My veins that ran like rivers through the canvas of my hands shook and blurred from my sight. I blinked and shook my head and chanted sin miedo, sin miedo / without fear, without fear as I tried again to repeat a motion that was once second nature. The mascara wand brushed through my eyelashes as I questioned my sanity. What am I doing, they’re going to see right through me, and see that I don’t belong at a professional newspaper- the thoughts crept in through the pauses in my relentless chanting. It was the morning of my first day at La Prensa: the leading newspaper in Riobamba, Ecuador. To say I was terrified would be a gross understatement and disservice to the butterflies-turned-pterodactyls in my stomach. I closed my eyes and upon opening them to look at myself in the mirror, I squared my shoulders and turned to my iPhone, turned up the volume and danced to Beyonc̩ for five minutes before I left my house and began to walk down the street.
Looking back, I have the uncanny ability tell what month which event happened by my current state of de-sensitization to parades. My second, maybe third week living in the city of Riobamba parades were still a novel surprise as opposed to the current sorry I’m late there was traffic because of ANOTHER parade” while my boss/ Ecuadorian friends/ anyone I was supposed to meet at a specific time would proceed to laugh at my inability to understand there is always a chance of a parade and that I should plan accordingly.