The three way intersection at my bus-stop has no stop sign. It has no traffic light or Policeman directing the way. The first day, I stood on the corner horrified that no one would stop, that the car would crash with the gas truck clamoring down the other road or crush the child passing on his bike. But I have learned that despite not being told what to do, every car slows and peers around the corner assessing their situation before continuing on. No one expects anything from the other drivers, they do what is most responsible for themselves.
Daily expectations are not a cultural concept that I have encountered here in Ecuador. I do not feel the presence of the invisible rule book dictating what a day should be. The only rule I notice is “go with the flow.” People live reacting to only what has been put before them in that moment, unfazed by the constant unknown.
Two weeks ago crossing the intersection was a challenge. I stood on the corner with expectations of how the situation was supposed to go. I would take a step forward stuck in my own beliefs, quickly needing to pull back to the sidewalk because I was almost, literally, hit by reality.
When I finally forced myself to slow down and react to what was around me, I saw how easy it actually is to cross the street. I became aware to the unspoken rule — self-responsibility — and how it creates safety in place of a stop sign. I gained the understanding that reacting to what is already in motion around me instead of following my own road and expecting other things to change their course would create a safer crossing. And when I walked across the street in this manner I could not believe how impossible it had once seemed.
I now can see that this path is akin to the life I am creating here, that there is no benefit in trying to use beliefs from allá (there), when I am living aquí (here). I am learning and accepting this new way of thinking and living in reality. I am realizing my desire to constantly create a plan for tomorrow makes me miss today and the joys my situations can bring. I can see my ideas changing in the way I react with other and I am becoming more comfortable each day. I can more clearly see reality, instead of what I believed to be true, and I am learning how to react to each moment.
But most importantly, by accepting each day, each situation, for what it is, I have gained so much more than I would have holding on to expectations, because now my reality is enough.