I keep imagining that my upcoming trip to Ecuador will resemble my only other experience in a developing country, my time in Nepal, 2010. I know full well it won’t. Yeah, Ecuadorian and Nepali cuisine share certain staples, like rice and potatoes, and I’ll probably be a couple conspicuous heads taller than my hosts in Ecuador, as I was in Nepal. Beyond that, I have to check myself when trying to envision what life will be like in Ecuador. The likelihood of me seeing a buffalo there is unlikely, let alone a buffalo sacrifice to a Hindu deity, considering Ecuador is %95 Roman Catholic. The traditions, etiquette, and communities will be like nothing I’ve ever experienced, either here in the US or in Nepal. So I suppose when I try to imagine my host family in Ecuador and my mind jumps to my sari-clad Nepal mother and sister, wearing bindis and bangles, I’m just grappling with the fact that I am truly heading into the unknown.
It’s a great feeling though! After four years of being in the same building knowing pretty much how my upcoming months would play out I’m ready for an overhaul. A year of meeting new people, learning countless new things, calling new places home, what more could I hope to glean from a year abroad? I’m ready to dive into this refreshing, constructive, experience and give it all I’ve got. Can’t wait to report back from in country!