“A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.” –William G.T. Shedd
Kayakama (Kah-Ya-Kah-Ma): Kichwa word for “See you again”, because Kichwa has no official terminology for “Good bye”.
5 days ago, all of us set out on a new journey.
There’s no itinerary for this new trip, and it’s going to last longer than the 2 weeks we spent living together.
Our next destination is not the Salinas, or San Juan de Llullundongo. Nor is it Guaranda.
Several thousand feet up in the San Fransican sky, we woke up from our 3 hour nap. Outside the plane window was the familiar view we called home–roads, busy cars, lights… and not much green. Microscopic cars slowly made its way down the highway, and it seemed everything down below had its own destination.
A rush of excitement and relief kicked in as we landed–we were finally home.
In the gate lobby, our GGL Brendan gathered us in a circle. “I’m going to do this here, because once we go get our baggage, everyone’s going to get excited and that’ll be the end of it, so I wanted to say our goodbyes before we’re all gone.” Already some of us were balling our eyes out, expecting what was coming, but not entirely ready for it. Brendan continued, and we left for our luggage after our final unity clap.
At the baggage pick up, we shared hugs, tears, and promises to meet up again. None of us wanted it to be the last time we saw each other, but all of us were, without a doubt, excited to go home and catch up on what was missed during our two weeks.
On my way home, everything was odd and fresh to me–the roads were paved, buildings were ridiculously high, and I couldn’t help but spend the 30 minute car ride looking out the window. I was taking in the landscape, the people, the signs in English–all of which that did not even cross my mind 15 days ago. As we drove by residential housings, I thought about how much work was put into its paint job, thinking about the work we did in San Juan de Llullundongo. I’ve never thought about who painted houses, or how much work was put into it–it was simply a house that was painted white to me. Where the tomatoes at the supermarket came from did not matter to me; it was just a bunch of little red fruits that came in a plastic package. It took me this trip to understand and grasp that everything, whether it be an object, concept, or problem, had people behind it.
Suddenly, flushing toilet paper was weird to me. I found myself looking for the tiny trashcan I used in Guaranda, only to realize that the pipes here were big and developed for paper to be flushed down. I turned on the faucet to wash my hands. As water flowed out, I was reminded of how at the places I’ve been in Guaranda, twisting the faucet did not guarantee that water was going to come out. I brushed my teeth with tap water that night. It felt strange not pulling out my water bottle to wet my toothbrush. Being at the sink felt strange. My own bathroom made me realize how developed the United States was. For the first time in the 17 years of my life, I felt shameful for taking the fact for granted.
Ambassadors at my school told me Global Glimpse was a “life changing experience”–and going to Guaranda was indeed a life changing experience, but it could not have been the same without the people involved. The kind local people, Steph and Camilo as our mom and dad, Brendan, Los and Britt as our leaders, and us 29 Glimpsers gathered from all of Bay Area. I could not have had it any other way for this journey.
It has been 5 days since I’ve last seen everyone, and countless times, I find myself crying in bed looking through the photos, desperately trying to re-live the two weeks with everyone. No more lobby meet ups at 6:50AM, no more breakfast at Feroz, and no more stressing over figuring out who has the box, darts, or how 4 is the magic number. It’s been very hard, and that’s the truth. I miss everyone. But remember Mikeala and I’s quote: It’s not the end.
You maybe wondering what that “journey” I was referring to in the beginning was. It involves applying what we learned through this GU2A trip, appreciating what and who we have in our lives, understanding what we’re capable of, and living in the moment. Life is our next journey.