Day after tomorrow we leave for the U.S. It's not the first time I've left a delightful place and come back to my home country and the feelings associated with it are pretty much the same. I don't really want to go. I would like to stay a little longer, you know, to see the chicks I raised grow up, to see the flowers Mary planted bloom, to nurture our new relationships with folks both ex-patriate and indigenous. And to continue to reap the benefits of living in a culture that challenges me and my thinking process.
Ecuador has granted me the freedom to explore my own ideas and put them on paper. Could I do this in the U.S.? Of course, but I don't seem to do it as well or as prodigiously as I do in other places. I need the stimulation provided by another language, by another way of doing things. I need to be reminded of my own humility, which happens every day when I butcher the language or the customs. As in: "Why are there no bombs in the kitchen?" or "The sharks on the terrace are trying to get me!" I am pleased to announce that Ecuadorians have a sense of humor about these things.
And the parties. It seems that every week there are fireworks going off and parades up and down the street with brass bands and face painting and the traditional spraying of strangers with silly string. That is not done on my block in the U.S., and if it is, it's called Halloween and happens only once a year in bad weather.
You see what happened there? Just thinking about coming back to the States dried up the well. Yes, we're back. I said goodbye to the chickens, told them that the people who are renting our pig sty were in charge of feeding them in our absence (there was some discussion about whether we actually have a pig sty, but those clucks were quickly extinguished), planted the last of our trees and flowers, and left in the late afternoon under cover of ignominy.
Before we left, we talked about a name for our place so we could discuss it with friends and give it some substance. I think we may have settled on La Huerta del Angel, the Garden of the Angel, which was coincidentally also the name of the place we rented in Spain all those years ago.
"Which one of you is the angel?" Luis asked when I told him the good news. "Because I'm not exactly picking up an angel vibe from you." Luis, who has spent the last six months trying to make me a Catholic, added, "Besides, I'm not sure you can call your place by that name if you don't go to Mass every week."
I told him that the intent of the name was to make more angelic all those who entered the property, with a special focus on his devilish nature. He laughed and laughed and then, of course, sprayed me with silly string.
I hope to re-kindle the blogging spirit now that we are settled in. We are here for six months and then it's back to South America for Round 2. The little lake town I live in has an annual 4th of July celebration that includes a parade filled with fire trucks and horses, and yes, once in a while a camel. People line up all along the parade route, trying to gather in as much of the penny candy thrown from the participants as is humanly possible. I plan to be there along the route, hanging onto my grandchildren and waiting for just the right moment, the precise moment, to spray the silly string into the unsuspecting faces of the paraders. Oh what fun we'll have. I wonder if using "It's traditional Ecuadorian party behavior" will work as a defense for the assault charge?