Its been a while since I’ve written anything on this poor, abandoned blog of mine. I know why, too. Its because I’ve gotten very used to living in Ecuador, and after a while I started feeling like my life in Ecuador wasn’t special or out of the ordinary, and it certainly wasn’t blog-worthy… it was just my normal, average life! As soon as I got an apartment I started doing normal-person things like looking on [the Ecuadorian version of] Craigslist for couches and bookshelves, paying rent every month to my ancient landlady, and balancing my non-profit salaried budget. And my “life in Ecuador” just became normal life.
Well, I’m back, and as my time winds down in Ecuador I’m reminded more and more that there is something special about every day I spend here, as average and normal as gray Wednesday afternoons here may seem to me. I want to keep documenting my time here, and as I prepare within the next six months to one year to make my transition back to the States, I think it’ll be an interesting process for you all to join me on.
I’m not going to update you on all the details about my life since I last wrote in, but just know a lot has changed and also a lot has stayed the same. Heres just a few details:
- My Spanish continues to get better. Every day it gets better because I don’t give myself the option to not practice. I speak much more Spanish than English these days, and even talk to myself or think to myself in Spanish quite a lot.
- Since I moved into my apartment I haven’t traveled that much at all. My parents visited in July so we traveled to Cotopaxi and Otavalo, and in September I went on retreat for Manna Project at my boss Nancy’s family farm near Mindo. In November José and I went to Mindo, and we just got back a few weeks ago from celebrating carnaval in Quilotoa. But beyond that I have been focusing more on enjoying Quito and the Valle de los Chillos where I live rather than branching out to see new places in Ecuador…but I have a feel that will be changing as my time here comes to a close!
- José and I are wedding planning and figuring out how to get to the States together. We’ve decided after a LOT of thought and prayer that now is the best time for us to make the transition to the States so he can start getting immersed in English, so I can go to grad school, and so we can both get more job experience. Depending on when he is able to get a visa [hopefully sometime between August and October] we will be leaving Ecuador and heading on to the next chapter in our lives together.
- I continue to work for Manna Project and it continues to be going well. I’m taking on some responsibilities that I didn’t expect to this year, but its all turning out to be another meaningful year with MPI and I think I’m gaining a lot of experience AND insight into the non-profit sector in a way that will really help me in the future. I’m thinking of heading back to school to get my MPA (Masters in Public Administration) with a concentration in international development in August of next year, and I know that Manna Project has definitely confirmed for me that this is the career path I want to take.
I’ve got a LOT of ideas for new blogs, so the next few days I’m going to try to work on quite a few to get myself back in the swing of blogging and reflecting on my time in Ecuador. Topics include everything from my favorite budget-friendly recipes to US immigration law to changes in the community I live in here in Ecuador, so stay tuned!