It is Sunday afternoon and I find myself looking out my front door onto the Andes Mountain as a breeze passes through. An empty glass, which once held a strawberry/pineapple batido (smoothie w/ milk), is next to my iPad. Chris Brown is singing about autumn leaves. El Comercio periodico (newspaper) awaits me and my dictionary. A stray dog is wandering about campus. And this is how My Second American Life begins.
I have been in Ecuador all of four days. My plane from Los Angeles via Atlanta landed about midnight of Nov. 4 (I left my mom’s house in. L.A. at about 4am that day). I didn’t know what to expect, except I was going to be part of a social solution to help Ecuadorians help themselves. But having this uncertainty, which weighed heavier than all my luggage, is exactly how I landed in Ecuador the first time. In summer 2009, I accepted a teaching position in southern Ecuador and consequently took a plane ride to a place I knew nothing about– Loja. This may sound strange and slightly abnormal (I know it does to my family, lol), but this is my life abroad as an ESL/EFL teacher: find a job online, research it enough to know it will be safe to live/work there, hop on a plane and begin a new life in a new place with new people in hopes of becoming a better person and learning more about life.
And what I have learned since taking a midnight ride from Quito’s new and fab airport through the dark Andes on a curvy road with a speedy Gonzales driver to Vegas-like-bright city, Yachay, is that all of my life experiences have prepared me for this moment. Now is my time to cease my highest potential of self if I am willing to follow my instincts, take a bigger leap of faith and stand alone.