It’s the Little Things

The display of autumn colors becomes more glorious every day. Our 6-year-old granddaughter is about to lose her other front tooth. Her sister turns four next month and constantly invents new words. Ridiclious??

Here we are in New Jersey relishing a joyous family visit at a wonderful time of year. Our frequent chats on Skype from Ecuador can’t reveal how much these grandkids have grown both physically and mentally.

We come back to the States often enough that it really feels like we live in two worlds. Two very different worlds. And we notice those differences whichever place we find ourselves. Some that you take for granted may surprise you.

For example, when we turn on the hot water at home it takes a minute or more of cold water running down the drain for the temperature to begin to warm up. Wasteful, yes, but since four rivers run through our city apparently it’s not a priority. Of course here the water is almost instantly hot.

On the same subject, it’s so pleasurable to take a shower every day at exactly the temperature you want. What’s so special about that, you may wonder. Well, with ours you either run the water hotter than comfortable or run the risk of it going ice cold mid-shower. Then standing there a minute or more for——.

One more before we leave this theme. How weird and wonderful it is for the interior of your residence to be a comfortable temperature throughout the day every day. Look, it’s terrific to live in a spring-like climate where no heating or air conditioning is required (or available).

But spring lasts from the end of winter to the beginning of summer and the weather isn’t always perfect, right? If it’s a bit too warm we just open some windows. However, sometimes it also gets a little chilly.

Like waking-up-to-50-something-degrees-in-our-bedroom chilly.

We never cease to marvel at the sheer abundance in the United States. And nothing brings that point home more than a trip to the grocery store.

Whatever your favorite brand of, well, whatever is, it’s always there. And if you want to try maybe a different mustard, take your pick from twenty choices.

At our little store in Cuenca you can never be sure from one visit to the next if the butter or kind of bread you normally buy–or even a common vegetable like celery–will be on the shelves. And if not, when it will return. Hey, we’re not hoarders, but let that French butter finally show up and you’ll find pounds of it in our refrigerator.

But here’s the real surprise. All of these perceived inconveniences are such trifles compared to the massive upsides of living abroad. Takes too long for the water to get hot? No big deal. Shower goes cold occasionally? Oh, bother. It’s a little uncomfortable a few days a year? Beats sweating bullets, shoveling snow, and paying big utility bills.

And the vast selection in the grocery store? We actually find it to be unnecessary, overwhelming, and more than a little stressful. Honestly, who needs 20 plus kinds of mustard??

Turns out that both of our “worlds” have a lot to offer. For efficiency and abundance you can’t beat the United States. Ecuador’s low cost of living, great weather, and laid-back lifestyle run circles around this country.
How blessed we are to enjoy the best of both worlds!!

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