This year I'll be spending quite a bit more time in Ecuador than I have in the past. I arrive June 17th and don't come back to sweet home Chicago until December 15th. From a week after my arrival until July 25th, I'll be working with the Pambamarca Archaeology Project again, probably teaching archaeological methods to field school students almost entirely from the US. Afterwards, I'll be working with a friend of mine on his doctoral research investigating as many of the 14 fortresses of the Pambamarca fortress complex as possible. By the time I get back, I'll be a lean, shaggy, bearded archaeological machine. Be ready for it.
I'm ridiculously excited, obviously. I've never spent so much time out of the country, and I've also never spent so much time working in what I believe to be my career of choice. If nothing else, this experience will tell me once and for all if this really is what I want to do with my life. I'm also a little bit nervous, because a couple days ago it finally hit me how long I'll actually be gone. It's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that it's just for the summer as it has been in the past, plus a little bit extra. But this time, that "little bit extra" is going to be all of August, September, October, and November. Labor Day. The autumnal equinox [which will probably be spent drunkenly on the equator itself, if all goes according to plan]. Halloween. Thanksgiving. I won't be home until nearly Christmas and New Years. So much happens in six months. I'll be much better at speaking Spanish, I'll hopefully have learned a bit of Quichua, my beard will be longer than ever before, my friends will better not have forgotten about me, and I will be horrified at US prices for food and rent. But I will be spending the whole time learning, getting better at archaeology, connecting with the local people and places, and genuinely bettering myself as a citizen of the world, I believe.
Really, though, I'm just eager to get down there and see what the hell happens. Cheers to that.
My new home.