A Surprise Trip Home
After living in Ecuador without returning to Canada for two years, we had no plans for a visit back, but there we were in Canada!
We had been living in Ecuador for two years on a temporary visa, but were in the midst of trying to get residency. Just as we began the application process, the Ecuadorian government started changing some of the laws relating to residency. They were trying to crack down on some fraudulent practices that had been slipping under the wire. The changes would make things better in the long run, but it was just adding up to some extra headaches for us law abiding types. The trip back to Canada seemed like one very expensive headache but proved to be just the opposite.
Paperwork is very important in Ecuador. The emphasis on paperwork is very heavy, especially for anything like visa applications or getting a drivers license. You have to have the original of everything and then get multiple copies signed by different people, legalized, notarized, in color, in black and white, and then translated and copied and signed all over again.
Paperwork is what pushed us on the plane back to Canada. Our temporary visa was running out, so we didn’t have enough time to wait on the postal system for the police report we needed to complete our application for residency. It would have taken a couple of months by mail, but we could get it done in a couple of weeks in person. We didn’t have months left on our visa, so we packed up and left for Canada as soon as we found out we needed the paper work. We felt a little like we were in the TV program The Amazing Race, except we already had the jackpot and were fighting not to lose it.
A Bitter, But Sweet Reality
We were all grumbling about having to leave Ecuador, we like it so much. The expense and the time away made us feel tired before we even set out for the trip. It’s interesting that a forced trip can feel so different than a planned one, even when the destination is the same. Needless to say it was not a planned trip, but we soon realized how much we needed it.
The trip came upon us so fast, we didn’t have much time to think about how awesome it was going to be to see all of our family and friends again. There was something very soothing and rejuvenating about seeing everyone again. Not much had changed, and after going through so many changes ourselves over the past two years, going back to “normal” was very good for us.
It’s funny how we didn’t really take note of our own culture until we had experienced extended time away from it. Because of the trip we had a new aspect to add to the list of the benefits of living abroad, realizing how good it feels to visit back home.
We feel like we now have two homes. A friend of mine said recently “when I’m in Ecuador I call the U.S.A home, and when I’m in the U.S.A, I call Ecuador home.” That’s true of us for Canada as well.
Although we didn’t know it of each other at the time, when we landed in Canada and felt the normality sinking back in, Bryan and I were worried about how we would feel about returning to Ecuador. It was so easy to communicate “English!” We were enjoying blending in (we get stared at a lot in Ecuador) and the extremely polite driving habits! It all felt so good, and so easy!
Here are a few of the things we missed from home (Canada home):
- Ice cream at the petting zoo
- Fun at the local farms
- Swimming at the lake
- Fishing at the shore
- The Halifax Waterfront
- Fish and chips (the way they do it in N.S.)
- Cows Ice Cream (said to be among the best in the world)
- Warm blueberry pie with ice cream
- Watching the tide come in and go out (Bay of Fundy N.S. has the highest tides in the world)
- Time with the family
- Time with forever friends
- Feeling relaxed while driving
- Feeling relaxed while crossing the street
- High bush blueberries
- Feeling relaxed while communicating
- Blending in
- Hanging out at Chapters (we love the places books take us, and everything is better with coffee)
Our feelings began to shift about a week and a half into our visit back. We started talking about how much we missed Ecuador! That’s when we found out the secret fears we had each been having just after arriving in Canada. I guess the fact that we both expressed this to each other, and how we were both look forward to getting back to Ecuador, was a true reflection of how we felt about our Ecuador home. Which felt pretty good, considering we were fighting so hard to get residency 🙂
Life Lesson Learned
It’s good to be away, but it’s good to be back for awhile too.
Please comment on this post and let us know what you miss from home while you’re traveling or living abroad.