Everyday Roller Coaster

I’ve had Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” stuck in my head.

Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster…

Everyday seems a little longer
Every way love’s a little stronger
Come what may

Everyday here has had its ups and its downs and many of the days have had more downs that I was expecting.  But now, nearly three weeks into this adventure, the days are getting a bit easier and we’re feeling a little stronger.

A major reason for our improved perspective is our new location: Otavalo.  We should do a post on Bahia and Quito, but we’re more excited by Otavalo. As we traveled out of Quito the other day and started to see massive flower farms, it put a smile on our faces.  Continuing towards Otavalo, the mountains started to get greener and the trees taller.  We came over a ridge top and saw this:

Jamie and I both looked at this, then looked at each other and took a deep breath and a deep sigh of relief.

Once in Otavalo, we settled into our historic, clean, cool and cheap hostal and we took another deep breath and shared a drink.  Amazingly, Luke did not interupt the moment with any sort of bodily injury.  After some more breathing and smiling, we went for a walk through the market and this little city connected with us again.  Latin American markets are amazing.  Colors, smells, varity and life hit you from all directions.  This was the best one yet.  And the nice ladies were so impressed that these niños were only six and four years old.  Muy grande!

The rest of the evening and the following days have been just as charming: beautiful friendly people most of whom are indigenous, clean town, slower traffic, less honking, cheaper everything, huge mountains and an amazing climate which is sort of like Crested Butte in July all year with warmer nights.  The beach, Cuenca and the big cities of Guayaquil and Quito seem to be out of the running (another post maybe). We’re going to give Banos, Loja and Vilcabamba their chances, but Otavalo is the current leader.

While our new locale is helping, we’re also getting in the new rhythm.  Disconnecting for a week plus from the outside world including no internet, TV or other media was good for me.  Jamie and I started forgetting what day of the week it was and just focusing on what was right in front of us…good, bad or otherwise.  After we moved into our fifth hotel, the boys stopped asking when we’re going back to Crested Butte and have started asking, what are we going to do today. The answer to their new question almost always involves amazingly fun and equally unsafe playgrounds.

Jamie and I are starting to carve out little bits of time so one of us can go for a walk or work on researching where to settle down.  We’re also getting little mini-dates like last night when we left the boys in the room watching Spy Kids 3 on the Mac and we had a few mojitos at the restaurant just below our room. Speaking of mojitos, good rum is cheap here.  So are flowers.  These babies cost $9 and I overpaid because I didn’t want to walk a few blocks to the actual flower market:

Now, that I’ve let you know that we’re okay and doing a bit better, let’s keep in mind that this is still a roller coaster.  After being pretty hard on Jamie about losing our camera, I managed to lose our other good camera along with the boys’ coats, hats and sunglasses (I already left my hat and good sunglasses on a beach in Canoa).  Yeasterday, Luke caught a wicked cold that seems to be spreading among the four of us.  More than all of this, we’re all suffering from what seems to be culture shock.

I’ve heard and read a bit about culture shock, but I thought we were vaccinated for this ailment since we were so excited about this big adventure and since Jamie and I have traveled enough to know that different is often fun and sometimes even good.  What I did not appreciate was the fact that we’re not “traveling.”  We are looking for our new home (even if for only 6 months).  When every element of your day, from the taste of your coffee or simple lack of coffee in the early morning hours to the sounds you fall asleep to are different, it is stressful but part of the joy of traveling.  However, when these little and almost constant differences combine with the fact that this trip has no end in sight and that they are your new life, it hits you in the gut.  When you realize all this strange stuff and interesting people are now your stuff and your people…your new life, that is when the culture shock kicks in.

The trick is that you don’t know that it is culture shock.  You’re just tired, edgy and longing for the familiar.  As we longed for what we we’re used to, much of it was around the basics, like food, so when we heard about this GREAT pizza place in Guayaquil and ordered a large pepperoni and got this strange and massive collection of lunchmeat, bad cheese and half “oven cooked” dough, we were not impressed.

While we were all gropping in the tropical Ecuadorian heat with our unnamed culture shock in a search for a new home we also had the pleasure of doing it with two massive bags, two large bags, three backpacks and a purse full of stuff for when we find this home.  I felt like a settler moving west with all we owned, not needing much in any moment, but bring it all for that some day when we find home.  I needed an ox to pull all of the stuff!  This combined with the boys understandable need for daily stimulation, play, edible and familiar foods and we’ve been getting our asses kicked.

So that’s my take on the other part of this roller coaster.  Would I ride the last few weeks again? Maybe. Am I happy to see us rally after all of that and be more engaged and more connected? Yes.

P.S. The backpack with the other camera and coats was returned to the restaurant the day after I left it there. Let the roller coaster continue!

Categories: From Bo | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Everyday Roller Coaster

  1. Diana Scherr

    Yep, despite what the rest of the world may think, this ain’t no vacation! But as you constantly remind yourselves – it IS an adventure!!! Remember the mantra… “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger…” and it WILL get better!!! Keep up those spirits!! We’re behind you all the way –
    Abrazos, Diana, Mateo, Piper & Duncan

  2. Poppy

    nicely done BO! I think you said it all. dave

  3. I love your detailed, franked and honest blog postings!
    Hey, traveling with kids is not always easy, even here in the US Virgin Islands. We had planned to rent a car to travel the island of St Croix only to find the taxi union limits the number of cars so you have to take the crazy priced cabs everywhere. And, here at the resort, the our room and safe were accessed by an unknown employee who stole our brand new camera, cash and jewelry! Funny, but until that night I hadn’t kept the camera in the safe!
    Love your comments about the pepperoni pizza — had that happen to me once.

  4. kelle berg

    Life is a ‘roller coaster’ 🙂 Ups and downs and tight curves that make us hang on for dear life –it’s all part of the ‘ride’. You guys are on it–and embracing it–the memories you’re making….

    Love and Blessings from our little nest, Kelly




  6. At least you guys look great and happy!!

  7. Cindy Chamberland

    I think the role reversal on the losing things is great! This is not going to be an easy journey and hopefully you wont’ lose more important things like the love you have for you and your family! You will have plenty of info to write a book by the time you get back, hmmm…maybe a new profession on the horizon?! Miss you all!!

  8. Just read this and thought it was an appropriate reply to “the bad” post. But it will keep being relevant, don’t you worry…

    The pleasure in traveling consists of the obstacles, the fatigues, and even the danger. What charm can anyone find in an excursion when he is always sure of reaching his destination, of having horses ready waiting for him, a soft bed, an excellent supper, and all the eases and comfort he can enjoy in his own home! One of the great misfortunes of modern life is the want of any sudden surprise, and the absence of all the adventures. Everything is so well arranged.
    — Théophile Gautier, Wanderings in Spain

    And funny, we read about your challenges…and it makes us jealous.

  9. Cricket

    In spite of the roller coaster its reassuring to hear how well you are all doing. And having the bag returned is huge!! You’re looking good! Happy Fat Tuesday!

  10. Uncle Bob

    The adventure begins – and what an adventure for the 4 of you. Sitting here in Colorado, with the wind blowing about 50mph and cold… – the pictures are inviting, but the story is enthralling.

    Be safe, be happy and enjoy.

  11. Hello Bo, I’m enjoying how real and detailed you post your travels and also appreciating how positive you stayed throughout the journey. Our stay in Ecuador is taking a turn that will be somewhat of a roller coaster, but we’ll focus on the positive and enjoy the adventure.

    Best to you and yours,

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