In an effort to avoid the topic of programs and Manna, I’ll quickly summarize my role here in Ecuador: I’m tight with the Ministry of Health, I idolize Billy Blanks, and I love to hang out with hormonal Ecuadorian teens.
Each volunteer has his or her own set of bizarre quirks that has helped distinguish us from one another. But it is these same quirks that keep us grounded and connected to our lives in the U.S. I love travel, and I think that every person, at least once, should force themselves out of their comfort-zone in order to experience a new environment, cultural or ecological. I could argue that living in a house of 10, with only one other companion from the Northeast, has been more “culturally shocking” than actually moving my life to Ecuador. While I sometimes find myself explaining the mechanism behind Fresh Direct to my housemates, and desperately missing the fast-paced, fashion-obsessed New York City lifestyle, these distinct ties to my upbringing help me feel more at home in this foreign country. Everything that I brought with me to Ecuador -- be it personal experience, an epic DVD collection, or Yankees pajama pants -- has given me strength and made me more comfortable and capable in my new environment.