I had a sleepless night, with all sorts of 'woulda coulda shoulda's' resonating. I tried to make sense of what had happened, and blamed myself for not agreeing to Cordero soon enough, of not being happy with the alternate place, of pushing Eric to put aside his work and dragging him through the streets looking for a better choice. Everyone we know here has been curious about why we have taken so long to make a decision. And of course I try to make sense of each choice at each point along the way and there are all sorts of reasons for why we are where we are now. I was upset with Eric for reneging on the deal with our alternate apartment, I felt it was bad karma to pull out of a verbal agreement, and bad karma begets bad karma. I was uncomfortable with Eric carrying his computer bag around. We have been told countless times by our hosts to be cautious, I have read the US Embassy website and all the warnings, Eric has come to Ecuador every year since 2002, so he knows what is appropriate, I have been super-careful since my own careless moment.
So I wandered around all night, writing pages and pages which when I read all sounded ridiculous. I lay next to Eric in the early morning, and when I felt his heart pounding out of his chest, he told me he was thinking of how he could have fought the three and resisted the theft. That would have been unwise, in that the thieves had the gun, so I focused on being relieved that he had chosen to be cooperative.
Eric returned to the 'scene of the crime' and discovered where the boys had been hiding and concluded that they had seen him run up the street to see Guillermo in the office and had waited for him. There was a huge shindig going on at the American Ambassador's home nearby and there were guards all over the place, perhaps the boys were waiting for any ready victim, and were very lucky to have chosen Eric. The police showed up a few seconds after the thieves left and made a big show of going after the perpetrators, but went the wrong way and up and down one way streets and down dead ends, so much so that Eric wondered if they were in league with the criminals.
I was certain Eric had been robbed when I waited the extra hour and a half at home for him, but hoped that by worrying I would be assured when he came that I was just being silly. That evidently did not work. My first reaction was ' I want to go home!', and Eric and I discussed that this morning, but it did not feel like the best choice for us. We had to recover and move forward, for ourselves and of course for Maya, whom we were unable to shield from the whole story.
I cried all morning, and then we went out to look for even more apartments and ultimately finalized the contract for the one we had seen yesterday, got two new Porta phones ( which don't function yet, not sure why or what must be done to make them work), and then drove out to Cumbaya (the valley next to Quito) to spend the evening with Santiago (Eric's colleague at Catolica) and his fiancee Alejandra, and his parents and brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew. They live in a huge four level home in a guarded community, with garden, Ecuavolley court, motorcycles, hot tub, sauna and steam bath. The parents live on the first level, and Santiago and his brother in side by side apartments on the next three levels. The table was set for five, but in time the rest of the family wandered in and joined us for 'raclette'. Maya got on famously with eight year old Mimi, and before the evening was up, was clamouring for a sleep-over. I decided I want the sleep over, so when we can we will all come over to spend the night!
Our Ecuadorian hosts appear pained when they learn of our experience with 'ladrones'. They want our time here to be wonderful, they want us to see and appreciate all that is good about living in Ecuador. Maya covers her ears when we relate the story, she does not want to hear about it anymore, and I tell her I need to get it out of my head to move on, in fact we are moving forward already.