I’ll miss 25 cent bus rides and the overplayed latin bachata filling the ears of every passenger as the chofer swerves on dusty dirt roads up Andean slopes.
I’ll miss being able to hail down any camioneta and hitch a free ride on the back.
I’ll miss the lack of WiFi.
I’ll miss being reminded of natural beauty when I wake up and see Volcán Chimborazo on a clear morning, sprinkled with white dust and defined by the strong Ecuadorian sun.
I’ll miss nighttime discussions with my abuelo.
I’ll miss seeing little girls with intricate braids.
I’ll miss the happiness and carefreeness of the kids in el campo without their iPhones or demanding homework or pressure to live a certain way.
I’lll miss the friendliness of strangers on the street.
I’ll miss speaking Spanish.
I’ll miss when my host mom laughs.
I’ll miss how the weather is never too hot or too cold.
I’ll miss living with the scenic backdrop of a computer screensaver.
I’ll miss seeing the indigenous dress mixed among the contrasting mestizo fashion in the cobblestone streets of Riobamba.
I’ll miss rice.
I’ll miss seeing the smallest yet strongest women carrying everything from babies to gas tanks on their backs.
I’ll miss when people ask me ridiculous questions about the States, like if cows and rainbows exist there.
I’ll miss climbing the trees to pick capuli fruit with my host siblings.
I’ll miss walking past panaderias and smelling freshly baked bread.
Ill miss seeing horses trotting down from Catequilla in the morning, as they race trucks filled with bricks and cars crammed with people.
I’ll miss how important family is here.
I’ll miss fresh and exotic and cheap fruit.
I’ll miss hand washing my clothes.
I’ll miss thoughtful texts from Fellows, because here unlimited phone plans don’t exist.
I’ll miss being greeted by a run attack hug from my youngest sister.
But more than anything, I will miss how much happiness is found in people who have so little.