I returned to the twentieth century today, taking care of business. I was back on the internet organizing my ticket (frequent flyer miles, Yeah!) and a rental car. I wonder if I know how to drive after a year of buses and long walks. I had to run over to the big shopping mall nearby (Quicentro) and look for some items for Maya. I have avoided the place as much as possible during our time here. I have had no money to spend so it made no sense to look at what I could not have. I have been very disciplined and have made it a point not to NEED anything and therefore not to even enter the building. Last week when I was following Eric around one morning, he was buying a rainjacket for a colleague at Yanayacu, and I convinced him that I could not go to the cloudforest without one ( I left my 20 year old jacket on the bus from Otavalo a month ago). I could not bring myself to spend the money, but Eric actually came home with a red one, which actually works wonderfully (my old one had not been waterproof for years).
For Eric, living this way has been entirely comfortable, and he does not miss all the STUFF we accumulated in our prior life. He buys $8 jeans at Megamaxi and 'Correa' shirts at the Mercado Artesanal for $7 and wears rubber boots in the jungle and is perfectly content. I am amazed that I have managed to survive without buying ANYTHING but essentials for the months we have been here, and I have been fine, but I do look forward to a spending spree at some point not too far in the future.
On the other hand I am constantly aware of the incredible poverty in this country and of course I have so much more than most. So not only do I not have any extra to spend, if I did I would feel guilty, and therefore am not comfortable buying anything anyway.
What will it feel like to return to the ravenous consumerist lifestyle I was quite comfortable with? How long will it take me to slip back into my old habits? How much has this year of living the 'simple life' changed me?