I have had a lot of ups and downs in my 9 months in Ecuador. Some days I choke on the bus fumes, car alarms ringing in my ears, walking at “ecua-pace” and mentally calculate how much it would cost to change my plane ticket home to the next day. Other days, I look up at Pichincha volcano in amazement, and wonder how I could ever go back to my mundane life in mid-Michigan. My students always ask me if I will stay in Ecuador and my answer is always a resounding no. I could not reside her permanently for a plethora or reasons. Of course I would miss my friends and family. I would miss the diversity and the freedom that the United States offers. Chinese food is not the same here, and I don’t love cities. But, all of these are hurdles that any expat could overcome with a little bit of time.
However, there is one lingering piece of Ecuadorian culture that is the absolute deal-breaker. It is a plague imparted on the civilization– not inescapable, but difficult to shake. Like a virus it has attached itself to Ecuador and infected the population. Machismo is my deal-breaker.