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Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Life we are leaving in Richland, Washington

I have been quite nostalgic lately. I keep bouncing around in my mind that we are leaving the life we know here in the United States and moving to Ecuador. Sometimes one can get the feeling that people who move away from the USA do so because they don’t like it here. For many of us that is not the case. We love our life in Richland, Washington and the surrounding area. Even though we are anxious to get to Cuenca, Ecuador (because we love it there too), I think it would be therapeutic for me to share with you what we are choosing to leave behind and why.

We are leaving behind our modest home where we have lived together for the past 23 years. For the most part, we raised our children here.

Chuck has put many hours of work into making our backyard a place of enjoyment.

His love of roses will follow us to Ecuador thank goodness!

We live in a semi-arid climate. It rains only 7 - 10 inches a year. This equates to predictable warm and sunny days in the summers. It also means that when you drive outside the irrigated city, there are no trees, but dry countryside that has it's own beauty.

We live in wheat and wine country. We are surrounded by wheat fields and vineyards.

Not far away is some spectacular places like the Columbia Gorge

or beautiful Mount Ranier

so why are we choosing to leave this paradise?

Well, to me, it is only beautiful in Richland from mid-May until mid-October. After the trees loose their leaves and the sprinkler systems are shut off, everything becomes a dreary brown. Also, we are far enough north that on the shortest days of the year, people are virtually leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. On the shortest day of the year, the sun has set by 4:30pm. I find these seven months hard to bare. I spend my days longing for the summer to return.

The only time in the winter that I think it is beautiful here is when we have a rare snowfall. Having grown up in Georgia and having never seen snow until I was well into my twenties, I have never grown tired of it.

So I am now getting insight into my nostalgia. I am sitting here in Richland during the best of times and blocking out the long dark winters.

In Ecuador there is no summer or winter as we know it. The days are consistently 12 hours long. (6:30am - 6:30pm). The trees have their leaves all year. The flowers are blooming year around. You can get fresh fruit and vegetables at the market year around.

Here in the United States, there is a dark cloud hanging over our country. That dark cloud is FEAR. Fear of terrorists, fear of the falling economy, along with a deep division of our people along political lines. We do not watch television in our home, we choose to not watch it in order to minimize the effect of the "gloom" in our lives.

In Ecuador, we have found a peace that we have not had here in the United States for a long time. We do not feel the dark cloud of gloom there. The biggest issues are small, like difference in culture, as not having the repairman call and let you know he is not able to show up for an appointment or not being able to buy a $5 item with a $20 dollar bill because the vendor does not have enough change.

We will be traveling home to the United States multiple times each year. We both have parents here, our children, grandchildren and many friends. We are not dropping off the radar. We will just be living our day to day lives in a more peaceful and healthier environment.

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