Friday, June 19, 2009

Choosing to be Calm

I am choosing to be calm for today. I sent my passport forms with photo via fedex and am trusting that in four weeks I will receive a new passport and will preserve my Brasil visa and be ready to go. If that does not work I will drive to Canada once again to go through the appropriate steps to acquire a new passport. And we will travel to Ecuador by the end of July as per our original plans. When I have to get a visa I will simply travel to Peru or Columbia and apply for one and everything will work out. In the interim, I will finish packing up the house (will this ordeal ever be over?), finalize the details of transferring all my patients and closing all accounts at the office, say good-bye to friends and colleagues and patients and finish up my life here.

Sometimes it feels as if the concluding of my life here is the adventure, as much as the year in Eucador is. I have been preparing in some way for months and months, and now with the move to Ecuador so near, of course there is an obstacle, but not so much that we will have to alter our plans too much. Eric is not going to Ecuador until early August anyway. I was going to go a few weeks earlier to find a place to live and to familiarize Maya with Spanish before school starts. I still plan to do that, but it may not be much earlier than when Eric arrives. So be it.

Meanwhile, life continues. Eric drove to Woods Hole yesterday evening and had an easy drive. I had to answer question after question from our exterminator about the rainforest. How much 'primary forest' is there left? How soon will it be gone? Does he need to see it within five or ten years? When will it in fact disappear? Would he be able to go on his own? How much would it cost for a trip including airfare? Does it matter that he does not speak Spanish? Is Ecuador the best place to see 'primary forest" or is it better in Peru or Brasil? Would Eric and I help him put together a trip? What are the trees like? How tall are they? I found myself making up answers as I went along, he clearly knew far more aobut the jungle than I had, having watched alot of National Geographic and Discovery Channel and was very interested. I just wanted him to exterminate rodents.

I find that today people know so much from watching television. There is keen interest in the rainforest and the jungle and nowadays one does not necessarily have to travel anywhere except to the TV room and use your remote and you can go anywhere and see everything. There are so many places I have not been to, but I feel that I know them, from reading my favourite magazine, National Geiographic, which I received for years and years and have never thrown away an issue until this recent overhaul of my boxes. I cannot bear to throw them away, but Eric has no attachment to paper or magazines and has no qualms about discarding them. I will return from Ecuador with my National Geographic bibles gone. This exterminator knew so very much about the jungle, he has been there in his mind many times. I wonder if the real thing will not compare to the imagined place he has created in his dreams.

I had no idea what to expect about the rainforest when I first accompanied Eric to the jungle. I knew he preferred the forest to the Galapagos or anywhere else for that matter, and I was prepared to feel uncomfortable and simply tolerate it. Instead, I was entranced and fell in love with the forest and am always eager to return. Eric warns me that he will be in the jungle regularly when I am left behind in Quito watching Maya and I have to be prepared and not get too envious of his freedom and my limitations. I never really thought of that until he repeated it a few times. He loves the jungle and imagines that I will hate him for being there more than I will. I have not been to Yasuni or Lago Agrio or Cuyabeno; I would like to accompany Eric as much as possible and see more and do more than I have done. Near the end of our time in Ecuador, we will take a long trip down the Napo from Tena to Sacha by boat, perhaps further than that. The more involved I am with Eric's research, the more I will see of the jungle.

Maya and I am in Boston tonight. We were planning to surprise Eric tomorrow in Woods Hole, but last night I learned that he could not move into the cabin until late Sunday, so Eric will sleep with his colleague Maurice, and drive up to Boston to spend Father's Day with Maya and I and my sister and her family. I found a hotel that was once a jail and has been renovated as a hotel. It is a very happening place, with crowds of people in the lobby. Maya and I managed to squeeze our way to the bar and order a Shirley Temple and a Mojito to bring upstairs and admire our view of the city lights. We will have a couple of days of reprieve, and then it is back home for packing and preparing.


  1. "When I have to get a visa I will simply travel to Peru or Columbia and apply for one and everything will work out."

    I'm not sure this is as easy at it used to be.. Now in Ecuador they are enforcing the 90 day visa limits, which means 90 days in a calendar year. This is no longer renewable, in or out of the country. To stay more than 90 days in a year, you need a 12-9 visa, which allows 6 months (calendar year). For more than that, you need a work visa or become a resident.

  2. Getting a 12-9 visa is very easy, but costs $230 plus family. It is the only visa that allows you to change to another type while in the country.

    Otherwise, your husband may be able to get a work visa, where he can include his family as well.

    You should talk to someone down there.