2017 is an interesting time to be alive. We live in a time period with many conveniences and advancements, but also many complicated issues. If I had been living in Ecuador 100 years ago, or even 25 years ago for that matter, communication with my American friends and family would have been much more difficult. I would not be able to talk to them on a regular basis without all of the amazing technological advancements we have today (email, FaceTime, long distance phone calls, etc.). Another huge blessing is the medical care and facilities we have nowadays. There has not been a generation before us with as much medicinal and surgical treatments. However, we also face unique struggles in this 21st century. We unfortunately live in an era where mass shootings, widespread discrimination and fear, and disunity are all too common. We never know what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day.
Just like the world around me, I have also felt that my life itself has been very uncertain lately. In fact, the only thing I ever know for sure is that I cannot expect what will happen next. I have been worried about what is going to happen here in Ecuador and in the United States based on recent current events. I was also very worried about receiving my site assignment 2 weeks ago. Ecuador is generally speaking a very small country, but it is also one of the most diverse countries. Therefore, site placement is a very big deal because there are a wide variety of places that we can possibly live for the 2 years we serve as volunteers. Everyone was very nervous leading up to the day we found out our sites. During the presentation, they would announce a site and then make all of us stand up. They would rattle off facts about the person going to the site, and we would sit down when one of the facts did not match us. Since I was one of the final four trainees to receive my site, the suspense was killing me. When I finally found out that I would be serving in Latacunga, a small city in the Sierra (mountainous region), I was very excited to finally know where I was going to be living. It was not the first place I would have picked to be my site, but I was overall very happy with the outcome.
After finally knowing the city I would be living in and meeting my host family and school, I felt a wave of calmness rush over me. All of my irrational fears were less likely to come in to fruition now, and I am very thankful to be living in a community that needs me so much and welcomes me so warmly. Now that I have less to worry about, I realize that I was never doing myself any good by worrying anyways. Throughout college and the months since graduation, I have constantly stressed myself out about always trying to be as close to perfect as I can be at everything. However, we really aren’t supposed to be perfect at all. Since moving to Ecuador, I have started to relax a little more (but I still have a long way to go). No matter how much we worry, it won’t change any situation in the slightest. All worrying really does is cause us to be less confident in our own abilities to survive anything that is thrown our way.
The other day, one of my friends shared a funny quote with me that I felt I could relate to: “The human body is 90% water, so we are basically just cucumbers with anxiety.” However, we are so much more than just water and anxiety. We are intelligent and courageous, strong and caring, and most importantly, unique. Each of us faces our own individual problems in our own unique ways, but we are all the same in that we have the capability to survive any uncertainty. I know that I will swear in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer on Friday, but I have no idea how my service will go. All I know is that my next 2 years in Latacunga are going to be full of uncertainties, but I am certain that I am ready to face them one day at a time.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”