How do you know without a doubt that you have made a mistake? Sometimes mistakes are obvious. This was not one of those times. I wanted to be happy in Ecuador. I just wasn’t.
We had long discussions about it. My husband desperately wanted to understand what I didn’t like. I couldn’t tell him. I didn’t know – couldn’t put my finger on it. He must have felt that if I could just tell him what I didn’t like, he would fix it. And, I believe he would have if he could.
I wrote down the pros and cons. I vacillated constantly. “I can stay – things will get better.” The very next minute I was crying in the bathroom, “I can’t stay here for one more minute.” This went on countless times a day, every day for months.
The robbery made me mad more than anything. Alfredo and Sandra drove us to the police station. The office manager seemed to be scolding Sandra but I knew she was really scolding us. While I grew closer to Sandra and Alfredo, I found myself at odds with the rest of the country. I didn’t trust anyone.
We were quite certain who had robbed us but nobody believed it. Everyone said the man that we suspected as the ring leader was highly respected in the community – everyone trusted him. Eventually, the same group robbed our neighbors as well and then they all fled the country.
The things that were most valuable to us were locked up in the safe but for some reason I had left my sweet little wedding band on the tray by the bathroom sink. They took it and I’ve never forgiven them.
We had to make a decision. It was torturous making the decision. To speak the words was so final and I feared it would split us forever. Then I overheard my husband on the phone accepting more responsibility with his company in Atlanta. I couldn’t bear the thought of being there alone one more time.
I could tell everyday life was stressed for Marcia. The robbery was a huge violation and worse yet, in spite of knowing who did it, nothing would be done.
Then I was asked to play a bigger role in the company I worked for. Traveling back to the States every other week, leaving Marci to deal with a new country, a new culture. I realized that although we loved our house, it was too remote from the other expats and it was wearing on her. She felt isolated.
The weeks I was home we tried to make up for the time away, but the isolation only got worse. She was alone and overwhelmed. We had many late night discussions over a glass of wine about how much she regretted this leap of faith and how the expected adventure it might have been had not materialized. At first I thought it would self correct but I had no idea how deeply homesick she had become.
The night we made the decision, there were tears for both of us. It was time to move back home.
Certainly I felt badly that we were leaving this new life, but a huge weight was lifted from both of us. The stress would have eventually torn us apart. This was the right answer. For Marci there was finally light at the end of the tunnel. Something to look forward to.
For the second time in 18 months, I began selling everything I could bear to part with…..this time in a language I didn’t speak and without the aid of Craig’s List.
Our attorney bought the car. The real estate agent’s cousin owned an interior design shop and the two of them spent hours walking through the house begging me to part with this or that. They wanted the drapes, the dishes, furniture, linens…everything.
I sold my bicycle to Alfredo’s sister. Sandra wanted the appliances. Our attorney brought one of her friends from law school and the two of them bought rooms of furniture. They took the houseplants, gym equipment and the pots and pans.
Finally, we had sold enough things to squeeze what was left into one container instead of two. It had been another two months since the decision had been made but we were finally going home.
The last night there, Sandra and Alfredo came to say goodbye. Alfredo put his arms around me and Sandra interpreted. The three of us cried. I wanted to bring them home with me.
A driver was hired once again to drive us and the four dogs over the mountain to the Quito airport. This time we left around lunchtime for the midnight flight back home.
The driver flew around the hairpin, single lane turns – lord only knows why. The dogs got car sick. The second or third time, he threw me a roll of paper towels and told me he couldn’t stop again to clean up or we wouldn’t make it to the airport on time. I cleaned up tossed cookies at 60 mph, throwing the towels right out the window. It was horrible.
At the airport, we gave the dogs a nice walk and got them checked in with no problems and then headed to immigration.
Dakota was in the carry-on bag and after clearing immigration, I motioned to my husband that I would see him on the other side of security. Dakota and I went through security and she had settled back down inside of her bag.
Several minutes passed but there was no sign of my husband. A funny thought crossed my mind and I sent him a quick text, “They won’t let you leave?”