Sunday, June 19, 2011

Young People in Ecuador

I was picking up a few things in Super Maxi the other day. You always run into gringos in Super Maxi. It's like flies and honey. We're the flies. We also enjoy exchanging pleasantries in our familiar tongue. We talk about our latest adventures, challenges, and joys. Mostly we run into young-old people our own age (50-75) and the connection is immediate, the brotherhood of norteamericanos in Ecuador. When we run into young-young gringos we get especially excited. We already know this is a wonderful place to come to spend your mature years, but what about your young-young years? So here is this happy couple carefully and frugally selecting some items not found in the open markets. The young man is wearing an OU (Oklahoma Sooners) cap. Anyone wearing a cap from the Big 12 Conference is already my friend, so I quickly anticipated a conversation about how many touchdowns the Sooners would kill my Cyclones with this year. Also, Rachel is a home-bred Oklahoman from Sapulpa, a small town outside Tulsa, so I thought it might be interesting to see if there were some common threads somewhere. It turns out Ryan was from Omaha but his wife Molly is from Oklahoma. I ask her "What city?", and she reveals that she is from Tulsa. I said "Wow, my wife is from Tulsa....well Sapulpa actually". Then there's this deer-in-the-headlight look from Molly. "I'm from Sapulpa!!!!" Pretty soon we find out she was born in the hospital (St. Johns) where Rachel was for many years a neo natal nurse. Molly's father is a good friend of an OBGYN doctor there that Rachel knows really well. It's old home week for Rachel and Molly and Rachel isn't even there! We chat for a while in disbelief and I promise that Rachel will connect with them in an email and we'll go from there. The picture above is from the encounter of Molly and Ryan's visit to our home. Rachel fixed a great meal of camerones (shrimp) and pasta and we enjoyed each other's fellowship, friendship, and the spirit of living in Ecuador.

What struck us about Molly and Ryan was that they weren't here for the economical living, the wonderful climate, or the beautiful countryside. They were here to immerse in Spanish and absorb the latin culture, to live in their hearts. They teach English to the locals and make ends meet on the wages. Their young increasingly wealthy friends and peers in the US are living the American dream.....well at least those with a job. For those it may be the American nightmare. They are gaining material wealth and are in the rat race of expensive cars, expensive homes, designer jeans, lattes, high taxes, and big debt. Not Molly and Ryan. They live within their means and their means isn't big. They are growing in experience of other world cultures and language. They are getting incredibly rich even if Paine Webber doesn't think so. They are helping others, stepping on no toes, living a responsible and Christian life. God Bless you Molly and Ryan. Welcome to Ecuador.