Missing The Third World
I am currently in London, and will be spending the next week or so in London, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. The most surprising thing about this trip? I miss the Third World! I'm not used to all this first world luxury and it's messing me up. Here are some things that have been bothering me in Europe:
1. People and trains are on time. I keep wanting to show up late because schedules are so casual in Quito. Because I am here for a work conference, I better snap out of this bad habit really quick! My friends in Ecuador make fun of me for being too punctual, but it seems that is relative…
2. Europeans dress well, which in turn makes me feel frumpy. Oh, I love the fashion here, but it's hard not to feel out of touch with modern style when you have been living in Latin America for two years. Quito is many things, fashionable is not one of them.
Saw this group on the street the other day and they just screamed Ecuador to me-
Tight pants and stiletto boots
3. There is too much order here. Things make sense, which in turn, does not make sense to me anymore. Why can't I, the pedestrian, walk down a bike lane? So what, check-in closed at 10:14? It's 10:15, I don't see a problem here!
4. So many options when buying food! Pre-packaged sandwiches and soups and dozens of beers. It is overwhelming and kind of scary for me to enter a Western grocery store. Sure, we have MegaMaxi in Quito, but even though it's huge, there isn't really a massive selection. An entire aisle might just be boxed milk, for example. It makes grocery shopping straightforward and easy.
MegaMaxi in Quito
5. What's with all that personal space? I keep getting up in people's bubbles here, forgetting that rubbing up against a stranger in public is not really acceptable in Europe. In Ecuador, it's totally ok to stand one step below someone on an escalator. Here, you get a very funny look if you pull that move.
Life can be difficult in Ecuador, but in many ways, it is simpler, more relaxed, and less stressful. I guess it took me visiting Europe to really appreciate that.