All Change: a difficult decision!

Well its been nearly a month since I left posted a message in my diary and such a lot has changed. Christmas and New Year were great but the news of the Asian Tsunami put a damper on things a bit.
At first I didn’t even question that my trip to Thailand would be affected, I was going and that was that. However it soon dawned on me that the uncertainty was too much for me and I started to panic. The truth is that I so want this few months I have to be something unforgettable, it is a trip that although very unexpected I have worked hard for and therefore I didn’t want to be worrying myself stupid about going, especially at a time when I’ve got some of the most important exams I’ll ever take to deal with.
As I muddled through all my thoughts and emotions I found myself feeling terribly guilty about not wanting to go to Thailand, I felt like I was turning my back on something that I had set out to do-I hate people being disappointed in me so I was very worried about telling my parents. Fortunately they were very understanding. I had to decide what I wanted from my trip (with the help of mum and dads ‘post it note’ excersise!
This was my conclusion
1) Have a good time and make memories– at the end of the day thats what life is about. I know it isn’t all meant to be a ball, but you can at least strive for it.
2) Make a difference– in a selfish and very unselfish way I want to help people. Not only so I can see their development and progression but so that I can feel proud of saying that I achieved something
3) Experience a new culture and to take myself ‘out of the box’-this ruled out only going to Australia and New Zealand which are too westernised to give me the experience I want.
Thailand would have provided me with all of these oppurtunities but by this time I had already decided against going.
Luckily i-to-i said I could change my destination. But where do you go from Thailand? I had wanted to go there because I had this gut feeling about it. Something attracted me to South America, and so a call to i-to-i and I was looking at ecuador and brazil.
To cut a long story short, numerous phone calls and emails later I decided that ecuador was the place for me. So I am now going round the other side of the world! I leave on march 6th and will be doing a community development project in Quito. I can honestly say that I am very excited about going. Compared with Thailand which I was very apprehensive about, I feel much more at ease with Ecuador. It gives me the oppurtunity to learn spanish, which I have always wanted to do, I can go to salsa school, and I’m still able to give something back to a community.
Other than that I’m in the middle of my A level French retakes:so far so good. What I hadn’t anticipated was that my place of work wouldn’t have the hours I wanted or needed to fund my trip so I’m trying to find a jod to top it off:another day another challenge, I guess it would be boring if it wasn’t!

I think everyone I have spoken to through gapyear at this time are all very aware of the fragility of life since the asian tsunami. If this terrible disaster serves any purpose it is to remind us that every day is precious and should be lived to the max, whilst being careful not to take unnecessary risks.

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