Although I love my life in Ecuador, there are many ways it can be more challenging and frustrating than life in the states. But living in and adjusting to a different culture can really reveal what is inside a person. It has been said that people are like sponges – you really don’t know what is inside until you are “squeezed” and it comes out. Our circumstances don’t determine our character – they just reveal it. I see examples of this all the time here, when the clash between people’s expectations of how things “ought to be” and reality collide.
But enough of the sermonette. My point in saying all this is that one of the things I’ve really come to appreciate in Ecuador are what I call the “little graces.” When you live somewhere that everything seems to take at least twice the amount of time and effort to accomplish, you become grateful for small things. A few of the recent bright spots I’ve enjoyed in the midst of some “gray days” are:
- Clumping cat litter – I mentioned in one of my earliest blog posts that Charcoal and I were going to have to adjust to non-clumping cat litter. I was warned about this before I came and the information was confirmed once I arrived. For several months Charcoal and I both endured all the unpleasant features of not having this “luxury item.” Then one day, I discovered a colorful little box on the shelf. Although it said nothing in the text to indicate it was anything other than regular litter, the diagram instructions on the back (and the price!) indicated otherwise. I bought a box and tried it at home and voila, it clumped! Having learned the lesson previously the hard way, on subsequent store visits I proceeded to buy up every box I could find! I think I got up to 11 before I decided it was relatively safe to assume that the demand from other grateful cat owners would keep the supply on the shelves (and so far it has). Charcoal and I are both grateful for this little convenience that makes our life simpler and cleaner!
- Skinny clothes – I have not previously mentioned (but some of you have noticed) that I have dropped 15-20 lbs since moving to Ecuador. This all happened within the first few months of being here – and I was shocked! I have battled my weight my entire life and finally gave up and resigned myself to being 20 lbs more than I wanted rather than live with extreme eating and exercise in order to maintain the weight I preferred. I have NEVER in my life lost weight without a good amount of effort and a few years ago finally decided I would just eat healthy and exercise moderately and it would be what it would be – so before I left I finally got rid of all my “skinny clothes.” Although I get more “natural” exercise in my lifestyle now and eat somewhat differently, I really didn’t see it as being “better” than what I was doing at home (especially in diet, where some things are better, but others are worse). So I was SHOCKED when my weight dropped so rapidly and effortlessly! The only problem was that my now limited wardrobe was way too big – I had to belt everything to keep it from falling off! So finally Janet agreed to take me to the local seamstress. I took two pairs of Capri pants and two pairs of shorts. This was no easy “take it in at the waist” job. She had to rip out the side seams and take everything in at the hips and waist. I got my clothes back yesterday and they now fit me like a glove (even better than before) and the cost to do all that – $2 per item!
So these are just a few of the “little graces” that can really make a girl’s day here in Ecuador!