It happened. This morning, approximately 2 minutes after my alarm went off, I received an email notification from WorldTeach telling me I was accepted to the September 2015 Ecuador program. After their email about notifying me by early June, I was stunned, to say the least. Right at the moment I had more or less come to peace with not knowing until June, and with pursuing a TEFL certification elsewhere if WorldTeach didn’t work, I finally got my answer.
I might have cried a tear or two of joy when I saw that email. It’s hard to believe that I’m actually moving to Quito in just a few months. I have been dreaming of moving to Latin America for a year or two of service since my first year at Cal when I watched my big sister move abroad to volunteer. Seeing the experiences she had, alongside those of my two cousins who studied abroad, definitely inspired me to want to do the same. But beyond that, there has been my passion for Spanish and Latin America. As a senior graduating with a degree in History, specifically Latin American History, there could be no better next step for me than to go live in the places I’ve studied. Eat the food. Speak the language. Dance salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia. Live with an Ecuadorian host family. Make a meaningful contribution to my host community. Serve in the area I’ve dedicated four years of my life to learning and dreaming about.
I’ve never been much of a person to say that everything happens for a reason. Frankly, the only times I ever have really said it has been in retrospect. But I wonder if I didn’t get accepted to Peace Corps Cameroon because where I’m really meant to be is Latin America. As my WorldTeach admissions counselor said, “Your heart seems to be in Latin America”. And I think she’s right. The vibrantly colored textiles and formidable volcanos of Guatemala, the red brick city of Medellin and the kind people of Colombia, and the patchwork mountains of Ecuador are etched into me, and I can’t get them out of my head. Maybe, just maybe, this is what my path is meant to be.
In September, I will be leaving on this great, year-long journey to teach English at a community college in Quito. I couldn’t be any happier.