We were sitting across from each other in the restaurant slowly drinking our tea and reflecting on our full day.
“I don’t want to go home yet. The idea of it is already making me sad.”
“Are you stupid?,” she chided lovingly, “you’ve only been here for three months; you’ve got ten more! You don’t have to think about that yet.”
Today is my three month anniversary in Ecuador. Its hard to say that it feels like I’ve been here for three months already, because every minute I’ll give you a different answer.
Somehow we got here to this three month mark in the blink of an eye… I so clearly remember sitting in the airport terminal in Miami with Sydney waiting to board the plane and making small talk, just getting to know her and her life. I remember first wandering around Quito wide-eyed and out of breath from the altitude. There were so many “firsts” that we still look back on fondly, and they really don’t seem that long ago… they kind of aren’t. Three months is just a tiny chunk of how much time I have here.
It’s when I’m riding the bus from Quito back into the Valley and am blissed out listening to my music yet can recognize every turn we make and every stop… that’s when it feels so much longer than three months. When I chat with the cab driver because he recognizes me from the last time I went to the supermarket to buy taco supplies for dinner, then it feels like I’ve been here for a glorious eternity. And when I crash into my bed at the end of a long day and have a wonderful, inspiring, loving conversation with my roommate while we’re both curled under our covers, then I feel it too. This place and these moments are home for me now, and I love them and cherish them like they have been with me forever.
These are some of my many three month glories; there are just so many things that I praise God for about the past three months of my life here in Ecuador. So then what are these three-month blues I’m feeling too?
For the past week my mom has been here visiting, and it has been so wonderful to have her here. Not only do I love to play the tour guide, but I have also gotten to show her my life here… my home, my friends, my job, everything. As I’ve taken a step back from my normal life here so that we can travel and have fun and enjoy each others company and this country, I have been reminded that, yes, I have actually started building a life here, and that it is a wonderful one. Yes, this is my life now; how arbitrary and heartbreaking to think that only ten months from now I might have to close the door to it, pack it up in my suitcases with my other souvenirs and start all over again. The more enamored that I become with it all, the more heartbroken I am over how forcefully enclosed it is within a beginning and an end.
As I stood with my mom on the Panecillo overlooking the city of Quito, it stretched out its fingers up the mountainsides and over hills and valleys, and covered everything in sight with its energy and life and sprawl. I spotted a bright green Amaguaña leaving La Marin and heading for the trébol, the same bus takes me back to the Valley, back home to the corner of Dario Figueroa and Francisco Clerck. This feels right, living and working and breathing right here, nestled among the mountains. I don’t want to think of this as living a year here, I want to think of this as living a life here.
Breathe in and breathe out; the mountain air is cold and clean. There is life here.