Dear Jesi, We were talking during one of our lectures about what we did when things got hard during our year, how we reflected and calm down after faced with a challenge. Everyone said things like they went for a run alone, they climbed a mountain or a tree alone, they meditated alone – preferring to be by themselves to think and solve their problems. I realized I was never alone, or at least not by choice. In fact, instead of wanting to be alone when there was a problem, my whole problem was sometimes feeling alone. When Gina was mad at me and wouldn’t talk to me or when I spent the whole day at home while Kevin and Gina just stayed in their room and watched TV. I realize I am at fault too in these situations, that I could have done something different to change them or tried harder, but during the time when I didn’t know how, I still always had you. When I was feeling lonely and needed someone there for me you were always there. Somehow you always knew when I needed saving. I never needed to take a walk by myself because you were always there to listen to me and talk to me and make me feel infinitely better all the way to Calvario and and back. You were able to see things from my perspective, to make me feel understood and supported. But you also provided me with the advice and guidance I needed when I was blinded or lost. I never struggled during this experience as much as I am now – and that is because I don’t have you. Throughout this experience I could go months without talking to my parents and I only talked to each of my friends once, because I had everything I needed with me – I had to you. Now I don’t and it terrifies me. I have to go back to my friends who have probably changed just as much as I have and I don’t know if we will relate anymore, if they really understand me like you did. When I cry about leaving Ecuador, it’s honestly more about you than anything. You became my best friend, one that I depended on, one that I came to feel closer to than the ones I have known my whole life. I could survive without my friends from home during this year, but I don’t know if I can survive without you. I can’t believe how fortunate I was to have had you in my life, to help me move on and get through the bad. To have opened up to me so easily, which helped me to open up to you, more than I had with anyone else. To have made me feel loved. To have always had my back. To have always been my righthand man, my partner in crime. To have always been the one to show me around and teach me new things. And because of that, what I learned most of all from you is a new sense of friendship that I had never known, of its strength and boundlessness, despite a lack of common experiences or even a common language. Thank you for opening my eyes, for being that one. I will forever cherish and fight to preserve this friendship. Hopefully I do it as much justice as you did. Con cari̱o, Rosie
About Rosie Fitzsimmons
Rosie is passionate about both local and international service work. She was an officer of a service program called BuildOn in which she contributed over 100 volunteer hours through service projects including her local food bank or environmental restoration of a local park. Through this same program, she was able to live with a host family in Nepal for two weeks to help build the foundation of a new school for the village. She was also head of the Culture and Community department of her Leadership class in high school, which worked to unify and support her student body. Her goals for the year are to immerse herself in a new culture, become fluent in Spanish, and to learn life skills that will better prepare her for college and beyond. I am inspired by young people my age dedicated to making their own individual impact on the world we live in.