When the Sun Falls

Written January 3, 2015
Always the one invited to parties, never the one to go.
Which in turn, made me into the one never invited to parties. I didn’t mind it too much, but I did get a sort of hipster pleasure by denying fun.
I can’t say I never went to parties, in fact I used to think that I loved going into crowded rooms watching people get plastered and stoned, all for their own reasons. Some people were trying to fit in, others were trying to escape, a few were just depressed. I was a little of all of those. Looking back at my life at that time, which was around the middle of high school, I can honestly say that it was the darkest time of my life. I brought myself to an absolute low, causing tears in my relationships with friends and family. One of those being my father.
I was distant, mean, immature, and an overall bad person. But before I turn this into a boring soppy story about my past, let me get into why I started writing this.
These past few weeks have been quite an emotional ride for me. Despite the fact that this past week was the absolute best week for me in Ecuador by far, I felt like I was on the verge of tears every minute.
It started by having to explain my moms cancer, for the seemingly 100th time, which is always as hard as you think it would be. Then one day, while cooking with my host mom, I bring up the fact that a fellow has recently left the program. After telling her what happened and what I knew about the situation, she told me that she would be so sad if I had to go and how important I was to her and the family. I can’t recall a time I have cried tears of joy, but I was pretty damn close after hearing that. Something I should say about my host family, everyone is very nice and funny when you get to know them, but showing affection or talking about love is very minimal. So for most of my time with my host family, no matter how connected I felt we were getting, there was always a feeling of doubt because it was never outright said to me. So hearing my host mom say that to me, someone I admire so much, was one of the greatest moments of my life.
It was one of the biggest payoffs I have ever felt. I have spent my past threemonths or so stammering through conversations with my terrible Spanish, and making sure I get invited to work as much as possible, and when I wasn’t invited to work, finding my family to see what I could do to help. I found out very quickly that my family was totally okay with me being independent and doing whatever I wanted to do. I also knew that they really appreciate it when I go out of my way to help them. I made sure to tell them that I want to work and be a part of this family. I just never realized they wanted the same.
I started writing this after I was invited to the New Year’s Eve party that my town was “kind of” having. There was music, a doll, and 2 people sitting around. We didn’t stay too long. But being invited to this event was the first time I felt truly a part of something. Everyone was happy to go and I was happy to be there. It was a great feeling because of how distant I have felt from my cohort, who I believe should be my closest allies, my peers, the people I can trust with anything, and the people who would go out of their way to support me, just like I would do for them. But the fact is I don’t feel that at all. My first day back from my trip to Cuenca, I had to go to Spanish class for our little Christmas party we had planned. A part of me really didn’t want to go because I was exhausted and really wanted to spend time with my family, who I hadn’t really seen in 3 days. Then after being at this party for about 20 minutes I just start wishing I stayed home. I felt so unwanted by my fellow fellows, hearing things like, “We were glad you weren’t there for the venting session,” or “You don’t even do any work at home,” was absolutely crushing. I mean, after having months of self-doubt, to be told something like that, especially after having the biggest breakthrough with my family, just felt heartbreaking. And it could have been the parasites, but after being told that my stomach felt like it just got ripped out of me.
I knew I had to leave. I wanted so desperately to head home, take a nap, and be with my host family. I felt so unwanted at this gathering and I knew I could get comfort back at home, but I had obligations here, so I stay through Secret Santa. Got my gift, gave my gift, and left. Once out of the door I needed to get home as quickly as possible. I walked some, I ran some, I did what I could so I wouldn’t break out in tears in the middle of the streets of Riobamba, or in a taxi to the bus station.
Walking into my kitchen and seeing my host mom break out into her beautiful smile every time I see her. My feelings of self doubt and worthlessness washed away. I was just happy to be home.