One Month into our stay in Ecuador
I’ve been wearing flip flops now almost every day, exclusively for a month. You may be thinking how wonderful that sounds, especially if you have been a victim of the winter mix in our hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas. It is, wonderful, but like anything else, it has its downside. We have an all-ceramic tile floor home here in Puerto Cayo and combined with the flip flops, my feet were screaming at me to give them a break today, so I pulled out the dusty ASICS and loosened the strings to give my feet some much-needed support.
A month ago, tomorrow, we left our home, family and friends, and yes, our sweet cocker spaniel back in Arkansas to go on a lifetime adventure to our newly built home in Puerto Cayo. In case you are wondering, Ecuador is on the Pacific coast in northwest South America. No, geography and directions are not my greatest strength. Lucky for me, my pioneering husband, STEVEN W. WATKINS is pretty good at it. He is the one who drives our miniature economy Chevy Spark up, down and round and round here in Ecuador to get us to the grocery store, go sightseeing or even to and from the airport.
I’ve taken three turns so far at driving. The first was in Quito on our way here from the airport to give Steve a relief. We were both suffering from dehydration, not much sleep, and elevation sickness, not to mention being lost trying to get out of one of the busiest cites, and the capital of Ecuador. That lasted about 15 seconds, long enough to start, jerk, and pull back off the side of the road.
The second was here in Puerto Cayo. We must have been really bored. Yes, there are many beautiful sights to see and things to do, but when you are putting a home together on a limited budget and factoring in the time it takes to get anywhere, sometimes you get bored. I pulled out pretty well and got to going and shifting and everything was just fine. In fact, I drove so long and so well, we decided to turn and come back. There was only one problem: nowhere to turn around. I did what I’d seen my husband do many times, make a u-turn. Apparently he did not think this was wise; I suppose the road dropped off a bit and he was scared that I would run into the ravine. The reasons I say this is because we immediately changed seating arrangements until he had us lined out again.
Neither of us remember the third time I drove but we are pretty sure that I did.
ROUTINE and CHORES
My weekday routine consists of but a few chores. After I have had my coffee and checked in on facebook, email and whatsapp, I usually get our breakfast ready. We have eaten quite a bit of bacon, eggs and sometimes toast for breakfast. When we are finished eating, I usually tackle the dishes. By tackling I mean handwash, rinse and dry them. Many people enjoy this, but I cannot say I am one of them. I’ll do them and get it done, but those who know me well, know how often I used my dishwasher in the states…multiple times a day.
After the dishes are done, I usually work online helping my husband with promoting real estate we are helping sell, managing our social media and business websites, editing photos, budgeting, accounting, secretarying, or providing whatever support he needs.
As my ADD kicks in, I usually need a break at some point from the work and commence to sweeping and debugging our home. The doors and windows have sufficient openings where dust and tiny critters find access to our home. It’s not horrible, as they are mostly friendly creatures like beetles and crickets, but occasionally we have seen small scorpions, fire ants and sweat bees. I usually only sweep one level per day unless I am really feeling energetic.
My next chore is usually preparing a small lunch, sandwiches, leftovers from the night before, tunafish salad, etc. After lunch I usually need some fresh air, so it’s either a scooter ride with my curious husband to explore our little fishing town or a car ride to go a little further.
Each day is different and brings its own surprises such as meeting new potential clients, showing our home to those who have never seen this type of building, seeing new property for sale, and meeting extremely interesting people from all of the world.
By suppertime, Steve is usually done with his landscaping and wants to prepare a wonderful dinner. I am blessed that I married a man who loves to cook and garden. I like cooking some, but I don’t know that much about gardening. He is teaching me things everyday about both. I made my first batch of homemade guacamole yesterday and helped dig out the wells around each plant in our front yard.
Most days end up around 6:00 p.m. either on the rooftop to watch amazing sunsets, or at the dinner table doing the same. We have not yet purchased a television so we watch a few episodes of our favorite sit-coms or movies before bed from my 12-inch Mac laptop screen.
Maybe you think this routine sounds a bit, well, boring. I wouldn’t trade this precious adventure for anything and the time that we share during this experience is something that we will always treasure.
As I mentioned a bit previously, the business opportunities for us are everywhere. We can quickly tell it will become a matter of prioritizing which project is immediate and prioritize as we go. It’s a good problem to have. Our business and our lifestyle overlap and we consider the life we are living here as our ministry along the way. Sometimes things aren’t well-defined as you are going through them, but you can usually look back at some point and see how it’s all beautifully woven together in God’s grand design for you.
There are many more things to share about this first month in, but there are also other days to do it in. Now I must prepare for receiving our long-awaited couch and chairs. We can’t wait to have more ways to relax and entertain.