Car alarms: learning to let it go

We’re entering week three today. The sun shines bright in my Ecuadorian home and cool breezes blow. People–old and young– continue to make me smile. The weather never ceases to delight. The meals satisfy with good taste and affordability. We are not yet cooking at home as we’re in vacation mode, though Katherine makes a mean bowl of pasta on occasion.

However, all is not perfect in Eden. We had been warned. But surely, we thought, how upsetting can car alarms be?

Quite a bit if you let them.

The stillness of this beautiful morning has been shattered at least 8 times within a few hours with ear-piercing sounds that no one seems to heed or feel the need to stop.

My emotions have transitioned from curiosity to bemusement to irritation to borderline anger to blessed resignation. I can either let these sounds bug me to death or I can use them as an opportunity to work on my control issues. I can embrace the decibels and move on with my  new day.

And that’s what I choose to do. No irritating car alarm system will get the best of me. Still I wonder… does it do anyone one whit of good to have an alarm to which no one responds?

And why in the world own something that is such a nuisance to yourself and to others?

[There one goes again.  Let it go, let it go, let it go…]

As I deal with this David is out tracking down an Apple repair person in our fair city. Seems his computer has shut down and refuses to release any of the information we need to do taxes.  He’s hiking across town with said computer in tow to drop it off. Then he will hike a little farther to a shop advertising cast iron skillets (for a limited time only!).  We’re so excited about getting our own skillet.

Wow, things have certainly changed from the US of A!

Katherine is doing her half-hour of Duo Lingo online (free Spanish lessons on-line that are really quite good) and then we are heading out to purchase one, two or three paraquas (umbrellas). Might grab lunch at a new vegetable and juice bar/cafe. MUST get Katherine interested in something besides pasta.

Here are a few things I observe as I look out my window:

Women seem to be still very much the beasts of burden. Couples walk by and (most of the time) she is the one carrying the baby, the groceries, and/or a purchase or two. I’ve watched an older woman trot along toting a 5-gallon plastic container in a sling on her back. Her companion enjoyed his hands-free stroll.

No condemnation…just observation.

Another …I see little to no junk mail here. Of course, we get no mail here at the apartment.  And I’ve not seen a postman or woman anywhere. (Perhaps one picks it up at the post office?)  How does a society function without the deluge of junk mail that I helped create for so many years?  The free offers and must-have products that guarantee to revolutionize life as we know it?  And where are all the mail order catalogs?  This second-world country (or is it an emerging nation?) is growing and prospering without the proliferation of direct mail marketing.

A good thing in my opinion–and a good thing I’m retired.

[Again with a car alarm.]

Changes are coming to this country.  The other day, David passed a store advertising iPhones, with so any customers he couldn’t enter the store. An expat I spoke with the other day says the biggest change he’s seen in his 10 years living in Cuenca is the amount of traffic. And the number of gringos! I want to be contributing good things to this amazing culture, not bad.

All around, I sense calmness and unhurriedness. People, for the most part, seem relaxed and happy. Not all are, I know. But something  is different here. I read recently of a study that shows happiness is part of the DNA of people living in Latin American.( story).

[Car alarm #11 just went off]

Time has passed.  David has returned empty handed.  Computer left for repair.  No skillet. We went out to a late lunch. Katherine discovered French toast with fruit and cream cheese is an excellent alternative to pasta (thank heavens)!  I continued my hunt for the best hamburger in Cuenca (this one was good but short of the excellent one enjoyed last week for menos dollares).

A leisurely walk home and time for a nap. Crazy sleeping patterns again–up at 4:30 am. I’m back to my old work schedule.  David and Katherine left for the park and 35 cent ice cream cones.

[Car alarms 12 through 16.  I can let them go.]

I’m claiming some of this Latin America DNA and choosing to enjoy life.





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