This is actually not a review of the book by Charles Dickens, so if that's what you're looking for, I will now refer you to SparkNotes.
What I'm talking about is the expectations we have when it comes to big changes in our lives. After watching the "corto" or short movie El Mar in our Spanish class yesterday, it got me thinking about what we expect things to be like, and what reality actually brings.
In El Mar, a little boy wants to celebrate his birthday by going to the ocean. As he waits with his mother in the bus station, the camera pans to pictures little Nacho has drawn depicting what he imagines the ocean to be like. The pictures are full of vibrant color, the ocean is full of octopi and brilliant fish. In one picture, he even imagines the sea to be a bright yellow. He tells his mother that in school, they said that the earth is 70% water, just as a human being is comprised of 70% water. He believes we each have an ocean inside of us.
After waiting for hours in the bus station, a long journey to the coast, and a bus breakdown, Nacho and mother finally arrive at the ocean. By this time, it is dark outside, and the sea appears drab, gray, and lifeless to poor Nacho. The sea did not live up to the grandiose image he had in his mind's eye.
But isn't that life? Won't life be better when we have finally switched jobs? When we have finally purchased that one item? When we have moved to the perfect city? When we finally get to take that trip? And then we discover, life just keeps being life. One day at a time. Good and bad, up and down. We get sick of things, or they don't live up to our expectations to begin with. ¡Que decepción! What a disappointment!
I am a daydreamer. There's no denying it. I am constantly looking up flights to exotic destinations. I am constantly scheming about how I can take my next trip. I imagine a romantical city with cute street side cafes, quaint houses, parks teeming with culture and picnics and life, art museums, vibrant markets, and sidewalk vendors with charming personalities. The history! The people! The culture!
This was the case on my second trip to Ecuador. The first trip had been magical, with one adventure after another. The jungle, the beach, horseback riding in the mountains, ziplining, volcanoes, and breathtaking scenery. 5 weeks. Still new and exciting.
Then I spent 4 months in the very same place, and it took on a new personality. One of routine and everyday life. I passed the same shops and people everyday on the way to school. I frequented (mostly) the same restaurants and bars. Sure, adventure was interspersed sporadically into our lives, especially on the weekends, but we were there to attend school. And guess what? School in Quito becomes a mundane activity, just like it does in America.
Did that stop me from daydreaming? I should say not. I still imagine romantic Paris, historic Italy, and quaint Germany. I still hope to become familiar with those places I can only dream of right now. For me, I guess, the lesson is to not let life be a series of disappointments. Find routines you love. Savor your daydreams while you have them. And when you fulfill your dreams, don't let your expectations get in the way of enjoying the reality. Sometimes, reality exceeds even the greatest of expectations.
Have you ever been disappointed by something you had dreamed about?
Pura Vida, and keep dreaming, dreamers!