Cabin in the Campo


by Max Whaley

This weekend, a couple 1+4 participants, my host brother, his friend and I traveled to San Fernando (a small town 2 hours outside of Cuenca) to stay in an empty house his friends own. It was super fun, and also a little terrifying. The house was straight out of some horror movie that should be filmed there and called Cabin in the Campo. At first glance in the daylight it looks fine, just a bit isolated. 

But as you can see in this second picture it can be pretty ominous looking.

We played poker and told scary stories in Spanish. Much of the night was spent making up stories about all of the terrible things that had happened in the house in the past. We spent the night all huddled onto the one mattress in the house, bumping the floor occasionally and pretending like we didn’t, to scare everyone else. 
During the poker game, fellow participant Henry noticed the shadows of fellow participant Maxwell’s luscious curls had spelled a word on his forehead. It’s funny now, but at the time a not so small part of my brain was thinking, the ghosts are telling us to leave we need to leave what are we doing here in this scary house who even owns this house why are we here this is exactly how horror movies start- 
  While the scary stories were told in Spanish, and we were surrounded by vast fields of cows instead of woods, I realized that this had been such a familiar cabin in the woods trip. My host brother’s stories involved cursed rosaries instead of men with hooks for hands, but other than that, I could imagine having a very similar trip with friends back home. When I came here, I expected to be having a million new life changing experiences all the time. And while I have done a lot of exciting new things, it has surprised me  how familiar many of my experiences are. I’ve missed heading down to my favorite pizza place with my friends back home, but grabbing some late night pizza with my host brother when neither of us really want rice for dinner has turned out to be a fairly normal occurrence. From going to stay at a scary empty cabin, and proceeding to scare each other as much as possible, to complaining endlessly about our respective governments over dinner, there seem to be some universally human experiences that you will find in places as different as California and Ecuador

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