The first time I traveled to Ecuador was May 2017….
Freshly out of my first post-graduate job, and ready for something new, adventurous, and radical. I don’t think I could have ever imagined two years later I would be sitting with a girlfriend in an apartment in Quito, capital of Ecuador, 9,350 feet of elevation.
This adventure began in the coastal forest in the Jama-Coaque reserve, away from civilization, electricity, cell phone service, mirrors…oh, and no refrigerator! This meant converting to a vegetarian for the two months of my first Ecuador visit with nothing but a Joy of Cooking cookbook to lend me ideas. After staying in this reserve for a short time, I realized the true meaning of tranquility; resetting my circadian rhythm, eating healthy, hiking for hours, reading voraciously, no alcohol and great face-to-face conversation. When life becomes simple, it seems anxiety and worry vanish from your life and happiness comes easy. From that experience, I learned the value of separating myself from technology and making an effort to return to nature frequently. Since Jama-Cauque, I have lived in Quito for numerous visits.
(Credit to TMA alliance)
Living in Quito (Ecuador) with my girlfriend(who I met in Ecuador) has been life-changing! Some aspects of life aren’t so much different than many over places I have lived. For example, I work for a University, see movies/concerts on the weekends and dine at different restaurants with varying cuisines. But, there are also differences…both big and small.
Food is definitely healthier here than in the US.-Just eating byway of the typical Quito diet I have lost ten pounds! I’ve also noticed that Ecuadorians love cooking with potatoes-it’s often a daily dish in hundreds of different preparations. Sometimes I catch myself listing off different potatoes dishes in the way “Bubba” from the Forrest Gump film listed off the shrimp dishes!
The people in Ecuador right off the bat are inviting! Here, the greeting and salutation for a woman isn’t a handshake, but kissing of the cheek. Even if you have never met the person before (you don’t actually kiss cheeks, but touch cheeks together and make a kissing sound). Family values are strong, with family gatherings happening every weekend. This experience was eye-opening to me, as I only get to see my cousins twice per year, as my family is spread across the United States. Another aspect of life is that grandparents don’t get put in assisted living homes…They aren’t as common here. I have always found it sad that the older generations care for us, and when it is their turn for caring they don’t get the same in return.
Living abroad isn’t always easy
The fastest flight home to see your mom is 12 hours, but cost $600-800. A small bottle of Jack Daniels is 70$, and a normal jar of Jiffy peanut butter cost 13 dollars. I can no longer easily run to the grocery store and get whatever ingredient I need to cook some odd dish I’m suddenly craving.
Also, ordering something on Amazon is non-existent (but at least I can visit the Amazon)!
And being a minority isn’t something I’ve ever had to think about or deal with until moving to Ecuador, and it is certainly an odd feeling. But even with the drawbacks, the happiness and wonder Ecuador brings is incredible!
As long as you can adjust to change…life goes on without a bump. The people are accepting and friendly, the cuisine is amazing, the views are fantastic, and the natural diversity is unbeatable.
Until next time,
Blogger & World-Traveler