I’m back, and I’m sorry for the very very delayed blog. Ecuador swept me away, shook me around, made me its careless plaything, and continues to surprise me. Ecuador was, is, acting like a sour patch kid. A very early morning, very insistent bowl movement is met with a sleepy but bright sunrise. A bout of homesickness and isolation leaves me utterly deflated, only to be filled up again with a night of making humitas with my aunts. It also works the other way; my sister calls me “ñaña” and makes me so happy, only to retract the title as soon as I refuse to buy her a fifth piece of chicle. Ah Ecuador, first its sour, then its sweet… then its sour again and then you have diarrhea in a field.
Whether its soaring up, or sliding down, I’ve been in constant motion these past few months, and this train didn’t stop for bathroom breaks or breathers. Thats the only explanation I can offer for my suspended silence. Well, that and one other…
You see, I’ve known it was high time to update everyone back home for a while now. What held me back, other than finding time, was the pressure. I felt overwhelmingly pressured to put forth some tangible expression of growth; a story wrapped up very neatly, seams tucked in, challenge and failure and new strength all in their proper place. I also felt pressured to somehow represent my life for you all here; every infinite complexity somehow finding a niche in the 1000 word count. Neither of those things are possible, nor necessary. The former, because whats changing I’ve yet to understand, because I’m coming out of situations with more questions than answers. The latter, very clearly, is a matter of space and time.
So here’s my new promise; I will keep in touch. I will give you my stories, and I will let them exist in their own form, untouched by morals or resolutions that don’t belong. I will not rob them of their complexity. In return, I ask that whatever picture it paints inside your head does not become more than it is; a single story, flawed and weary, but true all the same. Each blog is only one story of the hundreds that make up this experience.
If I reread this I’ll rewrite it, and that would be rather contradictory to the whole cause. A real story will follow soon, but for now I’ll just close with a bit of background information. I live in a tiny town on the outskirts of the Amazon rainforest. I love saying that, it makes me feel very badass Amazon warrior woman, but in truth I’m surrounded my more pasture than forest. Deforestation is so so evident here, and sometimes on bus rides to the nearest city, I feel suffocated by the hopelessness of it all; hills bare except for one remaining tree- the skinned knees of the Amazon. I work in a reforestation project and botanical park ten minutes away from my home. I love each day I spend there, getting very dirty and itchy and wet planting trees or moving cement. I work with 5 trabajadores that treat me like a princess. My little sky, they call me, my queen. I love to surprise them with how much I can now lift in my wheelbarrow, I love that my hands are now calloused. When not with them, I help to keep the park running, primarily by harvesting and making products. I’m getting pretty handy with my machete and I have learned to make teas, essential oils, and yapardiente- a very strong sugarcane based alcohol. I also teach a group of kids english, which is the very darkest point in my day. Teachers, I have such a respect for you, and I don’t understand where your patience comes from. After work I head to the sewing shop to hang out with my cousins and aunts and mom for a couple of hours. My family is a source of constant challenges, but also relief. Each of my little cousins knows just how to make me smile, and I really treasure the time spent working side by side my mom and her sisters, doing whatever job is simple enough for my very unpracticed hands to commit themselves to.
Written out and pinned down like this, I appear to be having the time of my life. And at times, I am. I pause and let moments sink into my bones. I laugh at my mistakes, at least the more benign ones. Other times, I am completely consumed with irritation; at my sister, at the spanish language, at the god damn endless parade of mosquitoes. Today, I was exhausted and homesick and nose sick too, I got soaking wet picking insulina leaves for tea, and I sent my english class home early out of sheer frustration. Yep.
I’m just going to sign out for now, I hope that rambling, semi uncontrolled word spill gives at least some lens to read the future blogs through. It lacks so much, but I’m forcing myself to be comfortable with that. My mission for this year has changed from understanding and growth and answers to this-
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Thats what Global Citizen Year is for me; a space to live the questions. And this is where I hop overboard because this entry clearly has a mind of its own and is going where it well pleases. Best to end it now. If you’ve clung on this long, I’m quite impressed and very grateful. Thanks for listening.