Thank you to everyone who supported me along this journey and followed my blog. Here is my last post. I hope through following my blog, you all have also been able to redefine some of those imaginary lines in your own lives. Here goes:
If you asked me exactly why I chose to do my study abroad in Ecuador, I would be lying if I gave a profound answer. Truth be told, it just worked out that way. I had a check-list of requirements I needed to meet in order to fulfill my degree plan, and before you know it, check, check and check…SIT Ecuador: Culture and Development it was! I am embarrassed to say that before I got into the program, I knew very little about Ecuador. I thought I might be able to get my tan on, sport fun summer dresses and go salsa dancing every night. Maybe if I was staying in the coast the whole time.But I was in Quito, and it’s cold there. Remember, it is over 9000 ft elevation.
So I just kind of jumped into this trip tabula raza style. I didn’t know any historical information about Ecuador, current political situations or typical food dishes. What I did know: be respectful, learn with an open heart and open mind, it is important to try new foods and wear my backpack in front of me on the bus. With this limited knowledge, I arrived in Ecuador on January 22, 2013, and three and a half months later I left Ecuador with a wealth of experiences, new perspectives and some quirky new habits.
Adjusting to Ecuador was not nearly as hard as it has been to adjust back to the U.S. Coming home to my family was both comforting and confusing. Going to visit college was a colossal mind bomb. I’ve been home a little over a week now, and I still have trouble remembering that I can flush the toilet paper down the commode. I’ve included the Latino pop radio on my preset stations. And I miss rice. Every day that I was in Ecuador, I cursed that mound of enriched white starch which found its way into every lunch. I swore, I would never eat rice again when I left Ecuador… I had rice for lunch today.
All silliness aside, and I’ve been told I am a pretty silly person, without a doubt, the most important thing I may have taken away from Ecuador is this: You are only poor if you cannot dream. This Ecuadorian Indigenous proverb literally refers to one’s capacity to dream. On that, I’d like to say I remembered almost every dream I had in Ecuador, but in the U.S I am a poor poor soul who wakes up with the start of an alarm and no recollection of my dreams. And so this summer, I’ve taken a vow to try to remember my dreams, and consequently have more relaxing mornings.
Figuratively speaking, this proverb takes on a whole new meaning. Dreams can be hopes, aspirations or goals. And I don’t mean only goals like, “I want to go to Harvard” or “I dream of finding the cure for cancer,” but they can be dreams like “I hope we have a good harvest this season” or “I dream of owning my own home one day.”
No dream is too big or too small, as long as you believe you can do it, and poverty…well what exactly is that anyway? In some worlds it is a sort of measurement of material wealth , and in others it is the quality of your life and state of your soul. So Ecuador, thank you for teaching me how to dream, both literally and figuratively. I am richer for it.