Listening to Latin American music collection on the plane while getting ready for the transit in Atlanta, I finally realize that I am actually on my way to Ecuador. I realize that I am much further away from home than I had ever been. I realize that all the Spanish classes I had in the past few years will be useful for me and all the movies I had been watching about Latin America are now becoming a part of my reality.
As the monitor on the plane shows that we are flying over Panama, I realize that in about two hours I am going to be in Quito. Staring at the screen showing the little plane flying over the sea, I realize that Ecuador is not just a topic to argue over with my parents in our kitchen in Armenia, but it is now becoming my new home. I understand that the life is not going to be the same anymore. I look back at the days, when among hundreds of international students in my school I was always the local one. I would introduce them to my culture and passionately tell them about my language and traditions, while seeing all this from the inside. I would always teach others about my country but now it is my turn to be taught and explore a new culture from another perspective. I understand that this is the time to test the past 13 years of my education as the real learning begins now.
As I drink the tasteless coffee on the plane, I go through all the goals I set for this year when I was in the comfort of my house: learn Spanish, be brave, become more confident, help other people and just be whoever you are in your dreams…, but now when we are about to land in Ecuador, it becomes harder and harder to imagine how exactly am I going to meet these goals in an entirely different environment and culture. To distract myself from being nervous I am looking out of my window and carefully examining the stars, which for some reason are so much brighter in this part the world. I am trying to emotionally prepare myself for the upcoming journey. A journey that seems so unreal and an adventure so crazy that even I cannot believe I’m really doing it.