Friday, May 30, 2014

Einfahrt - Part 1

May 30, 2014

I mentioned in my last post that I will be spending the next couple of months in Europe (primarily Germany) to be with my kids and grandchildren – a time I very much look forward to enjoying.
I will still be writing about Olón and Ecuador, since that is my home, and I will be keeping in touch with friends there on a regular basis.
But come with me as we take a little detour onto some new adventures.

I’ve been in Germany for just a little over two days.  I’m still a wee bit jet-lagged, and adjusting to the weather (though it is “summer” here, it’s kind of cold for me, and currently somewhat similar to Cuenca weather).  I’m glad I packed some long pants and sweaters.

I left Guayaquil early Tuesday evening for a direct flight to Amsterdam (around an 11-hour flight). There is a seven hour time difference, and I arrived at Schiphol airport shortly after 1PM the next day for a 2 hour layover before taking a puddle jumper to Germany.

After four years of living in Olón, (and not leaving Ecuador soil during all that time), I knew to expect some culture shock. I knew to anticipate more sophisticated facilities, probably more efficient service and expensive prices, and tempting food that I haven’t seen in a long time (even if it was in an airport).

What I didn’t expect was that I would be more comfortable, accustomed, and unconsciously talking in español with all I met, including  tall, Nordic looking people as I was downing a couple of draft beers during my layover there.

This wasn’t a “put-on” or “show-off” on my part. I just didn’t realize how comfortable I’ve become speaking that language (as mangled as it still is), because it’s become the “norm” for me, and I had to deliberately remind myself to talk in ingles a number of times.

My daughter Kacie, and my granddaughters, Clara (3-yrs) and Chloe (6-months) were there to meet me as soon as I disembarked in Germany.

What a joy and blessing it was for me to wrap my arms around these kids again (and the first time to hold Chloe!).  Just what the doctor ordered – this trip to be with them is a gift and a blessing.
Aside from my lingering weariness from the trip, I am on a challenging learning curve being around toddlers and infants once more, and trying to get back up to speed disentangling child car seats belts, locking in high chair trays, and changing diapers.

Kacie and Pedro’s apartment is very comfy and spacious, with all modern conveniences. There are four bedrooms, and I have one to myself.
Kacie did make one observation as I was unpacking.  She said my clothes smelled liked “musty Indiana Jones” stuff.  I don’t have a very good sense of smell, but I had to laugh, because I’m sure they do.  I made sure all my clothes were clean before packing, but then again, I use one of the better local Olón lavanderías to do that, and I’m pretty sure they use the water directly from the Rio Olón as their water source, so I’ve been re-washing my clothes in her machine before I unpack/hang since I’ve been here.

I do have one confession to make….(please, those in Olón – do not tell Daisy this news – advert her eyes from seeing this spoiler).

I am sleeping with a new guy. His name is Sunny. He is very affectionate, loving, and attentive. I might be just a little bit in love with him. We’ve very quickly developed an intimate and cozy relationship at night.

He is a cat, and probably best if Daisy doesn’t know I’m having this fling while I’m away. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Breaking the Shell

May 19, 2014

These pictures were culled from
photos I took in Joshua Tree
through the years.
I call this one
"Mother Earth Giving Birth"

I became a non-smoker a few days ago.
I lasted exactly 28 hours as one.
It’s a change I need to make in my life, and I am getting more motivated towards that goal. To make that transformation might mean eliminating or modifying “triggers” as well.  In other words, dismantling some of the old patterns and thoughts to bring in the “new”.

Life has seasons, and change is inevitable.  I think change invariably brings each of us to new and wondrous discoveries and possibilities, though the road there can be rough at times (like telling my body and brain we do not need that cigarette).

This reminded me of a quote (I love quotes) that I thought was one of Friedrich Nietzsche’s.
As it turns out, it is attributed to Pablo Picasso:

“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”.

In other words, “you can’t pour new wine into old wine skins”.

Sometimes making changes in our lives can be painful, but I like what Kahlil Gibran says about that:
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” – the idea that pain can be our friend if we view it as a doorway to marvelous new vistas  and opportunities ahead.

I do think that being an expat does bring another layer into that mix (sometimes you more often need to “step up the pace” to adapt, bend, transform to your new culture).
You’re on a non-stop learning curve.
Expect it, whether you have lived here in Ecuador for just weeks or years. It never actually ends.

I love living in South America.
In particular, Olón, Ecuador is my home. This might sound a little “weird”, but there is something intensely spiritual about this continent. Maybe it’s because we essentially live on the Equator, maybe it’s the diversity of the culture and nature, maybe it’s because we’re a vortex for outer-space-beings (just kidding here, folks…sorta). I do know that this area of the coast we live in is one of the oldest documented continually settled areas in all of South America.

Recently, it seems like a lot of people I know (or have met) are going through major life changes. Obviously, many of those I've had the opportunity to meet -- generally interesting folks -- are visiting to explore the possibility of moving here and are going through a major adjustment in their lives.
Other friends I know are having babies, or losing parents and other loved ones, or celebrating weddings, or dealing with a sickness.  The list goes on.  And changes are happening in my life now too.

One of the bigger ones is that I will be soon be going to Germany to live for 2 months.   My youngest daughter and her husband live there, along with my 3-yr and 6-mo old granddaughters. I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to spend time with them!  (A leetle nervous, because I hope my experience with potty-training, diaper-changing and Candy Land come back like riding a bike).
As an added bonus, my middle daughter lives in England with her Brit husband and their 8-month old twin boy and girl…so hoping that a jaunt there can also be arranged.
I have a far-flung family.
Right now, I have more kids and four grandchildren in Europe (only one of which I’ve actually got to hold in my arms) than in the States. My oldest daughter and granddaughter (miss you, Squirt!) live in California, and I am hoping to get there to see them sometime later this year.
I will still be blogging from there, but might have to consider changing the blog description to:

“A Kansas City gal, former Californian, now an expat in Ecuador, living in Germany for 2 months”.

Life and change march on, holding hands.
Embrace it.


“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while those who are learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Eric Hoffer