A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little acts of kindness

It is so easy to complain about those things in Ecuador that are more difficult, more complicated, or that take an inordinate amount of time to accomplish. Life goes at a different pace. A simple task takes longer and is always more frustrating than just going to a store and picking from endless choices, checking out in mere minutes, and moving on.  Here, shopping and dealing with the bureaucracy almost always has either built in complications or some undefined obstacle to hinder progress.

It is also easy to complain about all the unusual and problematic issues that confront us every day.  Nowhere have we seen ruder drivers who have a seeming road rage that belies the Ecuadorian’s otherwise quiet nature. Then there is the attitude that what is yours can be mine which can only be solved by not carrying expensive looking cameras, telephones, or loose purses. For a seemingly docile people, there is a need to get there first, to move up to the head of the line, to get to the stoplight before you, or to push a little too hard.

But, almost everywhere you turn, if you keep your eyes open, you will see little acts of kindness and love. Today, as we were leaving our favorite little fruit market, we saw an old woman who had been sitting outside her market on a stool  endlessly prepping vegetables, get up and give a couple of tangerines to a street cleaner in front of her store. The street cleaner, in her bright orange work suit, was hot and tired and with a great smile welcomed the cool pieces of fruit.  A day doesn’t pass when you don’t see a young person with her arm locked in an older persons arm, lovingly helping her navigate the rickety sidewalks.  People feed stray dogs with their precious food. It is a country where three and four generations live in the same house.  While this is not terribly unusual in these days of turmoil, what is unusual is the attitude of the young towards the older family members. There is much touching, hugging, and kissing that works up from the young to the old. Rarely will you see a young teenaged child argue or be rude to an older adult. More often, you will see a teenager with his or her arm around the parents shoulder or playing softly with their hair. Public affection is not an embarrassment. It is so common that you tend not to pay any attention to a couple locked in a close embrace on a busy sidewalk totally oblivious to the passers by.  Affection is the norm not the estrangement or distancing so prevalent among teenagers in the US.  It goes without saying that young children are protected, coddled, and overtly loved to the extent that most Ecuadorian families seem to have dedicated their lives to their children.

If you will open your eyes a little wider, you will see that these little acts of kindness far overshadow the complexities and difficulties of living in a foreign country. 

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