Just like that I have come upon my final week in Quito. Unbelievable how fast the past month has gone, I guess its true, time flies when you’re having fun! This final week was chalked full of events and plans that I feel contributed to the quick passing of time. Events like my host sisters 24th birthday where the whole family came over and prepared an outrageous amount of food. Or the night of my host fathers birthday where we met his entire side of the family in this mansion of a house and danced from 6-11 pm, ate dinner then danced till 1 am after that! The importance of a close knit family gathering is very high within the culture here and its amazing how nice it all feels. Back home my immediate family is very close, but when it comes to extended family I maybe see them twice a year. Even if life is hectic, they make sure to carve out time to reunite with one another as much as possible. I would like to implement this practice upon my return home with my extended family but also my immediate family and friends as well. In the past there were always times where I felt certain objectives were more important than a walk with a friend or listening to how my mom’s day was. But now I have truly come to understand that so many of our “important” objectives are really what should take the backseat in life.
While I am excited to move out of the big city and live in the small rural community of Latacunga for the next month, the sadness of having to leave “my” babies at the children’s home has been pretty strong. I say “my” babies because obviously they are not my children but I truly care for them as if they were. It has been such an amazing experience and blessing to spend a bit of my time in their lives and I only wish I could give them more. Its amazing how fast attachments can develop and that their little brains recognize my face after only one month. I knew this would be the hardest part of my experience and so far I haven’t been wrong as it felt like just yesterday I was walking into the toddler room for the first time, or meeting Esteven and trying to get him to go back to sleep when he was not ready for nap time. I will never forget some of the moments I experienced here, from feeding a two month old baby a bottle in a silent room, to talking with the Tia’s about their lives and the work they do on a regular basis. I’ve experienced joy when I find out a child will be getting adopted, yet have seen the sadness in the eyes of those that remain behind, passed over once again. Another reminder that for every good thing in life, there is a bad, and vice versa. I realize that harnessing the understanding of this concept will be crucial in the years to come as I plan on working to ease and prevent hardships faced by others. Its been one thing to learn about problems facing parentless children in class but a completely different experience to see it and live with it first hand. I have grown so much the past month and cant wait to see where I stand one month down the road. One thing is for sure, I will be visiting my friends, family, and babies in North Quito again before I go home!