The answer is YES and YES. We are both happy to be back 'home'. We never intended to stay in Ecuador permanently but we did plan to stay a bit longer. So here are a few things we are enjoying and missing.
First, what do we miss about living in Ecuador?
- Our friends are the one thing we miss the most. Our Ecuadorian friends as well as those from the US, Canada and other countries. We stay in touch, somewhat, with Facebook and email, but needless to say, it's not the same.
- Twelve hours of daylight, every day, from approximately 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Yes, a benefit of living close to the equator.
- Inexpensive fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Need I say more?
- Chicken, eggs, bacon that had a lot of flavor. This is definitely a case of missing things after trying their counterparts in the US.
- Walking the city - it was so easy to grab a bus into El Centro and spend the day walking around, always seeing something new. Here it depends where we are parked. Our current campground is great for walking - unless it gets too hot, then it's off to mall walking.
- The spontaneity of the people and the city. I will never forget my two middle of the night mariachi band experiences! The flute players by the cathedral. The parades that popped up unannounced.
- The friendliness - always a smile in greeting, bigger if we were the first to extend it. Here in the US, everyone looks so grim. I go out of my way to smile and greet people, just as I did in Ecuador.
- Everything is easy. Need something from the store? Hop in the car and go. Want to watch your favorite TV show? Find it in the recorded list on your DVR. Need to pay a credit card? Use your own secure Internet connection, no VPN required. Need something legal, financial or medical? No translator needed. A regular grocery store trip took hours (walk to bus stop, wait for bus and of course you just missed the last one, ride bus to store, shop, wait for a taxi - you get the idea).
- Good beef, something that was somewhat lacking in Ecuador (although the bacon there - OH MY!)
- Our motorcycle - Stu often gets on it to move it and ends up taking an hour or more ride. We try to get out a couple times a week (he goes out more often while I write).
- Our home - our RV is our home with all our things and we both missed it. We had very nice apartments in Ecuador but they still weren't ours. When we spend money on upgrading or furnishing, it's ours.
- Hot water almost instantly! In our last apartment it could take up to ten minutes to get hot water in the bathrooms. After midnight there was often none. Now we just turn in the faucet!
- I'm writing again. For whatever reason, I could never find the motivation to write while we were living in Ecuador. Too many things to see and do!
- Availability of things - yes, we still need things (and like things). No waiting for someone to mule something back to you or paying an exorbitant price. Just order and it's delivered.
- Thrift and second hand stores. I love browsing these and reusing/recycling things. In Ecuador, everything is reused/recycled until it no longer exists.
- Ability to travel easily. No four hour drive to the closest airport. We can book last minute cruise specials. We can hop on the bike or in the pickup and take a mini-vacation. All relatively inexpensively and easily.
- We appreciate living with less, more than ever. Seeing how little the locals live with, we realize we don't need many of the things we "want" to buy.
- We understand more Spanish than we ever anticipated. We are enjoying reading signs and knowing what it said, listening to conversations and actually getting the gist of it, seeing the smiles when we greet or thank in Spanish.
Are there things we dislike about being back in the states? Sure, just as there are things we don't miss about living in Ecuador. But the positives outweigh the negatives on both sides. And, for us, the positives are a big part of what drew us back.
Ciao for now!