However, what follows though is one of the greatest learning experiences I've had in my short time here. It showed me the character of someone I care deeply for, and proved to me once again, that many things can happen on a day, and it is how we eventually deal with those changes that makes life interesting and worth living. And in the end, life can be no different than how it is.
#5 - Quito to Toronto back to Quito to Toronto to Busan!?!
We had just finished an exciting, at too many times frustrating, year in Ecuador. But it was the end of June, a time that is difficult for any teacher to be anything but excited. The school year was over, we had fresh new opportunities to move forward, and best of all, we were headed home - truly there is nothing finer than returning home, no matter how good the travel has been. Needless to say we were excited about the summer and what the immediate future held.
Little did we know...
A little over 10 days into our return we learned some things that were going to make it impossible for us to stay in Quito for the following school year - I do not want to delve into it any more than that for now, as there still remains some anger and disappointment, but there is enough fodder for a future post about how to treat people, or more to the point, how not to treat people.
Anyways, the news came as a shock, especially as it came while we were home visiting, and had thought we were moving forwards in a positive light. To make matters even more interesting, many of the things we hold dear to us were back in Quito. After the initial shock of if it all wore off, we got down to the business of figuring it all out - and this is where the highlights (and lessons) come for me.
We could have easily cut our losses and figured out a way to stay home, but this would have made those losses particularly difficult to manage financially as neither of us had a well paying job to fall back on, and in fact, we had been counting on the relatively low cost of living in South America to get us back in the black. As lucky as we were to have teaching jobs in Ontario, they would not be available to us until September 2009, so we had to do something. And while there was a sense of urgency, and even panic at times, it did not take long to dive headlong into the next adventure - Korea!!
And so began an odyssey that took us from Quito to Toronto through Atlanta, back to Quito, again through Atlanta, for four days to pack up all of our stuff, and then turn around back to Toronto, through Panama and Houston this time, where we got to relax in the - find a job, figure out where we are going to stash all our crap, while getting visas, record checks, etc., so we could be ready to get to go to Pusan (through Vancouver and Seoul) for the start of our new contracts - kind of way!? That was twelve airports in five countries, at a time when we were supposed to be doing nothing but catching up with friends and family. To say our heads were spinning is an understatement, but it was also where the lessons of the experience revealed themselves.
Blogger's note: Houston wins for best airport as they had amazing burritos, thanks Bones, and a piano player playing on a grand piano underneath a big chandelier surrounded by the taco joint where we got our burrito, and other run of the mill food court establishments!
It was one of those times where you wish it wasn't so, but was kind of exciting at the same time, and the less we looked backwards at what could of been, the more exciting it made what we were dealing with. Sure we left great friends and a great neighbourhood in Ecuador, but we were pretty sure that what we were doing was going to be at least half as fun. It was certainly a challenge and at times frustrating, dealing once again with university transcripts, police stations and consulates, but what it showed, especially as I get to look back on that time, is the strength of character in one Ms. Forster, but also an opportunity to revel in the love and support we get from our families and the friends we have made along the way.
And in the end, I couldn't have imagined it all falling into place better. Sure there are times when we miss the people, and the vacation time of Ecuador, but coming here has opened so many other possibilities for us that it really seems this was all part of the plan from the beginning. I mean, we are now getting ready to spend three fabulous weeks in Bali soaking in the sun, relaxing in the - should I read my book on the beach or in this nice hammock? - kind of way, and I am even going to get my diving certification for a fraction of what it would have cost me in Ecuador. Then after Bali, we get to continue fulfilling dreams (which really life should be all about) as Tasha heads to Thailand for six weeks to become a yoga teacher while I get to check off from my life's to-do list, a cross-Canada train trip.
So it's not about how it was or how it should be, but about how it is, and it is always just as it should have been all a long.