Here to Live, not to Stay

Barbara Peck - Ecuador


October 16, 2018

I was warned about “Ecua-Time”. I was told that life followed a slower pace
here and that people were always late. I was told that there would be a lot
of down time, a lot of hours dedicated to just me and my thoughts. My
reaction was, Perfect, that’s exactly what I need. Time to relax, time to
chill. Time to figure things out. Little did I know that it just might be a
little more time than I had hoped for.

Back home, there was almost no time for myself to just relax. There was
always another test to study for, another assignment to complete, another
extracurricular activity to participate in. Sadly, all the books I read and
all the research I did was for school. The majority of what I did was with
the sole motive of getting a good grade. And on the rare occasions of when
I did have some time to myself, I hardly spent time alone. I would hang out
with friends to make up for lost time or (better yet) start the next
assignment early.

Now I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m bored. A lot. I
find myself staring at my wall, wracking my brain to come up with ideas of
what to do, wishing I had some structure or an assignment to work on (and
now you know why I’m writing this blog).

But that’s the thing I’ve come to understand: I don’t need to have anything
to do. I’m not on vacation. I’m not here for just a couple weeks; there’s
no need to cram in little adventures everyday. The beauty of this whole
experience is that I have time. LOTS of it. I recently came to a
realization after noticing, wow, I’ve been here for over a month: I’m living
with an Ecuadorian host family. I’m not in a hotel in a big city with a
group of friends. I’m surrounded by a typical family just going about their
daily life. I’m not staying in Ecuador, I’m living here until April. I
don’t think I fully grasped that there was such a huge difference between
those two words until I got here.

I’m not here to do something crazy and adventurous everyday, I’m here to
work and learn about the culture of Ecuador, and not only see how the
people go about their daily life, but be a part of it. It’s such a unique
opportunity to be able to go to a foreign place and not just be a tourist
for a couple weeks, but rather look past the allure of the beautiful
attractions, and see Ecuador for what it is outside of the glamour. Just
yesterday, during a free afternoon (a nice way of saying I had absolutely
nothing to do), I walked around town, stopped at a nearby park, and read
for over three hours. I would never take the time to do that back home. I
would like to think moments like these are mini adventures within
themselves.

With that being said, I’m most definitely not bored all the time. I have
spent the past weekends traveling with my friends – hiking, eating new
foods, meeting new people and just enjoying life.

Examples:

Me digging a hole that would later be used to cook lunch.

Enjoying the fruits of my labor 🙂 (I can’t take all the credit though, I
had a lot of help).

My friend Sophie milking a cow at approximately 6:00 a.m. Great way to
start our morning :p

A recent hiking trip to El Chorro in Girón – where you can see two
beautiful waterfalls.

If you look closely you can see the waterfall in the background.

A close-up photo of when we (finally) made it to the waterfall.

I look forward to continuing these excursions throughout my time here. I
also look forward to having more “me time” to read, think, and just be. So
here’s to embracing “Ecua-Time” and the mini adventures born from boredom
🙂 . It’s rare that we have time for that, and I plan to soak up every
minute.

Barbara Peck