Spending two years of my life in a small town in Kentucky, learning English and learning to adapt to a whole different place was no easy task. I learned that my own perception of my country was completely insignificant in such a big nation like the United States. I learned there are some many other little “worlds” besides my little Ecuadorian reality. I also learned that I missed and appreciated my country so much more once I left it.
Now that I am an adult, my perception has not changed much. I have verified once more how tiny and irrelevant my country is to many other people and how much I don´t know about other countries and cultures. In fact, the most precious experience that I take with me back home is the people I have met. I have had the opportunity to come together with people from all kinds of different backgrounds. I have learned so much about them and through them I have also learned a lot about myself.
In terms of homesickness, it is true that when you lose something, you get a real sense of how important it is to you. This trip has made me realize how much I love my family, my country, my culture and the food. It may sound cliché but I think it is true. It is crucial to count one´s blessings!
If you have the chance to get out of your bubble and travel or study abroad, do it! These types of experiences make you grow in so many ways! Like we say in Spanish, “moverte el piso” or shifting your ground is an excellent way of learning about yourself, cultivating adaptation skills and patience, knowing your limits, opening your mind, exploring and breaking stereotypes and letting go of things. One of the biggest lessons I have learned during this trip is that although you might think you have everything under control, things happen unexpectedly. The great thing about living these scary experiences alone in a foreign country is that you have no other choice than to push yourself into finding solutions on your own. You not only have to trust yourself and your decisions but, you really get to know who you are.
A friend of mine used to say that we worry too much about having a specific goal or destination or getting somewhere when we are traveling, when the brilliance of traveling is found on living every moment of the trip itself.
Adeus, adeus, boa viagem!
¡Buen viaje, buena suerte, see you in another life!