Bottling Up the Small Moments

Elizabeth Ollila - Ecuador


December 11, 2017

 

As my half point approaches (SATURDAY!!) I can’t help but have this sudden feeling that I’m not soaking up every moment the way that I should. I have this intense desire to be able to bottle up everything that I’m experiencing so that I can have it forever. I’ve started making lists of things that I never want to forget, and my urge to remember everything is so strong that I found myself even writing “the way my host mom eats the chicken bones” and video taping my brother crying because I must remember it all. Forever. I have taken pictures of the exact same view nearly 50 times because maybe that will make it so it’s in my mind forever. I find myself sitting around lunch with my friends after Spanish classes taking millions of mental snapshots because after April this will never again happen.

I am constantly in tug-o-war with myself because the comfort of Chapel Hill, not eating rice multiple times every day, or getting to hug my family sound like heaven, but, also, I love this place and these people and my time here is so finite. However, still, this tug-o-war pulls me to comfort rather than to that stretch zone and mastering the pulls of back home and here is something I am still working on mastering. When I said goodbye to my family in NC it was for 8 months; when I say goodbye to my family and friends here the next hello is unknown. As I’ve started to realize that time is in fact moving (even if at some points it didn’t feel like it was…), I’ve become incredibly aware at how little time 8 months really is. It’s the perfect amount of time to really get to love people and then have to leave.

So, my solution? I want to put all of these feelings and sights and laughs and habits into a bottle and I want to be able to come back to it forever. I want to be able to see my little sisters bed head in the morning or my mom yelling almost bad words in Spanish really fast when she’s mad or be able to eat one of her amazing meals. I want a hug from my little brother and to see his excitement when he sees me, I want to help my dad with English even though it takes him a good 10 minutes to form one sentence, and I want to slyly give English homework answers to my other brother when our parents aren’t looking. I want to always be able to relive the jokes with my coworkers about the toughest students or be able to experiencing them laughing as they teach me bad words in Spanish.

This year has taught me that the small things are really the most important, and I appreciate them now more than ever. I miss the small things at home and I love and embrace the small things here; they really are the best part.

While we all know my solution of  isn’t going to work, I’m going to live the next 4 months believing that I can put it all in a bottle and will never forget any of it because otherwise I might go crazy trying to capture everything and battling this mental tug-o-war. I’m sure that a year from now I will think of many ways that I didn’t soak up enough or enjoy enough, but for now I am just going to continue doing my best and taking millions of pictures and saving every souvenir I can get my hands on.

Happy Holidays:)

Con amor,

Elizabeth

 

Our Secret Santa gift exchange!!

 

Our family Christmas tree and nativity scene (that my dad made) and my little siblings watching it in awe

 

Literature Day at school and my students presentation

 

Sofia and Me (she is dressed as an angel for a Christmas celebration)

 

A bonfire at the beach (gotta admit it doesn’t hold a candle to those David Ollila fires, but it was super fun nonetheless)

 

A fiesta we had (this is a pic of the mom potato sack race)

 

A pic of our AMAZING week at the beach for a retreat

 

 

Elizabeth Ollila