I lived in the same room on green beach (101, get at me) for the first two years of college. This semester, I traded in my spacious double for a much smaller single in Ecuador. I alternate between dreading the day I leave Quito and pining for Claremont. Sadly, I know that my return will put me in a far different CMC than the one that I left. The chances of waking up every Sunday morning to a lawn littered with red cups is low. Instead, it will likely be the scent of mid quad in the morning: mmmm. While green beach is considered one of the best places to live on CMC’s campus, the lifestyle inevitably comes with some hazards. Here’s what I do and don’t miss about it.
What I don’t miss:
1. Tanning. Why lie on a towel surrounded by the detritus of last night’s party when you could be at an equatorial beach where the water is warmer than the air and you can get a plate of freshly fried shrimp for under $5?
2. Home invasions. Over the past two years, I have experienced:
- A WOA leader, clad in his birthday suit, barging into the room at 1 a.m. with an outpouring of his innermost feelings.
- A 6:01’ing junior boy insisting that I paint his nails.
- A stranger wandering into my room and over to my desk light late at night, repeatedly asking, “Where does this light lead?”
- A senior, distraught from being cheated on by his girlfriend, literally falling backwards through the door, shouting “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” and tossing a bookshelf in my direction.
3. Getting my screen ripped off every single weekend. Dorm damages bill > my wallet.
What I miss:
1. Friends all around, always. Quito has one of the highest crime rates in the world, and it’s not safe to walk or take public transportation alone at night. Once you’re in for the night, you’re in. I miss late night In-N-Out runs, Game of Thrones marathons with friends, and, surprisingly, Camp Sec.
2. Partying in a community. People go wild at CMC because it’s safe to go wild. There is no threat of scopolamine in your drink, there are no men shouting “Hola princesa!” at you from the sidewalks, and you can carry a purse without guaranteeing that you’ll get robbed—not that you ever need one. Being able to step out the front door and into the middle of 6:01 is a dream.
3. Green beach sunrises. The phone interviews I did for my internships after freshman and sophomore year were both conducted sitting on green beach, watching the sun rise. Nothing calms your nerves more than sitting in the grass and watching the sun come up over Pritzlaff.
What I’ll miss once I’m back:
1. The food. The seafood, the fruit, the soups… basically everything that’s edible is delicious and cheap. And the ants in the Amazon rainforest taste like lemon.
2. Traveling. Everyone knows how hard it is to get out of the CMC bubble, but in Ecuador you can get to the beach, the Amazon, or the Andes in an 8-hour, $10 bus ride.
3. Nature. Ecuador is an amazing country; I’m not sure I’ll ever get another opportunity to touch a wild sea turtle while snorkeling or hike into a water-filled volcano crater. This semester, I’ve rappelled down a waterfall, gone zip-lining through a cloud forest, explored sea caves, and come face to face with a monkey in the rainforest. I still can’t believe how many amazing things are packed into such a small country.
4. My host family. Adopting a new family is hard to get used to after two years of living independently, but there’s something so nice about building a bond with people through broken Spanish and gestures. My host mom cooks for me, takes care of me when I’m sick, and gives me long and intense safety lectures. In return, I make the bed to the best of my ability and feed the dog under the table.