mangrove trees. It didnt take us long to get covered from head to toe in mud. The minerals seeped into our skin while we bathed in the mud and explored through the tangled mangrove trees. Before we headed back to the hostel we made sure to have a rousing game of mud tunnel tag and a few wrestling matches. It was an incredible and spiritual experience for all. We headed out of the hostel right after lunch today, thanking all the people that worked there and the exotic animals that woke us up in the morning.
We are now in Canoa, a town a bit north of Bahia heading to Rio Muchacho, an organic farm for the week. The truck has arrived to take us to the farm, so we must sign off. We are all soaking in the new experiences and cant wait for more to follow.
Love to all,
your bloggers,
Claire and Eli

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bienvenido a Ecuador!

Nannette here-blogging on behalf of the SAM group:

I've just gotten off the phone with Amanda & Drew-everyone was waiting for a bus in Guayaquil to take them to their orientation site. They are all safe, happy, and incredibly excited to begin their adventure, although they are feeling Zoe's absence.... Alas, only a few more days until the group is truly complete...

Look for further blogs from the group themselves in a few days!

Dear Zoe:

This video was made by the SAM group who is desperately missing their final student: Zoe Coleman. Zoe... you've been so wonderful through all this weather and your attitude has been very appreciated! The group, likewise, is eager to have you with them and send this out with great love and excitement at your joining them in a few short days.

Video 24
Video Length 1:55
Click here to watch

Flip Video

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let the journey begin!

Phew. ... after a little longer than we would have liked, everyone that's supposed to be is together and accounted for! Poor Zoe will be joining us a few days later in Ecuador thanks to these incredible East Coast storms, so we'll reserve some extra cheer for you on your arrival.

For now, we're all optimistic and excited as Drew reported it to be a phenomenal group thus far and one that augurs well for a wonderful semester.

Yours in spirit,
Ethan Knight
Executive Director

Friday, February 5, 2010

Emotion mounts as the days pass quickly toward the 'launch' of our SAM- South America- semester. The subtle reasons why the eleven of us will be coming together on this three-month exploration will reveal themselves gradually over time as we experiment with unique and fresh realities throughout Ecuador and Peru.
As you pack your bag, remember that lighter is always better! We'll be covering a good number of miles along our adventure, and it's to your benefit to not be weighted down.
Be sure to make it to the LACSA check-in counter in the international terminal by 9:30PM on Wednesday, February 10th! If for any reason you do not find the crew, give a call to the Carpe Diem head quarters, their phones will be on all night and can help us out. The office can be reached at 503 285 1800 and 503 285 0748. We'll meet up as a group to move through the check-in process together, so just look for the crowd... and people that resemble the duo in the picture. We look forward to meeting you and sharing in the unforgettable journey. Hasta pronto, amigos...