I'm now into the 7th month here in Ecuador and already on the downward slope. It'd be cliche to say the time has flown by, but it would be the truth nonetheless. Just the other day I came to the realization that I'm probably set in the friends that I now have, and it'd be unlikely for me to have too many more crazy adventures. It's a weird feeling to know that there's still so much time until I leave, but to simultaneously know that it's not long at all, and the amount of time I've already spent here outshines the remainder.
So I'm trying to figure out now if I'm slowing down in what I do here. Lately I've been hanging out with some of my American friends. I'm not sure if it's more frequently than with my Ecuadorian friends, but it's definitely increased, partly as a result of having visitors to Cuenca. But I can definitely feel a little bit burnt out at the moment on some of the cultural activities that I've delved into thus far. I'm not completely done with it, but it's more like I need a breather. And I'm sure that once the time gets closer to leave, I'll be wishing there was more time for it.
But it's human nature to get a little sick and tired of what you're doing when it's so consistent. In terms of the program I'm in, my group is now part of the old timers, which is another scary thought. A new March group has arrived and has taken the role of newbies experiencing things for the first time. Though my friends and I have been here long enough to know what's going on, there's still so much more to see and learn.
In regards to travel in the country, I've seen almost every region and major area. Though I still haven't been deep into the jungle, I've been to the Galapagos, the coast, and the sierra. I've ridden on buses and eaten the local food and danced with the best of them. And I guess what it all comes down to is that the novelty of it has worn off, and now it just feels like I'm living somewhere, rather than living somewhere new for the first time.
Sometimes it feels like I'm just coasting through my time here and living it out, but I know that I've done more than just breeze through it all. Yet I still can't help but think that in just a few months it will be my turn to leave and I'll be left wondering what it was all about. It's also a struggle now telling the friends I've made here when I'm leaving, because it almost limits our friendship and creates a barrier. It's harder to form stronger bonds when it's clear that I won't be around forever.
There's still more to see and experience, but for the most part I think I get it. I still want to get out there and make new friends, even if it will be harder with a clear departure date. But whether or not friends can be made isn't entirely up to me. But I suppose this is what it's really like in the real world. All my life has been dealt with in stages. You go to school for a few months until vacation, then more until summer. 4 years of high school. 4 years of college. And now a year in Ecuador.
These are clear cut paths that have a definite end in sight. And though I plan to move on to Argentina for another year, and maybe after that to grad school for another 2 or 3 years, it's clear now that not much else in life is as simple. You get a job and hope it lasts for as long as you want it. So you deal with your situation and look on towards something else. I'm just hoping I can continue to look forward while enjoying and appreciating my time here in Ecuador.