Goodbye, Ecuador. For a Time.

puerto cayo ecuador

It’s time to go home.

One hundred days that Dana and I have been in Ecuador now. Beginning today at 10 a.m., we’ll drive an hour to Manta, take a domestic flight into Quito, cool our heels 8 hours in the new Mariscal Sucre International Airport, fly all night to Atlanta, run through customs, and take a final leg into Memphis. An hour’s drive later, we’ll be home. Jonesboro, Arkansas. It’s a 24-hour travel day.

Our emotions have run the gamut here. Especially in the last week.

In the first two months we felt everything you can imagine. Excited, anxious, curious, hopeful, disheartened, uncertain, happy, sad, joyful, desperate, awestruck, blessed, and frustrated just to name a few. Oh, at times how we felt frustration.

Many times, I wondered to myself, “What have we done?” And soon thereafter, it would all come clear. Every single time, it came clear.

We were sent here, on a personal mission of sorts, to learn, and grow and understand. We came here to understand how to be less judgmental, less rigid, less know-it-all perhaps. It’s a good place to learn patience, that’s for sure, and on many occasions to unlearn all the things you thought you ever knew.

I will miss some things in this special place …

*My international friends, especially, Duval and Maria from Ecuador. Samuel from Switzerland. And the way they all talk and laugh about the hyperactive Ethiopian, Marise, who’s building a home with a glass bathroom across the street. They are so concerned they’ll be seeing him “do his business” when nature calls. And I will miss the occasional afternoon beer at Samuel’s place and so many of this fascinating man’s animated stories.

*Watching the progress that other expats are making on their homes, seeing their excitement, and yes, sharing our mutual frustrations in the midst of it all.

*My garden, which is beautiful, but 100 times more difficult to maintain than a garden back home in the states. Searing sun, week-long rains, crabgrass and weeds that can completely take over in 24 hours, never-before-seen insects, an endless list of challenges.

*Early morning scooter rides and the friendly beeps that other moto drivers now give me. Three months ago they would barely return a wave wondering who the heck I was. Today, they enthusiastically say good morning and flash me a wide smile.

*Critters. Lizards everywhere. Weird insects as I’ve never seen. Beautiful birds, even turkey vultures on our front porch. I see a new creature here every single day.

*The sound of the Pacific. Even with our house at 500 yards away, I can clearly hear the sea crashing against the beach. It’s relentless, and wonderful.

During the last three days, I’ve had trouble focusing my emotions, not sure what I felt about any of it. I’ve been happy, and sad.

And when I read Dana’s blog post today, I realized she said it perfectly well.

She wrote … “We have loved the people here, and they have loved us in return.”

And that’s all that matters, anyway, since it’s the only reason we came in the first place.

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13 thoughts on “Goodbye, Ecuador. For a Time.

  1. i am usually hit with a reverse case of culture shock when i return, and i marvel at the excess, the waste, and how little people interact with each other in general. i also walk through a large department store or super center and gawk with widened eyes and jaw agape as i absorb the sights/sounds: the new gadgets, music, books, etc.
    buen viaje!
    z

    • Z – I’m quite sure the Wal-Mart Super Center will totally freak me out now. People always say … “it changed my life,” and I’ve always despised that cliche’ until now, because I can say without question that my life is changed forever. I’m so sorry we didn’t meet on this trip. Next time … and vaya con Dios.

  2. Steve,
    I just wanted to say that it was an eye opening experience for Janice and I when we came to visit. It is true, setting aside every thing you were use to, and engaging the learning portion of your brain. Not judging, and not expecting things to be the same as you have been trained. I must say, we had a mixture of emotion and expectation when we started our adventure. The best thing was setting it all aside, and just take in all that we experienced. What an awesome experience it was……….

    Thank you, and Dana for being a part of adventure,

    Randy

  3. Steven, didn’t realize that you were an “Arkie”. I’m a native Razorback…spent time in eastern Arkansas…my wife is from the Paragould area. We visited Ecuador…Quito & Cotacotchi…and Galapagos Islands in 2010. Hope to return for a longer stay sometime in the future

  4. Steve: I’ve enjoyed keeping up with your South American adventures. What a wonderful mix of bravery, openness, and faith–with just a dash of “crazy” thrown in for good measure. And now you’re returning “home” (will that word ever mean quite the same to you?) transformed as a new man in many ways. Just in time for Easter. Coincidence?

    • Rich: Your descriptive adjectives are on the money. And thoughts about home? Indeed, they will never be the same. I’m so glad to hear from you, and glad to know you enjoyed the posts from Ecuador. I hope you will keep us in your prayers as we seek out what’s next here in the U.S. Thank you for your comment, and Happy Easter.

      • Why are you going home? This is the first I have seen your site. My husband said something this morning about there being some sort of unrest, and an alert to Americans to avoid Ecuador. Hope this isn’t the reason! Best wishes from Atlanta.

      • There certainly is no unrest. We are in the U.S. now simply because that was part of our original plan. We have responsibilities in the U.S. and split time back and forth. It’s the best of both worlds.

  5. Great posts on Ecuador, came across while watching HH Intl. Also my dad’s family lives over in Rector maybe I’ll look you up one of these days. Love South America, wife is from Colombia. Can’t wait for our next visit, Ecuador and Brazil also on my list. Cheers

    • Please do. I love Latin America, and love talking about it. Would love to meet you and your wife. Our House Hunters show will probably air in August, and I’m hopefully headed back to Cayo in the late fall to check on things. Thanks for dropping by and commenting …. steve

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