Home at Last

Home at Last

It is the past now, but I try to remember everything; the good, the bad and the ordinary – because memories are the sum of our lives.

We learn from hard times, supposedly. But such learning gets old and I never signed up for patience! It shouldn’t be necessary. Although I practiced patience, it never seemed to get me anywhere. Perseverance is different; it has power; it is vital! Do we have a choice? No, actually; we persevere or we perish.

Perseverance will take us places. Fortunately or unfortunately, with no guarantee that we will arrive at our intended destination. We have free will to choose the direction, however. I think our lives as out-of-control creations of our making. Practice acceptance — enjoy and buckle up!  

If I were in control, I would never have found myself in my present situation! It is too sweet! Although I did participate and cooperate, this was definitely not my plan! I have come to appreciate the hard times of the bygone, without regret or bitterness, because in retrospect, those times have provided a most enhanced perspective!  

After being an expat for 52 years, I am finally HOME! No, I am not back to my native Norway. I am still an Expat, but I am putting down roots in Cuenca, Ecuador! At this time, I cannot imagine living any place else! I have found HOME.  I am content – EXUBERENT, in fact!

These days I linger in bed. No longer do I leap out of bed and speed like a bullet through the mornings to maintain the momentum until I am knocked unconscious by my pillow at night. I enjoyed the stress, though! Now, I sip hot coffee from my thermos, prepared the night before. I sort and dismiss dreams, I journal, check news and email while I gaze at the Andes Mountains, robed in watercolor clouds at sunrise. I am retired even though I never dreamed, desired or planned to retire! I am adapting, or perhaps I am accepting. I ponder such things at length. Life is very good!

Home has always been intensely important to me. I think this is common to all Norwegians. Until age ten, I took home for granted. Then we moved. I was devastated. I sorely missed my neighborhood, my school and my friends. Growing up, I thought Norway was boring, but what did I have to compare it with?

Through all my adventures, I have always craved home. Although I lived in Florida for 31 years, until now, the closest I came to home was Thompson Falls, Montana. However, it is a tiny town, difficult to get to and there’s nothing to do there. Winters are long and dark. Spring is cold and wet. Oh, but the beauty! And summers! And the gracious people there!

Cuenca is not easy to get to either, but it has PLENTY to offer! With 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark, all year, there is no need for Daylight Savings.  The climate, although sometimes cold and rainy, is mostly very pleasant. I open the windows when it is warm. I close them when it is cold. My monthly electric bill is equivalent to the cost of a good breakfast in an average US restaurant.

With the eye-catching variety of architecture, quaint shops, parks, murals, street vendors and entertainers, museums and festivals, walking on cobble-stone sidewalks is pure entertainment. With an abundance of good International and Ecuadorian restaurants, eating out, like most things in Ecuador, is affordable. Because I no longer pay thousands annually for Homeowners Insurance, Property Taxes, Car Insurance, gasoline, oil and maintenance, I order lobster, dessert and cappuccino – and I do it often!

I enjoy private watercolor classes with a well-known artist. A Spanish-tutor comes to my apartment. Someone other than me vacuums every Wednesday. It’s included in my rent. And my apartment is huge! I couldn’t find anything smaller that I liked. I rationalized that in Pandemic times, I should focus on happiness in my own nest — truly a divinely inspired decision!

What’s there not to smile about?

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