Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder about how things happen.  Are they random?  Are they driven by the laws of attraction?  Does God's will drive the events that unfold before us?  Is Pachamama beckoning us to live in our hearts?  Do the earth’s chakras pulse for alignment?

All I know is that when I eschewed my corporate life in the US and vowed that I would live the rest of my life in my heart, things have come to me in a way that is indescribable in this venue.  After 59 years, the love of my life has come to me (or I to her?) and she shares my passion for a change of living and life.  I am drawn to a life in Ecuador, and every day I live here I know it is not random.  Call it what you will.  We each have our ways and beliefs of describing how the world works, but to be open to possibilities is what it is all about.  If we're not open, we have already died.

I came alone to this beautiful land in January of 2010 with an open mind and more importantly, an open heart.  My Spanish was still in my eighth grade classroom and I struggled beyond Buenos Dias.  My friends and family thought I had completely lost my mind.  Perhaps I had.  I'm glad I did.  You see, coming here and living here in Ecuador isn't just a geographic adjustment in time and space.  It is a commitment to living in a different and yes, for me, a better way.  That doesn't mean that everything in the Andes is perfect.  If you allow yourself to be annoyed, you might find that barking dog chorus or the 5 AM rooster ensemble is not to your liking.  You might even find that the evening cool down is just a couple degrees too cool for you.  But if that is all you see and hear and feel, then you've just flat out missed it.

Did you notice that the women here carry their babies next to their heart?  Did you notice that when things don't go right, people are ok with it?  I was stuck on an airliner in Guayaquil at 1 AM waiting for two hours because of a bomb threat in the terminal.  On board passengers were accepting and joking and laughing and conversing with each other; another bump in the road.  I think if this was in Chicago or New York there would have been some eyes gouged out.  We're in a van from Cuenca to Guayaquil and have to stop for construction.  Yes, there are a few people who step out of their vehicles to relieve their bladders.  It's ok.  God gave us the means to relieve ourselves and I think he wants us to if we don't make a big deal of it.  Nobody was flipping out because we had to pee.   Gee, looks like we might be here for a while....not a problem because the locals are here with their wonderful little treats to feed us on our sojourn over the pass.  Everyone produces here.  I mean EVERYONE.  If you don't have a job, you make food or serve food, shine shoes or just find something to do.  The indigenous get $25 per month from the government to help their family tide things over, but you know, they keep on working anyway.  Last night I spoke with the bartender at Zoe's.  He didn't speak a word of English, so I was challenged to do what I could in the language I'm supposed to be learning.  We met in a universal language about family.  His 3 children and wife live in Guayaquil.  He didn't have work there so he travels the mountains to work during the week at Zoe's in Cuenca to feed his family in Guayaquil then travels back to the coast on weekends.  My friend Xavier is an entrepreneur of the Horatio Alger cloth.  He works like a fiend, is smart, loyal, and honest, dedicated to his customers and would literally take his shirt off his back if you asked him for it.  But when noon comes, he brings lunch home for his family, not because they're not capable of doing for themselves but because he loves them, wants to be with them and like every other family in Ecuador noon meal is a time to be with family.  Likewise on Sunday, you see families everywhere.  They are playing soccer in the greenway along the Tomebamba.  That's right, Grandpa Pedro, father Miguel, daughter Victoria and baby Maria.  They're all there.  They are all having fun, smiling, and yes, there's no other place they'd rather be.

So, for all of you who think this is a third world country.  Think again.  I take issue with that really.  There are 13 million people here, more or less.  Is there poverty?  You bet, lots of it.  I haven't seen or heard of anyone going hungry though.  Everyone seems to be fed.  Are there beggars?  You bet.  I think there are 15.  Every gringo that goes back to the states tells you about them.  Did they tell you that they didn't have any legs?  Did they tell you that they played the pan pipe for you to soothe your soul?  Was it worth your quarter to rest your soul?   My soul is rested.  I am home.


Jim said...

Jim and Rachel,

What a beautiful post. We sound like kindred spirits. How did I not meet you both when I was in Cuenca this summer? My target date is to move to Cuenca early March of next year. I hope our paths will cross after I arrive. As I often say in my posts to others, continue to enjoy Cuenca for me until that time when I arrive. In the meantime, it is posts like yours that make me yearn for my return to Cuenca.

Kim said...

Wonderful post! It came to me via Jerry McIntire's facebook page.
There is a familiar echo of childlikeness - like you are discovering the world again and experiencing a more spiritual and deliberate way of life. Satisfaction comes easily.. I know this feeling. It came when I first spent three months in Guatemala, then toured in Honduras and in Costa Rica. Now my son is living in Costa Rica. I'm so glad he gets to experience a whole new way of living.
Thanks so much for taking the time to post.

Casimic said...

You have brought me to tears, this is wonderful post. I discovered your blog tonight and have been glued to my computer for the past 2 hours, couldn't decide where to start reading lol, good luck and keep posting.