The Best Lemonade

Stephanie Dunning - Ecuador

October 3, 2011

I am very excited to announce that you will be spending your year as a 2012 Global Citizen Year Fellow in ECUADOR!!!

My family and friends breathed a giant sigh of relief.  I almost felt like crying. My heart had been set on going to Senegal where surely, few others would dare to venture.   How, of the three countries I could choose from, was I going to the last one on my list?  Nothing is in Ecuador for me, I thought, and my Spanish is… not great.  This year is not going to be at all as I had hoped.

I could have come up with some excuse as to why I suddenly wouldn’t be able to be a part of this life-changing program, but I didn’t.  I decided I would just have to make the best of what I had.  When life hands you lemons…

This past month has been both the longest and shortest in my entire life.  I’ve made friends I know I will never forget and already learned so much; not only about myself, but also the world around me.  The days at Stanford were pretty much packed with lectures and activities, making the 10 o’clock curfew we had all initially resented easy to abide.  We were definitely kept busy and spent all our free time with our new-found friends, we were all anxious to leave for our designated countries.   Though, when the time came, no one wanted to say good-bye.

The Ecuador group has been in Quito for about two weeks now, and we’re nearing the end of our seemingly never-ending training; Saturday we will be heading off to our permanent homestays for a week to get a glimpse of what our lives will be like in the months to come.  Two more weeks in Quito after that, and we’re off.  I will be in a small community, called Yambiro, teaching English and doing pretty much anything I can to help out.  As the time comes to once again leave my comfort zone for the unknown, I am nervous and excited.  I know there will be great times and there will be times I just want to give up and go home, but as I said, I will have to make the best of what I will have.  I no longer look upon the upcoming year with any sense of dread, but instead, a positive outlook and hopes for what is in store.  Right now, the lemonade I have started to make is sweet as can be.


Stephanie Dunning