Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Too Good to be True?

Those of you who have been to Cotacachi and know that Rachel and I fell in love with it some time ago will immediately recognize the photo above to be the main church in Cotacachi with Mt. Cotacachi in the background.  Rachel took this photo on the terrace on top of La Cuadra Hostel where we are spending our short stay here.  To be honest with you, our readers, I have been so overwhelmed by the events that have happened in the last couple weeks that I can hardly contain myself, let alone put it into print.  I'm almost afraid that if I put it in print, the dream that Rachel and I have been dreaming for some months is just a dream and will go away with the ink!  In short, our condominium in Cuenca has sold, and we are building a house in Cotacachi!!!  For us, the first thing had to happen before the second was possible.  We let Miguel Mora (our developer/contractor) know back in January that we wanted to build in his development, Yana Pamba.  Miguel is a businessman and a good one at that, but he gave us a lot of lattitude to realize our dream.  He could have easily said "Go sell your house and then we'll talk", but instead he immediately went to his architect, Patricio Galarza and started working on plans to adapt our dream to a drawing.  This is called faith without a downpayment.  I met Miguel Mora a year and a half ago and knew he was special then, but didn't know at that time that he would one day build our house for us!  Heck, I didn't even know I'd be married to Rachel back then!  Things seem to move fast when you're 60.  One minute I'm an unhappy banker in Iowa and the next I'm married to the woman of my dreams and we're building a house together in Cotacachi Ecuador!  I knew God was good, but he's laid out the carpet for us to be here.  Now I guess we'll find out why.

Three days ago we became friends with Steve and Rebecca who were staying with us in La Cuadra.  We asked them if they'd like to see where we're building at Yana Pamba.  Steve and Rebecca had come to Ecuador to do a 'sniff test', not to look for a place to build.  Today they leave for the US, are putting their home on the market, and God willing will be building on one of the last lots available in Yana Pamba!  In the picture above they are looking out the front porch of the first completed home with Patricio Galarza, the architect looking on.  Patricio just happened to be inspecting the house builds while we arrived on the scene and took some time to point out his attention to detail in the builds.  It doesn't take a salesman, it takes quality work to sell homes.  We hope that our new friends Steve and Rebecca will also be our new neighbors in Cotacachi.

We were in Otavalo on Saturday, market day.  If you've ever been to Otavalo on Saturday you know there are thousands of people in the market and finding anyone on purpose there is like the proverbial needle in the haystack hunt.  Just how we ran into Rick and Eve Casto, our special friends from Vilcabamba is as Rick would state was purely a Godcidence.  For those uncomfortable with a spiritual explanation, think serendipity.  We know which it was.  Rick and Eve were on their way to the US for a three month vacation and family visit.  They manage the beautiful Terra Madre resort in Vilcabamba where we met them 10 months ago before we were even married.  You'll remember our infamous horseback ride in the mountains there!  Since that time in Vilcabamba Rick and Eve have visited us several times in Cuenca where we play cards, triominos, and tell lots of tall (but truthful) tales.  To hear their voices in the Otavalo market behind a stack of alpaca scarves was just amazing.  We were both a long way from home!  They have always blessed our life and our love and this time was no different.  After some really great hugs Rick and Eve immediately changed their plans to stay in Otavalo and instead joined us back at La Cuadra in Cotacachi where we spent a couple lovely days with them.  This morning they left for Quito and on to Washington state where they will have a reunion with their Harley Davidson.  We will miss them but know that they will be visitors of ours in Cotacachi when our house is complete.

I find it interesting that some people come to Cotacachi and are bored in one week.  The rest of us think we have died and gone to heaven.  We continue to find things to do and places to go.  Many of the places to go can be done over and over without any loss of wonderment.  Two days ago we went to Chachimbiro, a little village about an hour from here where they have wonderful natural hot springs.

I happened to have had a really sore back from a sprain.  I couldn't straighten up.  No Rachel didn't beat me up.  I'm not sure what I did, but life isn't the greatest when you walk like a 90 year old man.  One day in the hot springs and I'm pleased to report that I'm feeling just a shade over 40 again.  The weather in Chachimbiro is just a shade warmer than Cotacachi and we all got a little toasted under the Andean sun, but it was worth it.  The pools are arranged in such a way that as you go higher (closer to the hot water source) the hotter the water temperature is.  There is also a cold water pool next to the hottest pool where you can shock your system like the Polar Bear club.  I think it's supposed to be healthful to do that, though I'm not reading any studies on that matter.  I will report however that my back is feeling great and if I had a cardiac arrest, it was very short lived.

On the way back we stopped for some sugar cane juice, a local favorite.  It was very delicious.  They had this really loveable donkey yoked to a mill and they threw a stalk of cane into the mill and squeezed out a glassful of juice. The donkey got to eat the remaining squeezed cane.  Note that he is rather plump. Now that's entertainment!  For all of you who report about being bored in the Imbabura, eat your heart out.

Then a little farther down the road we found the quintessential Ecuadorian approach to motherhood in play.  We have found that mothers here put their baby first in those formative years.  When the babies want love and milk, they get love and milk.  It pays great dividends when the babies turn into 4 year olds.  The 4 year olds here don't whine and complain like most of their US counterparts.  The same theory holds for bovines here as well.  When it's time for some milk it doesn't matter what part of the road you're standing on.  It's time for milk.