Moments of joy

Moments of Joy

A few days ago we held our first reflection meeting in Ecuador. It lasted all day and we were able to share many stores, lots of laughter, a hike to a gorgeous waterfall and a few delicious meals together. The discussion throughout the day reinforced the understanding that, while we can relate and share similarities within our own stories, each person will live a unique experience through these next few months. We each found ourselves here for different reasons and our personal goals vary as well. It will be exciting to see the different lessons and insights discovered along the way.
During our reflection meeting, Intercordians discussed some of their initial challenges and shared some moments of joy. We learn so much by facing situations that challenge us. We learn different mechanism of coping with struggle, which will be useful throughout our lives. I believe we can also learn by recognizing moments of joy. Realizing what actually brings us joy can help us focus our attention throughout our life to find joy in our daily lives and also help radiate it to others.
What are Intercordians joyful about these days?

• Laughter shared with their host family
• Feeling loved and cared for by their host family
• Spending time drinking tea with their host mom
• Making personal connections with host family members
• Witnessing love expressed between members of their host family
• Spending time playing with the children in their host family
• Learning new skills and a new language with their host family
• Making breakthroughs in the language and understanding how to communicate in one specific situations

These examples came directly from the students. Most, if not all, come from building relationships and feeling a sense of connection, understanding and love.

Throughout the Intercordia program we have a rare and amazing opportunity to remove ourselves from our regular routine and familiar setting and we are encouraged to focus on building relationships. There are many distractions and challenges to occupy our attention – different food, different climate, different language, new pets, new work environment, physical sickness, home sickness, altitude sickness – the students are definitely occupied with change! These challenges will help each of us grow and gain some “life experience” – which to me is gained by finding yourself in new situations, hopefully making mistakes, and then living to tell about it!

So what can we learn from focusing on building relationships, despite all these distractions? When we recognize that often it’s through our relationships or simple moments with others that we feel joy, this can help up remain focused when we are faced with difficulties. Joy can help us work through these challenges, realizing even if we don’t fix the issue at hand, we have other moments to look forward to and be grateful for. We are able to prioritize our time and hopefully recognize how to find happiness and pass it on to others.

When did I recently feel some joy? When I went to a dance aerobics class with my host sister, picked beans in the fields with my host family and when I spent the entire day with all four of the Intercordians, sharing some laughs, being soaked by a waterfall and getting to know each of them more and more as we shared our personal reflections of the last seven days, since they first went to live with their host family. Had it only been 7 days?!

Tara with her extended host family – they took her on a hike up the Volcan Imbabura (above)

Intercordians with Samuel, our host partner in Ecuador, during orientation! (Right)

Posted in Blog, Voices.