One Week To Go

We write this with a mixture of sadness and excitement…ONLY ONE WEEK until we leave to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers (technically Trainees) in Ecuador. Here are a few things we’re excited about.

Paul is excited about…

Meeting new people, making new friends, learning a new language, and discovering new food.

I am excited to meet new friends, start the three-month training, and see our site for the first time (the place we will spend the next 2 years). While we are training together in Tumbaco, we will have separate technical trainings as Mari will be working in Environmental Education and I in Business Advising. That means that together we can learn twice as much!

Most of all, I am excited about the small things that fall in between. Imagining what orientation will be like on the trip to Dallas, chatting with other trainees between sessions, waiting in line to receive our new passports, participating in structured icebreaker activities in a conference center, looking out the window of our plane to see Ecuador for this first time, and making an introduction in Spanish to our host family.

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Mari is excited about…

Making friends—we’ve already made acquaintances with over 20 people in our training class through Facebook and I’m looking forward to meeting Ecuadorian educators, our host families, and of course kids!

Dreaming in Spanish—Spanish was technically my first language but since we didn’t speak Spanish at home, English has become my mother tongue. I’ve relearned the language through classes and traveling around Latin America. Although it happens on occasion, I’m looking forward to getting to the point where I dream again each night in Spanish.

Being humbled—as much as I try to appreciate all of the advantages and resources I have at my disposal, it’s difficult to keep things in perspective when I’m comfortable. I like being uncomfortable because it forces me to stretch myself, to be creative, to be patient, and to practice empathy.

Curiosity—while some may think it killed the cat, I think that curiosity is not only natural but productive. I am curious about how people live, how they learn, and how they interact within their environment according to their individual contexts. I know that our community, students, trainers, and even the man or woman on the street is going to be curious about us, too. It will be an opportunity for us to educate and to be educated.

Taking photographs—this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me. Photography is one of the ways in which I communicate with the world but also a major way that I process and understand the world around me.

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