Making Memories

Elizabeth Ollila - Ecuador


September 3, 2017

I left my comfort and home about a week and a half ago, and since then my life has been a whirlwind in California (at Stanford) while we have had “pre-departure training.” I just wanted to share with you all some of the things that have gone “wrong” in the last 2 days, and I wanted to tell you why I am incredibly happy.

  1. It has been 105 degrees…

  2. I got bed bugs (ew?)

  3. Our flight to Ecuador was cancelled because it went through Houston

  4. We now fly out Wednesday (5 extra days of waiting in California!!!!)

  5. I had to watch all of the other country cohorts leave this morning knowing that my adventure was being delayed (which meant saying goodbye to both childhood friends and my new friends)

  6. Our bus to Berkeley would not hold all of our luggage

  7. We are staying in a YMCA w/o air conditioning in Berkeley (also did not have ac in Stanford)

  8. But people under 18 cannot stay at the YMCA, so we are split up

But I have to share with you a wise quote I heard this week: “Your adventure begins when the first thing goes wrong,” so I guess all these issues just mean that I am mid-adventure.

Let me tell you about these people–some of the coolest people I have ever met. I am constantly having deep and meaningful conversations with my peers even though I met them a week ago. These people care so much about your answers to questions, and your life story, and about being your friend. Who minds riding in a hot bus when it means that you get to learn about your neighbors biggest fear or question the world with them? These people come from all over the country and the world; I am so convinced that I am the most boring one here. They all have the coolest experiences, passions, talents, opinions, and stories. Conversations go from rolling on the floor laughing to a political discussion in a matter of seconds. I just keep looking around feeling incredibly grateful. So. So. Grateful. And there are no other people that I would rather melt in the heat, stay in Cali, and ride over-crowded buses with.

And let me tell you about Global Citizen Year–they planned the most amazing training in California for us. My world has been questioned and uncomfortable in the best of ways, and I haven't even left the United States yet. As soon as they found out about our flight blip they were finding us the next best option, and we knew we had nothing to worry about.

I know this adventure is going to get hard, and of course I miss the comfort of my home and my family and friends, but right now I am so so happy and so so grateful. I am taking these inconveniences with open arms because for the first time in my life I do not have anything to get to; I just get to live. I am living in each and every moment in a way I never have before, and I know that these annoyances are not actually annoyances–instead they are just memories in the making.

Con amor,
Elizabeth

Elizabeth Ollila