“No one ever became poor from giving.”
~ Anne Frank
Today, Dana and I log our 85th day in Ecuador. The next three weeks will be a time of busy preparation and list checking before returning to the United States.
Today, we waded through the Ecuadorian bureaucracy of a successful visa extension, and during the hourlong drive home I reflected on a few things.
These are some things I’ve learned, come to understand, or believe even more because of our time here.
1. I don’t care what anyone says, … generally, most people in the world are good. I said most!
2. There’s a great irony in the notion that we spend a lifetime learning, and yet I’ve discovered that oftentimes, and in many different situations, the best attitude I can have is to be present in the moment, forgetting everything I ever thought I knew.
3. As much as I detest labels, on the liberal-conservative, left-right spectrum, I’m probably more of a leftist-liberal than ever, and for that, I make no apology. Three months in a third-world country causes me to believe even more that government’s role is to provide:
- creative reinvestment and philanthropic scenarios for the wealthy;
- stability for the middle class;
- opportunity, a safety net and support system for the poor.
4. Church is not a place you go, but rather an attitude you embrace, and it’s found wherever you are at a given moment in time.
5. The American educational system should require that students be at least bilingual, and preferably have fluency in even more than two languages.
6. Charity, and a charitable spirit, is a fine quality in a man or woman.
7. A smile, and a friendly pat on the back, speaks volumes between those who otherwise may not communicate so well. And between those who do, for that matter.
8. Fear absolutely can be eliminated from your life.
9. As much as I love to stand up for what I believe is right, it’s not necessarily always the best thing to do. Oftentimes, yes, Always, no. It’s tough.
10. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone use the cliché’, “it changed my life,” after an extended trip abroad, I’d be rich. I’ve always hated that cliché’. And the interesting thing about this time in Ecuador, well, of course, it’s changed my life.