in general i try to keep this blog pretty free of my "deep thoughts" (on God, life, politics, etc) or really any thoughts other than those on the facts at hand. this could be because i get a very uneasy feeling about reading other people's personal thoughts on public internet sites, or because i don't want to bother people with these thoughts of mine, or because i don't want to be bothered knowing people know those thoughts of mine, or because articulating these thoughts in a non-obtuse way is more difficult than making jokes about the unfortunate thing that happened to me yesterday. there are any number of very plausible explanations, but today i'm throwing them all out the window and writing a 100% "awkward honesty with strangers" blog entry.
today it's may 8. i got here at the beginning of march. that means more than two months of my time here are already gone. i'll be done with the work part of my trip by the end of june, which means i have less than two months left to be here in ecuador. this would be cause for quiet reflection on what i've learned and done if it didn't make me want to frantically clutch at every second i have left before i go back to the states.
when i came here i came looking for challenges, hard times, and opportunities to learn and grow and hopefully overcome one or several obstacles inherent in the culture jump, the language jump, the different living arrangements, the new job, etc. i wanted to be uncomfortable--i was frustrated by my tendency or ability (depending on how you look at it) to establish a routine and get comfortable with my life and with what was hard about my job or whatever. comfort is nice, but it's also a nice way to miss some or most or all of life--novacain is comfortable (well, not the injection, but afterwards). so i packed up my things, closed my eyes, and jumped.
and now i'm here. i have learned my job, made lots of ecuadorean friends at work and come to fit in with the culture (at least in a minor way), improved my spanish, and even though there's a whole city and country to learn about, i've even established a routine and become...comfortable again, at the expense of who knows what exciting adventures. this is disappointing and frustrating to me. (lest it sound like i'm bragging about accomplishments, let me point out that the runner who just kicks the hurdles over instead of clearing them still finishes the race, albeit less gracefully, and perhaps without winning.)
so naturally, at this halfway point of my trip i'm looking for some new way to grow--to force myself to grow, despite my human nature's stubborn insistence to avoid every possible difficult experience. for the last several weeks i've gone from working on finding ministry opportunities here in quito to working on getting a transfer to a hospital in shell, which is south of here, in the amazonian jungle. the clientele is a little less affluent there (they're mostly indigenous), and the medicine is a little less formal (a joke i've heard is that in shell they say "can we save him?" and at vozandes quito (where i work) they say "where are his papers?"). the experience will by all accounts be a valuable, incredible learning experience, so it seems like a good deal.
i originally asked to go at the beginning of may, but two things have mainly slowed the process down: logistic preparations which could either be attributed to preoccupied administration or just some complication about where i'm living, and my own hesitation and nervousness about leaving something comfortable (my friends! the city! internet access!) for something unknown, which means i only prod the administrative people in question every week or so instead of every day like i would if i wasn't a little ambivalent about the trip. if you are a reader who comes here because you know me very well at all, you can guess which one of these shortcomings is more frustrating to me. i've set aside four months to do something difficult and new and challenging, hopefully to the benefit of people who need help and therefore Christ, and yet timidity and this love of the known has me hesitating. boo! (i guess if you couldn't guess which frustrated me more, i sort of gave it away there.)
so hopefully soon you'll be hearing about me going to a jungle hospital, and i'll be telling you about all the great things that are happening there. if not, you can all look shamefully at me when i get back to the states. : ) if you're a prayer, you know what to do--help!