Closing Time?

For many volunteers, End of Service is a mixed-bag of emotions: excitement at the prospect of returning home, sadness at the thought of leaving students, new friends, and host-families behind, and optimism for the next adventure on the horizon. For some, however, this next adventure is not so far away. Some volunteers feel like their work is not yet done, and make the decision to remain in-country, either extending their service as a WorldTeach volunteer, or finding employment elsewhere.

In this post, Olivia, an Ecuador Year volunteer, reflects on the past 10 months of her service in Quito, and reveals some exciting news: she will be extending her stay in Ecuador for another year!

"I find myself in a lot of looking-out-of-windows situations here in Ecuador, and more often than not my thoughts are steered toward how lucky I am to be looking out on whatever it is I am looking out on:

-Driving to the jungle in Puyo from Banos, the wind delivering through the open windows the scent of rain falling and fallen, the sun still shining in patches through the thick clouds, differentiating the already varied colors of Ecuadorian green. 

-Sitting on the brief plane ride to Lago Agrio, three volcanoes in sight, and knowing on a clearer day there would be more.

-Hitchhiking in the back of a truck next to four sheep, winding through the highlands of Ecuador.

-Riding in a motorized canoe through Cuyabeno reserve, one hand resting on the side of the boat, getting sprayed lightly with water, passing indigenous villages and full greenery.

The list goes on and on and on. I let my thoughts take me away, but I guess my thoughts aren't very diverse, because they always seem to float back to gratitude. Thinking of how I ended up in this country, with these opportunities, makes me feel so grateful for my life. So, thanks to my parents who have been nothing but supportive, and to my grandfather who helped so much with my education. Many people in Ecuador ask me, well, are your parents freaking out that you are here? Do they beg for you to come home? And I have to answer no, because they are as excited as I am about my experience here. This is starting to sound like an award acceptance speech, so I'll cut it out.

With  all that aside, and although many of you already know this, it's official---I've decided to stay here in Ecualand for the next year.

It's mostly because of the Spanish. Seeing how my Spanish has improved in the past 10 months makes me excited to stick around and see how it'll change if I give it another year. Also, I have no idea what I'm going to do when I grow up, so I figure this is a valuable way to spend some time while I figure it out.
So  yay, Ecuador! I'll be coming home in five days for a few months, and will return here late September to start teaching at an institution called CEC in October. Exciting! Book your visits for next year!"


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