Friday, April 22, 2011
Last thoughts. Last good-byes. Here I return, USA!
As I sit here in the Quito airport waiting to board the plane, I don't know what to feel at all. This whole day has felt uneasy as I knew I would have to leave this country, leaving the things that have become so familiar. For three months, I've lived in this country of Ecuador, and I remember when it was all so new. I remember right when I got off the plane and the reality hitting me that I was going to live in a different country for three months. At that time, I didn't know what to feel or what was going to happen in the next few months or even days. Every day and every moment was a new experience and a new feeling. That's what my three months here looked like. Every day was an experience; just like our Ecua-moms would tell me and Liz, "Una experiencia!" for everything we did.
It's going to be a different concept to know what to expect on a daily basis, while experiencing the comforts of what's familiar with our loved ones around. These last few days made me realize a new thing I've learned here in Ecuador: the idea of living every day to the fullest. It's not every day to meet another American on the side of the road and be super excited, going tubing down a vicious river, or the fear or being “foamed” by Ecuadorians during Carnaval. I know those are broad and maybe even irrelevant experiences, but what I'm saying is that I want to live everyday to the fullest potential. I want to challenge myself because I've seen the beauty of life and how precious it is. I've realized that I've lived life through dry patterns and being comfortable. I think God calls us to something more; I know he calls ME to something more. As I said my final and last goodbyes at the airport, it brought memories, joys, and experiences of what Ecuador and these last three months have brought me. I hate saying goodbyes, but I know I'll be back to visit. I know God put these experiences and people in my life for a reason. And the feeling of seeing everyone and everything again will feel even greater.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Ultima semana en Ecuador
We have just finished up our last week in Ecuador debriefing and spending time together at the coast of Ecuador. The beach was beautiful! We were in an area called Same (pronounced Sa-meh). We stayed in a hostel right off the beach, so it was like we had our own private beach every day. It was my first time in my life going on vacation to a beach or tropical area, so I was blown away by the beauty of it all.
We spent time debriefing and reflecting back on our semester in the morning and at night. During the day, we spent time relaxing on the beach and swimming in the pool. We also were able to enjoy a nice lunch each day, which consisted of seafood dishes. One night, we went over to the nearby town, Atacames and had dinner there. We looked around at the shops and also treated ourselves to some delicious batidos (milkshakes). All in all, my favorite part of the whole trip was the scenery during the day and when it was time for the sun to set. As I sit here writing, it's crazy to think that many others are leaving bright and early morning as I prepare to leave tomorrow night. I don't know how to feel about everything. Although I am excited to be back home, it has been sad to say my final goodbyes to my Ecua-friends and co-workers. I'm nervous about finally saying final goodbyes to the other Semester Abroaders and the Youth World staff tomorrow. But best of all, I will be enjoying a loooooong layover in Miami from 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hopefully things will work out as planned to go exploring Miami for couple hours. See you in the Estados!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
JUNGLE time in Misahualli
As I finished off my last day at my internship, which was quite sad, the Semester Abroaders and staff were headed to the jungle for a mission experience for the week. I had no idea to what expect, but I knew that regardless of hard times and good times, God was going to be there with us. We were in a more touristy area called Misahualli, so it wasn't like we were in the wild or anything. It was cool though because at the local park in the middle of town, monkeys would just hang out most of the day looking for food, snatching things off people, or fight with local dogs.
We worked and partnered with a organization called It's About Jungle Kids in Misahualli (http://itsaboutjunglekids.org/). It's an organization a missionary couple runs helping at-risk youth and started a school. They have three kids of their own, but have adopted many other children into their family. It has been really encouraging to be involved in this ministry because it kind of gave me an idea of what I wanted to do in my life. The children are from the area that have either been abused or abandoned, but under this organization, they are learning English, about God, and getting a chance to live life successfully by receiving an education. The kids are so precious and were such a blessing during the trip.
Throughout the week, we worked with cement, dug holes, hammered, and created some things with rebarb. It was helping the organization make a gate in the front of their property for the safety of their family. During the later times of the day, we led VBS at a school in the village. Many times we just ran around playing soccer, frisbee, or anything else we could find with the kids.
I was able to see the beauty of God's creation as we went tubing down the Napo River, the smiles on the children's faces, visiting the village of Pusano, the monkeys using their opposable thumbs, and seeing the unity within the group producing fruit during the week. Hearing honest stories from the missionaries at the jungle was even a blessing. All in all, despite the terrible bug bites and humidity, everything was a blessing for me.
We leave for the beach for debriefing in about 20 minutes, and when we are back, we will be saying our final goodbyes to leave for the Estados Unidos.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Everything is an experiencia!
What have I been up to??
Well, last Friday, we had a girls’ night out to a cute little cafe/restaurant that overlooks the views of Quito. It was beautiful, and we also enjoyed dressing up and having a night out on the town. We ended the night with some McDonald’s ice cream at Plaza de las Americas. But let me just say, everyone looked beautiful.
We also played laser tag with the Williams' kids at CCI. Running around, screaming. I may or may not have gotten 500 points. Hahaha I don't know how that's possible. The kids were so cute, just precious, and we ended our hangout with watching How to Train a Dragon.
Liz and I had the opportunity to visit a friend's church in the southern part of Quito this past Sunday. He was actually preaching that day, so it was a cool experience. It kind of reminded me of what I'm used to from back home except everything's just in Spanish. We joined in on a Women's Sunday School class, which was interesting because the girl that led it was from Argentina. If you haven't heard an Argentinian accent, you're in for a treat! I would describe it the way that it sounds like Spanish infused with French. The word "yo" is not how you would normally say it, but it’s said like "jzho". Then our friend and new friends invited us over to lunch, because Ecuadorians are really hospitable. He wanted to serve us lunch, or more like have his friend cook us lunch. We had loads of fun speaking English, Spanish, and Spanglish all afternoon as we cooked, baked semi-normal oatmeal sugar cookies (we didn't have half the ingredients, so we compromised), and had deep conversations about cultural differences.
Here's a photo from today of our last Bible study at the Jensens. I'm surely going to miss the good food, Bible study, and great fellowship every Wednesday night. The Jensens have been such a blessing.
Now, as we finish up this last normal week of internships and classes, we are getting ready to head out for our missions experience in the jungle on Sunday. Then after, we head out the coast to debrief on the beach! Very bittersweet, but then as we come back from the beach, we will be heading back home to the Estados Unidos.