The Re-Entry Chronicles: 7 Days to Home

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IMG_4447After weeks of suffering through giardia (a parasite), I am finally beginning to feel a bit better.  Thank goodness, because I can’t imagine getting on a plane in this condition!

Now that I’m beginning to come out of the fog, the nostalgia has set in.  We were in a taxi last night and the driver asked if we live in Cuenca.  This time we had to say, yes, but only for another week. That hurt.

Suddenly, even the walk to the Latino Clinica for medical tests for the giardia brings back memories. It is right near the Tomebomba River, which always reminds me of fairy tales.

The Tomebamba River in Cuenca.
The Tomebamba River in Cuenca.

It is a rocky river with a lush green lawn. I am forever imagining how this river that flows through the middle of Cuenca was used by the indigenous people.  Today, some even still use it to wash clothes.  Most just sit on the banks and admire the flowing water and the beautiful flora.

I get nostalgic thinking about our first few days here. We pass by Maria, who works in the “tienda” at the base of our building and  I quickly recall our first chat with her and how Tony couldn’t say more than “gracias”…and how they are able to have a basic conversation in Spanish now.  Time flies.

The city still charms the socks off of me.  It is a beautiful combination of historic architecture, modern growth (primarily across the river to the south), and a bundle of churches – twenty seven in

One of the many beautiful churches in Cuenca.
One of the many beautiful churches in Cuenca.

total in one city.  I find myself photographing things that I’ve seen a million times.  The light changes and it takes on a new beauty.  It is more than the eyes can hold at times.

The people we’ve met have truly made our experience here in Cuenca.  From our language exchange partner, Jorge, to the kind family at the leather shop (where we had a belt and bag made at a fraction of the cost in the US), I am speechless in either language to share how deeply they have touched my heart.  Additionally, there aren’t words for the beautiful children that I met at my volunteer experience. There is a whole blog post coming

Some of the children that I met volunteering.
Some of the children that I met volunteering.

about them.  I tear up thinking about how much I learned about the art of volunteering from them.

What else will I miss about Cuenca?  Perhaps the best way to share them is through photos. With each comes a story, a memory, a lesson, a chance to know more.  Re-entry is officially here and I’m in the nostalgic phase, so before the tears flow, here come the photos:

The Ribbon Dance - a beautiful piece of artistry.
The Ribbon Dance – a beautiful piece of artistry.
The blue domes of the "new" cathedral. You can see them from many places in the city.
The blue domes of the “new” cathedral. You can see them from many places in the city.
I'll miss the holiday celebrations here. This is my husband being grabbed by a local man dressed as a woman on New Year's Eve - as the "widow" of the New Year.  They dress us and ask for some coins because they are now "widows" and need money.  What a great memory!
I’ll miss the holiday celebrations here. This is my husband being grabbed by a local man dressed as a woman on New Year’s Eve – as the “widow” of the New Year. They dress us and ask for some coins because they are now “widows” and need money. What a great memory!
Our dinner table, feet from the beach.  We met up with Ecuadorian friends from Quito and made some lifelong memories in "Las Tunas".
Our dinner table, feet from the beach. We met up with Ecuadorian friends from Quito and made some lifelong memories in “Las Tunas”.
Conversations with the incredible owners of the pottery shop behind our apartment.  This is the son of the founder. His father has been making pottery for 71 years!
Conversations with the incredible owners of the pottery shop behind our apartment. This is the son of the founder. His father has been making pottery for 71 years!
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Beautiful artwork. It is everywhere.
Friends we have made.  Tony (my husband) and I met Giovanni at a festival behind our apartment building.
Friends we have made. Tony (my husband) and I met Giovanni at a festival behind our apartment building.
The wonderful folks at El Nomad!  Here I am with Rebecca Adams - and I got to hold her sleeping baby too...awwww!
The wonderful folks at El Nomad! Here I am with Rebecca Adams – and I got to hold her sleeping baby too…awwww!
The precious children of this country.  This little boy is from Paute, Ecuador.  We met his dad, selling cotton candy, on the street.
The precious children of this country. This little boy is from Paute, Ecuador. We met his dad, selling cotton candy, on the street.

Nostaglia.  It is definitely part of the re-entry rollercoaster.

Note: I hope to soon write about my experience with our exercises from Beyond Abroad- Innovative Re-Entry Exercises. They have been very helpful in processing this part of the journey…and will continue to be once home too.

Missy Gluckmann, Melibee Global/MelibeeUAbout the Author: Missy Gluckmann is the founder of Melibee Global. She and her husband Tony are living in Ecuador for 2 months so that they can both learn Spanish. They also intend to try every variation of gluten free empanadas de verde that they can get their hands on! You can learn more about why she built Melibee Global and her background here.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • latonyawt

    Hi, before you became a volunteer did you think your experience would be this fulfilling? BTW glad your feeling better.

  • I knew I would learn something from volunteering – whether it be how to or not to be effective – or something else! Thanks for the good wishes too! 🙂