Every time I come to the US, I get worn out by the unrelenting consumerism and a sense that American’s really have little else to occupy their time than buying and selling.
Such a sharp contrast from Ecuador, which seems to be more interested in family, time spent not working, and the desire to spend time with each other.
It has been strange then to be back here in the time of COVID (my first trip back since the pandemic occurred). While consumerism is still blatant, the work-life balance seems to have tipped more to the “life” part of the equation. Obviously because of the pandemic. If you can’t see your fellow workers 40-50 hours a week, it’s hard to over commit to time on the job.
So, that seems to be a good thing that came out of the pandemic here. And conversely, Ecuador’s love of spending time together, seems to be its downfall right now; COVID cases and deaths are skyrocketing and being blamed on family parties and gatherings.
Also, I’ve found while I was here that my friends had more time to spend with me. Another good result of the pandemic. With work taking a backseat, scheduling time to get together was not that hard. And fortunately for me, all of my friends had already gotten both doses of their vaccine. So, getting together with them seemed “okay,” even if I only had one dose in me at the time.
As I wrote last week, the obscene imbalance of vaccination worldwide is simply inhumane. And I do think it will come back to bite the US in the ass eventually. Again, society is global now and not letting the entire world get vaccinated at the same time is just foolish.
That said, it was nice to see a world where activity is being resumed, safely for the most part; it felt like I was living again and not hiding. All the while however, I’ve watched the numbers climb in India and wondered, “Is this thing ever going to end?!”
I can’t see the world going back to the way it was, there is too much water under the bridge for that to happen. I think some good things have and will continue to come out of it, but in the end, there will still have been too many people killed, to many loved ones lost and too many long-term consequences inflicted on mankind to make any sort of “silver lining” pronouncements.
I’ll be travelling back to Ecuador this weekend and I know I’ve got to brace myself for what I’ll be seeing when I get there. I still read the Ecuadorian newspapers when I’m here, so I know how bad things are there, including the shut-down. The empty streets will be a huge shock after seeing all the traffic here this past week.
I do miss it though, and I’m looking forward to being home again. I miss my wife (who couldn’t come to get vaccinated in Florida because she is not a citizen—I won’t go there today), my dogs, and my yard. I miss the simple-ness and the challenges.
Yes, I miss Ecuador. A month here didn’t energize me like I had hoped. It only made me realize that home is where the heart is. And even though it’s a mess back in Ecuador, it is home. If I learned anything on this trip, it is that I still love the place.
With that said, I hope to run into some of you on the streets when things improve.
Until then, please stay safe and sane.