I’ve been back home for about two weeks now. It was great to see my family again, especially my dog. This painting is for my two dogs – Chantilly (Chanty) in Quito, a high-energy terrier; and Java in Brooklyn, a lazy, yet absolutely adorable, pug-beagle mix.
The first couple of days were completely surreal – I wasn’t sure if being back in New York was a dream, or if my whole time in Ecuador was a dream. However, reality soon set back in.
I made the mistake of going to a good friend’s house the day after I got back. I started practically every sentence with “When I was in Ecuador…” or “In Ecuador, they…,” and felt a bit obnoxious for doing so. However, Ecuador was my life for five months, and I recognize that.
I talked to a friend from the program recently, and we discussed what we missed and didn’t miss from Ecuador. Our host families (miss), the Ecovía (don’t miss), pan de yuca (miss), rice (don’t miss), and all of our favorite cafes, ice cream shops, and restaurants (miss, miss, miss).
It’s still pretty weird to be back in the U.S., and I know it will be an adjustment once I get back to school. I think its important not to idealize your study abroad experience, but take it as is. I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life in Ecuador, and some of the worst. Ecuador was definitely not the easiest place for me to spend five months abroad, and it certainly tested me in that respect. But as a result, I’ve grown a lot and learned about how to see the good in the bad. I love Ecuador, and as soon as I have some of my own money, I’ll be back.
Bonus shot of my materials for this blog:
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<p>I'm Oonagh (ooh-nah), a junior at Grinnell College, and a Political Science major who fancies herself an occasional artist and a lifelong doodler. I'm very excited and mildly terrified to start my stay in Quito, but I'm very much looking forward to immersing myself in the language and culture.</p>