I sit on a garden wall in the front
yard of the dead artist Guayasumin and around me are beautifully placed plants
amidst walkways, a mix of green and white. The breathtaking view of little toy
buildings that fade into the distance falls steeply before my feet. Quito,
Ecuador’s capitol, swims in the basin of the Andes Mountains, everything
dwarfed immediately by the volcano Pichincha. The city appears still, one frame
of many forming a scene of buildings that create one great angry sea lapsing back
and forth between the mountain slopes.
The owner of a hostel located just
south of the historic center once told me, “My grandfather built this house in
the early sixties on what was once the farthest southern edge of the city. It
was the last house before the farms began, where the cows grazed.” The cows
still graze throughout the southern border of the city, but that border has
crept much further from the hostel in the last few generations. Quito now
stretches both North and South for miles and miles as far as the eye can see.
Today is my last day in Ecuador of these past eight months. To write it
delivers new weight with new meaning to the same words. It makes the idea more
real, more believable. How can I do it? I must leave a place that feels like
home for a place they call home and I can only imagine how my life will change
again. I know two worlds, part North and part South, separate yet one in the
same. It takes my breath away.
I’m not sad to leave but knowing that I
won’t return for a good while makes my limbs very heavy. I love Ecuador. I see
and feel it’s many flaws, but all places in their own time are flawed in some
way, and they are beautiful and indescribably special for it. I look out over
Quito as it wriggles, vibrating with life. My eye is on Pichincha; I will climb
it today, to the very top and lose myself in this wonderful place that has helped me find home.