Monday, October 1, 2007

Only in Ecuador...

Dave and I are going into our third month of living in Ecuador. It is hard to believe that the months have gone by so quickly, but the evidence is everywhere. Parent-teacher conferences are next week, Christmas decorations have already hit the stores throughout Guayaquil, and Dave and I have established routines that have made us realize we actually live here and are not just visiting. The fact that life in Ecuador is beginning to feel "normal" is comforting and unsettling at the same time.

Do ants crawling along the edge of my plate, or through the dessert I am about to order at the nearby bakery, bother me? No-that is just life in Ecuador, you flick and move on. But on the other hand, when and how in the world did I get used to that ?! Ants back home would ensure the food would be in the garbage.

See what I mean? Comforting because I no longer lose my appetite when ants want to have their own little nibble. Unsettling because I can't believe how wasteful I tended to be just a few short months ago. There is a lot of "life in Ecuador" moments that make me reevaluate how we tend to live in more affluent countries. Food, dental, and medical treatment is cheap while technology and gadgets are more expensive. I paid more for my alarm clock than I did for my dental visit. But isn't that the way things should be? Shouldn't what we need the very most be what we can most afford?

Hmmm....not to get too philosophical on you, but it's something to think about.

Anyways, here are some other "only in Ecuador" moments that we are finding ourselves getting used to:

*On my way home from work today I saw a man under a bus. Not working on the bus, not under the bus because he had been hit. Just under the bus to take a nap.
*Buses pick up anyone, anytime, anywhere. If you bought a ticket for the beach and were guaranteed a seat, don't bet on it. You might be standing for the entire hour and a half.
*Pigs, dogs, goats can be found walking the streets in greater population than people in some towns.
*In the smaller villages, the kids create road obstacles (usually by holding a rope across the road) and ask you to pay a toll to get across.
*There is no such thing as a "no littering" policy and any tree or post can be converted into a bathroom, and I mean any. All this leads to Ecuador's unique scent.
*Filling a cavity (which I unfortunately had to have done) is only $50-$75. The low price could partly be due to the fact that I didn't have to pay for the numbing shot. Yep, that's right. They drilled without first numbing the nerve. Worst. Nightmare. Ever.
*If the invitation to the party says 4:30, they really are not expecting you until 6:00.
*Any bill higher than a $5 is just a pain to carry around. The more one dollar bills you can carry, the better. Change is hard to come by and if they don't have it, they just got a great tip.
*Don't be offended if people often ask you how many kids you have or when you will next be pregnant. The guards at school tell me at least once or twice a week that I need to have a little bebe. It makes me wonder if they are in cahoots with my parents. I'm on to you guys.

Each day, we learn and see something new in Ecuador that we know is just now part of our life. We'll keep you posted.