My Best and Worst

Melinda Yeh - Ecuador


December 29, 2018

When people ask me how I am doing in Ecuador, the only way I can even
somewhat fully describe it is, “extreme highs and lows.” I am having the
best time of my life but also am experiencing my worst. In a way, the
extreme lows have been shaping my extreme highs and neither could exist
without the other. It’s easy to look at my Instagram or Facebook and
immediately think that I’m having the time of my life, which is true, but
my social media doesn’t show what it took for me to get to that point. For
example, I had the time of my life going to Otavalo and spending the day at
the market and waterfall, but I had to first figure out the bus system in
Ecuador (which is all in Spanish by the way) which resulted in extreme
constant embarrassment and confusion. More examples include:

– walking in the middle of nowhere for an unknown period of time because
you have no cell service and any means of faster transportation and not
knowing if you’ll make it home before dark and then finally successfully
hitchhiking on a government bus for the elderly and managing to make it
home in an hour for free instead of 6 hours
– getting extremely homesick and wishing life was the way it was and
then spending the day with my friends playing football and going to the
city and loving every moment of it
– getting bullied by children because its easy to take advantage of me
since I’m not fluent enough in Spanish and then having other children
run up to me asking me to play football with them
– watching my friends at college and feeling intense FOMO and then
hiking to a beautiful place on the mountain and knowing that I’m supposed
to be in Ecuador and that college can wait

It’s important to me that my community at home realizes that my time in
Ecuador has not been just a vacation and rainbows and sunshine, it has been
perhaps one of the most challenging times for me emotionally. I’m not
saying I’m not in a bad place emotionally, I mean that I have grown a lot
in my perspective and awareness of myself and others and growing isn’t
always the smoothest process. This is definitely a year “on” and not a year
off for me. Even though I do experience quite a few lows, I’m still
grateful and happy that I’m in Ecuador and living my life as fully as I can.

Melinda Yeh