Coffee Shop Week

After a semester of adventure, my weekend trips have come to a close and I am enjoying my last couple of weeks bouncing around between my hometown of Cumbayá and the capital city of Quito. I am so thankful for some extra time to relax and enjoy my favorite places in town! As I am walking around with my fellow international students each day, we are always thinking of our favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and walks that we can’t leave without doing, at least, one more time. Our list is getting quite large so it will be interesting to see how we attempt to fit everything in.

We are heading into our last week of classes at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito with a week of final exams to follow. This weekend will be one of wrapping up last assignments for the upcoming week, and continual reflection on the semester as a whole. Anyone who has been following my blog posts this semester knows how crucial my service learning placement has been for me over the past 4 months! The goodbyes begin on Tuesday, as it will be my last day there, and wow will that be tough one. I’ve realized what a blessing hard goodbyes, or rather see-you-laters, are because they represent the strength of the relationship that was formed! It is crazy that the weeks of all the “lasts” is already beginning.

You may not be surprised that college students in Ecuador love coffee shops, just like they do in West Michigan. It is the place where we can socialize with our friends and get some homework done at the same time (or at least attempt to). This past week has included lots of coffee shop time as everyone begins to feel the stress and time crunch at the end of the semester. Without the travel component, my weekends now feel a bit longer and I accomplish more academically, and in taking care of myself. I realize how content I feel to just rest, in these last few weeks, knowing that reverse culture shock may be just around the corner. This semester, rest has been such a blessing of healing that I was not able to recognize, arriving from a culture that is constantly busy being busy. Being intentional is going to be necessary to implement ways of changing my previous lifestyle at home to mold a life of increased personal connection with those around me, and to better care for myself.

Here’s to enjoying the calm, the relaxing, and the coffee shops. Here’s to learning how I can mesh the benefits of a very laid-back culture in Ecuador with the benefits busy of United States’ culture. Both cultures have positive and negative aspects. It is now my job to learn from them, and learn to implement them!

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