Lost in a thought…

Reading, writing and meditating have been my top 3 priorities, all of which lead me down a path, lost in thought.  For 3 days, I have walked the beach, listening to the tide ebb and flow, as if the sea would give me the answers.

As the ocean has its flow, I have looked for mine…

Finding consistency in our eating habits was a high priority so Captain and I started making our grocery list for the market. We typically eat a plant based diet and rarely fry things-fried fish and plantains were not going to cut it as our staple meal!  With such fertile soil, we were expected a large variety of produce. But with the surprisingly limited options, we won’t be eating our ‘normal’ meals.  Where are the leafy greens??? I miss you Kale!

Broccoli stir-fry, cavatina and black bean tacos are on the dinner menu.  For lunch we planned cheese toasties, sub sandwiches and fruit salad.  I dream of a bakery that makes fresh bread of quinoa flour but until then our only choice is ‘supan’, the equivalent to ‘Wonderbread’!  Our options are limited for ‘processed’ foods but the availability of ‘organic produce’ has been much appreciated!

Three miles south from our apartment in Same is the village of Tonchigue.  It has 3 produce markets and we are able to get (surely organic!) cheese too.   The grocer often helps us bag our fruits and veges as we make our selections.  A small plastic bag stuffed of produce and a half pound of cheese costs us around $3.  On the way out he usually tries to get us for one more dollar suggesting we try more of his wares.

For ‘higher quality’ processed foods, and a bit larger selection, we go to the ‘la tienda’ in the Casablanca Resort.  Captain claims this is where he prefers to buy our drinking water but I know we are really there for the air-conditioning!

There are so many things in everyday life that I rarely considered to be much different elsewhere.

To get change from a big bill ($10s and $20s) it is next to impossible in the smaller villages. You must be sure to always have one dollar bills in Ecuador. Most frequently change is returned to you in $1 coins which are used more often than the paper dollar.

Toilet paper is a luxury.  Most of the restrooms I have used are lacking TP; rarely have I happened upon soap.  In the ‘bigger’ cities, you pay for the public restroom (ten cents) and toilet paper is going to cost you another penny for each square! None of that toilet paper is supposed to be flushed either…it all goes in the trash.

When I first heard the ice cream truck I grabbed my change and sprinted for the street. My excitement was smothered with confusion.  Did the garbage man borrow the ice cream mans’ favorite CD? When I heard the familiar music, the garbage truck was the last thing I was expecting…Agent told us Ecuadorian’s are notorious for waiting to the last-minute to take out their trash so the tunes are just a friendly reminder.  There’s not a fudge bar on that truck I’d want!

Captain and I have been keeping score on who could see the most bizarre motorcycle scene. Top ranking scenarios to date are: the family of four; the two men with a propane tank sandwiched between them; and the two guys, one of whom was riding backwards holding an over-stuffed crate of chickens, feathers flying. But none of these top this!

Look closely and you will see a family of five! What can ever top this? One of the kids holding a propane tank??  Click on the picture can see the babe on Mom’s left knee!

Oh, the things in life I hadn’t thought to be so grateful of…

Clean water is a scarcity in this area of Ecuador. If water from the faucet is used for cooking, brushing your teeth, or to drink, it must be boiled.   I know many people who prefer drinking bottled water or filtered water but imagine not even brushing your teeth with tap water.   How different would you use water if you had to make the effort every day to boil it first?

Whenever Captain and I relocate, finding the nearby store is a top priority. I am always thrilled to find a reasonably priced health food store and less excited, but happy to find a supermarket with a small selection of eco-friendly products and non-genetically modified foods.  In Ecuador, my expectations became much lower. Here, I am lucky to find a store that sells peanut butter!

Signs, ingredient lists and menus all have become a burden due to my Spanish illiteracy. I have always been thankful of my education. But it wasn’t until now I realized what a true blessing it is to be able to read. How different would you experience life if you weren’t able to comprehend the world around you?

When I asked Captain what he missed most in the first-world, he quickly said “ESPN, AC and hot showers…in that order. “

While I was uploading the hilarious motorcycle photo, I thought I had lost this whole post.  “This very moment I am grateful for auto-save.”  And seat belts.  I am really thankful our parents made us wear seatbelts…

Time and time again, I wonder why it takes a massive heart attack for a person to realize he needed to take better care of himself.  Why, so often, does it take a loss to find gratitude? Grateful for so much in my life, I never realized how much more I had to be grateful of…have our behaviors and habits become so deeply engrained in our being that its difficult to see all of life as a blessing? When so much of our being-ness is rarely evaluated, does it take this massive event to stop us dead in our tracks and find gratitude?

If you only have today, what you were grateful of yesterday, how much different would tomorrow look?