Días — Only Ten, Already Ten?

John Nowak - Ecuador

September 10, 2019

I arrived in Ecuador ten days ago. How is that possible? Only ten — already ten? That seems impossible.
During Global Citizen Year’s ‘Welcome Week’, the Ecuador Staff did their best to prepare us for our upcoming adventures; our new classrooms; our new lives. They did a splendid job! The thing is: we all have our own, distinctly incompatible upcoming adventures; new classrooms; new challenges; new lives.
I miss the life I lived in the States, the life I stopped living a month ago. For example, I was comfortable with my friends, my job(s), the streets that take me from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’, my perspective on life, my home, my routine. Participating in this program over the last few weeks, I have met and become friends with so many different people from diverse cultures, perspectives, countries, and native languages. As we all run with the wind, I notice the individual hurdles each of us are jumping over. Some have never heard of the fruit Papaya, never used public transportation, never left their hometown. It amazes me how everyone around me is moving from their ‘comfort zone’ into their ‘stretch zone’ and simply going with the flow of EcuaTime.
Like I said previously, I miss my routine.  Yesterday, I didn’t do a thing. Tomorrow, I have plans to meet up with friends to eat tacos (how surprising).  Although tacos were apart of my daily routine in the States, I haven’t had one in WEEKS (I think I have lost hearing in my left eye). Back to the point, EcuaTime is a real thing and it corresponds directly with mid-day EcuaNaps. Tacos are a for-sure thing tomorrow, but it won’t last all day (unless…) and I don’t have a routine to fall back into after my (one) meal.
I’ve been living with my host-family for a few days now. José-Luis Jr. reminds me of myself, Carolina & I seem to have the same music taste, José-Luis Sr. makes it seem as if I have been apart of the family forever, and Mamá Rosita is a heaven-sent cook. Despite the fact that I communicate with my new family as well as I communicate with our three cats and three dogs (No entiendo español), I feel comfortable here, at ease, at home — Gracias, Google Translate!
It shocks me that I am not homesick. I feel that many Fellows around me want to sleep in their own beds, but my bed in Azogues, Ecuador works perfectly. Although I woke up the other day and not a thing in my life was the same, it didn’t bother me. I lived the day — without a routine to follow — made new connections, ate new food, created a new perspective of the world and spoke new words. Everything is new. This is my stretch zone. This is where I need to be and certainly something I can easily become accustomed to.
When else will I be nineteen years old without a job, bills, kids, homework — without worries? Never. The answer is never. That must be the beauty of Ecuador, EcuaTime, EcuaNaps, EcuaFriends; there isn’t a routine to fall into. We aren’t robots. Robots don’t learn, don’t evolve, don’t grow. I pray to God that I never stop evolving.
Granted, it’s only been ten days. Ten days, already?

¡Típico primer día de escuela con ñaño!



Typical first day of school picture with my bro!

Left to right:
José-Luis Jr.
Mamá Rosita
Me (THE fabulous JJ Nowak-Serrano Yépez Jr.)
Stephanie (a family friend)


John Nowak