The Stretch Zone 

The Ecuador Journals #2 

Sunday May 28, 2017

C drew three circles on the white board.The innermost one represented the comfort zone, the next one was the stretch zone and for when you’ve gone too far, the outermost circle represented the danger zone. Okay I can’t remember if she called it the danger zone, but it might as well have been because it’s not somewhere I want to be. 

***

So far, my travels haven’t taken me too far out of my comfort zone for extended periods. Sure I’ve noticed differences in the way certain things are done -e.g here in Ecuador, when you walk into a room, you greet everyone with a kiss on the cheek and say “Buenas Tardes” (Good afternoon)- but mostly what I try to adjust to when I leave home is simply being outside my comfort zone.

The comfort zone for me is the familiarity of my city, my relationships, my routine, speaking English, my BED (sleeping in a different place ALWAYS feels strange; I never sleep quite well the first night), my diet, beliefs, values, the way I dress…etc. When I leave my comfort zone, -and whether I like it or not, I often do- I have to relinquish some control + become more flexible than I normally am. This, my friends, is the stretch zone, and it’s where I try to stay in LIFE in general. It’s hard.


Chances are that daily morning run won’t happen for a week, and when it does it’ll be at 6 pm. That food you love to eat will either be scarce or expensive, that need to clean all the time will have to be controlled because all of a sudden you’re not living alone but with 10 other people whose habits you can’t control, you go from sleeping in your own room to sharing a bunk room, and the list goes on.
I’ve been living in Ecuador for two weeks today and in some ways, I’ve been creeping into the stretch zone. H is trying to get me & some of the other girls to stop being so germ conscious but that is probably a fast car to the danger zone.  😄😄😄. More
seriously, I’ve pushed myself to speak up a bit more both in English and Spanish, take the lead where I can (this is progressing slower than anything else as I’m not a natural leader), ask questions, be more patient, adjust to sleeping and waking up early and adjust to the altitude (okay this happens whether I like it or not, but I’ve been running! I’m going the extra mile and it’s not pleasant but I won’t regret it). In the stretch zone, I’m learning more about myself, the people I work with, and the country I live in. I’m trying to live in the moment and slowly progress through the entire process. I’m careful and patient with myself but I’m also pushing. I’ve come to realize that this is the only way I’ll grow.

Highlight of the Week.  The crew and I are on the coast for the holiday weekend (Ecuadorian holiday celebrating a win at the Battle of Pichincha).
If you read the blog, you know I find it hard not to mention the beach so the coast could not have been more appropriate! Our hotel is a few steps away from the ocean in the sleepy town of Canoa.
We walk barefoot right next to the water every day to go into the main town, everything is on the sand, the buildings are covered in colorful, intricate paintings, the food is delicious and the nightlife is great. There’s an easy relaxed vibe here that’s the total opposite of what I’m used to in Miami, but also right up my alley.

I’ve had 4 coconuts in the space of 3 days (each $1/$1.50 depending on the size). M & I now call the coconut vendor “our guy“. It doesn’t get more refreshing than coconut water from a coconut. If you don’t like coconuts, please no slander 😄. It’s amazing how diverse this country is, and how much there is to see. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live in + explore it while I gracefully (or not so gracefully) settle into the stretch zone.

Ama la Vida – Ecuador’s slogan meaning “Love Life”.

As always, Thank you for reading! All photos shot & edited on iPhone 6S+ 


           Same footprints, different sands 

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Small town girl living in Miami.

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