Greetings to All,
I profusely apologize the absence of communication in recent weeks. Things continue to go well here.
Academically speaking, I very much enjoy my Conservation Biology course and very much value all that I have learned. I do not care for my Spanish and history course as they are poorly instructed and unstimulating and unchallenging. Last week marked mid-term exams which were overall okay, I do not have any really negative remarks.
I have just over 4 weeks remaining in South America and as time progresses, I have experienced a lot of conflicting emotions that have made it all the more difficult to at times fully thrive here and furthermore healthily process my thoughts and experiences. I love Ecuador, its natural beauty is unparalleled and my experiences amidst such have enriched me more than I can articulate. However, my sources of dissatifaction have caused two emotional reactions: the first of which being my longing to travel more and immurse myself more deeply in Latin American culture, the other is a longing for familiarity and the life that I once identified as my reality in the States. My notion of reality has been PLEASANTLY and POSITIVELY redefined and challenged as a result of my experiences here. When I cite my desires to return to what is innatley familiar, I am also referencing a network and an experience that has always proved to be very validating. For example, I very much miss discussions with my mother, my professors, and my gender studies friends about feminist theory, politics, and social welfare and social justice issues--that is a positive network and a familiar experience that I miss and find nourishing. A familiarity that I have not been able to successfully recreate despite multiple attempts here with my family and friends. A source of comfort that truly feeds me and constructively occupies my mind.
I find the opportunity for deep, meaningful, reflective discussions to have occured minimally and furthermore the diligence to improve one's cultural competence to be even less so. My Spanish, although has experienced improvement has not reached the level of proficiency I desired upon entering this experience.
I have met tremendous people from areas of the United States and they have been, overall, great and have certainly has made my experience more colorful, memorable, heathily testing, and have helped me reached conclusions about myself, my character, and my ability as a student, woman, and a curious young person.
I have lost weight, 14 pounds, my hair has lightened considerably, my eye brows are thicker as a result of not having the vanity concerns to pluck them as religiously, my bras no longer fit correctly, and my skin is a darker pigment of beige, other than that I cannot YET cite however, monumental alterations that have occured to my personality or character...and I find that bothersome. Although I cannot fully identify why that is, I guess I can just simply narrow it to the conclusion being that when I entered into this journey I anticipated ungergoing more significant changes, positive changes. I fear that the self-betterment I struggle to create and nurture everyday has been stagnant or even more frighteningly has regressed. I have nothing to support that assertion, I am merely expressing what I have kept internalized and worrisomely pondered over for many weeks.
So, four weeks remaining...
Within these four weeks I have VERY exciting experiences occuring. My mother and my aunt Jackie are coming this Friday!!! I am so thrilled and extremely ecstatic to share with them my life here. My classes will wind down and the final two weeks will be spent in Peru.
I am happy. I really value this opportunity to externalize sentiments and reflections that have been circulating my mind and thank you for you interest in reading them.