When I started my work at Copprende, I was so excited to finally have something meaningful and important to blog about. I had no idea that the 9 hours a day that I work would make it absolutely impossible to make it to the internet cafés before they closed! So, now I´m stuffing my last alpaca sweater into my suitase and wondering where these past 6 weeks went. Don´t worry, I still found time to journal and scribble down thoughts in a notepad I carried everywhere. I have so many stories and photos–they´ll just have to be posted once I´m back home. So, don´t give up on me yet!
The fact that I´m boarding a plane tonight to return home has me in kind of a strange mood. I feel like I´ve finally adjusted to life here–in all of its craziness–and in some ways I´m having a hard time imagining what my life at home will be like. I´ve gotten really used to waking up to car alarms and dogs barking, to showering in lukewarm water as fast as possible, to stumbling down the stairs to a breakfast of fresh fruit and tea, to rushing out the door to fight with Ecuadorians for a taxi to work, and to crossing my fingers that the elevator will make it up all 10 floors to the office. I´m really going to miss walking into Copprende and being greeted by kisses on the cheek and hugs, feeling a bit less touristy when wearing my Copprende uniform and walking with Normita and Fernanda all over Quito, walking to Plaza de las Americas to get some pan de yuca and yogurt or a McFlurry, watching “¿Quién Quiere Ser Millionario?” on the TV at dinner with my host family, late night talks with my roommate, practicing my Spanish all the time, and that weird feeling that a place so foreign is now somewhat familiar. I fear going home and getting busy and caught up in life, and losing all I´ve gained here. I don´t want to get worse at Spanish, I don´t want to lose touch with people I´ve met, I don´t want to forget the schools I´ve been to or the stories I´ve been a part of, I don´t want to forget how to take the TroleyBus, or which keys to use for each of the 5 locks to get into my house. But, most of all, I don´t want to forget the way working here has made me feel–the direction it has given me. For that, Quito, I can´t say thank you enough.
So, I guess all I can do is keep going. Remind myself that this is the start of something new. I´m going to continue to help out with Copprende, and I will to stay in touch, and hopefully return sometime soon. So for now, it´s not goodbye, it´s nos vemos! because it´s definitely not over.
Today, Quito is bidding me farewell with some absolutely spectacular thunder and lightning storms–but I´d be lying if I said I wasn´t exited for a California summer. I´m glad to be back home, and I´m thrilled to return with the direction I was craving on the flight here to Quito. So stoked to see where it takes me next! (Machu Picchu? Panama? Rio? More blog posts to come!)