It’s officially been around three weeks since I arrived in Ecuador, the first week consisting of orientation, and the other two being dedicated to my first class. There is one week left before this first class is over, and we move on to the next one, a transition that has made me realize how fast time is moving here, as I realize that I am almost a quarter of the way into the semester.
I guess the theme of my time here so far is to give things the benefit of the doubt, to have the only expectation be to have no expectations. This would usually be easier said than done, but what I am coming to realize is that with my study away, I had little information to work with when it came to knowing what to expect and how to prepare. At first, I thought this would have been limiting, but as I continue to spend time here, I am finding out that it’s actually quite liberating, allowing yourself to find out and explore what your days, weeks, and even months will look like.
Here, every day is different, even if it consists of the same “tasks” or “events. For example, even though I have class every weekday, each day is different in the classroom. The same can be said for the amount of leisure time I have now that I am here, class only consists of three hours of my entire day, which is nothing compared to what I am used to back in the states. Yet, I find that my days feel even shorter, busier even though I technically have more time for myself.
This was a challenge to navigate at first, figuring out what to do with my free time. In the states, I had more freedom in terms of mobility and capacity, for example, I had my car to go places, or I already had people and places in proximity and comfort to me. However, this is not the case here, transportation is not easily accessible in rural Ecuador, and I am still getting acquainted with the space and people of the community I am in. Even though I have more time to do stuff, I also simultaneously have less options than what I am used to. Some days this becomes more difficult to deal with than others, but what has been helping me in finding beauty and value in the everyday things I would usually take for granted back home.
Mundane tasks such as going grocery shopping, eating dinner with family, or waking to class have become events that I look forward to, and even appreciate. For although these tasks are common, it is a new experience learning how to function here, and that fact that is new is good enough for me. This change in mentality has aided me in growing appreciation for everyday I spend here, in particular the environment and nature that surrounds me. Even during the days that I am stuck at home spending most of the day in my room, and I can’t help but be grateful for the view I have from my window. After all, it’s not every day I get to see the sun set behind the city of Quito, or have the chance to hear hummingbirds in the morning! :)