El Blogo Final

It feels surreal to think that this may very well be my last blog post on the GCY website. This year has been a lot of things, but it has also been fulfilling in ways that I did not anticipate it to be. I have grown mentally, physically (shoutout to rice), spiritually, and intellectually. As a reflection or these past eight months, this final blog post will be in response to my very first. So, here is who Reina Markert is as of June 7, 2018, at 11 PM.

Tier 1 (things a classmate would know)

  • I love Spanish. I’ll pick speaking it over English any day.

  • My nickname in Ecuador is “suquita,” meaning blonde girl. Everyone called me this to the point that when I was called that in the street I instinctually thought my host family was calling me.

  • I’m a dog person when I’m in the US, but in Ecuador the culture around dogs is different. Their dogs are more independent and not as loved. When I’m there, my perspective shifts and adopts their culture in that way.

Tier 2 (things a friend would know)

  • Punctuality is optional. The world will not end if I’m ten minutes late. Ecuatime sure beat that out of me; it quickly became clear that if someone invites you to a party at 7 in Ecuador, that means you show up at 9.

  • I took a break from The Office this year (mainly because it’s not on ecuadorian netflix)! I got the chance to watch Brooklyn 99 and Outlander and Reign, all very good shows. Plus, my reading list expanded exponentially.

  • I’m about 90-95% fluent in Spanish, once I’m warmed up. I’ve found that the most surefire way to sound fluent is to speak rapidly and don’t end sentences with a high intonation, like you’re asking a question or unsure of yourself. Confidence is everything.

  • I’m not clingy at all, and I dislike when people are clingy in general. Even if they’re not doing it to me, to see it in action bugs me.

Tier 3 (things an immediate family member would know)

  • I’m relatively clean. It comes and goes in waves, but I tried to keep my room presentable while I was in Ecuador.

  • I’ll eat just about anything (case in point: guinea pig).

  • To me, the best kinds of people (and the kind of person I strive to be) are those who are secure in who they are and want to foster that same self love in other people. Those who make others comfortable, safe, and heard are invaluable.

Well, that’s about it. I’m still an open book. For me, the biggest change that I’ve experienced is my growth in patience and perspective. Working with screaming toddlers every day will do that to you.

To conclude this final blog post, I’d like to give thanks. To my family, without whom I couldn’t have made it through the year (or even have begun it). To my fellow fellows, for including me and laughing and commiserating with me and being constant reminders that everything is going to be okay. To my host family, for welcoming me with open arms and piles of food and plenty of jokes. To my friends back home, for reaching out to me and being there to listen to my culture shock. And finally, to Global Citizen Year, without whom obviously none of this would be possible. Your unwavering support and commitment to our safety, growth, and learning has made this year exceed my expectations. I can’t wait to see this program grow—I will be cheering it on every step of the way.

Dios les pague,