Hola a todos!
This week was extremely relaxed. I had no tests, barely any homework, and really no major plans. Having a week to just recharge has been refreshing, but also challenging. If life in Ecuador is teaching me anything, it is how to be more “chill”. As a person who thrives off of structure, punctuality, and full agendas, this laid-back way of life still throws me off. If I could describe the feel of life in Ecuador, I would say that life is not about what you accomplish in a day, but who you spend your time with. It’s very people-oriented, rather than than task-oriented.
Since this is a people-focused culture, time loses its power. If we are late to this, it is fine. If we can’t visit everything on a trip, no worries. It is all about the experience of being with the people you care about, regardless of how time is functioning. Even being here for seven weeks now, I still struggle with this lack of structure. I’m the annoying person who wants to see and do everything on trips. I get impatient if we run late or can’t check off all the sights that we had planned to see. In my day to day life, to combat the lack of structure, I create it myself by working out, studying for the MCAT, even blogging. If my day feels full, I feel accomplished.
I clearly see how detrimental this mentality can be. I can get so sucked into doing things that I’m not really enjoying the day, I’m just mechanically moving through the day in order to check off my to-do list. If I’m so focused and structured, I can miss out on the spontaneous moments with friends and family that form the memories I treasure the most. That’s why I’m so grateful to be in Ecuador—to receive a lesson on truly living.
So this week, instead of going stir crazy with the lack of stuff to do, I found ways to enjoy the lack of structure—I got lunch with Estefanny, my friend from Ecuador, talked to friends from home, and most importantly, I started reading a book just for fun, and now I’m obsessed. You will find me reading just about anywhere simply because I want to.
I still struggle with adjusting to this lifestyle, but this challenge couldn’t come at a better time. After I get back to the States, I’ll be thrown into real school again, with the bonus of trying to prepare for medical school. I don’t want my agenda to rule my life; I want prioritize time for my family and friends because they mean more to me than any “productive” day could offer.
Even though it is uncomfortable to change the way I’ve always lived, I’m so thankful for this semester in Ecuador to challenge me to stop thinking of my time as solely quantitative, but rather to give precedence to doing the things I love with the people I love.