Just in case you're new to my Home on the Web, Welcome! In addition to random posts about recipes, dancing on bridges, and crying in Subway, each Monday I've been writing a little series on Making the Most of Moving to a New Town. (I've heard that a writer is supposed to write what she knows, and moving is something I know a lot about!) All of my moves have been within the US, so my examples are pretty much American.
Last week, my mother made her first guest appearance here on the ol' blog, talking about her move (with my Dad) to Ecuador and the challenges she faced adjusting to life in a new country. Today, she continues the story....
Once we got some recognizable food in the kitchen, the serious business of figuring out how to survive in our new environment began in earnest.
Water. What could be more basic than safe drinking water and a hot shower? Well, finding out where and how to purchase the huge jugs of purified water and portable gas cylinders to attach to the water heater were top priorities. Along that same line, decontaminating fresh fruits and vegetables was necessary in order to prevent internal parasites. Poor Steve. Since he ate out in the countryside more than I did, he had 4 bouts of parasites while we were in Ecuador. My one case came from the food in a little café we THOUGHT we could trust. Rough stuff.
Driving. All of the vehicles owned by the Mission Board had stick shifts, and I never learned to drive anything but an automatic. Uh oh. However, by the time we were issued a car, I had already decided that I wasn’t fearless enough to drive where there seemed to be no rules and where horns honked incessantly. Not only was the traffic chaotic, but the roads were in horrible condition, and drivers were fighting for road space with belching buses and taxis that appeared to be held together with duct tape. One unwritten rule we learned finally sealed the deal about my driving. If someone is involved in an accident where any kind of injury occurs, everyone is taken to jail until all the bribes are paid. Yikes!!! It was bad enough that Steve drove with that “rule” hanging over his head. Being chauffeured by Steve, walking, or taking a taxi was immensely preferable in my mind to spending the night in an Ecuadorian jail cell.
Internet. With all of our children and family members at least 3000 miles away, this was Numero Uno on my “list of things that must be done.” About a week after we arrived, Steve and I went downtown to mark this off our list. He dropped me off at the office and went on to accomplish some other things. Since I’d had Spanish in high school and college, it stood to reason that I would be able to communicate enough to be understood. Who knows what I really said? And further, who knows what that dear receptionist was saying to me? I just remember that after about an hour, I broke down in tears of frustration and despair because I was feeling overwhelmed and in desperate need of a way to hear from my children. We were able to finally work things out, but I still recall that incident as a time when I “lost it.”
Medical and Dental Services. One of my biggest fears while we were on the field was that Steve or I would have a serious illness or injury and require medical care. One day Steve was out treating some animals for our Quichua church friends, and a cow stepped on his foot. We went to a doctor that was recommended. The poor man had absolutely NO diagnostic equipment of any kind and just pulled some pharmacy samples out of a pile in a cabinet for Steve to try. L On another occasion, a huge filling fell out of one of my teeth, and in spite of my long-standing fears about dentists, I knew I was going to have to have something done. Steve bravely volunteered to “go first” and try out one or two. He came in from the first dentist and said, “Well, you won’t be going to THAT one. He didn’t even wear gloves and there was no place to spit.” Yikes! The good news is that by the time I did have a true medical crisis and needed to have my gallbladder removed, we had discovered a good hospital with very competent doctors, and my surgery was a big success. Thank you, God.
In spite of all these challenges, there were many pleasant, happy things going on. We became good friends with our Spanish teachers and actually enjoyed the requirement of spending many hours each week out in stores and markets practicing the language. That’s where we truly began to understand the culture and to do the things we had gone to Ecuador to do – build relationships and share the love of Jesus.
Buds were sprouting. Could the blooming be far behind?My mother's a great story-teller, don't you think? I hope you'll come back next week for the rest of the story. Until then, you can visit her blog here. Keep Bloomin'!
This post is linked up to one or more of the following blog parties. Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home