Friday, Mar 11, 2016

Easton and I went to boot camp and Henry is still not there. He has an infection in his knee from a wound. I hope he has a speedy recovery and gets back to making our morning work-outs truly as awful as their reputation has earned them. 😉

We jogged from our meeting point to the yacht club (think small  building with a couple large tiled rooms, a small outdoor swimming pool, one tennis court, and a dock) where Victoria led us all in yoga. It was so hot and humid, and everyone was soaking in their sweat. I think it’s funny that one pays extra for “hot” yoga in the States. Here, it’s just the way it is. It was a nice change of pace and Victoria did a great job.

When we were finished with yoga I thought everyone was going to just disperse and that was that. Easton and I were talking to Victoria when one of the women in our group came back inside and asked if we were jogging with everyone back to our beginning point. I thought that was really nice of her to come look for us before they started back.

We did jog back with the group and then we had another surprise. When we arrived at our starting point, Easton and I began to head back to our condo when one of the women told us it was someone’s birthday and to not leave. Luis told us to wait a minute and he and a couple of others went to his house down the road and brought back a birthday cake for one of the women who turned 30 today.

We sang a quick Happy Birthday song to her…words are different but the tune is the same…then we had cake and milk. Our work-out group kicks ass in friendliness! They really try to include us. I think that says so much about their desire to accept and create understanding with people who are different.

I don’t think it’s necessarily easy to include us either. For the most part they don’t speak English and we have such limited Spanish. Trying to communicate takes effort, and it would be easy for them to just let us take off and be on our way. There is a camaraderie that has developed though. Suffering together, even if it’s just through working out, lends itself to bonding.

So we have been in Ecuador for 60 days today. I’m trying to sort through my feelings about what this move is and what it isn’t for me. I’m not coming up with any strong feelings one way or the other. I think it is still too soon to tell.

Right now I would say we are still very much transitioning. Learning the language is a big part of this process. One of the things that motivated me to come here is to engage with people living in a different culture. Because of my limited ability to communicate that hasn’t happened to the degree I want it to yet. I’m confident it will happen though!

Where we are living is comfortable. We still aren’t “settled” and I don’t see that happening for several more months. In the mean time though we are living on the ocean with beach access and beautiful views. This was what I was after when we left the States.

There is a lot to see in Ecuador, and at 60 days we haven’t seen much of it yet. I don’t think this is unreasonable. We have been figuring out how to function since we landed…language, shopping, transportation, health, and exercise.

We have been learning all the how to’s and where at’s to survive in our new surroundings. This has included completing all of our paperwork and receiving our visas and cedulas so we can stay here long enough to continue figuring all this out.

Heidi is finding her groove. Today she went and did her pool exercises, then went to a great meditation class. It was held outside on a terrace that overlooks the ocean, while the cool ocean breeze blew across everyone. These are moments of real bliss and can be described as “paradise”. This is also available to any of us here each and every day.

Easton has met people his own age, both locals and expats, and finds opportunities to spend time with them. He is very focused on learning the language, learning the culture, and exploring Ecuador. He wants to surf more, and is in the process of getting his own surf board.

Many of my friends ask me what is Easton going to do? I think the answer is that he is figuring it out. Degrees can be important, and I have two of them…they haven’t made me happy. It can be argued they have helped me get higher paying jobs. I agree with that, and in the end money doesn’t make anyone “happy”.

I want to share a bit about my younger son. Immediately after graduation when Easton was 18, he got on a plane and headed for Hawaii. He didn’t know anyone; he didn’t even know where he was going to sleep that night as he flew towards Hawaii. He found a steady job, eventually a great place to live, and over time made good friends with the locals who taught him how to surf. He lived there for a year, and it wasn’t always easy for him.

During that year he never asked us for money or to “take care of him”. When he came back to the mainland, he found a job, a place to live and once again never asked us for money. He also started college, which he took a student loan out to attend, and after a couple semesters he wasn’t any clearer on the path he should take for his life, so he stopped going to college and just worked.

As a parent I want my kids happy, and more importantly, I want each one to define what that looks like for himself. Life is too short to be driven by convention, should do’s, and living inside a tightly defined box. Discovering this for myself in my 40’s, and finally making changes for myself in my 50’s, is the message I have been sharing with my sons for over 10 years now.

I guess providing Easton this opportunity in Ecuador is one of my reasons for being here too. I think it is one of the best things I can do for him as his dad. I know he will figure out how to make the most of it in his life moving forward.

While I am on the topic of my sons, I want to mention my oldest son Chase. He is 32. At 30 he quit his “great” corporate job to join the Peace Corps. Many people around him thought he was crazy, others thought he was brave. I thought he was living…creating a life on his own terms.

He is four months away from completing his assignment in Guyana. It has been successful in what he has been able to accomplish for the local community. It has been hard too. Living conditions, even specific moments, could never be described as paradise. I know because I visited him there. I’m proud of him for living his life on his own terms. He inspires me as well.

I want to be clear that getting a college degree or working in a career is not a bad thing. It is a different thing and one of several things. The challenge is to be conscious of what is working for you and what isn’t. Intentional living…how many people really live each day with intention?

I have had periods in my own life when I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to be doing. That becomes detrimental in my opinion, when I have not set any intention, surely not a daily intention, to create more of what I think is important to have present in my life. Without intentional living, days turn into weeks, which turn into months, turning into years and in the end, I still am “waiting” to begin in a direction I want.

My message and encouragement is that the time is now to set intention and bring into your life more of what fulfills. You don’t have to move to Ecuador to do that. You don’t have to quit your job to do that.

Take baby steps. Exercise your “change” muscles in small ways to help prepare you for larger changes, if needed, down the road. I didn’t wake up one morning quit my job, jump on a plane, and move to Ecuador.

I tried a few different careers, I went to school a couple of times. I lived in a few different places. I explored things I thought I would like and made adjustments, constantly honing myself toward greater satisfaction and happiness.

It started with an awareness that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Then it became a journey of self exploration figuring out what worked best for me and what didn’t. And finally it took a commitment to live a life that was congruent with my passions and take some risks to make it happen.

So here I am…day 60. I’ll keep you posted.