Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roller Coaster Moments

November 12, 2014

I’m having technical difficulties receiving comments to this blog. I am working on getting that fixed; in the meantime, thanks for your patience.
I did, however, recently receive this letter from a reader and I wanted to share it here (with her gracious permission – thank you, Lorrie) and my response.
Accompanying this post are some bird pictures I’ve taken over the years.

Hi Leigh,
I am someone who is working towards moving to Ecuador.
I am from Michigan, temporarily in Florida until my house sells, then on to Ecuador. I go from being depressed that things are taking so long to being a bit freaked that I am really going to do this and it's a gigantic mistake.
Reading your blog was a comfort to me since my biggest worry is that I will be alone and isolated. You seem to run into friends everywhere and are living a pretty social life (put that on your list of things to appreciate). I was wondering how you have come to know so many expats in Ecuador?
I am working hard at learning Spanish but it is slow going and not fun yet. I am determined to become fluent but don't expect it to happen overnight.
Do you have any advice about coming to Ecuador? Not sure where I want to live yet.
Thinking I would take a few months and stay in different areas. Where would you recommend?
Thanks so much for writing your blog. I enjoyed reading it. Keep writing!

Hi Lorrie,
I want you to know that your letter came at a timely moment, and touched me to the core.
Thank you for your kind words about the blog, for reminding again to be ever grateful through all circumstances, and for your encouragement regarding my writing.   Sometimes I think I am just writing into thin air (especially since I haven’t yet figured out the blog-site’s technical glitch that is preventing and/or complicating comments made to my more recent posts).

I appreciate your letter for your transparency and honesty that it took to write it.
First of all, the things you are feeling as you get ready to make this leap ARE NORMAL.  If you weren’t “a bit freaked” out at this point, you would be an exception.  I safely venture to say that anyone who has made this move has gone through that phase.
It is one of the scarier and harder emotional roller-coaster moments during your journey towards a new life as an expat.  I think for most people, it gets easier once you’re here – especially for those who keep an open-mind, and who packed mental flexibility and a sense of humor.  Don’t worry about the “patience” part…trust me, that muscle will get exercised here.
Just breath deep, let go, and jump.
You don’t yet know your Ecuadorian destination. Take your time; explore the areas that interest you.  You will know it when you find it…or you may decide Ecuador is not your cup of tea.  That’s okay too. I cannot stress enough that this is not a little United States, and every day will bring new adaptations and adjustments that need tweaking.

It has been my observation that wherever you land in Ecuador, you will not likely feel isolated. The Ecuadorian people are warm and generous – though I strongly encourage any and all efforts to learn the language, however lame you may feel at it for quite a while.
Speaking for myself, the friendly and easygoing coastal Ecuadorian locals in my little town were high on the list of reasons for moving to Olón.  When we moved here (permanently) four and a half years ago, there were very few full-time expats living in our area.

That has changed considerably since then, and just about anywhere you go in Ecuador now, there is likely to be a thriving expat community, to interact with as you choose.
How do I know so many expats?
Well, I bought property here over seven years ago, so I’ve been on the various forums for some time. That was about the same time Facebook took off also, so many of the people I now know personally are people I “met” initially on FB.
That, and Ecuador is just a dang small country.  Everyone seems to know everyone in Ecuador (gringos and locals, alike).  Before you know it, you will be bumping into familiar friends all the time.
I look forward to getting to know you better!
Please keep me updated on your progress, and wishing you the best.