Every time I leave Ecuador, I shed a tear.
When I got in Gerrardo's truck for the final time this summer, I began reflecting. I found myself longing for more time - longing for continued simplicity.
I thought about the good times - the walks, the meals, the talks. I thought about the friendships we have built and the trust we have with each other. I thought about the meaning of happiness and the difference between the worlds that I live.
I would never have been able to understand how someone with so little could have so much until spending time in Ecuador.
Could you imagine having only cold water to use for over 30 years of your life, then saving enough money to buy an instant water heater?
Could you imagine living two hours from the nearest store, then having a random stranger see you walking and pick you up while on their way?
Could you imagine never having a way to communicate with your family for more than 20 years, then getting a phone?
Imagine the joy of getting in a hot shower for the first time - getting a ride to the store - or hearing your sibling's voice. So little, yet so much.
I shed a tear when I leave because I know I'll inevitably forsake the small things. Our individual happiness in The States is contingent upon such complexity. We are happy after a profitable day or after our team wins. Yet, we forget about the family that will forever love us.
Currently, some may say I don't have much outside of Z Beans: I have an old truck, a severely cracked phone, and a savings account that is non existent. But, Ecuador has taught me to see it differently. Ecuador has taught me to appreciate what I do have: a great support system, a roof over my head, and an empathetic heart.
Though I have lofty ambitions, I vow to appreciate the simple things along the way, and I encourage you too as well. Happiness is a choice, and it's best served, simply.