Well, today was my last time to get to hang out with my good friends, Bill and Elaine, before they return to their home in Canada this week. Although goodbyes are never easy, I am certainly handling it a lot better than I did last year! For one thing, they hope to only be gone for 3-4 months (rather than 8 like last time) and return with their residency visa in hand and ready to stay for 9 months straight. For another thing (as my long-time followers know) they were my first friends in Ecuador who really took me under their wings in so many ways as I adapted to my new life here. When they left last year, I barely had my own wings (I had just made my first solo bus trip to Manta right before they left) and we had done so much daily life together in such a short time, that I felt a huge void (and was a blubbering mess) when they departed.
But while they were gone, I made more friends, “learned to fly” and gathered a whole lot of life experiences under my belt before they came back – in some ways I was even showing them the ropes when they returned! And of course, having moved into our respective houses that are only 10 minutes apart by vehicle but can be up to an hour bus ride apart (with waiting time), has made our contact much more sparse (although we’ve tried to make the most of opportunities and see each other at least once a week). One of the things I am most grateful for is that they were still here during the recent passing of our friend Robert. They responded to my tearful 6:30 a.m. phone call by dropping everything and coming to my house to hold, cry and laugh with me the rest of the day, as we remembered and grieved the loss of a man very dear to us all (and we also gathered at their house the day of his funeral for more time together grieving and remembering).
As with their last departure, our former neighbor and friend Sam, who owns Jardin Suizo, (ironically where Robert stayed on his first visit, as Sam’s first official guest) will be keeping Tag while they are away. I’m no longer living close enough to take him to the beach every day (it is about a 30 minute walk each way) but just as I did last year, I will endeavor to take him for as many beach outings as I can until they return.
So this time I’m not doing the “ugly cry,” but I wanted to write a blog post to say farewell and “hasta pronto mis amigos” – see you soon my friends!