Codie and I are sitting at the airport waiting to get on the first leg of our flights back to Ecuador. I’m sure people can imagine the anticipation on our faces. We have been in the U.S. for 17 days and we are so ready to get back home. Not “home” in the sense of our house, but rather our “place.” Because that is what Ecuador (and more specifically Cuenca) is to us now. It’s our place, our home, our land. It’s where we have put down roots together. It’s where we feel the most comfortable.
Coming back to the U.S. was an exciting 17 days ago. And we have had fun here and don’t regret the trip. It’s just that we are tired and worn out. Not from seeing our friends and doing things, but rather by the pace of everything. I have only been gone from the U.S. for going on five years, but everything seems to have grown larger and more hectic. People don’t seem to be seeing how their lives are crazed and about nothing but running around. They don’t seem to be stopping to enjoy the things that are around them.
Most of my friends have to schedule time to get together. Almost like “adult play dates.” There is no time in their lives to relax and connect. Everything is hurry, hurry, hurry. And I found myself getting caught back up in that same lifestyle in just over two weeks. I feel like I have just lost much of the last 17 days versus having lived them.
The big realization for me on this trip as opposed to the ones over the last few years, is that I feel like I have crossed over to the Ecuadorian approach to life. I have left behind what my friends are living and I have become more attuned to the more casual approach to getting things done and looking at my life in days, rather than in months and years. Years that were often measured by promotions, salary increases and new cars.
Now, I’m living by days and looking at who I interacted with and what I learned and how I spent my minutes. I’m starting to understand why “manaña” is the best way to live. Because tomorrow may never come, it’s better to live today. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me anymore to worry about months and years from now. Because I see all my friends still living that way and it exhausts me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we have it all in Ecuador. There are so many things about the country that are wonderful, but perhaps the most important thing is that if you let it, it will change how you live your life.
I can’t wait until this 10-hour day ends with us falling asleep in our hotel room in Quito. Because then I will know that I really am home.
I’m just sayin.’