After sharing the reasons I love my life here in Ecuador, I wanted to share some examples of the frustrations I often encounter. Eighteen days have passed since Gatito dropped by to say that he would be back ‘manana’ to finish the work on the house. When he didn’t return that next day, I was certain that he would show up the next… or the next. After five days, I realized that manana means, ‘Not today.’
Gatito is a really sweet guy, and I have often pondered my frustrations concerning his ‘manana’ attitude. He is trustworthy and solid in character – all except for his consistent ability to be inconsistent! He drops the ball and probably disappoints more than just me! I remind myself not to force my expectations of professionalism on him, as I am fully immersed – sometimes knee-deep – in a ‘manana’ culture! If I cannot adapt, then frustrations will greet me most every day. On the flip side, I am sure if I faced personal challenges that I could not handle by myself, Gatito and his family would be there immediately to help if possible. For that reason, I try to ‘let it go’ and know that a year from now, this will not be important.
Living far off the grid challenges my patience in other areas. During the dry season, there are days when the water faucets are dry! Having a backup water supply is critical to my happiness, although days often go by before there is enough pressure (5K from the town) to deliver it to the roof-level tank! While I was traveling last month with Hank and Marie, Jorge the Electrician changed the reserve tank’s outgoing water line to a wider dimension for the instant-hot water system. There is now more pressure in the house, though I noted that he did not install an emergency cut-off valve. If a pipe breaks, the entire contents of the water tank could flood the house! (Sigh.) He, too, said that he’d return, ‘Manana.’
Many WordPress folks are currently frustrated with the new photo uploading system changes; since I’ve dealt with sluggish internet for a dozen years, I assumed the recent upload problems could be blamed on my connection! Others have asked if I’m having trouble (yes!) though I’ve adopted the ‘manana’ attitude when the images won’t upload! I save the text as a draft and hope that the service improves – and it always does at some point during the day or night!
The approaching rainy season brings a perennial frustration; we (a cluster of five houses!) almost always lose power when we receive sprinkles of rain! I usually check emails really fast and send any that are pending. There is usually a one-hour to three-day wait before power is restored!
The sweet sound of sprinkles awakened me early this morning, so of course I logged on and scanned the world headlines, the weather charts and the inbox. While composing this post, I was not surprised when the power failed! An hour later, all was right again, except for the internet!
The internet arrives via small receiver box attached to the side of the house. Marcelo, our resident computer genius, beams the signal from town to the house, and it reaches my computer via broadband cable. (Low speed broadband!) There are days when the signal is so weak that I cannot upload photos; unless late at night, a short YouTube video takes half an hour to load – or not. Sometimes it reaches ten to twenty seconds and hits a wall. At times I am pleased when an hour-long music video plays without a single glitch! Ah, how we forget to be grateful for dependable electricity and fast internet!
I remind myself that twelve years ago in Costa Rica, I rode a bus for almost two hours to travel 25 miles to reach a cybercafe. There were times when the cybercafe’s service was down, and after waiting several hours, I returned home without sending emails to my friends and family.
With rainy season approaching, there might be periods where I am absent or silent. Some predict an El Nino year; if so I look forward to comparing it to the rainy months of September and October in Costa Rica. Suffice to know if I vanish from cyberspace, there will be new stories of life on the river when I am online again! Remember, also, if the weather here turns too nasty, surely Gatito and his family won’t wait ’til ‘manana’ to come help!
(Seriously, I have a wonderful support system of people!) I should write a post soon about those beautiful people, and then no one will worry about me during the rainy season!
I’ll leave you with a screen shot taken this morning that reflects the minor disappointments of life off the grid! I try to remind myself if the above problems are as bad as my day gets, then I am very lucky!
(The sprinkles have returned!) Bye! Z