This Is What Happened When I Studied Abroad In Ecuador
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This Is What Happened When I Studied Abroad In Ecuador

The frustrations and beauty of living in Ecuador.

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This Is What Happened When I Studied Abroad In Ecuador
Jessica Johanson

I traveled to a new country away from all the people who understand me best.

I conjugated Spanish verbs on the spot.

I lived with a mom, dad, and three siblings but it still didn't feel like a family.

I lost my independence.

I climbed a mountain that was a straight inclined upwards. With paths so narrow I could only walk with one foot in front of the other.

I learned to advocate for myself in a different language.

I danced.

I discovered Reggaeton.

I told myself I didn't like him.

I fell in love with him anyway.

I started texting more and changed my relationship from anti-technology.

I went to school for 8 hours only to go back to my homestay and do 6 more hours of work.

I questioned why the Ecuadorian meat industry was so prominent if there's the model of Buen Vivir.

I connected more to my vegan identity.

I saw the effects of the oil industry in the Amazon rainforest.

I became homesick for tofu.

I lost sight of who I thought I was.

I texted him more of my heart than anyone has ever known.

I was welcomed into open arms by strangers who cooked me the best Ecuadorian food: patacones with ají.

I drank too much wine.

I learned the Ecuadorian bus system.

I started budgeting.

I craved Mexican food.

I satisfied my Mexican craving in the charming, cobblestoned city of Cuenca. (Shoutout to El Santo in Centro Historico. 10/10.)

I found it difficult to relate to the people around me.

I realized the value of my friendships back home.

I lived on a farm that raises cows for meat.

I made friends with baby goats.

I was judged for being vegan and "not truly experiencing culture."

I fell asleep to raindrops on the rooftop.

I woke up to no running water.

I went vegetarian for Thanksgiving.

I got asked about China. Multiple times. (Most Ecuadorians couldn't fathom an Asian-American living in the U.S.)

I felt more connected than ever to my Asian roots.

I learned about the dilemma of economic development vs. environmental conservation.

I listened to stories of childhood, where hunger was commonplace and college and flying planes were meant for the movies.

I made coffee from bean to cup.

I started the screenplay that's been on my to-do list for a year.

I dreamt about loving an old friend yet again.

I became scared of returning to the U.S.

I found myself. Slowly, over and over.

I got mosquito bitten 125+ times.

I watched monkeys climb trees from the kitchen window.

I danced some more.

I learned to say no.

I said yes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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