A Hard Goodbye

Sunday, July 9, 2017 

The Ecuador Journals: #7 Final Part 

“No, I haven’t tried Quimbolito, but I want to,” I said to C in Spanish. “You haven’t tried it because you haven’t come to my house”, she replied in more fluent Spanish. What followed was an invitation to her house which we regretfully turned down because, as we told her, by next week we’d all be gone. It was our last Diabetes club meeting and as realization dawned on C, her look became wistful and she began to shower us with good wishes. Within moments, she was enveloping me in a tight hug and kissing my cheek to say goodbye, and this was when I felt the beginnings of tears in my throat. For me, this moment was a stark reminder that I’m not ready to leave just yet. 

***

If you’ve been following the blog over the last 7 weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been living and working in Ecuador in a city just outside of Quito called Sangolquí. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the intern house on my first night, but I sure as heck didn’t think that after all this time I wouldn’t want to leave.

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The last time I traveled as a short term volunteer, I was away for 5 weeks and at the time leaving felt bittersweet. This time, I’ve been gone for 7+ weeks and leaving is going to feel a lot closer to bitter than sweet.

Yes, I miss my loved ones and the familiarity of my routine but Ecuador has felt so much like home that the thought of leaving is hard.

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I assumed that towards the end, I would be itching to go home; but this country- with its stunning mountain landscape, where everyone and their babies greet you with a kiss on the cheek, with endless waterfalls, exceptional food, and gas trucks that wake you up in the morning- has completely won me over.

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For this final post, I thought I’d re-visit a reflection activity from our time here called Rose (The good), Bud (The promising) & Thorn (The bad).

Rose(s) 

  • Meeting new, like-minded people with whom I’ve made unforgettable memories.
  • Speaking Spanish. Living here for the past two months has done wonders for my confidence with speaking as well as my vocab!
  • Having the opportunity to serve our small community in a way that they want, and build relationships through Manna Project International. Yes, volunteers like me will come and go, but my hope is that our positive impact outlives us.
  • Traveling Ecuador.

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Bud(s) 

  • Looking forward to learning + growing through travel and future work in the global public health field.
  • Learning Spanish. I’ve made a promise to myself that while I’m outside of Spanish-speaking countries, I will take more Spanish classes.
  • Keeping an open mind + heart especially towards things that are different from what I’m used to.

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Thorn(s)

  • Spanish Fluency. I know that learning a language is a long and often arduous process. I’m willing to be patient + work hard at it.
  • Leaving Ecuador. If this hasn’t been clear from the beginning, dealing with leaving is taking its toll on me emotionally and mentally. I am reminding myself though that change is inevitable, and sometimes exactly what you need.

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To future + current international volunteers, or travelers: Stay humble, keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open to learn, love and grow; then return to your home country (if you want) and do the same.

Is there anything particular you would like to know about my time in Ecuador? Leave me a comment to let me know!

If you haven’t already, find the first of 7 #TheEcuadorJournals posts [not necessary to read in order] here. 

As always, 

thank you for reading! 

All photos shot by Evan + Jack on iPhone6S+


Same footprints, different sands

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