It is my last day in Quito and I am sitting in my host family’s antique shop surrounded by a myriad of historical and cultural objects. As I sit, listening to the quiet chatter of customers and passers-by, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing experiences I’ve had over the past six weeks. How did I end up here?
Living and working in Quito has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people and visit so many fantastic places. In just six weeks, I’ve worked with people from all over South America. I’ve attended baby showers and birthday parties. I’ve visited the jungle, famous lagoons and huge markets. I’ve paraglided, swung on a vine like Tarzan, abseiled down rivers and swung on the swing off the edge of the world. I’ve eaten guinea pig and an array fruits I didn’t even know existed. I’ve taught English. I’ve learned Spanish. Above all, I’ve met some wonderful and inspiring people.
Although there were some fantastic highlights, it wasn’t always easy. Going abroad alone was an exciting and new experience, however, it also sometimes brought a lot of loneliness and homesickness. This was certainly accentuated by the fact that there wasn’t always a lot of work to do. Often having to find my own ways to contribute to my host organisation, I found myself often working alone too. The language barrier was also a real challenge at times. I really enjoyed learning the Spanish language, but having to speak in a new language all the time could be frustrating and sometimes draining. For someone who is used to living with friends, being thrown back into family living proved a little difficult too.
Though I faced many challenges, the highs more than outweigh the lows. I have learned so much over the past six weeks and have made unforgettable memories. I could write a novel on my experiences but I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, here’s a short and concise list of what I’ll miss most, and what I won’t.
I will miss:
The people I’ve met
Outdoor crafts markets
Cho chos and Chifles
Having my washing done for me
Fresh juice every day
Hanging around in antique shops
I won’t miss:
Making sure people know where I am ALL of the time