This is My Story, Part 6, and I would love for you to read it. If you haven’t been with me since the beginning, I would greatly appreaciate it if you started with Part 1, http://blog.craftycutie.com/my-story/the-beginning-of-my-story It is this very special first post that inspired me to share my difficult but triumphant story.
Although I was miserable and dying on the inside, at least I was having fun, living on the outside. In this new place everything was different and unfamiliar, every choice I made required thought and a shift in mindset.
It was difficult living in Ecuador, but it became clear why I was there. I needed to reevaluate my actions and keep myself from repeating them. I had to come up with evidence that showed I was good enough to go home.
In the meantime, I attended an all girls school run by nuns. I took my sweet time, literally, eating pastries the nuns made, while figuring out how to get back home. I barely spoke the language, so it was difficult and confusing.
Trying to make friends at this new school was excruciating. My dad was in the Navy, so moving every four years had led me to perfect my friend making skills. It was all about confidence and finding a common interest.
Well, this situation was like none other I had encountered. I barely understood the language. Being unable to communicate caused me to loose all confidence. I had a hard time finding things in common with anyone.
I was living in a completely different culture. The way of life, especially where I was living in Ecuador was foreign as well. It was a little town, named Pifo where time moved slowly and there wasn’t much to do.
While there wasn’t much to do, there were many to love and be loved by. I enjoyed watching my aunt, uncle and cousins live their lives and learned a lot from each one of them. They taught me to be more compassionate.
My aunt woke up early every morning, walked to get fresh milk from a cow. She also bought other groceries for the day, from local families on her way back home. She boiled the milk, and made juice from fresh fruits.
This woman loved with all she had. My Tia dedicated every part of her being to her family. She had no regrets about doing so either. Her life was hard, it was exhausting, but she lived it every day without complaining.
She was amazing, and so was my uncle, mi Tio Jose. When I think back to what I remember the most about him, it’s complicated. He was such an interesting human being with an even temper and hunger for knowledge.
The man was and is brilliant, but simple. I really appreciate that about him, now even more so than I did then. He worked hard at a fish hatchery, doing things I obviously wasn’t interested in at the time, since I can’t remember.
My uncle, also loved his family deeply. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed poking at my Tia, who was the more serious of the two. He enjoyed living and loving others, including his dog, who’s name I believe was Puppy.
His interests were extremely broad, including all of the news and politics of the United States. Even though we only had one tiny, maybe 12 inch t.v. in the house, it didn’t matter because he was my personal news anchor.
My two cousins Liliana, and her little sister Claudia were my angels. This is funny, because that is what my uncle always called me. What is also interesting is that their dynamic, resembles that of my sister and I.
Much like myself, Liliana was fearless and strong. She was a little rebellious, but in an intellectual way. She liked to push the boundaries just ever so slightly while still remaining grounded.
She was tough, and stood up for herself no matter what. She had a voice and she wasn’t afraid to use it. I loved seeing her confidence and felt right at home when I was around her. I knew together we were invincible.
This was the same feeling I had felt around my friends in Springfield, Virginia. My cousin Liliana was the one thing reminding me of who I was, and who I wanted to get back to being in America. I connected with her.
She immediately took me under her wing and kept me there until the day I flew back home. Everything she did, she went out of her way to include me in. She knew how to have fun, laugh and live and I soaked it all in.
I appreciated her balance between fun and academic studies. I was impressed by how she lived a little on the wild side, but remained focused on her goals. She worked hard to succeed in school and achieved her best.
My little cousin Claudia, she will be even more difficult to describe than my uncle. I think in part because I could sum her up with one word, “perfect”, but thats not enough of a tribute for someone of her character.
Okay, so much like my sister, who I would also describe as”perfect”, well mostly, this girl did everything right. She followed the rules, walked a straight line and even tried steering her sister in the right direction.
She studied hard, got excellent grades, and all her teachers loved her. At a young age she knew exactly what she wanted to study and the career she would go into. She was on her way to success and no one could stop her.
I guess, when it comes to her, the thing I remember most, is her tender heart. She had and I’m sure still has, an incredibly considerate and compassionate heart. She stood up for the meek, and what she believed.
This will conclude my Ecuador story, as I feel I have shared what is most important to me. Through telling this part of my story I have learned that memories are built on shared moments with others, not just the experience.
I also believe showing gratitude is crucial. Thank you for listening and sharing in my moments of reflection. My hope is that you also will be able to take time to reflect on your past and learn from all of your experiences.
Wishing you smiles and sunshine,