She Said: “They have won.”

It was an unspoken acknowledgement that as soon as my husband’s passport was released, he would travel back to the States to visit the office. I understood. It had been such a long time for him to be away. It was shocking he hadn’t gone off the deep end already.

At times he couldn’t get the internet to work and he’d sit in the car by a wi-fi coffee shop to check email or carry on a conference call by Skype. He had never been such a patient person as to tolerate these kinds of interruptions to his work.

So, when the call came that his passport was released, it was with mixed emotions that we drove to the office in town to complete the paperwork. Of course this took hours.

He put his hands on my shoulders and said the words anyway, “You know I have to go back to Atlanta.”

The containers were scheduled to be delivered. I would meet Gloria. For the life of me I didn’t know how I would not explode from the anger that had festered deep inside for weeks. My husband believes Gloria had nothing to do with the delays. Maybe I needed someone to blame.

Words fail to define the roads leading up to our house. One approach was not such a severe climb but the potholes and ruts were extreme and there was a sharp turn that would be difficult for a truck of any size. The drivers agreed; the steeper approach was the only alternative.

The  back tires hovered off the side of the road while the first container was unloaded.
The back tires hovered off the side of the road while the first container was unloaded.

The containers would sit on the side of the highway and my furniture, art, piano, appliances, china….would be taken out of the container, loaded onto the shuttle truck, which turned out to be a big pick-up truck, driven up the two dirt roads, backed down our drive, unloaded and brought into the house.

It wasn’t possible to oversee the unloading of the container on the side of the highway and at the house simultaneously, so I asked our friend Edd to help me. We had met him and his wife, Cynthia, on our first trip and had read every post about their move to Ecuador on his blog ( during the year we waited for the house to be built. He was a lifesaver to me that day.

He asked me, “What do you want me to do?” I thought about the artwork and things that would come off the container and how easily they could be walked down the street. I said, “Just be sure nothing walks away, I guess.”

I went down to watch them open the doors. The last time I had seen the containers was tumultuous as well and the memories of that night swarmed in my head. They struggled with the lock. I was anxious.

The doors opened….. it looked like a bomb had exploded. Boxes seemed to have been thrown back in – it was a wreck. I couldn’t imagine what damage lurked within.

It was what it was. I drove back to the house defeated. They had won.

Boxes had been opened by the inspectors and their contents were spilling out by the time they reached the house.
Boxes had been opened by the inspectors and their contents were spilling out by the time they reached the house.

Edd spent most of the day on the side of the road watching the containers being unloaded while I was at the house directing where things should go.

He taught me a new Spanish word that I suppose I will never forget: arriba (up), which in this case meant “upstairs”. I heard the workers saying aqui, which meant “here”, and my vocabulary for the day became arriba and aqui. It was an exhausting day for both of us.

The workers had blue jumpsuits they pulled over their everyday clothes. The jumpsuits had no pockets. They were professional and earnestly wanted to do a good job. Clearly, Gloria ran a tight ship. I appreciated that.


Gloria came to the house at the end of the day. She wasn’t 5′ tall, a scruffy, grandmotherly kind of person. We drove down to see that the containers were empty and sign the paperwork. To the end, I was suspicious of her motives. In such a short time I had lost trust in all of them.

When everything was in the house without incident, Edd and I sat down on the couch amid what seemed like thousands of boxes.

I think he said it first. “I don’t know how all of this stuff is going to fit in this house.”

One thought on “She Said: “They have won.”

  1. The ‘Do Not Crush’ on the smashed box is emblematic of your whole move, I guess! I’ll be interested in your end of story ‘Life Lessons Learned that I am applying to Now!’


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