Kinda. Or maybe not. In any case, it’s been nearly three months since I last posted, which seems rather revealing about how long it’s taken (or, rather, is still taking) me to adapt to new surroundings.
Sorting, throwing out, organizing, packing, and finally moving belongings accumulated over twenty-five years took several weeks. So I finally moved myself into my new place in mid-December. Jamie had moved a few days before that, and Jono and family would wait until after Christmas, but my mom and I moved the same day… to two separate places in the country. Quite an experience, let me tell you. We did hire “professionals.” Unfortunately, what this turned out to be was very fast loading of our belongings onto the moving van, and even faster unloading at our new homes, with furniture and boxes located pretty haphazardly in a helter-skelter (and even upside-down) way. Even though I had labelled all my boxes, it took me weeks to locate boxes of things that belonged together, unpack, and set up a new home.
After only one week I started to fear this had been the wrong decision and seriously doubted I would be able to stay. My city-raised dogs discovered… freedom! The fence around the property just couldn’t hold them in. They were able to find and crawl through any and every hole in that fence, and during that first week they managed to escape several times. Long enough to catch and kill my neighbor’s two chicks, two hens, and a rooster.
And then the cold. I mean, I’m a mountain girl and love cold weather. Sub-zero temperatures are another thing, however. In a house built high above the ground, with the wind blowing through and under it, and no heating system other than a fireplace located in the living room… Let me tell you, it gets cold. Jamie provided the support needed then by insisting we go shopping for a heater that would at least allow me to heat up my bedroom. As it turned out, that particular week there was a cold front along our entire mountain range, which explained the freezing temperatures. Since then I’ve discovered that although chillier than Quito, two to three layers of clothes, an extra quilt, and occasionally lighting the fireplace seem to do what is needed to keep me relatively warm.
We also brought in our old fence from the house in town, and built a small enclosure for the dogs. We piled firewood under the house so that the dogs could not crawl under and out, and that has also helped to block the wind. Ironically, the dogs have less space to run around freely right now than they had in town! But it works for me.
Ok, so initially I started to feel that country living was perhaps turning out to be too stressful for me! However, there are always blessings, aren’t there? And quite definitely, for every cloud there is a silver lining. At the top of the list there is a very special man: Pedrito. He came into our lives just as we started to move and he is now a permanent fixture. We hired him on the spot and he has turned out to be the best handyman ever, both inside and outside the house. My mom and I share him… half of the week he works for her, and the other half for me. Doing yard work, cleaning, hanging up pictures, fixing things… you name it. There isn’t anything he won’t do. And that certainly has made a difference in being able to set things up as comfortably as possible. Plus… he whistles as he works.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for all of us has been uprooting a very close-knit family in four different households, all at the same time. We don’t regret our decision, but it has been challenging. Whereas we were used to being able to see each other every day we now have to plan and coordinate schedules in order to meet. Fortunately, that pretty much happens on a weekly basis, so I am still getting my family “fix.”
One of the things that Pedro has been so good at helping both my mother and me has been in hanging things on the walls and setting out familiar objects that help us feel more at home. In my case it’s been quite a challenge, given the slanted ceilings and very few straight walls. A lot of things remain packed, but there are enough things out that have helped me make this space more my own. And we have had to be inventive as to where to hang at least a few wall hangings… including on the doors of the kitchen cupboards! So this is what “home” is looking like these days. (You can click on the photos for larger images.)
The best thing so far about living here? Without a doubt, it has to be the view. I pretty much can see the entire valley from where I sit! It’s been gray and rainy the last couple of weeks, so it isn’t easy to shoot landscape shots with all the fog lying around, but here are a few shots from my balcony.
A view of the town of Quinche…
…and zoom in to the towers of its very famous church.
And this might not look like much, but do you see that faint light line in the background? That is the new airport…
And I can zoom in to some of the buildings.
Well, I’m sure there will be sunny days ahead. And hopefully then I’ll be able to get some better shots of the view. Enough for now.