Most times it still does not feel real. I constantly remind myself I am actually living right here, in a foreign country, in Ecuador, in my campo that is Bella Union, and am astonished by everything that suddenly becomes real in the moment of that thought. The after-rain mud slides under the soles of my shoes as I'm running down the hill from school trying to focus on keeping momentum. Every neighbor I pass by pauses in their field work to greet me. When I reach the main road that meets the hill up to school, I trot towards home for lunch. But I'm always finding myself stopping there in front of our restaurant, turning around to face the rolling hills of Bella Union, flooding my eyes with all shades of green. It's surreal and something I could've only imagined seeing in a dream.
Ecuador is beautiful, and anyone would admit this. Living in a beautiful country, with beautiful people and a beautiful culture can be so overwhelming that you never get used to it, and I've been living here for half a year now and I still can't believe it. It has been so hard for me to stay grounded because I almost always feel like I'm dreaming.
It's not just the beautiful landscapes and my improved level of spanish that are too good to be true, but my whole experience in this program. I always find myself in question, like how did I get here? Why am I here? And who have I became? And the funny thing is that I've always known the answers. What's crazy is how just last year I was preparing myself for college, that I found this program on accident and when I applied they really believed I have potential to thrive, they saw something in me that I haven't even found in myself yet. What's even crazier is that I found what I didn't even know I was looking for and it changed my life completely. In a nutshell, I've gone from insecure,doubtful and closed off to vulnerable, motivated and confident all in the span of 7 months. This is all thanks to the wonderful and supportive people I call my cohort, a lot of goal setting, and failing, practicing and mastering grit.
I have so much gratitude for the opportunity I have been given and truly am blessed to be a Global Citizen Year fellow. I am especially thankful for everyone who's helped me and encouraged me from start to finish and I couldn't be more proud of myself for being able to learn so much. I'm not quite ready to go home but I know I'll be ready for wherever life is taking me next. Here's the videos I've gathered in the last couple months and I'll see you back in California in 7 days!