I will be here in my ‘home town’ of Ecuador for less than a week longer. I actually cannot believe it–earlier this summer, when I was feeling a bit foundation-less, lonely, wondering what am I doing here!?? I couldn’t wait for this time to come. The time when I would turn in my project, say goodbye to my friends, family, and coworkers, and boogie on back to my more-in-the-box less challenging stateside existence.
But yesterday, I started to get a funny feeling in my stomach. And my mind started to feel a little bit heavy, and a random jumble of thoughts started tumbling around in there, combining with some uncertain emotions making laps around the rest of my body. And as my project is 99% written I was struck with a momentary panic of . . . what do I do now?
I began to realize how soon I’m leaving when my host mom showed me an invitation for my host sister to participate in a pageant. It’s the Saturday after I leave, and when I told her I wouldn’t be here, her whole body was just kind of jolted into a stillness that prompted her to just stand by my chair for a good long while. In that moment, she realized how soon it would be too.
And yesterday, when our whole extended family was roasting a big pig to sell, and I made a few different types of banana cookies to share with the group who was butchering, and roasting, and stirring and cleaning and making plates of food and stuffing intestines for sausages . . . an older cousin told me to let her know when I would be teaching them how to make everything I’ve cooked while I’ve been here.
On my jog, I looked at all the sites along my favorite route that I somehow take for granted, even though I promised myself when I first got here that I would never be able to look at the beauty of this place without awe and appreciation. And I realized that I have to take a walkabout this week to take photos of everything that has been such a part of my daily life it hasn’t merited a photo before. My workplace. My jogging route. My walk to the river. Our park. Our main street. This contemplation prompted me to take photos of my kitchen yesterday while I was alone in the house, making the cookies. And then a photo of our street. And while I know I don’t need all of the photos of daily life, as I put it, I think my desire to capture it is a way I’m grasping with the knowledge that I leave so soon.
This weekend, I’m going to Cuenca to visit some friends. I get back Sunday, and am planning to leave either on Thursday or Friday to either spend some time on the coast, or go to Coca to visit another dear amiga. I have to think now about packing–what I will leave, what I will take. I need to think about gifts for my family. I have to plan all of my goodbyes, the part I wish I could just skip, sneaking out silently without a big fuss. I come home in TWELVE days, and I could not be more excited to see my family and begin preparing to leave for Spain. But I am also sad to say goodbye to my home and family in Ecuador.
When you leave an important place, how do you say goodbye?
Do you have any big life changes happening right now? How are you coping with them?