Many things in Ecuador are making me smile so I thought it would be nice if I started a blog to tell about these things. But first, a background.
This move was not as surprising as lot of people thought it was. I was twenty years old once, a very long time ago, when I read an ad in the paper which told of hiring young people and travel out west in the United States. It wouldn't hurt to check this out was my first thought. And so it was that I went on the interview in a hotel room in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, with an older man who was all of around thirty years old, and subsequently returned to my job at the gas company to immediately resign. I went to my apartment, packed my clothes and joined a lot of other young people at at hotel in Arlington that evening. Oh, yes. I also called my dad and told him where he could find the red Toyota he co-signed for me around six months prior.
Little did I know the man in the hotel room was hiring anyone under age 22 years of age who had a pulse. I spent a year and a half in semi-servitude, selling magazines door to door across the nation. Technically I got to travel but most of what I saw was whizzing by car windows or was in the living room of a sympathetic person if I got lucky enough to get that far.
Eight years later, I was married with a nine month old baby when my husband at that time wanted to move to Colorado. As I was unopposed, we quickly sold our home and within a month had a U-haul in tow with all of our possessions. Moving to Ecuador was not really so out of character for me. It was just the farthest and the first involving a language barrier with the possible exception of people I met in Colorado from New Jersey. I never did understand them.
In early September of this year, I was browsing the internet when I found the surprising information that I qualified under the widow/widowers benefit program of social security if I had been married for over 10 years and my spouse (or ex spouse as it was) was deceased. For nearly 20 years I was involved in an all consuming business which allowed little else but work. On top of the business, I had rental property so very little else was allowed. From time to time I was able to take a vacation but always had to stay in touch with my office. I was tired and had been burned out for the past 5 years so severely it had been hard to wake up in the morning. To be able to slough off this non-life was almost like finding a miracle to me so I avidly started a search to determine the possibilities.
I knew I could not retire in the USA as health insurance would eat up close to half of what I could draw so I started thinking in terms of possibly outside of the United States. My first thought was southern Mexico. It was the 24th of September when I found Mickie in Vilcabamba Ecuador. It was the 10th of October when I sold my duplex 5 days after it went on the market. It was late October when a contract was placed on my home by the 4th person who looked at it and it was around that time when my brother and his wife told me they would buy my business. After visiting Vilcabamba thanksgiving week, I was in a holding pattern until the first of February when most of my accounts receivable would be collected. Disposing of decades of belongings was no easy task either. Some got donated, some stored and more than I want to admit came with me.
My daughter was a saint to agree to come from Alaska to help me move. She had to deal with more than just luggage as I had a lot of self doubts on such a huge move. I brought my small dogs. I brought way more clothes than I needed. I brought my favorite leather coat to a land where the temperature never gets below 65 and seldom higher than 80. Between the two of us we had six rubbermaid tubs which attracted the unwanted attention of the policia in Quito, Ecuador. I want to sincerely thank her now in print. She's an amazing young woman who, after 10 days with me, embarked on her own set of adventures in Peru alone.