The post below was written by my wife, Diane…my Pocket Babe…and I am priviliged to be able to publish it here. Thank you Babe!
by Diane Murray
Just as it is possible to hold two different thoughts in your mind at one time, it is possible to have two distinct feelings in your heart. This is the condition in which I find myself as we prepare to leave our home here in Ecuador. These past two years in Ecuador have been the most fun, the most interesting, and the most gratifying maybe of my whole life; for a long, long time anyway. I have been truly happy and at peace here. I’ve grown as a person. I’ve explored a place and a people that delighted and surprised me on a near daily basis. I’ve discovered things about myself that I never knew and learned a lot about my husband as well. One thing I’ve decided is that I love the expat life in Latin America. At this point, I don’t really see myself ever living in the States again. I have Ecuador to thank for that.
Making a change today does not mean that moving to Ecuador when we did was a mistake. I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything! I will cherish the memories, the lessons, and most especially the friends I have gained, for the rest of my life. I can assure you right now that tears will fall when the time comes to leave this place.
That being said – and this is where the second, conflicting emotion comes in – making the move to Mexico is exciting! We are making the choice to improve our situation and enhance our lives. That is generally accepted as, by definition, a good thing. And it’s okay to be stoked about our new adventure. The way I see it, the goal is to live our best life every day we are given. Life unfolds in many wondrous ways, and I am glad we are the kind of people who are open to new possibilities and new adventures. When we made the inaugural offshore move, I think we both believed we would live out our days in Ecuador. And at the time, it was our very best option. Happily, our financial situation has improved over time, and we now have choices that were not available to us just a couple of years ago.
Recent good news on that front came as a very welcomed surprise and cause for celebration. 24 hours later, we got some jarring news as well. A friend here in town had had a heart attack and died. We had just seen her in Spanish class the week before. A vibrant, dynamic woman with a real zest for life … gone. Just like that. I have to tell you, with Don’s history, the news hit pretty close to home. Not that her death was about us, or that our situations are exactly the same. It’s not even to say that our friend’s outcome would have been any different had she been in the States or Canada. But it was a stark reminder that heart attacks do kill, and that the hospitals in this area are not equipped to give you the best chance of survival. There are three places in Ecuador with first rate, complex care, Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. Unfortunately, none of those are suitable for our life. The one aspect of life here in San Vicente that has troubled us could be avoided no more.
I do believe there are messages one receives from the universe (or your core being, or your higher power, or whatever that is for you) that are meant for your betterment. You can embrace or you can ignore them, but you can never claim you didn’t choose. I also believe that a lesson keeps returning until it is learned. The first “message” might come in the form of a whisper. The next time, a tap on the shoulder. Fail to get it still and eventually a piano falls on your head like in those old-time movies. The confluence of events in our lives presented us an unmistakable choice point. It was as if the Universe said “Here’s everything you need to better your situation”, and then gave us a real good reason to think about doing so. The realization that doing nothing would be to thumb our noses at our own good fortune came with a clarity that could not be ignored or swept aside. As much as I love my life in San Vicente, there’s nothing more important to me than my husband.
I am my mother’s daughter, and as such I have a genetic predisposition to white sand beaches and crystal clear waters as warm as a bathtub andteaming with life. I’ve now come to discover that I love living in a Latin-American culture. Yup. The Mayan Riviera will suit me just fine. I’m not the least bit worried about that. Now that I have been through the transition once already, and speak a whole lot more Spanish, I am confident that this transition will go even easier.
Too often I have seen expats’ decision to leave Ecuador portrayed as some kind of failure or rejection. I think that is looking at it all wrong. Everyone has their own life to live, and there is no one right way. The only life anyone has to live is their own, and if you let what others think keep you from doing what makes you happy, you’re a fool. Not everything of value lasts forever, either. In fact it is the tremendous success and happiness we have experienced here that gives us the confidence to take on this next challenge. I may not remain in Ecuador forever, but it has changed me forever. I’ll be taking a lot about Ecuador with me, and leaving behind a piece of my heart. But I will move forward with joy and wonder and see what mysteries unfold.