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Friday, September 26, 2014

Ode to the Simple Life

We can tell you one thing that is very special about living in Ecuador (or perhaps living the expat life, but as this is our first experience, we can't speak for other countries). What is that thing, you ask? Learning to appreciate the little things.

As we've mentioned before, things take time here and not all crises are created equal. Our building has been struggling with hot water - it was never there when you really needed it. I took to showering anywhere between 11am and 1pm, in hopes of actually having warm water, which is fine, unless you need to be somewhere or your hair takes 5 hours to dry (like mine). Often breakfast dishes would be washed in tepid water, or we'd have to fire up the kettle if you wanted good hot agua.
This is a minor inconvenience, but the owners decided to address the issue and have a second hot water heater installed. Wonderful, we thought! And it really is, but like many things in Ecuador there is a process to the installation. Week one: the new tank arrives. Week two: grade the space where the hot water heaters are to ensure proper drainage should the lines blow. (This entailed taking BOTH hot water heaters out of the space, setting up an on demand water heater (yes, one for the whole EIGHT suite building) and pouring cement, letting it cure, laying tile and reinstalling both water heaters.

Good on them, for making sure no flooding would ensue in the suite below, but the process took a week. Most of you will have little familiarity with on demand water heaters. They are awesome, environmentally friendly things that are mostly designed for a single residence. (We have friends that have two for their house alone.) So we went from mostly having hot water to do what we needed to not having any hot water at all. For us spoiled gringos, this is not fun. Lukewarm showers, boiling water to wash was a long slog.

But the point is that we now have reliable hot water and it is BLISSFUL.
Yes, THIS blissful.
The same goes for the lights in our refrigerator. Indurama is a brand name of appliances here in Ecuador, and I hate to say it, but they are notoriously unreliable. The fridge had little low wattage bulbs, likely of a fluorescent nature, but these weren't bulbs that you just unscrewed and replaced, no.
What our refrigerator was like without light.

You needed a whole little mini-fixture (and a repair man) to fix the problem. This also took a week and when we could finally see in to our fridge again, without cracking out our hiking head lamps, it was also a wonderful thing.
Yup, that's me, looking for a bottle of pickles.
Who knew that it would be possible to wax poetic over such things, but this is what happens when you slow down, smell the flowers and make the monumental leap to a whole new country. Our advice? Enjoy every minute of the quirks and quandaries of the simple things.

On a side note, we are heading in to spring here (not that there's a lot of difference, but the sun is out - it was 23 degrees (Celsius - just embrace it) and, wow, is it gorgeous! Chau for now!

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