Saturday, September 5, 2009


Humans are resilient. Disasters occur and we wake up the next day and we live our lives. When I take my shower in the morning, I look out the window and check for Cotopaxi in the distance and am reassured and appreciative that it is there. I love my mora and yoghurt for breakfast with my coffee extract mixed in lactose free milk (I am not absolutely sure that I am lactose intolerant, but after I suggested that I was to Isabel, she makes sure my special milk is always available). I rushed out the door this morning (hardly early; my hosts wake up late on weekend days and eat breakfast at 10 or 11, lunch at 4 or 5, and dinner after 9) and ran down Isla San Seymour to Rio Coca to catch a cab to our new neighbourhood. When I had visited the Canadian Embassy to register the first week I was here, I was invited to join a group of Canadian women who live in Quito. The meeting happened to be two doors down from our new apartment, so I stopped on Shyris and Portugal to visit Cyranos to buy a delicious cake, and then walked down Republica de El Salvador, savouring the experience of familiarizing myself with my new home. The consular residence was huge, with incredible views; I think our apartment would fit in the living room! I very much enjoyed meeting the women. The new ambassador's wife was there, having just arrived two weeks prior with her two daughters ages 12 adn 14. She had been in DC for four years prior, and in Iran and Saudi Arabia in the past. She was eager to learn Spanish and we discussed finding a good Spanish school. Other women recommended Catolica University, so I will have to inquire about that. Some women were working at the new airport, or were married to men involved in the project. Some were embassy workers, others were married to Ecuadorian men. Many lived in Cumbaya, many had young children.

I was delighted to meet the women. No one had experienced a robbery like ours, generally the comments about living in Ecuador were incredibly positive. One woman had moved from Yellowknife with her husband, and while driving a truck through Edmonton, the truck and all its contents were stolen! It seemed that everyone had a story about being pickpocketed or robbed, but none of them happened in Ecuador!

It had been cold earlier in the day. All night long the wind had howled and all three of us had buried ourselves under the covers cuddling to stay warm. When I left the meeting to walk down my new street, it was warm and the sun was shining brightly, and I felt progressively more hopeful about our lives here. Once home, I dragged Eric and Maya out of the house and we noticed that the streets were full of yellow shirted people driving, walking, taking cabs, all getting to where they could watch the big soccer game between Columbia and Ecuador. This is a qualifying game for the world cup, and Ecuadorians love their soccer. When we arrived near Quicentro, where we had planned to shop, there were hawkers all over selling soccer Tshirts for the fans (Eric got one of course!). Our goal was to find a hard drive for Eric's dead computer so he could resuscitate it, and we went to mall after mall and shop after shop without success. We ended up at the MundoMac store at the Plaza de las Americas, where Eric almost decided simply to buy a new Mac. The mall was full of fans watching football in wide screen televisions, so we joined them. No one appeared to be eating, all were intensely watching the game. We ordered chocolate fondue (unbelievably good Ecuadorian dark chocolate!) and sadly watched Columbia score one, then two goals and win the game.

To move into our apartment Monday, we had to buy towels, and I had been advised to go to SuCasa in El Jardin mall, a much more upscale place than the malls we had seen. Maya and I spent an inordinate amount of time choosing the right towels, while Eric waited patiently for us. He has been out of sorts all day, clearly distressed about his experience. It is not simply having to replace the phones and the computer (we now have two Porta phones and one Movistar and none of them are working; I wonder how it is that everyone appears to have one or two working phones here and ours have been so uncooperative), but he has also to report to the police, contact insurance, find a way to get a new license and credit cards etc. His life is on hold for now, until he accomplishes quite a list of tasks, all of which will take far longer to accomplish than would be expected. Eric also tells me he is re-experiencing the robbery over and over again, with different courses of action and different outcomes. His outcome was the only good outcome; we are told not to resist a theft such as this; better to lose a few things than to lose one's life.

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