Expectation Management and Herding Guinea Pigs

I’m writing this post from our new penthouse apartment in Cotacachi, Ecuador!  Jamie just finished a long nap while the boys watched a movie in their room. Vaughn needed some quiet time after another busy day at school and Luke was just happy to be with is brother after a boring morning of home-making with mom and dad.  More on the boys and all the new things with them in future posts!

For now, Jamie and the monkeys are off to a nearby playground and in this moment of peace, I thought I’d open a cold Pilsener (grande) and catch up on our blog.  After all, we made such a big deal over where we were going to settle that it’s time to tell everyone.

But instead of doing a fabulous post about our new little town in the mountains, I’m gazing off at the mountains; specifically Imbabura, the dormant volcano that dominates the view from our new office.  Here’s the actual view from our place taken this afternoon:

This is what the mountain looks like on a clear morning (it seems to cloud up in the afternoons like CB in July):

When Jamie and boys get back, we’ll take a stroll with the locals on the clean and pedestrian friendly streets down to the main square where the boys will do a bit more running around.  After that I think we’ll head to Pacha Mama’s, a restaurant in a cool old colonial building near our apartment run by the nicest indigenous family. We’ll have a wonderful natural dinner for four, including another Pilsener for me, for under $20.  As Luke has taken to saying recently, “This is the life…”

There are a few other details about THIS life we’re living that I should share.

As I’ve been typing this post, I’ve had a cacophony of noise: construction, barking dogs, car alarms, buses, moments of quiet and a neighbor of ours yelling and laughing from her rooftop.  Our apartment is only three stories above two relatively busy streets and our lovely outdoor/living room/office/dinning room/garden patio is covered with a clear plastic roof that acts like a sound amplifier…I can hear every sound above a whisper from all four directions a block away.  Even if we didn’t have this sound-drum-amplifier effect going, the building we live in is undergoing a full renovation and our apartment is the first to be finished so we get the pleasure of hearing how an Ecuadorian construction crew works through a challenging apartment remodel. The answer turns out to be banging on the walls with large hammers and load music from broken speakers.

What’s the yelling lady all about?  She runs a guinea pig farm on her rooftop and one of these cute little delicacies escaped.  The yelling was her shock at this realization and the laughing was her chasing him around her roof and through her drying laundry.  Thankfully she caught the rodent and he is back to eating alfalfa (which apparently makes them fat and yummy).  I took this photo after the little piggy was caught and put back in his rooftop prison, but maybe it will help you imagine the scene:

While I’m on the topic of our roof top oasis, do you see those pretty plants in the background of the first photo of the new desk?   They are covered with aphids and ants. Lots of them.  As I learned with our apsen trees in Crested Butte, aphids like to work in conjuction with ants; it’s something about ants protecting the plant and the ants get to eat sweet aphid poo.  The aphids and the ants have the same arrangement in South America as the do up north.  So as an unexpected result of moving into our new place, Jamie and I now know know the words for aphid, ant and very strong incecticide in Spanish.

This whole adventure has been a lesson in expectation management and taking the good with the bad.  Having a year off to have a family sabbatical is a dream, but it is also a dream happening in the real world.  We are grateful to be here in Cotacatchi and have a home.  We had hoped for a safe, clean, affordable home in a quiet and historic neighborhood.  We got the first three, but have to give on the last two.  Plus we get all sorts of things we didn’t expect like living above a fully functioning guinea pig farm.  Let the adventure continue!

Categories: From Bo | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Expectation Management and Herding Guinea Pigs

  1. YaYa

    So enjoy your writing, Bo !

  2. Thank you, Yaya. We’re looking forward to showing you around.

  3. Paula

    So happy you decided to settle here – it is breathtakingly beautiful!!!! The outdoor living/dining/office, etc space looks lovely. You must share more pics! Enjoy your blogs, Beau.

  4. Alohi Madrigal

    Wow, Bo! Pretty exciting. Keep the posts coming. I have never been to Ecuador but it looks amazing. ~Alohi

  5. Bo, glad to hear you guys have found a place to settle in for a while!
    Now that you’ve got some free time off the search, check these guys out: http://www.bikingdutchman.com/

  6. Andy Kurtz

    Love it Bo, I am jealously keeping up with you all how cool.

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