On Saying Goodbye

I have moved a lot of times in my life – as I probably mentioned to every person in my vicinity over the past year – and I remember from a very young age, the difficulty of changing your environment on a two to three year basis. Although until the age of 11 I was homeschooled – which will probably make anyone reading this go : what on earth can be hard about moving, if you learn at home? – leaving the house I loved, the garden I used to play with my siblings (and the occasional friend) in and just a certain routine, was always a difficult mission to accomplish. Granted I was young, so when my parents got me a small suitcase to put my stuff in, I was easily and effectively appeased.


As the years went by, I began going to school and switching my environment became increasingly difficult. Arriving at a country, getting to know people, leaving them and being expected to repeat these steps, was a very hard and emotionally challenging process. And so I naturally began fearing the change of environments, and frankly, hated moving.


With all this (long) introduction in mind, I arrived in my host family in Ecuador – Over summer I was very apprehensive of what it will mean to live in yet another country.


How will I manage to go to a new environment, and build relationships/friendships whilst knowing that I’m there for only 6 and a half months. The first week was tough, like really tough, like not knowing any word besides “hi, good morning and can I help” tough. After my first month I was still sure that when the time will be up, it will be very easy to leave – I was young and innocent back then. As the time passed I was forced to immerse myself into my community. It took a long time with Spanish vocabulary, conjugations and all the rest of the language learning stuff – guys, stop saying Spanish is easy, it ain’t once you go beyond “Hola”.


It took time, hard work, and genuine commitment but I did it, I became a part of the family. They became a part of my life and I became a part of theirs. My (second) family treated me as one of their own: my mom would call from work to make sure I ate, whilst my dad would try and convince me to go with him to as many cross-fit trainings as possible – it gets very tough when you do it more than once a week (believe me, I would know) – my sister would make fun of me whilst telling me about her boy problems, and my brother would just jump on me at random times whilst screaming: “ornini , ornini”. Although at times I wanted to be back at home or left alone in my room. now when I’m back and I realise that I will not see these people for the coming years, that no one will try and convince me every day to eat about a kilo of rice and a guinea pig, or tell me that I need to grow some muscles. I understand how much I miss my family in Ecuador, and how fortunate I was to become a part of that family.


The point of this emotional and vulnerable paragraph, is to say that: by the time I had to leave my family and community, I understood one thing, that led me to aspire to be able to continue travelling from place to place in the future. As long as you say goodbye to a place that meant a lot to you in an appropriate way – acknowledge what you have learnt from being there, what was good, what was bad, what you will miss and what you will choose to carry with you in the future – you will be able to make peace with your past, and continue to explore and learn in the future.


And so – before I begin crying – here is a list of ten things (in no particular order) which I will miss, and will carry the memories (and lessons) of, with me in the future.

  1. Waking up in the morning to screams of “Or, come to breakfast”
  2. Seeing my brother arrive from school, and giving him a piggy back ride to the top floor
  3. the nickname Ornini
  4. Drinking turkish coffee with the helper in the house (making connections through my love for coffee is special guys)
  5. Regretting the pain I had in my lower back after a session of cross-fit, but being happy about getting closer with my dad as a result.
  6. Going to runs with my mom and creating deep conversations from talking about the most random things
  7. 12 hours of guitar classes for $25 a month
  8. Closing the door of my room and playing Nick Mulvey songs, that I learnt from the 12 hours of guitar classes I had a month
  9. Painfully learning how to dance Salsa, Bachata, Merengue and Regeaton. Only to see my 5 year old brother dancing, and realising that I ain’t even close to his level.
  10. The importance of family unity


Finally I would like to thank, all those which helped and supported me during the year, you know who you are.