18 Off A Gap Year: White

Honestly, re-entering the country has not been a fluid transition. From April 14th, the day my Global Citizen year ended, to today, I have been working to mend that gap between countries — mentally, physically, culturally, and (of course) financially.

Yesterday, June 7th, 2018, was the day I officially became an official Alumna by GCY protocol. I thought I would share some peculiar and silly in-between moments I had in my time re-adjusting back to the life I led before embarking on my year abroad.

The streets of Boston are not cobblestone. I have become accustomed to the beautiful, antique cobblestone streets of Cuenca. The GAD Municpal de Cuenca puts a lot of effort into maintaining these prided roads (to fruition, as Cuenca was deemed “Best Destination for Short Vacations in South America” at the World Travel Awards (WTA) ceremony in 2017). I love Boston, but potholes and highways just don’t compare.

The Charles is massive. Cuenca is known for its four rivers (the Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara rivers). They are magical. They are also a fraction of the size of the Charles.

Hot water?? From the sink?? Hot water is a luxury for showers, but for your everyday hand washing? Heavenly.

(Most of) My friends don’t speak Spanish. Nor do they bump Maluma/Ozuna/J Balvin/Bad Bunny/REGGAETON :(!! Rest assured. They are out there. I will find them, my Spanish speaking, Reggaeton blasting champs.

Foooooood :’) but also fooood :,( Oh, how I’ve missed sashimi and lasagna and jasmine rice and pho and coxinha and burritos! But a whole meal costs $10+ in the U.S!

My Fellows are far. People that used to live an hour by bus away now live an hour by plane away. Friends I saw everyday are now across the country, across the globe. We used to complain about living too damn far away from each other, but I’d take a bus ride over an ocean any day.

What now? For weeks after I left Ecuador and came home, this was the haunting question. What now? It was agonizing to think about a reality where I was not in my small home in Ricaurte, waking up everyday to new adventures and challenges. My goal then was to live and enjoy, to thrive. What now?

Now I am 18 off a gap year. I’ve spent countless nights trying to immortalize every birthday, every joke, every family member, every volleyball game into writing, paintings, playlists — but I’ve realized that I will never be there, be that version of me, again.

And that’s ok. Because I was there. I was me. I did that.

Ecuador was red, yellow, and orange. It was blue and green. It was pink. Now it’s time to tuck this finished piece of my life into my collection. And my canvas is white again.

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