I have always loved Oregon. It has everything, little towns, cities, mountains to hike, forests to explore, beaches to wander and most importantly friends and family. I have often wondered these past weeks why I would ever want to leave a place like this? At the moment I don’t have a good answer to that question other than I have a feeling I need to step away for a little while in order to grow. What once seemed an unreachable distance away has finally arrived; I’m leaving for Ecuador to intern abroad.
While in Ecuador I will be interning with a different organization each month, the first involves working with children in local markets to provide them the opportunity to learn, practice social skills and play. The second has me working in an orphanage in Northern Quito where I hope to develop a self concept curriculum for the kids as learn from them in turn. Finally I will be living and working in a special needs orphanage in Latacunga full time with no English assistance and full Spanish immersion. I am so excited for this adventure because I will get to work with kids for a full three months and cross paths with people thousands of miles away! These past two years at WOU, I have had the chance to work with kids in Central America, Africa, India and now South America. Each of my previous experiences has taught me valuable lessons about life and who I am, and in time I will find out how this upcoming trip will impact me.
My sister Michelle got me a sign for Christmas that reads, “Expect nothing, Appreciate everything”. That’s how I am looking at this experience and am trying to let those words guide my life a little more. I appreciate everything I have experienced, the good and the bad yet sometimes I cant help but spend hours contemplating situations and how I want the future to play out. While I believe a little day dreaming is good for a person I have come to realize no matter how much I want something to happen a certain way, there is no use planning your future. Life will happen, I will enjoy it, and act when the moment arrives. I have truly loved these last 2 weeks at home with family and friends. I got to talk with my brother, hike with my friends, and spend a day at the beach with a lovely lady. Yet if things had gone “according to plan”, I would have had none of these experiences, as I had planned on working in Honduras for the weeks leading up to Ecuador. Life happened, and I got sick upon returning from India and had to stay home. What a blessing that turned out to be. With that in mind, I step away from what I know and love, and enter the unknown prepared to expect nothing and appreciate everything.