Expect The Unexpected

Caroline Montag - Ecuador


September 5, 2016

I am sitting in bed at my temporary host family’s home in Quito, Latino music is blasting through the apartment and I finally feel like I’ve arrived. The past two weeks have been overwhelming; after having been dropped off by my family in the middle of nowhere in California for Pre-Departure Training (PDT). A week later, getting up at 4 am in the morning to fly from San Francisco to Quito. Since then, I have moved in with my Quito host family, started Spanish classes, explored Quito, gradually learned bits and pieces about Ecuadorian culture, got lost, was looked at like an alien and ate all kinds of food that I’ve never heard off before.

 

There are many emotions I have felt during my first week in Ecuador: excitement, happiness, curiosity, tiredness, homesickness, disorientation, gratefulness… and the list goes on. Therefore, instead of writing about how I feel, I will write about the first lesson I’ve learnt: Expect the unexpected.

 

I’m a person who loves planning, however, in Ecuador planning is not that easy. First of all, with my broken Spanish I easily end up at the wrong place, or agree to things I don’t completely understand. For instance, the other night my host parents asked me if I wanted to come somewhere with them. I didn’t understand where we would go but I said yes anyways. In the car I kept wondering if we were going… to the cinema? To their friend’s house? Grocery shopping? Eventually, when my host dad lifted a heater out of the boot, I realised that we were on a trip to replace heaters. It wasn’t a glamorous activity but it was a hundred percent worth it!

 

I am not used to just going with the flow. However, one of my goals for this year is to push my self into the discomfort of not knowing what is ahead and thereby, expecting the unexpected. Already during my first week in Ecuador much unexpected has happened: the same bus line has been taking a different route every day, the plugs in my room are hanging two meters above the ground, the weather forecast is predicting rain every day though it only rained once, strangers on the plane have offered their phone numbers and this morning I woke up to an ant train. On top of that, I don’t even know where my apprenticeship will be and what it will be… It is and will be challenging for me to plan as little as possible, however, I am excited for my unexpected and unpredictable adventures ahead.

 

(1 week down, 31 more weeks to go) ​

Caroline Montag