Ecuador Kinda Sorta Changed My Life...

As some of you may know, I recently got back from a study abroad trip to Ecuador that I must say was very...interesting. Haha. The trip lasted for a little more than two weeks, which actually felt like two years! I was primarily there to work with an organization (FENODIS) that oversees different nonprofit organizations in Ecuador. Each of us had the task of working to help improve our assigned NGO's brand. We did so by creating physical promotional materials, evaluating their social media as well as their web pages, and suggesting tactics that they can possibly use in the future. We did this all while exploring two cities in Ecuador, Guayaquil and Cuenca!

Side note: I enjoyed working with my (crazy) NGOs because we got to work with kids! The first school was an arts school and the children there literally brighten my day everyday I went there. We met this one little brown girl who had braids like we (my group members) did. She seemed to be so fascinated that we looked like her. I also enjoyed the second school in Cuenca because it was a facility for disabled youth. The way they greeted us with love was so amazing! These moments are ones that I will cherish forever!

How did this trip change my life? Well for starters, it was my first time traveling outside of the U.S. I was extremely nervous (I HATE planes, ask my classmates), but I knew that this would be an experience of a lifetime. I was so excited to experience a new environment than the one that I was used to. When I got there, I must admit, it was hard to adjust. I literally got homesick and cried to my professor (embarrassing lol). I was so overwhelmed by the newness of Ecuador that I allowed it to intimidate me at first. However, I had to remember that I'm a G and I can handle anything that life throws at me (with help from God, of course). I can definitely say this trip made me much stronger than I was before. I's a woman now!

Going to Ecuador also allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge my fears. I tried new food (for like, the first few days lol) and went on adventures that I never imagined I would. I am not an athletic, outdoorsy type of girl, but I did climb 444 steps to get to the top of Las Peñas, which is a 400+ year old neighborhood in Guayaquil (it was the first neighborhood in the city). I also partied on a boat (which I also hate, I pretty much just like the ground) which was also pretty cool to do in a foreign country. Cuenca is where I had my scariest experience (other than the earthquakes I experienced, the only times I didn't like the ground). I swung on the "Death Swing" on top of Turi which swings over the city of Cuenca...literally. The swing was held up by two skinny trees, more like twigs, but I DID IT! I am afraid of heights, obviously, but I didn't let that stop me (well, the second time I got on haha). 

So, as you can see Ecuador was a trip of many firsts. First time out of the country, first time on a plane for that long and that many times (5 flights in 2 weeks...geez), first time eating authentic Spanish food (do not eat the Guinea pigs if you go there lol, I don't trust it), first time meeting a famous (and beautiful) soccer player, first time partying with Ecuadorians, first time jumping off a mountain...and many others!

I am so proud of myself for taking on this journey because there was a time in my life where I would put so many limits on myself.

I am still a work in progress, but this trip definitely helped! I cannot wait to see what the next adventure has in store for me! 

-m.

Have you taken a trip lately? Was it life-changing? Tell me about it in the comment section below!