I find myself thinking a lot about Abby Falik’s metaphor of the monkeybars at this moment in time: I started at home where both my hands were firmly planted and comfortable, swung over to San Francisco, had a moment of panic in a mid-air suspension until I met people I clicked with and started having fun there. I had landed with two hands. I found myself about to leap again as we took off for Quito, but didn’t feel that panicked feeling of jumping until we got assigned our host families. In that moment I was flying in a free limbo, but found a safe place to land with my host family in Quito and with my GCY peers in Spanish school. I almost let go and flew again when I came to Los Bancos for that week, but I didn’t quite because I knew that I was going to go back to Quito. In Quito, I found both my hands once again safely on a bar. After two more weeks in Quito, living comfortably with a family I loved, wifi, my friends…it was my turn again to take another leap of faith.
So, I write this as I find myself in this awkward, uncomfortable, and at times lonely suspension in air. I know that there is no going back, but I have faith that I will re-find comfort and stability here if I give myself the space and patience to settle and be okay with the discomfort. I think that this is something I’m going to get really good at, or at least that I will try to get better at: being okay with losing control of my situation and embracing that discomfort. I don’t really know what “embracing the discomfort means”, but I’m going to interpret that cliche as taking little steps that are manageable, and making those fun in the context of something that seems daunting from afar.
I have seen glimpses of the comfort that is to come when I land fully on the next rung. Having great days filled with Spanish, laughter, children, and family. Feeling fulfilled with my work and the people I meet every day. Finding familiar faces who know my name on the street. Understanding new words in context. Creating new friendships with community members. All of these daily experiences are allowing me to start feeling like I belong. I definitely don’t feel like this is my home yet, but I know that slowly and surely it will become so. I go day by day, taking these small victories as inches closer to grabbing hold of the next monkey bar.