Turning ruts into rivers…

Andrew William Dunn - Ecuador


January 24, 2016

Before I go into saying just how this year has taught me about turning rut stories into river stories, maybe I should start by explaining these concepts. So river stories are sort of the things in life that run smoothly, without you having to put too much effort into it. A rut story on the other hand is something that causes you to pause, to be stuck, clogged up on something that prevents you from moving on and achieving a particular success. 

So but why is that important at all? Well, at least for me it was a game changer, and it revealed so much to me. Not just about the different ruts and rivers in my life, but also just how I could go about turning those ruts into rivers, which eventually could change your entire perspective on a certain situation.

And so the greatest rut story that I was telling myself was that “my Spanish was real bad” and that caused me to be stuck. It affected so so many other areas of growth in my bridge year. It influenced adaptation, communication with my family, with my community, my comprehension of the culture as well. And worst of all, it was making me feel really low, cause every time someone would ask me about my greatest struggle at that moment, my response would always be the same, “I am still struggling with my Spanish”. This was basically my excuse for almost 5 full months, thats 5/8 months that I felt incompetent, and my host family would keep ons commenting on how much my Spanish had improved, but I couldn’t see it, cause I was stuck on that my Spanish is not improving fast enough. I was rushing myself, and because reality was lagging, it trapped me. 

So about a week ago, I was sitting in my room with my host sister, and we were just talking about different stuff, like movies and music, until she asked me about the “Final Community Project”, which is a project that I have to do in my community before leaving in April. Well I was explaining all of this to her, and I was listening to myself, and my Spanish was pretty good. I mean I was fluently telling her all about it. I was overwhelmed whilst telling her all about the project, and I was smiling on the inside. I was busy turning my rut story, that has kept me stuck in one place, into a river story, and it feels good.

Now, I feel more relaxed, I mean to think that a month ago, I was so down, being here made no sense. I was having troubles with my apprenticeship, story for another day, and so my thought process was that if I’m not learning Spanish the fast way that I want to, and nothing seems to be going right, why am I here. That was me 4 weeks ago, and now. My perspective has changed. I see now that different ways that I have been learning about the language, the culture. I even realised how much I was teaching them about the different worlds that I have existed in. And that, that feels like a job well done…

                                                                                     I’m Dunn…

Andrew William Dunn