Unexpected Expectations

Jane Tobias - Ecuador


June 1, 2015

I started this journey having no expectations. I truly believed that I was open to anything. Put me anywhere, in which ever community. In fact give me the most challenging conditions. Place me in a rural farm on the tallest mountain or in a wooden house deep in the jungle. With no internet. No electricity. No running water. Because the physical challenges of my year will directly correlate with my personal growth. Right?

I had prepared myself for anything. Anything except for a middle class Mestizo family living in the city of Puyo. Understandably I was shocked when I arrived at my homestay with the Fernandez family. They had internet, running water, and not one, not two, but three cars and steady jobs.

I spent a lot of time feeling angry and frustrated because I didn’t find what I had expected at my homestay. I was panicked about not having the challenges that were necessary for personal growth. I was divided between logic and emotion. Logically I recognized that I was acting like a spoiled brat. Whining about not getting exactly what I wanted. In fact, whining about privileges other people weren’t as fortunate to have. But emotionally I couldn’t surrender the idealist fantasy I had conjured in my mind.

A fantasy influenced by every national geographic article I marveled at as a young girl, of every past fellow’s capstone video I watched as I applied to Global Citizen Year and the wisdom, passion and perseverance I found in the stories I read on fellow’s blogs. A fantasy that was compiled of panoramas of wind blow quinoa crops in high mountain valleys, of kichwa women in bright skirts, shuffling to Pan flute music, of hours spent with my host mom at the river washing clothes by hand, of how my body may ache after waking up in the early morning darkness to begin work in the fields and at the end of the day the feeling of returning to a humble home where I would grow to become a part of a large adoring family. My expectations were unrealistic and ran very deep.

I experienced a lot of anxiety on my way to work. Every morning I walked about 10 blocks to the bus stop and as I walked my mind was clouded with disappointment and my heart raced with frustration. Everything I passed, everything that surrounded me was a constant reminder that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Where I was supposed” to be.

Jane Tobias