January 17, 2013
Big news! I've finally returned to the northern hemisphere!
Just to give you quick a re-cap, I spent Christmas break in the Amazon jungle with my family. I also got to show them a glimpse of my world in Quito and take them to the market town of Otavalo. But to my surprise, even after my dreading and crying over leaving my new favorite place, coming back to a warm home with Christmas decorations, festive music, gingerbread cookies and talking and cooking and singing with family again never felt better.
The first morning I was back at home in New Jersey sipping my coffee and reading a novel for the Jterm class that was about to begin, I realized how right it felt to be back. That warm, happy feeling that re-assuredly passes through you as you take in home for the first time in a long time, the fact that friends back at school awaited me with equal excitement...Those feelings helped me to get over leaving Ecuador.
When the bus finally arrived that first night back at Luther, my heart pounded relentlessly in my chest. I could see my little 'welcome wagon' waiting for me outside: my Luther loves, before me at last! I hadn't seen any of these people for seven months! Would it be weird to see them again? Had we all stayed the same? Would it be uncomfortable? It was like a first date in High School all over again! But the moment they came running after me, attacking me with hugs and hats and scarves and mittens, I knew not a thing had changed.
The next morning, Luther, even at the ungodly temperature of -20, sparkled. The birds flew right over me as if to entertain just me, putting on a show, to welcome me back, and I basked in all of this scenery's beauty, realizing how much I'd missed it.
So far, I have spent most of Jterm lying on my couch reading wonderful novels for my Paideia II course, socializing with new people, decorating my cluster and working hard at frisbee practice. Funny, those were precisely my goals for the term, and I seem to be achieving all of them so far!
Sure, I fall into moments where all I want to do is transport back to my house in Quito and have just one more conversation with my host father, take one more stroll through the centro histórico, drive through one more valley surrounded by vast mountains, eat one more dish with humitas, but then I remind myself that what I have here is great too, and that when I said goodbye to my host family and all the other friends I'd made, it wasn't a goodbye - it was just a see-you-later.