Lightning, Bugs, and Lightning Bugs

Tessalyn Morrison - Ecuador

November 11, 2011

Nothing cheers you up after a day of dropping thermometers, dealing with screaming feverish children, and language misunderstandings like big, huge bugs and giant rainstorms. In all seriousness…nothing does.

Sometimes I feel like I am living on the Discovery channel. Even in my own house you can see the mile-long lines of ants carrying leaves, or even those bugs that look like leaves. Before I go to bed at night I look around my room and wonder, “Are there bugs near me, many of which I have never seen before?” Yes. Am I going to do anything about it? Nope, tonight is an adventure.

One night my host family and I were sitting in our open air living room and the electricity went out because of the storm. Where I am in the Amazon, when the lights go out…they really go out. You can look over the mountains and there isn’t a single light. Except for one. Before we got out the candles, a huge lightning bug came and lit up the entire room. It’s a bug that is around 2 inches long and has an orange belly and two huge green eyes that radiate. It was silent. I can’t really describe it, but it was a special moment with my host family.

It rains every day and the power usually goes out. It’s not cold, sad rain; it’s fun rain that relieves the heat of the day. I get excited for the rain every day.  Afterwards there’s a beautiful heat lightning show. Yesterday, I was lying in my bed with the door open when my light got hit by the lightning. As scary as it was, it was fascinating and there was no space between the lightning and the crackle. If I had only been standing up, it would be a different story.

Other things I never really appreciated are some of the only things that get me through the day. Like when the screaming baby stops crying because she sees a strange white girl smiling at her, or when I am feeling homesick and all of a sudden there is a puppy for me to pet with whom I will never share language misunderstandings. When there is no reminder of home, sometimes you just have to make a new one. I never expected to have lightning, bugs, and lightning bugs make me feel at home. Now they do.

Tessalyn Morrison