I have been thinking a lot lately about why life seems easier in Ecuador than back in the US. Because even though something like going to the doctor takes 7 stops to different windows just to get your appointment (ok, that was a slight exaggeration) it still seems easier. I have finally come to the conclusion that there is a great ease in the difficulty of things.
For example: 6 days a week I wash a load of laundry by hand. This entails gathering laundry, adding soap and water, letting it soak, swishing it around a bunch, letting Sammy and Harmon walk on it in the tub, scrubbing it as needed, several rinses, putting it into the wringer part of the industrial mop bucket (classy! but saves my wrists), then wringing it by hand, and finally hanging it up to dry on the lines. Oh wait, but then I have to watch the weather all day, because it rains probably 5 or 6 days a week, even if only for a few minutes, and bring all the laundry inside to find creative locations to temporarily let it dry (banister, kitchen chairs, doorknobs…). Ridiculous, right? But here’s the thing, it is better. If I only have to throw a load in the washer (ok, obviously I hope to someday have a washer again) then I am bored. What will we do kids? Let’s go to Target for no reason… Again don’t get me wrong, I love Target, but after purging most of our belongings it is obvious that random trips to Target were a bit out of control before we left.
Another example: going anywhere with just me and the kids. This has been especially pronounced because Aaron is not only working during the day, but pretty much immobile the rest of the time as well. But the kids and I cannot sit in the house all day. Since we don’t own a car, that leaves two options: 1. Walk and 2. Taxi. I love walking. That is one of the many reasons I wanted to move back here, if you live near enough to town, you can walk to tons of places. But obviously with a 2 and 3-year-old, our range is limited. Going two blocks to the park: easy. Going almost a mile to the downtown park with the cool huge cathedral: almost impossible. While we could walk it, me alternating carrying the kids, most days it just seems like too much. Taxiing here is really cheap, but if you do it several times a day and you happen to currently have zero income, it can add up quickly. This to me at first seemed pretty limiting, how on earth am I going to get anything done/ever leave the house? But here’s what is actually happening: I pick and choose, and end up with better choices than when I would just throw the kids in the car and drive somewhere (anywhere!) back in the US. Now instead of hitting up the McDonald’s drive-thru just because, we plan to go to the Museum and actually go.
I guess what I am trying to get at is that although on the surface it seems like lots of things that I was accustomed to doing in the US are more difficult here, it actually makes my life better. I am less bored, I am more fulfilled, which obviously leads to greater happiness. And although I know I find great joy in visiting with the orphans, I think that the rest of life here really is great aside from that. I wish that I could just choose to be like that wherever I was, that if I lived in Renton or Bellevue or South Dakota that I could just choose to do things that were fulfilling instead of just doing something to not be bored. But as it stands I am a lazy person who is prone to sit around, so I am glad for the kick in the pants that living here is. I obviously had an idea that it would be like this, and I am glad that it is shaping up to be what I was looking for.