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.