So I’m Home, Now What?

Kathryn Elms

Major: Organizational Communication

Program: Spanish in Quito, Ecuador

Flying home, I had a layover in Miami before arriving at O’hare airport in Chicago. My brother met me at the airport around 8:30 pm, and we were able to catch up while waiting for my luggage. We left O’hare around midnight, and arrived home around 2:30 in the morning. I had been awake for around 48 hours. When I woke up the next morning, it felt like nothing had changed.

I’ve been home now for a few weeks, and I’m completely settled back into the routine of normal life. The week after I returned felt strange, though I’m fortunate that culture shock didn’t hit me too badly. I had to readjust to the food here (and all the digestional issues that came with it) and get used to not having the same 7 people around constantly. And I had to get used to English being the primary language spoken. I had been surprised after I landed in Miami, to hear Spanish spoken all around me. In Hickory Corners, Michigan, not so much. But by now, the feeling of being in Quito has faded, and although I have some very strong memories of Ecuador, I’ve settled back into the rhythm of being home.

Now, the most important thing to me is finding a way to keep hold of the memories, good and bad, breathtakingly beautiful and ugly. I have plans to make a scrapbook, and some poems I wrote while I was in Ecuador. I also enjoyed sharing my trip with family and friends, by forcing them to sit down and enjoy all of the pictures I took while we were there, and by sharing the artisanal chocolate I’d brought back. It’s important to remember my trip in a good light, and to reflect on how I changed over the course of it. 7 weeks was never going to be enough time, but Ecuador was an easy country to exist in for someone like me, who had never been out of the country. They share the US dollar. The people are friendly and forgiving of Spanish-learners.

I see Ecuador as a really good place to start travelling, and I can’t wait until my next adventure!

We saw many beautiful handicrafts while we were in Otavalo, visiting a local artisan market. Markets just like it spring up all over Ecuador. Good thing it was nice and green when I got back, or I would have missed the color terribly!




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