Tag: Ecuador

Adventures in Rabies and Tetanus in the 3rd World

The Dog Bite In the spring of 1962, 11-year-old Gary was settled in with his family to their new home in Lima, Peru. As the boy made his way to the American Society’s library to pick up a book, he encountered a few dogs congregated at the doorway. Having never met a dog he didn’t love,... Read more »

The Demon Dentist of Daule (with nod to Sweeney Todd)

In the late 1980s, Sunday was the legally appointed day of rest for domestics in Ecuador. And though in the United States I’d been responsible 7-days a week for my family’s meals, while living in Guayaquil, Ecuador we went local and went out every Sunday for a full lunch. When in Rome. So returning late one... Read more »

Miguel's Tasks; or fluency doesn't equate understanding

Linguistic fluency doesn’t mean you will communicate clearly, it only means that you ought to. For although my husband and I are both native English speakers, from time to time even we miscommunicate with a remarkable ease. So in Ecuador in 1986 it wasn’t uncommon for fluent Spanish speakers to hit vocabulary speed bumps. Take... Read more »
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The Great Stolen Life Jackets Episode of Ecuador

As if living through the kidnapping of the President of Ecuador by the Air Force wasn’t exciting enough, the 500 mile open water flight home from the Galapagos to Guayaquil gave me a new safety item to consider. The life jackets. Our family trip to the Galapagos had been every thing one hoped it would be,... Read more »

Ecuador's Protectionist Tariffs

In the USA in 1986 there were a crazy amount of choices of vehicles to buy. In Guayaquil, Ecuador there was one and only one. The locally made Jeep Trooper. Any thing else had to be imported and came with a 400% tariff, enough of a financial hit to encourage buyers to only buy locally.... Read more »

At home, abroad; the expatriate

Forgotten abroad, is the expatriate. Charles Dickens would have named the person sitting across from me, “the well-meaning relative.” Late into the night, the interrogator repeatedly hammered as to why we lived abroad? “How will your kids ever grow up to be real Americans, when they’ve never lived in the USA?” My overtired brain had no... Read more »
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The Cultural Perspective

Over the years living in Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador and Mexico, I learned that Latin Americans don’t want to disappoint. It’s a cultural thing. It’s also a thing that confounds expatriates, who come from a rather different cultural perspective. For example, there’s that word mañana. Though our well-thumbed dictionary defined it as tomorrow, I’d learned firsthand it... Read more »

Before Donald J. Trump, Ecuador's Flirtation with a Clown President

Before there was America’s clown president, Donald J. Trump, there was Ecuador’s almost clown president, Abdala Bucaram Ortiz. Brothers from different mothers, these boys? Both shamelessly aspired to fame via infamy, for bad press was far worse than no press; Both admired, emulated and cozied up to authoritarians; Both trawled the bottom of humanity for support; Both... Read more »

Once Upon a Kidnapping in Guayaquil

Moving to a new country is always the same. The husband goes to yet another office; as my darling mother-in-law Bea said, an office is an office. The kids go to a new school where they hope to find new friends. And I, as the left behind spouse, am home, alone. Very, very much alone.... Read more »
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My Love Affair in Glorious Black & White: Why Amazon Rules

Or, why Amazon loves the Chicago Public Library. Memory of  life before reading is a blank. Zip-zero-zilch. Given that I didn’t have the language–how could I put into words a memory? What is it like to not be able to read? I have no memory of my life before literacy. None. Words have always danced... Read more »
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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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