Today I changed things up and went into the city to enjoy a folk festival whose focus was on the country of Peru. Having lived in the neighboring country of Ecuador and traveling many times to Peru, I feel a real affinity for the history, culture, the region.
I had a date planned also, but I figured who knows how that will go, so I may as well make the festival the primary focus. Soooo glad I did 🙂 Who knew a professor of music could be soooo boring?
Aaaaaanyway….as I walked around exploring everything from traditional regional foods to Shaman’s performing traditional healing rituals I felt like I was “home” again. I realized how much I missed living among people in a vibrant community. Learning about the ways of the past and how they are interwoven into the present. I missed learning the ancient ways of being connected to the earth and the interdependence we have with one another.
When I returned to the US from living in Ecuador back in 2011, it was a very hard transition. I felt very lonely and cut off. This country can be very alienating to the human experience and has an obsession with “getting over it” as if there is a time limit on processing impressions you make in this world.
I was in love many times while living there. I remember lying in bed next to a man who became my best friend and lover and having these wonderful conversations and laughing as I tried to find the Spanish translation for “orgasm”.
We would lie there comfortably naked with each other as the ceiling fan barely kept the humidity at bay. There was no rush. The culture of mañana. At first this was very tough for my type A American personality, but I came to realize that when you slow down you make room for moments like this.
When I lived in his country he cared for me in such loving ways through a divorce and a difficult breakup with an evem more difficult Peruvian man. He made dinner and brought everything I needed to have my first dinner on my first night in my new totally barren apartment.
He helped me with many things. I did not know how much he loved me then. I was too entangled in another bad relationship to see. He would never force himself on me, but he was always there to listen and hold me through the rough patches. When I was alone on my birthday, he surprised me with a custom made cake. Somehow my Spanish and his memory were good enough to recall that I loved chocolate with raspberry filling.
And even after all this time and a country between us he still remains my dearest friend whose door is always open to me in Quito. Ahh….adventure, slowing down, really living and loving and being loved through this and that.
This story demonstrates what happens when we really make room for people to be where they are. Pablo really loved me for the whole person that I am. I loved him for who he is and all the struggles that came from merging his Indian / indigenous culture with modern Ecuadorian culture. His refusal to cut his long tradtional indian hair, though it would be seen as more acceptable, would cut him off from his culture. Many indigenous men in Ecuador try to disguise themselves as non-indigenous people because they are often paid better.
I loved what he stood for. I loved what he fought for. I loved that he always met me wherever I was at. In tears, screaming, pissed off and walking away (he would give me distance but always “catch up”, smile, hold me with one arm and say, estás lista, linda? And i was ready). I never had to force myself into another state of being to make him or anyone else happy. I felt I could be authentically me.
It’s taken me years to realize the biggest difference for me between here and there – authenticity. I was allowed TO FEEL however I felt and people accepted it and didn’t rush me through anything.
Many times this is what made me feel there were more hours in the day in Ecuador than in the US. Even though everything was significantly more manually labor intensive, there was a sense of being at peace and content with whatever stage of life you were at.
I guess you could say that it is when I lived in Ecuador that I knew what it was to be free. I’ve never felt that in the US.
Freedom for me is freedom to be who I am and be surrounded be people who accept however that comes out from one moment to the next.
You only know what feedom is once you have lost it. In its absence, you will try to substitute other things for it, but you know inside you’re aching for it like the embrace of your best lover.
It is no wonder I crave going back so much. It was my 1 year out of 38 years of life that I knew how to be alive.
As I walked around today for hours, I had these and so many more memories flood my heart and soul. The smells and colors & sounds of a region that felt like home bombared my senses. I remembered when I was alive. The guy I was meeting didn’t stand a chance against that competition 🙂
I forgot how much I used to enjoy studying about medicinal plants. Since I was a child I was researching alternative and indigenous medicines. I used to study symbols and their cultural significance. I used to dance and sing. It is as if I went back to my own roots today and I fell in love again.
Perhaps, it was a wake up call that I must find ways of living again. 1 in 38 years is not enough life. I must go where I can have the freedom to be.
So much inspiration today.
With love from aneternaltraveler 😉