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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.

View from my front door in the student dorms.

View from my front door in the student dorms.

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.

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One of the student living areas. These "homes" used to be the old houses of workers of the old sugar plantation, which is now Yachay.

One of the student living areas. These “homes” used to be the old houses of workers of the old sugar plantation, which is now Yachay.

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.

My new workout area.

My new workout area.

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