Almost every day with Global Citizen Year is a lesson.
Some days are Spanish classes, or I have informal Kichwa classes with my mother – those are lessons in a more traditional sense, I guess.

Other days, the lessons are much more abstract. Sometimes I’m expanding on what I feel the meaning of being “happy” is, learning things that I want to take with me in the future, and hearing others speak and realizing – for like, the 200th time now – just how humbling it is to understand that everyone has a story.

I’ve learned how to eat exotic fruit and how to play the quena (a little bit it’s like super hard). I’ve learned how to vastly improve my Spanish and how to make colada morada. I’ve learned a lot of things, and I’m pretty sure that Global Citizen Year will be like a “gift that keeps on giving,” almost. Even after this year, I’ll use what I’ve learned as a lens to see more sides of other things in the future – and then I’ll learn even more.
I’m starting to realize, however, that I’m moving towards that last lesson that I’ll be learning in-country. It’s something that I’ve been trying to avoid learning about for a long, long time.

It’s learning how to say goodbye.               

My first days at Pre-Departure training, I was pretty antisocial – I only really made an effort to talk to a few people, and the majority of them were not Ecuador Fellows. Looking back, I think I know why. I think I was scared, scared of realizing what I’m realizing now – realizing that I don’t know the next time I’ll see these other fellows after I leave, and that I don’t know the next time I’ll see my family after I leave. Coming home to San Jose has always been a constant of this year – coming home to Otavalo has not been.

It’s really… important for me to learn, though – these people won’t be the only ones in my life I’ll have leave. I’ve always believed that people are made up of a tiny bit of every person they meet, every place they’ve been to, and everything they’ve experienced, but I’ve only just realized that a lot of the things I want to do and be in life have to do how grateful I am for those things, and how I want to give back. I know that the impact of these people I’ve met, places I’ve seen – the impact of this year – will live on with me. It’s just hard, knowing that I’ll have to say goodbye, knowing that I won’t be able to see these people as often as I do now.

How will I do it? How will I take it? And will I be able to display my gratitude in the person I become in my later life?

I have no idea.

I guess we’ll find out together.

Until next time,