ECUADOR: The School For Patience

Candy: Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Candy: Mariscal Sucre International Airport

I’ve been told several times that Ecuador is the perfect school for patience. Here in Ecuador there is what’s called, “Ecuadorian Time” and there is “Aleman Time.” (German Time)

In “Ecuadorian Time” if someone has scheduled a 9:00 am appointment and shows up the same day or in the same week they are considered to be “on time in Ecuador.”  It’s often quite maddening if you let it get to you.

So now I always ask when a deliver is supposed to be made or a service supposed to be performed, “So please tell me. Is this going to be delivered/installed “Ecuadorian Time” or  “Aleman Time.””  The people always smile and say, “Ecuadorian Time of course!” and then they roll their eyes and lift their palms to the sky.

So what’s a confirmed perfectionist doing living in a country like this? Well for starters, doing my best to not go insane from frustration. And, I’m learning PATIENCE whether I like it or not.  I’m also seeing in this culture that being a perfectionist on any level is truly not serving me and only making me crazy on a daily basis.

So here are 9 helpful Things I’ve learned in Ecuador as I do my best to overcome being a lifelong card carrying member of the Perfectionists Party:

1. Get Off Your Case

Being a perfectionist is impossible already, so I’m learning to cut myself some *#^@*%# slack!

2.  Making A Mistake Is Not The End Of The World

I’ve tried my best to consider the fact that making any mistake, personally, professionally, culturally here is not the end of the world.  (Yes. I know. Even though it feels like it at the time. And I hope I have not alienated my Ecuadorian neighbors forEVER.)

3. Do Something Fun

I’ve tried giving myself a break every once and awhile and go out and do something fun. Yes. I said fun. Not highly competitive, so I can criticize and beat myself up more afterwards for not being perfect. Fun. Just for the fun of it. Like a movie. Or a walk. Hard to criticize those.

4. Pull A Meal Out Of The Freezer Once A Week

Stop making every meal from scratch and thinking I have to make it match the cover of Gourmet magazine every night at dinner. Yup. Pull at least one dinner a week right out of the freezer. That’s right. Frozen Food. It won’t kill me. Or go get take out. And don’t light the candles. And use paper napkins instead of cloth ones. I pretend I’m on a picnic.

5. Read A Book Just For Fun

Read a book. Just for fun. FYI, this means:

  • No business books on how to improve yourself so you can learn to influence people or you can feel, once again, the pressure of having to make lots of money or else you will be one step closer to the poor house.
  • No biographies of successful famous people, like Warren Buffet, who is wonderful but none of us have his brain and you will only end up feeling like you should have known what he seemed to figure out so easily and end up feeling stupid as a result.
  • No self help books to help you become a better person.
  • No spiritual books so you can become an even better person, but will ultimately make you, the confirmed perfectionist, feel that you will never measure up to the Head Spiritual Honchos.

So, remember, this means, A Book. Fiction. Nothing to learn or grow from. No pressure to perform, succeed or fail. Just a plain old book that brings you distraction and joy.

I’ve read 15 books so far here in four months in Ecuador. All for fun. No self help, business or spiritual books. And it’s been really quite FUN I’m happy to report.

6. Be Present, Happy and At Peace Now

Try to be present, happy and at peace now. Right where I am. This minute. As the Dalai Lama has said, “If you think of this one
second, right now, this breath, what huge problem do you really have?”
You can’t think of one right? I can’t either. OK then.

7. Breathe Deeply

Well, come to think of it,  that “Be Here Now” advice is for all
of you other non perfectionists out there. The rest of us perfectionists have to struggle with that oh so challenging peace
of mind issue. We are busy right now, in fact, torturing ourselves about the past, the present AND the future.

But truthfully now, even the worst of us perfectionists could
possibly, hopefully, maybe manage one second, a day, of peace. I’ve actually personally even seen more than a second or two here in Ecuador and that should give everyone hope.

OK everybody. Now Breathe. No problems this second. Whoo Hoo!

8.  Make A Mistake On Purpose

Make a mistake. Deliberately. I saw that I didn’t die. It was great. You try it too and see how you don’t die. And take comfort in the fact that
even the great master rug and quilt makers weaved or stitched in a deliberate mistake somewhere into their rugs or quilts because they believed only God Is Perfect.

So think about this for a moment. You wouldn’t want to offend the “Big Almighty Ones Out There Somewhere” and steal some of “Their Thunder” by trying to be perfect in every moment, in every situation with every person, now would you?

So go ahead.

Make  a mistake.

Don’t rain on “Their” parade.

9. The Only Real Mistake Is An Experience We Don’t Learn From

And finally, the only real mistake in my life is a less than stellar experience that I don’t learn from.

So take heart all you perfectionists out there. You can do this. It may take some focused and concerted effort on your part, but you really can do this.

In fact, I tried these nine small steps and I actually liked it. Even in Ecuadorian Time. You, too, can do this thing. And you might even feel a little, eensy, weensy less pressure for a change.

And wouldn’t that be a relief? It has been for me in my daily school of patience here in Ecuador.

How do you develop patience in your own life?

Additional Links:

  • For More on the Life and Work of Mary Anne Dorward, please go to: www.maryannedorward.com
  • For Professional Speaking Coaching and Speech Writing, please go to: www.myrealvoice.com or for video http://bit.ly/1fmLjuL
  • To Learn more about my book, “Words To Thrive By: Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope,” please go to: www.wordstothriveby.com or  for video http://bit.ly/1hlyGoc
  • To Buy The Book, go to Amazon: http://amzn.to/L9NYkl
  • Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward. All photos and writing on this blog are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  For more information, to schedule an inspirational speech or interview, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.

 

Becoming A World Citizen And Why It’s Important: PART 1

Dancing Through Life

Dancing Through Life

What does it mean to become a “World Citizen” and why is it important?

Freedom

First of all, I believe that every person deserves the right to live in a place where they are safe and can live a healthy life, where they (and their money) are treated well and where they have the opportunity to grow in both their life and the business of their choosing.

This is what freedom really means to me.

People accept limiting beliefs

I’ve discovered over the years that many people live with a very limiting belief. It’s the belief that they must completely identify with and stay living in the place where they were born.

People see themselves as “A Canadian” and they may travel outside Canada a bit here and there, but they live for the better part of their lives in Canada. Or people grow up thinking of themselves as “An American” and even if they are unhappy with their government or the rising cost of living, they stay the majority of there entire lives living only in the United States.

I rarely hear someone referring to himself or herself as “A World Citizen.” Why is that?

I could never do what you are doing!

Here are some of the comments and objections that I have heard from various people since I moved to Ecuador:

  1. I could never do what you are doing.
  2. I don’t have the courage or freedom to do what you’re doing.
  3. I wouldn’t like it living in another country.
  4. I can’t leave my work and my family.
  5. Why would I even want to do that? I like it here where I am.
  6. Better “The Devil” I do know here than exchanging it for a “Devil I don’t know” by moving there.
  7. I don’t trust foreign governments. My government will always take care of me here.
  8. Why would I ever want to uproot from everything I know and am familiar with? I’m quite comfortable where I am.
  9. What about my children and friends? I would not get to see them as often as I would want to if I moved somewhere else far away.
  10. I wouldn’t have any friends.
  11. But I don’t speak the language. I’d have no one to talk to there.
  12.  Isn’t it dangerous there? How would I ever keep myself safe?
  13. What would I do with myself all day there?
  14. I’d feel like an outsider if I moved to another country.
  15. It’s a little too far away for me. I want to be able to go home whenever I want.
  16. What would I do with all my stuff I have here if I moved there?

Home isn’t where we are. Home is what we’re used to.

As I have listened to these concerns of my friends and family over the past few months, it struck me that feeling a sense of Home isn’t about “where we are” so much as it is “what we are used to.”

One day, early on, when I was whining to my son about feeling out of place here in Ecuador, he suggested that I consider the fact that I was creating a new definition for myself about what “Home” meant to me. He also shared that he thought that this was actually very brave on my part and he felt that both he and his sister could learn a lot from my taking this bold step in my life.

Creating new definitions of “Self” and the thought of making another country “Home” can be very unsettling

Creating new definitions of one’s “Self” in the world and the thought of making another country “Home” can be very unsettling for many people.  That certainly has been very true for me. But I’m convinced that if one human being can do something, then everyone else has the capacity to do it too.

The truth is that the opportunity to make a profound change, either within ourselves or in the place we choose to live, is available to each and every one of us in any moment if we will but give it a try.

Tomorrow: PART 2: What does it take to become a “World Citizen?”

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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RELATED POSTS AND LINKS:

  • Becoming A World Citizen And Why It’s Important: PART 2: http://wp.me/p47vLx-eN
  • Additional Links:
    • For More on the Life and Work of Mary Anne Dorward, please go to: www.maryannedorward.com
    • For Professional Speaking Coaching and Speech Writing, please go to: www.myrealvoice.com or for video http://bit.ly/1fmLjuL
    • To Learn more about my book, “Words To Thrive By: Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope,” please go to: www.wordstothriveby.com or  for video http://bit.ly/1hlyGoc
    • To Buy The Book, go to Amazon: http://amzn.to/L9NYkl
    • Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward. All photos and writing on this blog are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  For more information, to schedule an inspirational speech or interview, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.

ECUADOR: Nothing Goes To Waste

Paper Street Decorations, Olon, Ecuador

Paper Street Decorations, Olon, Ecuador

One of the things I really appreciate about the people of Ecuador is that they make sure that nothing ever goes to waste.

Holiday wreaths, ribbons and colored paper become street decorations.

Street Decorations, Crucita, Ecuador

Street Decorations, Crucita, Ecuador

Horse hair from combed horse manes and tails becomes earrings and bracelets.

Earrings and Bracelet made from Horse Hair: Quito Artisan Market

Earrings and Bracelet made from Horse Hair: Quito Artisan Market

Used cranberry containers and litre soda bottles are cut and repurposed for flower pots:

Plants In Pots Made From Used Containers and Plastic Litre Bottles

Plants In Pots Made From Used Containers and Plastic Litre Bottles

Used appliance boxes are painted white and old DVD discs are flipped over and placed on top to become the “burners” on a child’s play stove. Newspapers are cut, twisted and painted into festive Christmas trees. And old driftwood becomes Art.

Nothing ever goes to waste and people get really creative with using what they have to work with. These are just some of the things I really appreciate about living here.

How do you reuse things where you live?

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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Additional Links:

  • For More on the Life and Work of Mary Anne Dorward, please go to: www.maryannedorward.com
  • For Professional Speaking Coaching and Speech Writing, please go to: www.myrealvoice.com or for video http://bit.ly/1fmLjuL
  • To Learn more about my book, “Words To Thrive By: Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope,” please go to: www.wordstothriveby.com or  for video http://bit.ly/1hlyGoc
  • To Buy The Book, go to Amazon: http://amzn.to/L9NYkl
  • Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward. All photos and writing on this blog are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  For more information, to schedule an inspirational speech or interview, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.

PARAPENTE in Ecuador

ImageEvery day the para gliders with their colorful Parapente kites pass right by my windows. Usually, when one goes by, I run out to the deck to see them and then wait to watch them land. They are so close, I can literally look them in the eye and often they will give the “Thumbs Up” sign and shout “Hola!” with a huge smile on their face. I smile back and shout, “HOLA! Que Bueno!” (HI! How WONDERFUL!)

The men and women who para glide make their launch from the huge hill high up and behind this building where I live. Throughout the day, you can see all kinds of colors of parapente kites in the air as they fly around in the sky. Sometimes you will see two people flying in tandem on one kite.

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It is an amazing thing to watch as they make their graceful turn just before landing as they reduce their speed and then land on the beach right in front of my building. Some are better at landing than others.Image

Some come down out of the air as if they are simply walking from air to sand. Others hit the ground at an odd angle and then tumble over and over themselves trying stop the forward momentum. I find myself rooting for them to have a graceful smooth landing every time.

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There is one woman who flies by almost every day. She smiles and laughs and screams “Whooooo!!! Hoooooo!!!” as she passes by us. She then makes her graceful turn enroute to the beach as it were the easiest thing in the world. She smoothly drops out of the sky. One foot, two foot, three foot four and she’s got it. She’s landed.

Then comes the part I like best. This woman starts laughing hysterically and pounding her fists up in the air screaming “YEEEEE HAAAAAW!” over and over again, and it is the sound of the universal cry of joyous elation.

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After the landing, the kites lines are pulled in and then all folded up and off they go back up the mountain again.

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PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward. All photos and writing on this blog are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  Please do not copy or reproduce any part of these blogs without express permission from Mary Anne Dorward. For more information, or to schedule and inspirational speech, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.)

Ecuador: Where Do I Fit In As An American Woman?

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After a few weeks of living here in Ecuador, I began to wonder about a lot of things. Mostly I was thinking, “Will I EVER fit in here as an American Woman?”

I approached Felix, a native Ecuadorian and the owner of the Macondo Lodge in Canoa where we were staying and asked him, “OK Felix. If you looked at me and didn’t already know that I was an American, is there any other South American country I could be from?”

He smiled his impish smile and said, “Hmmmmm. Let me think here. Well, you speak good Spanish so that would not give you away. And there were many Europeans who emigrated here years ago and married into Ecuadorian families. I would say, you might pass for an Argentinian or maybe even a person from Paraguay or Uruguay?”

Whenever I worked in Europe over the years, I always spoke Spanish and pretended I was from Spain. People often asked me if perhaps I was from Eastern Europe? Or was I possibly from Ireland since I had such a round face and bright green eyes? One thing I was sure of: I did not want to be associated with the “Ugly American” type of person who I always saw traveling somewhere.

The typical “Ugly American” was demanding, pushy, rude and insisted that everyone around them speak English. Well I didn’t want to be THAT kind of American. When tensions rose in the Middle East, I told people that I was from Canada if someone really tried to call me out. Things just seemed to go more smoothly, at least in that part of the world, when I didn’t say I was from the U.S.

But now I was living in Ecuador. I was an American woman living in Ecuador. I looked around and I didn’t feel like I really fit in anywhere. Having come to Ecuador only recently from the Pacific Northwest, where we don’t see much sun, I looked very, very pasty white. Then I realized that my Spanish I normally used wasn’t working for me either. I couldn’t pass pass for an Ecuadorian no matter how hard I tried.

The Latin American Spanish spoken here uses different words for things, words I had never learned in school. At first, I constantly felt like a dufus since I didn’t understand what was being said around me or to me, like I usually did when I had travelled in Mexico or Europe.

I struggled over all of this for a few days, feeling quite out of sorts,  forlorn and lost. Then I called my son Josh.

I was telling him about my struggle and he said, “Mom, I don’t understand this. Why is this so important to you to be someone else other than who you are? Why do you have to pass for ANYthing other than yourself? I’m confused. ”

Stinging tears welled up my eyes as I thought to myself, “I’m confused too! What’s really going on here?”

Then my son said, “Why do you have to “FIT IN” ANYwhere?” Why can’t you just be yourself – you know- Mary Anne Dorward – a really, really nice person, who yeah, is a woman who just happens to be from the United States?”

I was speechless. He had me there.

All I could think of to say was, “Excellent point. Thanks. I’ll give that some more thought.” And we hung up.

I sat there in my chair thinking, “Yeah. Why not? I could just be that: Myself.” And then I laughed out loud. “Yeah right. As if I could ever really be anyone else!”

Crucita, Ecuador

Crucita, Ecuador

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward. All photos and writing on this blog are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  Please do not copy or reproduce any part of these blogs without express permission from Mary Anne Dorward. For more information or to schedule and inspirational speech or interview, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.)

ECUADOR LIVING: The Roosters Who Live Next Door

Home Sweet Home.

Home Sweet Home.

I live in a seven story condo right on the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I take long walks on the beach every day in the sunshine and I can feel myself getting healthier and healthier by the minute! We hear the beautiful sounds of the ocean waves all day and all night from our condo windows and it is heavenly. It has a washer and dryer, hot water and air conditioning too.

And we don’t even need an alarm. The roosters start crowing way before sunrise.  At 3:00 AM, “The Rooster Greek Chorus” starts it’s refrain. One  rooster sets them off: “Doo! Doo doo! Doo Dooooo!” This gets the second rooster going and he chimes in, and he I am sorry to report, seriously flat. And then, for the coup de gras, the third begins and it sounds like it is in the dying phase of emphysema! But hey. It’s roosters living next door with the pigs and the dogs and the chickens and the people and the rest of daily life here in Ecuador. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!” as Mr Rogers used to say right?

Well I have to admit,  every night at 3:00 AM when that first rooster starts crowing it’s little heart out, I fantasize about shooting it, and the rest of them too, just to get some peace and quiet.

Last night my husband had the brilliant idea to put on a white noise app of rain. He thought it would make me feel more at home, imagining a thunderstorm was going on outside as if I was at my home in Seattle, Washington.  I slept like a log.

Go figure. You spend your whole life thinking and planning and waiting to live by the beach in The Tropics. Then when you actually get here, you have to put on “white noise” of rainfall in order to get some shut eye?!

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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(This blog is an excerpt from the upcoming book, “Footprints In Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey.”

Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward. All photos and writing on this blog are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  Please do not copy or reproduce any part of these blogs without express permission from Mary Anne Dorward. For more information or to schedule and inspirational speech or interview, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.)

ECUADOR FRIDAY FOTO: Puppy in Canoa

Puppy, Canoa, Ecuador

Puppy, Canoa, Ecuador

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward and are protected under the U.S. Trademark: Words To Thrive By.  Please do not copy or reproduce without permission from Mary Anne Dorward. For more information, contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.