2.24.2011

eleccion

So, cyber-therapist, I want to talk about two things.

I came to Ecuador by myself. And that was one of the best things for me thus far. The stability that is present when you’re with a companion is nice, yes, but when you’re alone, you’re forced to learn a lot about yourself. No inhibitions or wariness, just yourself and your time and what you make of it.

Okay, yeah, I just watched Eat Pray Love. Sowhatwhocares?

My big point is, choice is important. Whether it be picking out your clothes for the day or deciding to go to Ecuador for a few months, it’s important.

A few friends and I have been talking about the gravity of Agency and what it really means. I don’t think a lot of people comprehend what it is or what we need to do to fully understand and use it. I know I don’t. But I do know (or at least think I know) the importance of actions. Actions are manifestations of Agency. And recognizing the importance of acting vs. being acted upon. That one doesn’t need further explanation. It has enough weight in the phrase to smack me across the face every time I read it.

With choice comes the whole commitment thing. Mostly, be gutsy. I remember a few years ago I was sitting in a piano lesson, a jazz piano lesson specifically and my goal was to improv just one little solo. After tinkering around and hesitating about every single note, my teacher finally said, “Anna, play it…with BALLS.” No more commitment issues. No more pansy, wuss business. This is real. I AM GOING TO HAVE BALLS FROM NOW ON (FYI: this is a metaphor).

Let’s move on.

The power of support is something that I never really realized was so crucial to my happiness until I came here. I’ve always considered myself a fairly independent person, a floater of sorts. But I don’t know if that’s because I never realized the gravity of solace and my desire for until just now. Phone calls from home are good. Emails from Lindsey are necessary. And the friends that I have here might be the most important right now.

My fellow volunteers are my family. There’s something so invigorating about falling out of bed, eating some thrown together meal for breakfast, riding in a giant bus to an orphanage and knowing that you and your best friends are all going to work your asses off together today and we’re going to LOVE SOME KIDS. There is an unspoken power in brotherhood and in unity.

And I didn’t realize how good it feels to have someone who has your back. I don’t remember the last time I felt that.

I’m also realizing that friends can be good. And good friends are good for you. Companionship is important. Being a loner forever isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Social interaction with others is healthy (heh). And most importantly, I’m going to start expecting the best of everyone. That’s a loaded sentence. But I can do it.


These last reflections are in part because I'm saying goodbye to one of my best friends today. One of the best things has been realizing that I have one.

Chao, Anna. Te quiero.

2.22.2011

plug

Ya'll know my favorite band Fictionist, right?
Well, I'm really excited for them. They're currently in a contest to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. If you've heard them before or you've heard me blab incessantly about how awesome they are, you know that they deserve this. These guys are some of the coolest & humblest people I've ever met. And they happen to make some really radical music as well. Did you know that?

So do your part! Go here, rate them, tweet them, & like them on Facebook. And if you feel so inclined, download yourself a few free tracks from their website. AND check out their new video! I love these guys.


This is quite a departure from my Ecuador posts, but I just re-watched all my Occidental Saloon podcasts (of which, the blessed Issac Russell's video is finally up!) and really missed my Utah music scene (who knew those words would ever be put together in a sentence). And this is just too exciting not to post! Ya Fictionist!

2.11.2011

fotogr√°ficamente cuenta

 


I'm now past the halfway point of my time here. It is beyond freaky to think about how I'm now counting down. I've been wanting to blog more, but other things are taking precedence over this. But never fear, I have a thick journal. I have a million stories and a million experiences that have made this month and a half more progressive and and eye-opening for myself than most of the years that I've been here on this little world. I mean, I can do French braids and change diapers--two things I'd never done before my time here. Look at me go!

I love these children. They make my days worth living.

I love my fellow volunteers. Never did I think they would be so crucial to my experience here, but I have learned so much about true friendship (and so much more) because of them.


I love my parents. Some much needed appreciation has come because of my experiences here. There's not a day I don't think about how blessed I am to have such incredible padres that are so involved in my life. They care. Some parents don't, but mine do.

I love my siblings. They are and always will be some of the most important relationships to me. I wouldn't be here in Ecuador without my sister. And I wouldn't be as confident and level-headed without my brother.

and I love a million other things (nature, telephones, soccer, God, brain power, Spanish, cameras, journals, bodies, communicating, Ecuadorians, fruit, taxis, hugs, volleyball, showers, writing, chocolate covered cinnamon bears (I'll always be grateful for these even though they're not actually here (feel free to ship me some whenever you'd like)), facebook, energy, a warm bed, parentheses, yada yada yada), but I'll spare you the gush fest and keep those thoughts to myself (bahaha).

...I'm experiencing Meg-B-Syndrome. I don't know how to end this.With a story? Claro.

 A few days ago, I got into a vicious battle with a bunch of foam blocks and a bunch of three year olds.  I was tragically shot in the chest and spent the last few moments of my imaginary life clinging to my knight in shining armor after he crawled through the wreckage screaming "ANNITA!" He tried his best to save me, noticed that his big boy muscles couldn't actually move a 20 year old, and resorted to laying on top of me to try and protect me. Unfortunately, my life actually flashed before my eyes when a very large seven year old jumped butt first onto my unprotected head. It turns out that three year olds can only protect so much. But it's the thought that counts. Right?

2.01.2011

proposito

Today, I discovered one of the many real reasons why I'm supposed to be here.

Myself and a few other volunteers were at one of our off site orphanages that we visit once a week for a few hours. It's probably what you'd really think of when you think of an orphanage in a third world country--dirty, chaotic & unorganized. And it's one of those places that consistently brings you to your knees in humility with each visit. Today, especially.

Without delving into all the details of what happened because even I'm still pretty shaken up, one of the kids was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was run over a few times by a truck. My thought process moved at an agonizingly slow pace like it usually does when I am forced to confront emergencies. So slow, in fact, that it's been a good 5 hours and I'm finally figuring out what really happened and how I really feel--one of those feelings being appreciation. Appreciation for Caitlin, who is an EMT and knew exactly what to do, and for Julie, who knew exactly what to say to get done what needed to be done, for Anna, who knew how to comfort him, for Lee, who knew how to comfort us, and for Rex, who knew how to pray for all of us. But my feelings didn't start like this.

Sometimes I wonder why this kid's life is inherently and will always be so much more difficult than mine. Sometimes I wonder about how this kid's parents are out there somewhere and they don't know nor do they give a damn that their offspring is in critical condition. Sometimes I wonder why God does things the way He does. But none of that matters. And I realized that while this kid doesn't have any blood that cares about what happens to him, I was there. And I care about him. Even if I'm the only one who knows it, at least someone, somewhere up there knows that this kid matters and that someone loves him. That reason alone is enough to know that here is where I'm supposed to be. I feel like I could go home now purely because of this experience. I have deeply cared for a child who deeply needed it.

I'm reading a book about happiness right now. Sometimes I feel like it's one giant platitude, but there's some real gold in it, too. It talks about altruism or the belief that when one gives, the receiver actually gets the raw end of the deal. The giver is the real recipient of the joy. Today, for one of the first real times, I experienced this phenomenon that is altruism.

Today, I experienced real happiness.

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Post edit: I failed to mention that the little boy is fine at the present moment. He got away with a fractured pelvis and a few scratches on his arms, but the care that he is under is still a major concern considering the area he lived in was quite poor and the financial means to care for him may not be present. If you feel the desire, please pray for him. He could use it.