Well, my bags are (almost) packed and I am (almost) ready to go. Just four more hours, and I will be on my way! The last few days have been such an overwhelming mixture of emotions that I almost feel numb at this point. I don´t want to say anymore goodbyes. I don´t want to try to shove another thing into my suitcase. I don´t want to check one more thing off my to-do list. I don´t even want one more agonizing hug from my beloved children. I do, however, want to take this one last chance to reflect on the past 49 weeks.
I came to El Centro del Muchacho Trabajador to make a difference, to help, and to contribute to the world. Naturally, I have come away with so much more than I could ever possibly have given. These people, living a lifestyle you and I cannot begin to imagine, have shown me daily what it means to truly give, to love unconditionally, to trust without doubt, to have patience and understanding, to be selfless, and to find joy in what really matters.
I have experienced emotions to extremes that I never thought possible. I have never felt joy and love and happiness like I have here, and I have never felt frustration, exhaustion, and uncertainty like I have here.
My sister sent me this quote after I first arrived in Ecuador, and since I am struggling to find the right words at this moment, I will borrow Alan´s...
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting. For in movement there is life, and in change there is power. - Alan Cohen
I left the comfort and familiarity of Minnesota and came to Ecuador. I have experienced the adventurous and exciting, and I have felt the movement and the change. I have fallen in love with the people, I´ve become part of the culture. Now Ecuador has become home, and it´s time to return to the life I once knew, to embrace what will no longer feel so familiar, and to look ahead to what is next.
My year in Ecuador has come to a close. I am leaving a family behind, some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I know for a fact that the memories I have gathered here...the feeling of Luz Clara´s little arms around my neck, the tears in Ana´s eyes, the sound of Jenny´s giggle, the agony in Rosa´s voice as she wonders how she will make ends meet, the voice of Vicky screaming my name when I walk in the door, the sounds of each unique set of my housemates´ footsteps that I have come to know so well...they will be with me forever. And I pray to God that I have left just a fraction of a memory with each one of them.
Thank you all for the endless support you have shown over the past year - the letters, the phone calls, the packages, the emails, the thoughts and prayers. I truly am one blessed girl.
See you tomorrow.