Monday, January 26, 2009

Pride of Place

What struck me during this visit to Ecuador was the pride expressed by so many Ecuadorians. Erika was struggling with her plan to study in Syracuse for her Masters degree. This is something that she had devoted much time and effort to organize and is advantageous for her career. But leaving Ecuador for any length of time is difficult for her. She will miss her family, and her boyfriend has a position at another university in Ohio or somewhere else in the midwest. Erika plans to take her dog with her (when she stayed with us last year to work with Eric, she missed her dog most of all). When we visited the Capilla de Hombre in Quito with Erika and her family, Erika began to cry, and soon her mother was crying too. The painful images of Guayasamin evoked so much sadness, I was feeling the weight of so much despair and I wanted to cry too . I asked Erika what was going on and her response was that she will miss her country, that she really does not want to be anywhere else but in Ecuador, with her family and her people.

I met a young woman, Maria Louisa, who was studying in Puerto Allegro in Brazil. She was the daughter of Ximena, a friend of a couple I knew in Baltimore. Maya and I spent an afternoon with them in their home with  their three dogs. Maya was thrilled to play with the Akido, the bulldog and the yorkie. I asked lost of questions  about schools and what it was like to live in Quito. The husband, Mauricio, was a musician and a music teacher at SEK, one of the schools I was interested in  looking at for Maya. Maria Louisa expressed such pride about her country, in its history and its variety and its very different regions and people. She felt that while in Quito, we should go exploring every weekend to experience all the different possibilities in and around the city, that we will be thrilled and excited by all that we will see. It was wonderful to hear Maria Lousia talk about how she felt about Ecuador. She truly believed that there is no better place to live than in Quito.

I am not sure I liked our guide Jorge. He was never accurately translating Spanish. He edited and altered all that he heard and when he did not like what was said,  he just told us what he wanted to hear. That aside, it was delightful to hear him talk about his country and its history. He was one of the people who was insistent that Ecuadorian history began long before the Incas or the Spaniards and was eager for us to learn this and feel it and know it. 

Ecuador is rich in history and in stories and it has colour and energy. It is a small country, limited in size and population, but there is much to see and do and learn from . I think our time there will be interesting and exciting. I hope that all of our friends and family will have the opportunity to visit us while we are living there.

1 comment:

  1. As a 1st generation Canadian and a current ex-pat... What do these issues about pride of place mean to you???