As I sit here in front of my computer, this being my final few hours here in Ecuador, I begin to realize, what this trip has done for me, and the people around me. I applied to go onto this program, with the advice of a professor, at the time I really did not know why I wanted to go to Ecuador, except, that it sounded like a really interesting place, and it was going be free. I never honestly expected to get in, and when I did I was really wasnt sure, if I wanted to give up a month out of my summer, to go to a country, with a group of people, whom I knew only faces but never really talked to, in a country where I could hardly communicate. Once again I listened to the advice of a friend, who kept telling me this was a once and a lifetime experience, and I should take advantage of it. Well I did and here I am.
On the plane ride from Houston to Quito, I kept having the same thoughts, how was I ever going to communicate with my host family, and how was I possibly going to enjoy a place where I knew no one. My first concern was erased when I met my host family and learned that they were fluent in English. The other doubt was erased as well, in the coming weeks, This group of strangers, would become a group of people, that I literally climbed mountains with, hiked through cloud forest, rainforest, and coastal regions with, and a group that at night we would go to the clubs and have a great time with.
Living with my host family was an experience within an experience. My apartment in Quito, became my home. It was a place I always looked forward to returning to after trips. I knew that there would always be a good meal, and a warm bed to sleep in. During my month here, I became part of the family, I went to soccer games, birthday parties, and other various family activities. However, the one thing that sticks out in my mind, would be learning, that my mother here, was the daughter of the ex president of Ecuador. It was even more amazing that I was able to go over his house, smoke cigars with him, talk politics and even watch the Indianapolis 500 with him.
As I stair out of my window, and gaze at the streets of Quito for the final time, I realize that by going on this trip, I have learned so much, not only about Ecuador and the people that live here by about myself as well. I have realized that no mater what happens in life, you always need to take chances, because who knows, sometime you might be gazing out over a city and realize that this world is too big and too diverse to sit at home and wonder what if.