Here I am in Puerto Lopez, which is a city on the coast of Ecuador, looking out over the ocean with my feet in the sand. I paid a premium for the beer for the experience of the sand at my feet and being within earshot of the waves dancing onto the shore, but I guess it was alright. It was only a $0.50 surcharge for the experience. 🙂
Anyway, so my volunteering (1 week of 2 finished) basically works like this: I work from 8a-1p Mon-Fri and then have the rest of the day/weekends off, in exchange for free housing (which btw is a very thin mattress with the lumpy-est pillow I’ve ever had) and breakfast/lunch included. So far, all I’ve done is work with bamboo in 1 (large) room. I shaved the bamboo (the whole house is constructed with bamboo and afterwards, concrete/bricks if necessary) and then “stained” it with paint/bug-repellant that helps the bamboo construction endure. First week is done, so the free weekend and then next week. I’m going to go snorkeling tomorrow as part of a boat tour for about 4 hours tomorrow. No plans Sunday as of yet, but I’m thinking about going diving…it’s just expensive at $140 for two dives.)
4 of the 5 past days I’ve gone running along the beach (I normally run there and back, basically 2.5-3 miles each way). And let me tell you – I really hate running. Really. The only way to make me run, I think, is to have me run along the beach with the waves crashing near me! (It totally works. I channel Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity)
So anyway, when I get to the end with these cliffs (the halfway point), there are all these large rocks sitting in the water, so today I got on top of one (after shooing off a few crabs) and watched the waves crash over two rocks below me. The rocks stick up out of the water but are usually submerged after particularly large waves. And sitting there, I had the thought that, right now, I am living for those rocks to be submerged in the waves. Watching those rocks get submerged and then reappear, I think I felt the joy an infant feels when they close their eyes and then re-open them and see that the whole world is still there. Even though I can’t see those rocks, I have faith that they’re still there. And then I’m right…like all the time! It’s amazing!
Siting on those rocks, I also realized that it’s hard for me to sit still and just be. I know, I’ve only had a full-time permanent job for 3.8 years, but even then, I found myself thinking “I should stop sitting here and go do something else.” At that moment, there was nothing that needed to be done (though of course there are other things I could be doing) and yet I told myself that I would stay on that rock until I didn’t want to anymore. And I think that’s an interesting requirement because it wasn’t stay there until something better comes along or until a more urgent task required me to leave early, but rather I decided at that moment to sit there until I didn’t want to leave, and only then would I decide what to do next. I don’t think I’ve done that very often… in fact, I’m sure I haven’t done that very often because the sensation seemed so foreign to me. I was grateful for the discomfort I felt.
I also had the thought that I need a job where I can work from 8-1 and then have the rest of the day off. I’m still thinking about it. I’m sure there are lots of jobs that I could do, where I could work in a beach city and which would allow me, though cheaply, to live on a 5-hr workday schedule. I really do love being by the ocean, and where I am in Ecuador, the sun sets over the horizon of the water. It makes for more beautiful sunsets than, say, in Miami where the sun sets behind the buildings behind you lol!
I didn’t have the realization that I love physical grunt-work labor (who does?) but I do feel that there is something satisfying about manual labor and being able to look back on one’s work and measure how much work one did. Also, I find that I really like cleaning. Maybe it’s just having more time (like, a LOT of spare time), but I actually enjoy sweeping the house and the hallways. It’s extra, on my own time, but I don’t care because I love it! Maybe I’ll maintain this habit in my life in America.
Last thing I’ll mention: I am REALLY looking forward to driving a sports car gain! I know we all get joy from different things, but when I imagine driving a stick shift sports car (like my old ’06 Miata), I feel like I’m on top of the world. That feeling is easily worth the expense. How lucky I am to know how I can get that feeling! I probably won’t be able to afford my Porsche Cayman, but I’ll settle for Miata! 🙂
I plan on being here at Casa Yubarta in Puero Lopez for 1 more week, and then after that, unless I decide to do something else here, I will go to Colombia. I’ve heard amazing things about Colombia! Like seriously, I’ve talked with 6 people who have traveled all throughout South America, and they ALL said Colombia was their favorite country of anywhere in SA. I was gonna skip it, but with those recommendations…well, I adjusted my plans. 🙂
Signing off for now! Blessings upon you and yours.