What a truly magnificent semester!
As accurate as that sentence is, it doesn’t do justice to how life changing these past 5 months has been. How can I ever express in words just how privileged I am to have been given a chance to experience love, life and hope?
Well to answer in short, I can’t. But such a milestone in my life is worth struggling with the blank page for. Because an experience like this deserves an homage.
So here is my tribute to Ecuador and the semester that changed my life.
From the people I’ve met to the things I’ve seen, Ecuador has thought me one thing. Love trumps everything. Love has the power to build and destroy. But when you learn how to love in the right way, the amount of bad decisions you make in life will decrease drastically. Because whenever you think about doing something, you think about its effect on others. And through that process you learn the art of responsibility, which means the responsibility to yourself, to others and to the world at large.
Ecuador has also thought me the importance of taking care of our environment. Whether it is the utter disregard for the environment that some people have or the conscious effort by the blessed few to make sure nature doesn’t suffer because of our selfishness, the message is clear. It’s time for active changes to be made. We need to stop oil companies from digging wherever it wants. We need to stop over-fishing. We need to recycle more. We need to prevent our wants from killing the earth. The list goes on. And I plan to do my part. I plan to make a conscious effort to consider the repercussions of everything I do on the environment. It’ll probably be the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do but it needs to be done. And I hope you will join me.
But I think the most important thing Ecuador has thought me is the importance of harmony. Globalization will bring together a group of people so diverse into one place that it’ll become easier to find differences rather than similarities. And with that inevitability comes a unique task for our generation of individuals. The task to acknowledge that while we should embrace differences, we no longer have the luxury to think that our way, our culture or our religion is the one and only. Because that mentality leads to our unwillingness to compromise or our reasoning skills to be underutilized or even worse, our reluctance to love one another. Hence our unique task is to find a balance between embracing our self-identity while not encroaching another persons right to self-identity.
However amidst all these personal goals and realizations, Ecuador has thought me something I find very comforting. There is really no reason to be pessimistic, cynical or jaded because there is always hope. Hope is and will always be humanity’s saving grace. Hope gives us the strength to persevere. And that is really all we need.
So here is toast to the best 5 months yet. Thank you for shaping my path towards a more meaningful destination. And to all the people whom I’ve had the absolute privilege of knowing just a little bit better, thank you for making me understand what life is really about. And finally to my family and friends back home, I’ll be coming back a changed person but your place in my heart is permanent so thank you because keeping you in mind makes me make better life decisions in spite of the many bad ones along the way.
Let’s make this world just a little bit better and take it from there. 🙂
Peace and love,