I have realized the value of six things.
First, I’m realizing how amazing the job that I had in Austin was, for a couple of reasons. I was able to work with friends, specifically Kathryn, Praveen and Josh. Additionally, I was afforded a good hour and a half to think, as I commuted to and from Dripping Springs daily. Of course, internet at a cool nine hours daily wasn’t bad for exploring inquiries of varying importance.
Secondly, I’m realizing the value of relationships, specifically in developing ideas and thinking. As I organized my computer files, I came across pages and pages of notes made over the last few years, the majority of which came out of drinking sessions between Praveen and I. I have realized how well we knew each other, and how wonderfully our thinking can work together. He is my best friend, and I hope that we’ll be able to get back to a point at which we can think symbiotically, without any higher purpose. He and all the other smart kids I hang with.
Third, I’m realizing the beauty of thinking for thinking’s sake. Having been in Ecuador for a little over a month, I’ve been largely in survival mode. This is partly because my Spanish doesn’t allow me to discuss, with others, things complex or abstract. At the end of such a conversation in Spanish, I feel as if I’ve run a hurdles course in sand with rollerskates on. We’ve made the finish, yet we’re bruised and bloody. Was it worth it? Absolutely, we’re getting better.
Fourth, I’m realizing the importance of silly and useless thoughts, thoughts whose existence might not necessarily change the course of the world. In survival mode, there is scant time for such ponderances, as bus times and hostel rates take over the mentality of the traveler. Once the survival things are done, there is generally a lack of energy or desire to have a real thoughtful night. There’s always tomorrow to think about, isn’t there? For this reason, I am very anxious to get settled somewhere, so that I can be weird again.
Fifth, I’m realizing how much I relied on the internet to act as catalysts for my musings. How helpful was it to have, literally, the world at my fingertips. Read or listen about racism, sports, books, news, diseases, whatever. My word, I miss the internet.Sixth, I’ve realized one of the biggest things that’s missing from my life – guided study. In Ecuador, there hasn’t been much unguided study, actually. This is mostly from my small library, though I honestly haven’t done enough to read what I do have. Maybe bringing my two most read books, Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Breakfast of Champions, was a bad idea. Guided study is something that I’ll have, somewhat, when I begin classes here in Spanish. I aim to transcend functional Spanish and begin to find a voice. The classes are one-to-one, which doesn’t provide the camaraderie that a college program might, but it’ll be a start. Maybe I’ll apply for Cuenca’s University here.