Choosing Joy

Maryanne Roughton - Ecuador


September 19, 2016

And in the blink of an eye, the two months of preparation had ended, and I found myself waiting for my first flight to Chicago to take off before flying to California. It was the exact moment that the plane started taxiing that I began to panic. How was I supposed to navigate life in Ecuador with no useful Spanish? What if I am so bad at Spanish I get kicked out of the program? What if none of the other fellows like me and I make no friends and I am forced to spend eight months in silence with my Spanish speaking Ecuadorian family? Because the only thing I learned from Rosetta Stone was how to say "the bike is yellow" and I don't think that necessarily is a great conversation topic to start off with. Tears began to fill my eyes while the flight attendants gave their safety demonstrations. I kept thinking I wasn't cut out for the next eight months of my life. My thoughts were consumed with worry as I bit my nails until I drew blood. And then I remembered the message that was wrapped around my finger. "Choose Joy" is engraved on the ring that I wear everyday. It was gifted to me my last night in Michigan from one of my closest friends. And in that moment of worry, the phrase took on a whole new meaning. I had the option to sit on that flight and worry until I arrived in California, or I could choose joy. I could choose to look at the incredible opportunity I had ahead of me, or I could shut out any good and only wait for the bad moments to happen. Worrying is just waiting for something to not go according to plan. That was the moment that I decided to cease worrying and choose joy. No matter the situation, good or bad, I was going to choose joy. Whether it be joy from actual happiness, or the joy of knowing change and growth comes from everything, good or bad. I promised myself that I would strive to find joy in everything. Every goal or promise has it challenges, but striving to fulfill this promise has only enhanced my time at Pre-departure Training and I know it will do the same as I venture into my new home for the next eight months. 

Maryanne Roughton