Thoughts before getting on a plane

Linnaea Weld

It is Saturday morning and I am enjoying one last sunny Oakland morning. Upstairs, two friends from Whitman are sleeping sound after the long drive from campus to wish me off. What is going on? Tonight I will board a red eye flight to Miami, and from there I will transfer onto the plane that will take me to my home for the next 3.5 months: Quito, Ecuador. I will fill those months with studies of ecology and environmental issues as I venture around Ecuador with the School for International Training’s (SIT) Comparative Ecology and Conservation program.

So it is Saturday morning and I am starting to freak out. All the clothes I have carefully selected, my snorkel, a stack of host gifts, and various art supplies for my “natural history journal,” an ongoing assignment, still lie stacked on our spare bed because I have not packed. I am also freaking out about the program. Why did I, an environmental humanities major choose this heavily science-based program? Do I know enough Spanish to pass all my classes and communicate with my host family? These questions have been floating around my head frequently for the last week.

To fight the stress that has been building over my first trip outside the states, I have been thinking about everything I am excited for in Ecuador. Some highlights of the next three months include: living with a host family; traveling to some of the most ecologically unique places in the world, including the Amazon and the Galapagos; getting the opportunity to conduct a month of research on my own.

So follow along on this blog to hear about both my struggles and successes. I will keep you updated as I visit areas of magnificent biodiversity, as well as areas of severe environmental degradation. Maybe I’ll scan in some watercolors from my field journal. Hasta luego!