Maybe it’s the fact that my Wellbutrin prescription ran out and I’ve not gotten around to refilling it. Or could it be that after two-plus weeks in a foreign country and close to six weeks on the road prior to that, I am terribly homesick. Most likely it’s the realization that the Nancy that left the USA is the same now lives in Ecuador. Warts and all.Weight and all. And that is not easy to bear climbing around the city built on hills.
My personal waterworks have been working full tilt the past day or so.
This morning, as Katherine and I trod up the side of the mountain to meet David in El Centro, I suddenly felt overwhelmed.
The traipsing up and down the side of the Andes is simply too hard for my out-of-shape body. The negative talk in my head grew louder and louder with each step. I broke down half way and, I admit it, tears and sweat flow mingled down.
Large gringa cries in the middle of a busy street. No one notices. Life goes on.
At that moment everything seemed too much. What am I doing here? What was I thinking? I cannot do this.
Right now I’m living in that space between the dreaming and the coming true. The space that (for me, right now) involves a lot of angry muscles, tired feet, hurting joints and tremendous self-doubt.
Katherine paused with me for a while. Offered to go back home if I wanted. But we pressed on. At the top, all got better.
We sat in Parque Calderon and people watched for about 20 minutes, then walked across the cobblestone street to a wonderful little cafe next to the old cathedral. Stone walls, rough timber beams. A colonial-period-meets-21st-century-artist kind of public house. Warm atmosphere. Cheerful, attentive waiters. Terrific house salad, warm croissant and aqua mineral para mi. Para David y Katherine, crepes with fruta y helado (ice cream).
Oh, yes, we’ll certainly be back.
Later we wandered in and out of shops around Parque Calderon searching for umbrellas (paraquas) We found them right after the rain ended. At least, we’ll be ready for the downpour tomorrow. Three for $14. We saw no sense in bartering. That’s not our thing. Yet.
Returning to the apartment, we chose the path without steps, just one long steep slope. I slipped on the wet bricks and banged my knee pretty bad. Which of course brought back another wave of self-criticism and doubt. $%#! those personal demons. They slipped into my suitcase and moved to this beautiful city with me. They’ve got to go.
I’m back at my window now. Watching people tackle the steps across the way. There’s the perky petite beauty who takes the 84 steps in heels with perfect ease. A young man takes them two by two. Occasionally I see someone pause, inhale, and then lumber on. But not often. These Cuencans have the steps and mountains mastered. I’m genuinely in awe. One of these days…
Tonight is the beginning of the International Writer’s Conference here in Cuenca. I’ll go register but skip the tapas and wine tasting party. The introvert in me hates mingling type of things. I find it easier to meet people in or between sessions.
My spirits have lifted. The sun is shining again. The breeze blows and the Tomebamba River flows, making the most soothing sounds.
All is well. All will be well. I’m not sure which early church mystic wrote that but I find great comfort in her words.
The demons will roar from time to time and I will once again succumb to doubt and tears and self-chastisement. But for now, it is well with my soul.