Well... I am wrapping up my adventure in Cuenca and I can’t believe it! Last week the other students at my university finished up their program, and it was a very sad goodbye seeing as I’ve become so close with them. I’ve been pretty busy with schoolwork, teaching family stuff, shopping, etc so I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect yet, but these last few days feel pretty surreal. I can’t believe all I’ve done, how much I’ve learned, and how many new things I’ve experienced in these short few months. I visited the jungle, made tons of new friends, swam in a waterfall, learned how to really speak Spanish, ate guniea pig three times, taught real classes for the first time, read a whole novel in Spanish, lived with complete strangers who turned into family, visited indigenous villages, took part in traditional rituals, climbed mountains, gained more independence, solved some problems, went surfing, cooked Ecuadorian food, planned a trip to Peru by myself, learned how to salsa (sort of), celebrated Holy Week, came to call Cuenca a second home, and so much more.
It is very bittersweet thinking about leaving – I’m leaving Cuenca this Sunday and my flight home is on Monday. There are so many things I love about the city - $2 taxi rides, sitting in the central park, mountains all around us, my 2 person classes and awesome professors who are more like second moms than teachers, Calle Larga, walking along the river to school every day, the little artesian stores and markets, being the confused gringa and finally being okay with it, the random parades that seem to happen every other week, the reggaeton music, the women in their traditional indigenous dress, my friends here, the panaderías, the discotecas, the adorable little niños at the school where I teach, how it’s okay to cram 8 people into a 5-person car and “dar vueltas” aka drive around the city all night, the cuencano accent, CEDEI, the hippies in the street corners selling their random jewelry and telling you their travel stories, greeting and kissing everyone on the cheek when you see them, the beautiful cathedral in the center, taking “field trips” to the market, and so much more.
Sorry, I’m probably getting a little TOO sentimental here, and you probably don't want to read my lists of memories! I am sad to leave because there are so many things that I miss, but I know my time is ending here and that’s how life moves! The goodbye is also sweet because I’m excited to see my friends and family, sleep in my own bed, pick out my own foods again, and all that stuff. So I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of you soon!