In February we bought airline tickets to visit the States for a month in September. June and July were quite chilly here as the seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. Many people we have met think all of Ecuador is hot. Nope. Cuenca gets quite chilly, not snowy true, but at night it can get into the low 50’s during the chilly season and with it can come lots of rain. Factor in the lack of central heat or fireplace in our apartment and well…I had had enough by August. We left for the beaches at the end of August a few days before our flight.
Lest it sound like I am complaining I must make the disclaimer that I am a summer girl. I was born in July in the Midwest and I love summertime. My best memories include the tic tic whir of the sprinkler as a 7 year old me danced through it’s cold spray on an 85 degree day in my ruffled yellow bikini, the smell of freshly mown lawn my dad had just cut with the push reel lawn mower wafting in the sticky heat; sleeping over at my friend Lisa Jurgens house on her back patio watching the white hot stars and the fireflies in inky stillness, whispering to the night our deepest, darkest 12 year old secrets, the next day I hike to the falls with Lisa and her older brother, Mike (my painful adolescent crush) and we savor egg salad sandwiches and ice tea their mom packed in thermoses and I swear I will never forget that day. And I don’t. Traveling by car with my family for hours to the “district” convention in various cities across the U.S.A and our vacations afterwards; visiting my grandparents in North Alabama, running a country road with my dad in the early morning mist and returning back to the house with my freshly straightened hair in a fuzzy AFRO! (yeah, my 15 year old self about died of embarrassment!); the calm, cool quiet of the libraries my mom and I would visit every week in summer, an oasis of words and dreams that enhanced my summers and took me to far off places; laughing with my friend Melanie as we “vacation” pioneer with our moms who were each other’s partner and stopping at the Dairy Queen after field service, ah yes strawberry sundaes.
The memories with my own children, summers in Connecticut, are even more vivid of course. Beach days at Rocky Neck and Misquamicut, picnicking at Topsmead in Litchfield and camping on the Cape, late summer in Martha’s Vineyard renting a house with friends. Memories of working at a pricey summer camp and my own kids ( who were able to attend for free) smelling of sweat, chlorine and pine needles from playing Capture the Flag in the pine forest and freshly churned ice cream afterwards up the road at a creamery. Wandering the trails and climbing the fire tower at Sessions Woods and watching my 10 year old son climb the massive, slippery boulders toward the waterfall. Later the three of us sit, my son, my daughter named after this beautiful, green season and I dangling our feet in it’s churning icy waters.
I write about those memories even as Chet and I are making new memories here. We enjoyed the beach immensely. We stayed outside of Montanita this time close to Olon. I loved the large waves and had the best one hour massage ever right on the beach…for $15! Altogether we saw 8 whales right from the shore line in two days, so cool.
Going back to the States was interesting. It was wonderful to see family and friends and meet up with some who have followed our blog with an enthusiasm we could never have imagined. We traveled to 7 States and 3000 miles in a month. Yep. Never again we say. However, we enjoyed 3 circuit overseers visits and it was great to hear the talks in English, lol. My girlfriend of 30 years, Jodi, traveled down from Connecticut to see me for one day in Delaware along with her sons and it blew me away!! She has no idea what that meant and still means to me. Proverbs 17:17 is so true, eh?
Although I have felt lonely many times in Cuenca and I battle clinical depression (and I realize that no matter where you go there YOU are so it’s with me till the end of this system) it was good to come back home to Cuenca. The States overwhelmed me a bit. It is my culture and yet my eyes became more opened to how much STUFF there is and how much we hurry and scurry, consume and SHOP!! We shop when we need things, when we don’t need things, when we are bored, celebrating, hungry, sad, tired, depressed, angry, lonely, ecstatic…did I leave out anything? We came to the States with our wish lists of things we needed to take back and yes I was happy to walk into a Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and Trader Joes, etc. However, one day I stood in a store and I stopped…I turned around 360 degrees and thought….wow, so much STUFF!! If you have ever been away from the States for any length of time you know what I am saying. If not, well try it sometime, you will be amazed at your perspective when you return. Or maybe it didn’t take you leaving to feel that way…good for you!
Now I must retire from my soapbox and share some photos. Stay tuned as Chet and I have a big surprise in store for you in the next few months! And NO, I am not pregnant! Yikes!