Daily Life in Cotacachi
by Gary Kessinger

Daily Life in Cotacachi

Having lunch at Nancy’s restaurant is a lot like dropping in on an old friend. It’s the perfect place to visit and catch up on all the news. Whether the news is true or not doesn’t really matter; it’s all about camaraderie and appreciation of life in the slow lane. I guess I should first tell you that the restaurant is not really called “Nancy’s” but rather Serendipity. Of course, a name with that many syllables never really caught on. Who has time to remember that sort of thing when there are so many other important things to think about?

For instance, our friend Joe stops in. Actually, that’s not his real name either, but I have changed it to protect his privacy. On the other hand, there really isn’t any privacy here. Cotacachi is a small town and the expat community is even smaller. Everybody knows something of everybody else’s business, whether it is true or not. Joe is proudly sporting the new Ipad that he brought back from his most recent trip to the States. Electronics are either hard to find or very expensive in Ecuador, so this gadget is a real object of admiration.

After a quick lesson on some of its many features, the conversation turns to life in

Cotacachi. “So, how’s life been treating you, Joe?” I ask. “Not bad”, he muses, “It’s a far cry from the life I used to live. Now, when I have more than two things on my to-do list, I start getting stressed.” We nod in agreement, knowing that living in Ecuador requires a major downshifting of the pace of life. We continue chatting through our meal followed by coffee and a piece of the best apple pie this side of the equator. We finally pay the waitress, before stepping outside into the bright Ecuadorian sunshine. Two hours have passed and not once have any of us thought about the time. In a world ruled by clocks, our days are governed by the rhythm of life. From time to time, old habits reappear and I think, “What have I accomplished today?” But then I remember the reason that we left our former lives and jobs and settled here was to let life flow naturally without having to worship the almighty clock. Our “to do” list will still be waiting for us in the same place tomorrow morning.

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