Musicians of Cuenca

By Jennifer Frye

I’m amazed by how friendly and helpful the music community is in Cuenca. The musicians I’ve met accept me and are genuinely interested in connecting with me. When I walk down the street carrying my cello I’m constantly stopped by strangers, inquisitive and gregarious. I feel like I’ve found another family, people who understand me and who I understand in return. People who have helped me pursue my passion thousands of miles from home. Here are my impressions of the musicians of Cuenca. 

Raquel is intense and direct, with perpetual red lipstick, and seems taller than she really is through sheer force of personality. I was brave enough to approach her after a symphony concert, nervously rehearsing lines in my head. I hesitantly asked where I could find a cello to rent. With her support and advocacy, I found a cello and joined the local university orchestra. I have the opportunity to take lessons, teach cello to youth symphony students, and even perform a concerto.

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Ducha Gratis

By Henry Baer-Benson

Every day at 1, we go home for a 2 hour lunch break. Yesterday was my laundry day and as I walked the block back from the lavandería with my bag of clean clothes I noticed it was sprinkling. I wasn’t too worried. They don’t have real rain here, I thought to myself. All of the rain I’d experienced in Cuenca had amounted to no more than a drizzle. My host mom had even told me that it rained durísimo during the parade, which I had comfortably endured without a rain jacket. I wasn’t worried.

When I got back to the house I threw my bag of clothes on the floor and decided I had time to watch one YouTube video before leaving for work. About halfway through the video, however, Neil deGrasse Tyson was interrupted by a deafening crack of thunder. I pulled my earbuds out of my ears and immediately noticed that the drizzle from earlier was now roaring against the sides of our house. That’s odd, I thought as I popped my earbuds back in and finished the video. Then I threw on my rain jacket, switched my suede for my tennis shoes and made my way to the front door.

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My 1+4 Story: Henry Baer-Benson

By Henry Baer-Benson

“I love the weather Cuenca. It’s sunny in the morning, rainy in the afternoon and cloudy in the evening. My only qualm, as a Minnesotan, is that it seldom dips below 55 degrees. Winter is my favorite season and the thought of going an entire year without touching snow is not a happy one. However, several weeks ago, I was in Quito with Stephanie and Maxito and we decided to climb one of the surrounding mountains. As we neared the summit, we came across a bluff that cast a small patch of shadow on the ground below and at its base was the largest snow bank I’ve seen all year.”

I’m Not in Texas Anymore

By Stephanie Waugh

I have had more adventures in the last few weeks in Ecuador than in the last few years of my life. I have been to the mountains, the beach, and the rain forest. I have driven across water, over mountains, and on highways with nothing between me and the horizon. Waterfalls as tall as skyscrapers rain down on trails that I have hiked. And cities bigger than my hometown have spanned in front of me. Sometimes the sky is bright blue, other times it is gray and storming. At dusk, the sun paints rainbows in the sky using every color imaginable. During the night, millions of stars light up the black nothingness. But, without a doubt, the most amazing sight I have seen is the Andes mountain range. Continue reading