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Ecuador: Fitting In

Here is a tip about fitting in in Ecuador… or anywhere.  Sometimes readers make a move to a new home and find it wanting.  “The locals just do not understand how to live correctly” is a common refrain I hear.


Here Merri and I pose with our Cotacachi family. We are Godparents to Kinti Anaki… “King of the Hummingbirds”. What an honor!

Yesterday’s message on Ecuador Police looked at dealing with Ecuador police and police everywhere and then looked at a much bigger subject… living in places other than where you were born.

The last century and a half has seen a huge reduction in the importance of the dimensions… of time and space.

This has led to a new cultural polarity… two cultures… multis and homies.  Homies live where they were born and raised.  Multis have lived in many places… many states or cities perhaps even many nations.  This is in the overall spectrum of human events an unusual thing.  In generations past, most people stayed in one place.

There is a great British TV series, “Doc Martin”, that explores this type of cultural tension between two cultures using Londoners and villagers to form the contrast. You can watch this series free at Hulu.com.  It is quite interesting to see the conflicts between the different backgrounds, traditions, mores within the same country.

This division is one of the roots behind social networking’s success.  This is a technological solution to a problem created by technologies that have allowed society so much more mobility.

coatcachi ecuador

Here I am receiving thanks for free lunches for Cotacachi school kids.

I, for example, have lost all but one of my really good friends from high school.

I haven’t seen or talked to Larry, Art, Tommy or Jerry for thirty years.  Some still live in Portland, Oregon, but others have become multis like myself.

Out of a six pack of school buddies, Steve is the only one with whom I keep in touch.

I had a crystal thought about this one time when I visited the local North Carolina car mechanic (Jay Dee’s his name) with my next door neighbor, Jim Farmer, to have some work done on my beat up 1986 Suzuki Samari Jeep. This is the perfect farm car but often needs work (I had actually mended the problem with a tin can but finally it had to go to the shop.)

Jay Dee’s garage is in a barn by his house and local people sort of collect around that barn to shoot the breeze, spit a little tobacco and talk over old times. “Remember Johnny Blevins and that time he threw you in the creek, Jay Dee?” Jim might say.

“Well darn that must a been fifty years ago.”

I love being with these wonderful mountain people and their easy going, friendly ways.

They have such deep roots and ties and are comfortable and at ease with their friends. They know who they are, where they are and who their friends are because they have been with them their entire lives.

These people aren’t hanging around Jay Dee just to get their cars fixed. They are enjoying a ritual of friendship that has united them since they were kids. I love this!  But as an excessive multi, I’ll never have it.

My friendships are scattered and far flung all over the world. I sometimes don’t get to see my friends for years or even decades!

A huge segment (much of the wealthiest) of the population no longer lives where they were brought up and have lost touch with their roots.  The more technology removes us from our origins, the more a market for social networking grows.

For the mountain folk of North Carolina or anyone who remains rooted in their birthplace the theme is mostly “down home”.  These friendships are tight and if you have ever heard the phrase “You ain’t from around here are ya, boy?” you have experienced the reverse side of this type of friendship.  The implication is that with these long term, locally based friendships, the only way to be a friend is to have been there for years.

Part of the years I lived in Gloucestershire, England was spent in a tiny village named Chalford. I regularly visited a local pub there, “The Mechanics Arms”.

Though I was a newcomer to the area I was accepted because of family ties.  One man in his sixties, who visited the pub every night however wasn’t quite part of the crowd.  Many of the locals talked about him as the “new man” in town. I was surprised later to learn he had lived in Chalford for nearly thirty years!

The locals would always view him as less trustworthy because he had not been born and raised there.  Childhood experiences were the basis of their deepest friendships.


Gary & Merri being thanked for sponsoring a local football tournament.

Many of us will never have this type of long term familiarity friendship. We have moved around too much.  This creates markets for many new types of friendships.  Networking is a form of business friendship.

The theme of the friendship is scratch my back and perhaps I can scratch yours or we will both be better off scratching each others’ backs.  Such friendships can be local, state or country wide or as mine span the globe.  They can be very informal or very formal.

The market for formal friendships has already exploded. Incredible growth of support groups such as AA are a sign of the momentum in the friendship market. Such groups offer a format for formal friendships and range from disease support groups to abused support groups. Each offers an organized way to have friends.

The growth of these groups is not because there are more problems than thirty years ago. The growth is because of the increasing market for friendships.

These social shifts created huge business and investing opportunity in social networking companies like Facebook.  Social networks can also help one ease into a new community.  However in the end there is more one can do… such as polish the mirror.

One of our past messages commented on Rumi’s poem about polishing the mirror.

Our best neighbor is a mirror who shows us everything that’s right within ourselves but also reflects the things that hold us back. We need to bring ourselves to our own attention so we can change our ways… making the wonders of who we are compatible with our new neighbors.

Rumi wrote:

If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.
If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?
Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.

So what we try to do is to think what’s good about a new surroundings and the people and their ways.  We try to accept the mannerisms and habits that might otherwise upset us.  Adapt.

Gaining this flexibility is important because once you take the plunge… once you move and learn a new lifestyle, it is incredibly hard to go back.

Nathaniel Hawthrone wrote about this in the “The Marble Faun”  the last of his four major romances that was published in 1860… written on the eve of the American Civil War.

He wrote:  “And… they resolved to go back to their own land, because the years after all, have a kind of emptiness, when we spend too many of them on a foreign shore. We defer the reality of life, in such cases, until a future moment, when we shall again breathe our native air; but, by and by, there are no future moments; or, if we do return, we find that the native air has lost its invigorating quality, and that life has shifted its reality to the spot where we have deemed ourselves only temporary residents. Thus, between two countries, we have none at all, or only that little space of either, in which we finally lay down our discontented bones. It is wise, therefore, to come back betimes, or never.”


Here I am at our Godson’s Christening with his mom and dad.  It is the Godparents duty to tear the roasted Guinea Pig apart by hand and serve it to the guests in baskets with potatoes.  Merri and I didn’t have much experience in this but think we managed.

Moving to new places, new countries and new cultures is a wonderous thing.  Multis expand their horizons albeit often in exchange for domestic comfort.  New neighbors, the end of old local worries offer chances for new beginnings and exciting new lifestyles if you bring good with you and  look for more good,  In a new surrounding, we’ve found that it is best to try to fit in rather than making a new life become just like the old one.


2013-2014 Super Thinking + Spanish – Writing to Sell – Business & Investing Course Schedule

Schedule 2013-2014  Super Thinking + Spanish  – Writing to Sell – Investing & Business Courses.

Here are photos I took of Mt. Dora…

mt-dora-images tags:


mt-dora-images tags:

its annual arts festival. 


June 21-22-23  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 5-6-7  Super Thinking + Spanish  Sarasota, Florida  Single $699  /  Couple $899  (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 12-13-14 Super Thinking + Spanish Kelowna, BC, Canada  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teachers Shawn & Suzanne Bandick)

August 16-17-18  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

August 31-September 1-2  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp  West Jefferson, NC  (Gary & Merri Scott)

September 27-28-29  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

October 4-5-6  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  West Jefferson, NC  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999 (Gary & Merri Scott)

November 15-16-17   Super Thinking + Writer’s Camp  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott) 

November 21-22-23  Super Thinking +Spanish  Puerto Aventuras, Mexico Single $699/Couple $899 (Teachers Suzanne & Shawn Bandick)


January 10-11-12   Super Thinking + Spanish  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott)

February 14-15-16  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  Mt. Dora, Florida  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999  (Gary & Merri Scott)

For information more contact Cheri Hall at cheri@garyascott.com

Attend all seminars and courses and more FREE or at a discount as an International club member.  See details here.