I arrived here in Ecuador just over two months ago. There have been many ups and downs to the experience thus far, but I am so glad I am here. We had some extra time off this weekend from our community programs, which got me reflecting on some of the things Ecuador has taught me. Although simple, I believe these examples embody the daily lives of the Ecuadorian people I have encountered.
Live in the moment
Often I find myself looking or thinking to the next thing. Whether it is dinner plans, a weekend trip, or next year’s job hunt, I sometimes forget to slow down and focus on the present. My interactions with Ecuadorians consistently remind me of the importance to slow down and appreciate the moment. One example that sticks out in my mind is from a late night party with friends. It was well past midnight and one Ecuadorian friend took out his guitar, another took out her saxophone and the rest of us joined in singing traditional songs. This moment stood still in time. We all shared that moment together – no distractions from the outside world.
Patience can be rewarding
The other day I walked 5 minutes through the pouring rain from our house to pay the electricity bill. While this may require just the click of a button back home, I needed to stop by a nearby tienda (small convenience store) to transmit the payment. The owner informed me upon arrival that her Internet was down and that I would need to wait until it was back up. Initially I was frustrated, but she offered me a seat, a snack and then we proceeded to share a few minutes of conversation. This simple gesture brought new friendship to a potentially frustrating situation. The patience I experience from Ecuadorians weekly has reminded me that patience truly is a virtue.
Having enough = Happiness For Ecuadorians to have enough is to have those they most care for their side. Ecuador reminds me daily what makes life content: experiences shared with close friends and family. Nothing more is necessary. Happiness can be found in these moments.
It is my hope that I can carry these lessons and many more with me throughout my remaining time here in Ecuador and beyond.