Journal Entry: May 3, 2014
What is your reality in Cuenca?
A sweet thing happened on the way to the bank this morning......
This is my reality in Cuenca. I had a lot of little chores to do this morning (after the rain stopped) and walked to all of them. I popped into a tienda to see if he had any cilantro, which he did. Waiting in line, I noticed a fat bag stuffed with dried pumpkin seeds. When the owner told me the price for the cilantro (25 cents) and the pumpkin seeds, I put the seeds aside as I'd only brought enough $ to cover my chores. The Ecuadorian lady next to me saw this and told him: "Please put her pumpkin seeds back in her bag. I will buy them for her." I thanked her and said "No senora, you don't need to do that." She smiled at me and said: "This is food of my country and I am proud of it. Please allow me to buy it for you."
I know bad things happen everywhere but honestly, in my three years of living here in Cuenca, these types of small kindnesses happen to me all of the time. I'm so grateful for them. They balance out the negativity others speak of. I don't deny others their reality. I just want to affirm that I have only encountered kindness and generosity in all of mythree years here.
Overcoming the Fear of Moving to a New Country
First of all, you are not alone in your feelings. My guess is that most of us went through them, initially. We packed "fear" in our suitcases, right along with our clothing. And yes, you will have some desires or longing for home/family that you may always carry in your heart. But each of us has been given a new opportunity to grow, as individuals, and that's the coolest thing about adjusting to a new culture. We are forced, in simple and sometimes complex ways, to really look at ourselves.
In our new country, when something is frustrating = we learn more patience. When something is sad to see (a starving street dog) = we regenerate our compassion. When a shy child stares at us because we look "different", then finally shares a smile with us = our heart warms. All of these things are wonderful opportunities for us to reawaken, get out of old routines/habits and keep changing. It is wonderful!
When you first arrive, be kind, be patient, be loving with yourself. Slow down - everyone talks about all of the external changes but I believe it is the "internal" transformation that is the most amazing aspect of moving to a new country. Welcome to Ecuador!