It’s been a little over a month since I’ve been back from Ecuador. I found the process re-entering much harder than going in country-like most fellows-but I still feel strange. I don’t feel like I’m home.
There is something I have not yet disclosed. My upbringing consisted of my family moving around a lot. The longest I’ve lived in one city is 5 years (in Edmonton, Canada) and for pretty much the rest of my life I’ve been moving every one or two years. Going into detail about why would take a long time but the point is that I don’t consider myself to have a “hometown”. I’m also half Ecuadorian, and I came into this program wanting to learn about my culture- something I didn’t really get growing up. This definitely has a huge part in how I’ve been feeling. Going to Ecuador made me see my culture, where I come from, and made me sad that I missed out on a big part of that. At the same time, I know that is not where my life is. I knew I had to go back.
In the last month of being in Ecuador, I felt a constant sense of dread. The date was coming closer and closer and soon I would be going home. Something special was happening to me in country- I made such an amazing life for my self. I loved my friends, family and the culture. I felt at home more than anything. There were times when I was debating to not leave and stay there forever-which would include not completing my Global Citizen Year. I had such unrealistic expectations for my future just because I was in such a love struck mood for the country. Looking back now, I realize I felt this way because I felt more at home than I did back in the US. I didn’t want to lose this feeling. After the eight months of my gap year passed by I realized I felt like I was back home where I should have been to begin with. I didn’t really expect that feeling coming into the program. It took me by surprise and I felt scared going back to the US. It felt foreign to me.
While I may feel like I don’t have a home- I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. In the first couple of weeks while I was back in the US- I felt disgusting. I mocked almost everything about the culture. From “the food is filled with gmo’s” to “why does everyone have their phones out??” I was in a state of shock from leaving Ecuador. However, that feeling ends. What didn’t end was how confused I am on where I belong. I have accepted what I’m feeling- and realize that it’s not bad. I do have a home, I have multiple homes. I felt I have had the need to choose one though- a place I can say I grew up in. I am grateful to have seen my country up close and personal and to have experienced what it means to be Ecuadorian. I know I will continue to have a connection with my latino roots.
This blog has sort of been a mix of my thoughts that I’ve had in the past week. I feel like my re-entry is taking longer than expected. I don’t see this as a negative experience however- I see it as figuring myself out.