Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Letting Go

I am unaccustomed to putting my toilet paper in the toilet. It lands there and I pause, confused and feeling guilty. Was I supposed to put it in the toilet? So much toilet paper, will the toilet plug? Odd how just two weeks in Ecuador has affected my bathroom routine. I am hoping the experience trains me to use less paper. I have no trouble using tap water to brush my teeth. I kept forgetting to use bottled water to brush my teeth in Ecuador and just automatically brushed them the usual way, only to stop halfway through and realize my mistake and then just decide to finish, thinking it was too late to do anything about it. And no matter that I resolved to use bottled water the next time, I would find myself with toothpaste in my mouth before I'd remember. Sometimes, the only water I would find in a bottle was mineral water 'con gaz', and I discovered how delicious brushing teeth with bubbly water could be. I cannot imagine spending a year using bottled water for my toilet and never watching paper swirl down the toilet.

I read a book that a close friend sent to me called 'Culture Shock-Ecuador'. It scared me! So much that could go wrong in Ecuador; diseases that are fatal, food that is dangerous to eat, trouble that 'gringos' can find themselves in . Page after page of horror stories. Descriptions of levels of danger and levels of alertness. My impression from the book was that one must be on orange or red alert at all times. Odd that while in Ecuador I do not feel that way at all, I feel safe and comfortable. Will that all change when I live there? Will I truly be a target for criminals and those who wish to take advantage of me? Ecuadorians seem so kind and considerate. Do they prefer tourists to those who actually decide to live in their country. I am certain that learning Spanish more fluently will make a huge difference. I understand alot but am often tongue-tied and confused about how to express myself. Silence and telling everyone I do not speak the language helps. It is frustrating when I do in fact understand everything and realize how poorly the language is translated. I was irritated with our guide in Quito and the Highlands who kept editing everything that he was supposed to translate and would change the meaning of what we were told according to his set of beliefs. Did he know that I knew that he was not translating accurately? Did he know that I understood more that I let on? The language issue worries me. I have never lived in a country where I did not speak the local language. Eric assures me that I will pick it up in no time. I certainly hope so.

Eric is finding electric fish in the jungle and that makes him happy. He was struggling in Sacha lodge because his fish were elusive and difficult to find. I believe it was because the water was so high, the fish could hide safely away from the more open areas. We hunted for fish at night in the creeks that flowed out of Pilchicocha and were frustrated at finding far fewer than we had in the past. Eric is now at a research station in Yasuni National Park. I have never been there. It is in the area where the Houarani live. The Houarani have only recently made contact with the west and are very different than the other Indians along the Napo. They are wilder and their moral code is different than ours. I would love to spend time with them and learn about their culture, but they are described as dangerous and unpredictable.

Back in my home again, I have list of things to do to prepare to sell my house. We must sell to make the year in Ecuador financially possible. I am resistant to selling because I do not want to have no home to come back to. This move is difficult anyway. I will leave my practice, my friends, my way of life and my home. I will lose my foundation, my bearings, and be rudderless, rootless, disconnected, lost. I feel incapable of assisting in the process of selling what gives me a sense of security. Eric does not feel that way at all, for him it is just a house, he'll buy another one when we return, a house is just wood and clay and gives us shelter. I think he will do the work because he does not feel he is dismantling a part of himself. And so I sit and look around me and I tell myself to do something and move forward with a project and then I hesitate and pull back. I cannot do this, I am not ready to move on.

And Pippi is still dying. I am waiting for Tara to be with him and say her goodbyes. She has rehearsals in New York, so coming to Baltimore for closure with her dog may not fly with her director. I hope she comes and shares the experience with us. Maya has put it out of her mind. She had her first day back at school in two weeks and was excited to see her teachers and friends. Pippi is quiet and affectionate and still eating and coming upstairs to sleep near us and lick his wounds. I am not sure how much he is suffering. How can I tell? He does not pay attention to Elmer who seems depressed. Elmer is three years old and Pippi is the alpha dog. Elmer is sleeping more than usual and staying in his crate even when there is no reason to do so. He seems less interested in play. Do dogs know what is is going on? Does he know he will lose his companion? Is Pippi shutting him out so he feels rejected? Elmer's eyes are getting sad too, but not as sad as Pippi's. How will Elmer manage without Pippi? How will all of us do without Pippi?

1 comment:

  1. why are dogs so much more than animals and so symbolic of our lives?