This morning I woke up and I realized that in 72 hours, I will be on a plane back to Oregon. That realization was bittersweet. I am very ready to be back in Oregon, eat solid yogurt, and see my parents. However, I’m realizing how much I’m going to miss being in new places, exploring, and spending time with new friends.
We spent the last two days in Otavalo presenting our final projects. It was awesome to hear about some of the incredible things that my classmates had studied, everything from macroinvertebrates to primate behavior.
I also spent the last couple days laughing about pretty much everything. During the past month, I only saw a couple people from the program because we were scattered throughout the country. It was great to see everybody, swap funny stories, and share some frustrations about our projects.
This afternoon we returned to Quito. Tomorrow we have a final Spanish exam, one-on-ones with our Academic Director, and a re-entry session. On Friday all of the students will meet for lunch with our professors for a final lunch, and then we are done! I’m hoping to squeeze in a trip to Mitad de Mundo (middle of the world), a super touristy site at the equator. I’ve driven past it several times but haven’t had the chance to take an obligatory equator pic yet. I also am planning to buy a large amount of Ecuadorian chocolate to bring back with me. Ecuadorian chocolate is absolutely delicious!
I’m staying at the same hostel we stayed at during orientation week. It feels surreal to be walking the same halls and eating in the same room as we did 3.5 months ago. So much has changed, but at the same time everything feels the same. This dichotomy has characterized the last week for me. I feel different, but I am still the same person. Our program group dynamics feel different, but we are all the same people. The city of Quito looks, feels, and smells different, but nothing has actually changed.
Many more stories and reflections to come after I get back to Oregon- the last couple of days have worn me out!