20 Jul


I can’t do justice — sitting in this airport, watching some music video featuring Sugar Ray and Shania Twain, slightly disturbed by the amount of English I’m hearing and seeing — I can’t do justice to the emotions I felt at 6:06 when I was sitting in the apartment, eating cereal, looking at Eileen and thinking about how I had 15 more minutes left with her in Ecuador. I can’t do justice to the quiet descent of the SECAP stairs last night at 8:03, when, in my somewhat emotional state, I started cataloguing lasts: last time in the office; last time locking the broken door; last time on the 3rd floor; last time passing my classroom; and so on. When I walked by my classroom, incidentally, I saw a strong reflection of a woman who I think was in the classroom next door — the one separated from mine only by a couple of thin walls with many windows. The thing is, I passed by quickly and thought maybe it was a ghost, the ghost of the gringa teacher who haunts SECAP.

I walked with a couple students to the bottom of LaGasca and waited for my last bus up. Soon, though, a small minivan came by, a woman shouting, “La Comuna, La Gasca.” I got in the shotgun seat with a box of teacups (a gift from Byron), and some white roses (a gift for Eileen I purchased before class). I asked the driver what street he would turn on: “La Domingo Espinar,” he said. And I said, “ya.” He dropped me off right in front of my door.

But I can’t do justice, even now on the plane, to the series of poignant moments, like the one occurring right now: seeing four of my students just outside the gates of the airport, jumping up and down with an Ecuadorian flag. I can’t do just to these poignant moments, made so only by the awareness that they are fleeting, final, and unique. We have such moments every day of our lives; we just can’t live in that state of acute awareness all the time.

As I sat waiting to board the plane I’m now on, there was a tour group who was talking about how, “dude, when we get back, we just can’t describe to people how cool this trip has been. I mean we were in the birthplace of our theory of evolution! And then that lake, man. That lake was sick. It was wicked peaceful.”

I can describe why those kids were a little ridiculous. But just like them, I can’t begin to explain the impact of the final moments of this year, much less the year itself.