Adventures in Expat Living: Offering the Unexpected in everything from Creativity to Toilet Training


North Americans move to Ecuador for a wide range of reasons.  The climate and cost of living motivate some, while many more retire here because of quality medical care and stunning natural beauty.

However, few folks, I know, say they come to this Andean country to benefit creatively, despite the fact that, many have, indeed, found new and unexpected artistic outlets since arriving.  I didn’t move to Cuenca expecting to retire, and I have long been a creative person.  Still, I’m one of many who has found exciting and unexpected opportunities to grow as an artist and author in Ecuador.

Kathy hanging her art for an exhibit at friend Laura's (holding ladder) creative space called Fishbon del Sur-

Kathy hanging her art for an exhibit at friend Laura’s (holding ladder) creative space, Fishbon del Sur-

The writing group I joined just a couple of weeks after landing in Guayaquil and taking a late-night taxi ride over the Andes, with one spouse, two dogs, ten suitcases, and more expectations than I can count, has introduced me to some of the most creative folks in Ecuador.  That group, WIT (Writers in Transition) helps many become literary success stories.

Kathy reading from her memoir in January 2014--

Kathy reading from her memoir in January 2014–

One creative genius in Cuenca and in WIT, in particular, is Glen Birbeck.

Born in Nebraska, Glen worked for much of his life as an engineer, but in retirement he has found new creative opportunity, splitting his time between Maine during the North American summer and Cuenca when the former’s miserable winter strikes.

Glen writes science fiction and is currently working on a novel called Murder on the Mar’s Show.

Many know Glen for his cartoons, some of which depict expat life in Ecuador with a humor and insight I’ve not seen anywhere else.  So, today I’ll share one of MY favorites.  It illustrates one amusing adjustment expats must make when moving to Cuenca or Quito or anywhere in between, living with pipes that can’t handle the flushing of toilet tissue.

GringoVille _1 test

The bottom line is this.  Life abroad is rarely what we imagine it will be. In fact, expat living offers the unexpected on speed—whether we’re ready for it or not.

Sure, Ecuador doesn’t require the kinds of toileting adjustments we made when moving to Southeast Asia.  There some toilets look like this:

squat toilet at build site--common in Southeast Asia

Squat toilet in Vietnam–

Still, Glen, one of the many creative types in Cuenca, images one of the unanticipated realities of life in the developing world, the excremental one.  It’s the shits, but given the plumbing, it’s one Ecuador is flush with.

How would you feel, if you couldn’t flush toilet paper?  What might be the best and/or worst part about living abroad for you?  What has enriched your creative life recently? 

If you’re in the area, please join Glen and me, as well as other members of WIT,  for a public reading on Thursday evening, March 6th, at 7.  The event will be held at a Cuenca restaurant called California Kitchen (Luis Cordero 5-65 and Honorato Vasquez).  Come early for dinner and a seat, because, at last month’s reading, there was standing room only.

This post was written in response to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes.  Thus, I’ve included the 3 photos that inspired the piece (and have thrown in a cartoon, for good measure).

122 thoughts on “Adventures in Expat Living: Offering the Unexpected in everything from Creativity to Toilet Training

  1. Believe it or not, there are folks right here in the states that can’t flush toilet paper, either. Many of the homes built during WWII that haven’t had their pipes updated since their home was built cannot flush toilet paper. When the pipes were laid for these homes, because of restrictions on materials during the war, their outside pipes were made of tar paper. In time, the pressure from the dirt squashes the pipe, narrowing the passageway. Jim and I got a first hand lesson in tar paper pipes the first summer we lived in our house, the sellers saying nary a word about toilet paper issues. 97 degrees outside and Jim was digging a trench in the back yard to replace tar paper with PVC. Not fun.

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    • I had NO idea. This is fascinating information. Really, really interesting. I think the situation here and a lot of places around the world has to do with pipe diameter. Hard to imagine pipes made of tar paper. YUCK. Sounds like a shitty situation! LOL Well, maybe not so funny. Poor Jim. Gotta love that guy! Hope you all are having a good week. How’s the snow situation?

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      • The snow is not so bad. We’ve been pretty lucky the last few years, so this was bound to happen. I’m just glad it’s March. We’ll be melting our way out of this soon. I hope. I just hop on here and live vicariously through you when the weather gets to me. LOL!

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  2. We just don’t know how good we have it with all of our modern conveniences here in the US, do we? I think the tshirt idea is most likely a hit! I encountered squat toilets in China but they were much nicer than the one you pictured. Glad to see you can still be creative in all ways in your new environment. Hugs!

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    • I’m so happy to hear from you this morning, Beth Ann! You are right. We forget how good we have it. That one in Vietnam was not nice at all. Hard to imagine adjusting to squatting, as opposed to sitting.

      Hope you are staying warm. Bet you’ll be glad when this winter is over. I’ve felt bad for all of you in the US over the past few months. Thanks for reading, my friend. Hugs to you, too!

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  4. Dear Kathy,

    A very clever play and use of words here.

    You ask some terrifically tough questions.

    Faced with the best and the worst of living in a so-called developed country I might embrace certain training in order to have movement.

    Creative life for me is enhanced culturally, intellectually, and spiritually by your creative writing, and your generous support.

    OX,

    R.

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    • Oh, Robert, you are such a sweetie! And your comment gave me a good laugh–movement! LOL YOU are too funny, my friend. Hope you are staying warm. Has the current round of ice and snow melted? It will be over soon, I hope. What a winter you all have had! Thanks for you kind comment. I appreciate YOUR support, too. Hugs to you from Ecuador!

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  5. When it comes to ablutions, I’m not very good at handling primitive. I’m spoiled, yes. Good, modern plumbing isn’t something I could easily live without. I suppose one could get used to anything, however. And Ecuador seems to offer so much more. I love that you’ve found a creative community to be part of, Kathy!

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    • Wonderful to hear from you this morning! Yes, the creative opportunities here have been fabulous–the toileting, not so terrific. I’m like you. I want to be able to flush my toilet paper. That hasn’t been an easy adjustment for me to make. Hope you are doing well, my friend. Stay warm! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

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  6. When I lived in Spain, we did the same thing with the toilet paper, so I guess that didn’t shock me as much as it may other people. I’m more shocked at the squat toilet I think. 🙂 I loved living abroad and traveling. The best was that in Europe, we could experience so many different countries within a short period of time because everything seems so close there. I enjoy learning about new cultures, new languages and foods! I hope you are having a lovely week! ♥

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  7. Sounds like you’re looking for a good plumber to retire next door. 🙂 I’ve seen my share of primitive toilets. At least the one you pictured in Vietnam was relatively clean! I’d get used to the toilet paper issue, done it before, but I wouldn’t like it.

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    • Yes, a good plumber nearby would be great. In fact, we miss our plumber from the US. He was great. Hadn’t thought about the cleanliness factor, but you’re right. That one is clean. And that counts for a lot. Great to hear from you today, Lisa. Hope you are staying warm!

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  8. Wonderful piece! I did worry Kathy for an instant when I saw you on the ladder but than I was relieved when I did not see a drill in your hand. Unfortunately, I am not much of a creative type but I do appreciative beautiful art work and exceptional writings and the first Thursday of the month I do thourghly enjoy it. Juan

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    • Oh, Juan, you are such a sweetie. Had to laugh when I saw you mention the drill. Thing was, I did have a drill when I was up on that ladder. It just wasn’t in my hand for the photo. Looking forward to seeing you all tonight, and on Thursday night, of course! Love you boys!

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  9. The paper in the basket thing is very overrated by tourists as a huge “yech” factor, until they get used to it. We vacation often in Latin America and we always have to adjust for a few days when we return to US. One time we took little dog poop bags to use as an intermediary receptacle but it was more trouble than it was worth. You might consider them for guests, though.
    I’ll take paper in the basket any time over the squat holes of other areas.
    I enjoy your blog. Wish we were there instead of here.

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    • Thank you, Robert. Glad you enjoy the blog and have adjusted to toilets in the past. I think your idea of dog poop bags is a good one. Little Zip Locks might be good, too. Wonderful to get your comment this morning. Hope to see you in Ecuador soon!

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  10. Ha! Well done Kathy! Sadly, I have experienced this in rural areas before. It is a shock to my system and holds a bit of a gross factor… but if it’s the way it is I would probably adjust quick enough. It’s likely only ‘gross’ because it’s not the norm.

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    • Yes, one does adjust. And there are a few new high-rise condo buildings here that have the modernized plumbing that will allow for flushing of toilet paper. There are some elderly expats who probably couldn’t make the adjustment, having flushed tissue for 60 or 70 years. Great to hear from you today. Looks like you succeeded in traveling between bouts of snow and ice. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Hugs to you and David!

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  11. I would have no issue with not flushing the toilet paper…Afterall we are avid campers, who have had to do the deed in less than ideal places. However, what do you have to do with the stool? Im not sure I’d want to dig a hole every time I over indulged at the local eatery?! 🙂

    Still have questions in Indiana,
    Tia

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    • Okay, this is a great question, Tia, as I have always wondered the same thing. However, I guess the poop begins to dissolve in water, whereas the paper doesn’t. I’m not sure I get that part. Great to hear from you today. Hope you are staying warm. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. When I think of life in other countries – or even other areas of the U.S. -, I consider climate, health care, affordability, safety…just as you said. You have opened my eyes to a whole other world of things – both good and bad – to think about. We have been spoiled for so long here in the U.S., most of us have no idea how well we have it! Thanks, Kathy!

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    • Yes, as Americans, we have it pretty good, even when we’re living abroad. In fact, I consider it the privileges I enjoy as a US citizen that have afforded me the opportunity to make this move.

      Glad you appreciated the post, Cindy. It’s wonderful to hear from you today. Hope you are staying warm.

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  13. Ah, I remember the days of squat toilets and pour flush toilets well. Never could figure out how to wear shalwar kameez trousers and use a water hose…well you get the idea.
    As always I look forward to your interesting stories and how brilliantly you are able to draw yor reader in with a look day-to-day happenings.

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    • Yes, that’s a challenge, indeed. You need more than two hands, which can be hard to come by. Thank you so much for your kind comment. Wonderful to hear from you today. Hope your week is going well. Glad you enjoy my blog. Hearing that brightens my day!

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  15. I’ve never been anywhere where I had to adjust to radically different toilets but, unlike a lot of commenters, I have a hard time calling us “spoiled.” There are so many things you get used to overseas that no longer seem “worse” once you’ve become acclimated.

    However, I suspect leg strength might be an issue for the squat toilets. If you haven’t developed those muscles through repeated use, I’d imagine the facilities are a nightmare starting out.

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    • Perhaps, it might be better to refer to us as privileged rather than spoiled. Even the luxury of travel assumes a certain amount of that. But, yes, one can adjust, and the squat toilets do require a certain amount of strength, for sure. Don’t want to collapse into one. LOL That would be a mess.

      Thanks for your comment. It’s wonderful to hear from you this morning!

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  16. Between the SHIT Whisperer, and now “…unanticipated realities of life in the developing world, the excremental one. It’s the SHITS, but given the plumbing, it’s one Ecuador is flush with,” I’m clearly having way too much fun reading your post!

    Thank you for launching another face-splitting grin! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed the post. I visited your blog, but I’m so sorry I couldn’t read it. But it looks like you are doing some significant renovations on a house or apartment. Congratulations on your project. I appreciate your stopping by and hope you will visit again soon!

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  17. I was bummed because the campsite we went to had a pit toilet instead of one that flushed, but at least I didn’t have to worry about disposing of the toilet paper elsewhere. Yikes! It’s all about perspective, I guess. Have fun with your WIT reading!

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    • Thanks you, Mark. I would rather have a toilet that flushes and have to put the paper in a waste basket rather than have to do my business in a pit, which, I’m guessing is like an outhouse. Is that right? I even hate Port-a-Potties (spelling?)——- But you’re right, Mark. It’s all a matter of perspective. Happy flushing, my friend.

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  18. The first time I encountered a squat toilet was in Italy. For women, it requires a grace and delicacy that I just don’t possess. Of course I’d get used to it if I lived there, but it would take a lot of “accidents” if you know what I mean. 🙂

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    • Fascinating, Jackie. I had no idea there were squat toilets in Europe. I thought it was pretty much an Asian thing. Gosh, I still have a lot to learn. This is good to know. But, yes, it takes balance and strength.

      Hope your week is going well, my friend. Hope the snow has melted. Surely you all will see spring sometime in the next 6 months. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Seriously, I’m feeling pretty bad for you all.

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  19. Stepping around the main subject a bit, your WIT group sounds wonderful, Kathy. Simply ideal. I would love to be a part of a writers group like that. Standing room only! This brings me back to standing room toilets in foreign lands. These deter me from visiting those countries. But who knew — per Jackie Cangro — that Italy has them, too. I am dismayed. I have long wanted to visit Italy. I read or saw somewhere that in ancient Rome, the toilets were lined up side-by-side, so you’d sit next to each other, like on a bus bench. I wouldn’t like that, either. I suppose one would acclimate to it, though — if you were born and raised in ancient Rome.

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    • Okay, your comment cracked me up! Totally cracked me up. Love the movement, no pun intended, from standing room only to standing-squatting to use the toilet. TOO funny. Yes, seriously, we had a huge crown last month. We’ll have to see how we do tomorrow night, but we are moving into a space that will hold twice as many. Last month we had about 100, which isn’t bad for a literary reading.

      Great to hear from you today–potty humor aside. LOL Hope you are staying warm.

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      • One hundred at the literary reading! Wow. Not gonna happen here in rural central Delaware. As with V., I am a city slicker, and thus miss the city, in my case. L.A. I am amazed there are so many writers — and those who appreciate good writing — there in Cuenca. That speaks to my writing side. Hmm….

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      • Oh, too, re staying warm — the thermometer shot all the way up to around 32 F today. Still patches of snow on the ground. But, at least the sun is warm this time of the year. It’s warm in the sun.

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  21. I love that moving to Ecuador has provided unexpected bonuses in the creative realm for you! I’ve just started a writing competition on livejournal which should boost my creativity a bit, hopefully.

    Your last line made me chuckle.

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    • Glad you got to laugh at the last line. A shit-eating grin is what I was after. LOL

      Sara and I have both been thrilled by so many things that Ecuador has offered. However, creative fullness may be the best so far. Glad you are doing a writing competition. Good luck with that. Thanks for commenting. It’s wonderful to hear from you today.

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  22. Well, you already know how uptight I am (or used to be) about this stuff! 😉 Being abroad has certainly loosened me up (physically, not creatively ha ha!) and I have to admit that squatting feels less ‘foreign’ than flushing loo paper down the pan. xx

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    • You ALWAYS manage to make me laugh, Kirsten–ALWAYS. Your post this morning was a case in point. Reading to infants about carbon-to-nitrogen ratios is just TOOOOOOO funny. Hope you’re enjoying Angela’s Ashes!

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  23. Kathy, if I could no longer flush toilet paper that would be confirmation that I am a total failure. But I suppose you’re referring to if I were in a third world-type plumbing situation, not any perceived ineptitude with operating a commode’s handle. As the consummate city-slicker, I would suffer serious first-world anxiety. But as the consummate city-slicker who was not born to rough it, I would only find myself suffering that type of anxiety if I were taken hostage. I greatly appreciate the sounds of running water and a good flush. The more I think about this, the more those sounds rate right up there with me right along side Beatles music.

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    • Listen, V, you make ALL kinds of sacrifices I couldn’t handle. I know I hated not having a microwave in Haiti, but you have NEVER had one. I would hate to deal with NYC summers without AC, but YOU do that, as well. Hell, you don’t even have a TV. You deserve every flush you get, my friend. Now wipe that shit-eating grin off your face and go label some tile–something else I wouldn’t want to do. Hugs from Ecuador to you, dear V!!!!!!!

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  24. I must admit I’d have a big adjustment getting used to anything that seriously altered my expected hygiene habits, and I want toilet paper and a good flushing system. That said, I hope I could adjust my expectations. Life as you describe in Ecuador has so many other advantages that it seems silly to think plumbing issues alone could hold me back. I love that you’ve found a writing group, and I hope you continue with your memoir. Your life experiences really are unique and should be told, if you continue to be willing to share them! It’s always good to read one of your posts. I’m quite fascinated with life as you’re living it. Glen’s cartoon is great. And I think he really has a cool deal moving between the U.S. and Ecuador, following the weather patterns. Smart guy! 🙂

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    • Debra, you are such a sweetie. I will be sure to share with Glen that you enjoyed his cartoon. And I’m thrilled you appreciate my posts, even the God-awfully long memoir ones. I LOVE yours also, my friend.

      And, yes, the writing group has been a real bonus! I feel blessed in so many ways. Thanks for reading. It’s always wonderful to hear from you!

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  27. I thought I’d already replied to this, but I guess not! Anyway, I can relate to the toilet paper dilemma in Ecuador as I had to endure the “no toilet paper in the toilet” situation for 2 years in Oman and 1 year in Korea. It’s the little things that make you happy when you return home, like actually being able to put the toilet paper where it belongs, and then to flush it! Funny. It’s wonderful you have so much community support for your creative endeavors. 🙂

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    • Yes, it’s strange what begins to feel like home, something as tiny and seemingly insignificant as flushing. It’s one of those things most Americans take for granted.

      I remember hearing a segment on CNN during the Olympics suggesting that Sochi wasn’t equipped to host the games because of signs in the bathrooms asking visitors not to flush paper. If that’s an indication of readiness, then much of the world is not.

      Great to hear from you today, Cathy. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  28. Once I was on a sailboat that had a little sign in the bathroom saying that tampons could not be flushed down the toilet, and of course, I had my period. I was not a happy sailor! I found it upsetting, but I suppose I could get used to not flushing toilet paper after a while. Still, I tend to be very squeamish…

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    • I totally understand, Barbara. This has not been an easy adjustment for me. It seems like a small thing, but sometimes even the little things can feel more important than we might prefer.

      Great to hear from you today. Hope you have an awesome weekend.

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  29. Well, I for one, flush my toilet paper down the toilet. We live on a small island, actually a biosphere reserve in Nicaragua. I figure that if we have to dig another septic tank, it will be cheap! Living on an island has increased my creativity tremendously. There are so many things we can’t buy in Nicaragua. For example, lamps are very expensive and hard to find, so I started making my own lamp shades out of gourds. And don’t get me started on my internet. It was creeping at a snail’s pace, so I bought an old wok lid and turned it into a woktenna. It catches the signal and now I can zip along merrily. I love your blog! I’m so glad I found it. 🙂

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    • OMG–LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the woktenna idea! It’s not just the concept but the term. Brilliant. We had CRAZY slow internet when we lived in Haiti. In fact, that was a really, really hard to get used to. Here it’s better but nothing like it was in the US.

      I look forward to checking out your blog, as well. Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s wonderful to hear from you!

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  31. I wish Glen well with his book and hope to read it someday. Our first flat in London had toilet problems. After it clogged for the third time and we had to wait for our landlord to get to it, we stopped putting TP in it for the final few months we lived there. It wasn’t ideal, but I got tired of running to Starbucks every time I had to wee. At first I hated it, but I got used to it.

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    • Yes, a trip to Starbucks just to use the bathroom would get old pretty quickly, not to mention nippy in the winter. Glad your current place has better plumbing.

      I will share with Glen your looking forward to reading his book. He is really quite a fine writer.

      Great to hear from you today. I know how busy you are this week, so it means a LOT to me. Hope you all have a great weekend.

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  32. Here I was, ready to hit the airport. 😉

    Many parts of Asia and Europe have similar issues. I felt depraved and deprived. Really. Then there were the squat troughs, not the the singles but truly the troughs where you simply straddled the trough in line with others (hopefully you might have it alone but not likely) and did your business. The first time I saw this monstrosity was France as a child, I screamed and fought, I would not use it preferring to hold until my bladder burst. Heavens, no privacy? Not me, no no no.

    This was wonderful. Challenges are assumptions and perceptions.

    Personally, this is where that wonderful invention the bidet comes in.

    Hugs from Dallas (where it is finally warming up)

    XX

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    • Ha, ha! LOVE it Val! Hope on that plane anyway. We’re wanting to meet you and have you here in Cuenca.

      I’ll admit, though, that I have never used the trough toilet. That would be tough to get used to. Poor kid. I promise things here are a LOT better!

      Hugs to you, too, dear Val. Hope you are looking at flights. In the meantime, how you have a good weekend. Thank God it’s warming up for you!

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  33. In Saudi and Taiwan, the public places I went had a stall with a hole in the floor. It was pretty awful. A hit or miss kinda experience and it smelled….Well, imagine. And I had to carry around my own tissue paper. Lordy mercy, I hate remembering.

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    • Yikes–a hole in the ground would be pretty awful. Yuck. I can see why you don’t like remembering. I’m pleased to announce that I have seen nothing here even remotely that bad. Thanks for stopping by. Great to hear from you today.

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  34. Oh Kathy you had me in fits. Yes, I too have experienced toilet paper issues all over the world. Although I grew up in South East Asia, as you know, I never had plumbing problems in my house.. but squatting is common in many rural parts of the country and in some city buildings too. Oh and some of the loveliest Asian airports still have a stall for people who prefer squatting.
    I am the joke in my family because I carry not just toilet paper and seat covers when I leave California, I also have flushable wet wipes. It is a complete arsenal of toilet products. You name it, I can fish it out for you. When I went to Greece, we found that we could not use toilet paper at the museums etc. We had to put them in a bin. Italy was great and Costa Rican tourist sites preferred we didn’t flush either. Everyone laughed at me but they were quite agog when they all had to do it themselves. I found myself saying ‘when in Rome’…

    I love that you are honoring your creativity! so wonderful.
    hugs from San Francisco

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    • Yes, yes, I can imagine you have seen a lot of interesting toileting situations. How funny that you carry all of those supplies. Here one is always wise to carry at least toilet paper, as some public bathrooms don’t have it, and if they do, you sometimes have to pay for it. I might be wise to add the wipes to my own purse. That sounds like a great thing to have handy. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. It’s great to hear from you today. Hugs to you, too!

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  35. Kathy, I’m so glad to see you enjoying your life in Ecuador, and see your creativity blossom there. Some of our best writers and artists were ex-pats–Hemingway, F Scott, Mary Cassatt et al, so you’re in good company. Best of luck with the readings and the exhibit!

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    • Thank you, Monica. I hadn’t thought about so many US writers having been expats. God only knows why it wouldn’t have occurred to me. The reading went quite well. The exhibit was okay, though one piece of art got stolen. I kid you not. Pretty disappointing. Just hope whoever took it, enjoys it. Great to hear from you, Monica. Hope you’re having an awesome Sunday.

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  36. I was reading some place the other day that bathroom facilities define a lot of places. I guess in Japan toilets required diagrams and manuals before using them—very high tech and of-course in other places you have the extreme opposite.

    Good luck! I am sure the readings and exhibit will be wonderful. Loved the post puns.

    Thawing in Chicago ♥

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    • Great to hear from you, Katybeth. Yes, I suppose toilets do say a lot about a culture. I’d heard that toilets in Japan were pretty high-tech–though they also have squat toilets–though more high tech squats than a lot of places in Asia. Glad to know that you all are thawing. It’s about time. Bet you’re thrilled.

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  38. Kathy,

    I look at these photos, and I think,

    YOU. Are. A. TRUE. Artist.

    This is what poets, writers, painters, & sculptors do.

    They created their own environment.

    LIVE it. Feel it. Write it! Paint it. Smell it.

    WOW.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Fabulous.

    PS. but…the toilet HAS TO GO!!!!!!!!

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    • Thanks so much, Kimmy. It’s wonderful to hear from you this morning. So glad you enjoyed the post. Hope your week is going well. I’m afraid the toilet will have to say————–shitty as they may be. LOL Hugs to you.

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  39. 104 comments !!! You have 104 comments on your blog. WOW.

    When I visited Greece I encountered toilets where the paper was not to be flushed. Took me a bit to get used to …

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    • Thanks so much for the comment, Sybil. I know I’m fortunate to have so many readers who leave comments–and you are one of them. It just takes some time to cultivate.

      Interesting to hear that you encountered this in Greece. I SO want to go there.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Sybil!

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  40. We weren’t able to flush toilet paper when we were Honorary Lighthouse Keepers a few years back. I remember feeling cautious and nose-wrinkled at first, but– like anything in life– I adjusted. It sounds like the beauty and creative stimulation that Ecuador offers more than makes up for the lack of toilet-paper-flushing there. 🙂

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  41. Oh my. Please don’t flush the Charmin! LOL I once visited a place in Mass, where the “powder room” used sawdust in a bucket as a toilet with seat above. It is about shifting perspectives, relearning something that we have done for years.

    Once again reading your blog my soul so desires to venture to your new found home. It sounds perfect for an artist, one who wishes to be surrounded by creative beings and beautiful nature… I better start studying spanish!

    Big Hugs

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    • Yes, one can make these kinds of adjustments. However, the saw dust powder room does not sound very welcoming. We would love you to come visit, when the time is right. I really think you would love it here. It’s the perfect place for someone like you to retire. And we have an awesome gay community here now! We have SO many wonderful friends. Let us know when you’d like to check it out!

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  42. Hi kathy, I wasn’t crazy about not flushing the paper on the many trips I used to make to Mexico, but I really didn’t give it a second thought. When I was traveling in Italy and in a restaurant, I saw my first “squat” hole (albeit very nice, clean and porcelain) I ran back to my table to get my camera to go take a picture of it and all the waiters and people at the tables were giggling about that! I waaaay prefer to not flush paper as opposed to the squat method. Oh and in Greece and other countries around there, there are many times just one large restroom, one has to share with both sexes! THAT I thought was extremely strange!!!

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    • Like you, I would have a hard time getting over sharing a bathroom with men. Really, that would be almost impossible for me. I mean, I guess you do what you have to, BUT———–and that’s a big BUT! Great comment, Sue, thank you so much!

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  43. Pingback: Alleppy Trip | Wired With Words

  44. Loved your story…since I’ve been a Full Time RVer for almost 10 years, not flushing T paper is a very normal everyday activity. Unless, of course, you want to dig it out of the holding tank:).
    So when in any country South of US of A it is an easy adjustment. We just save all our plastic grocery bags & recycle them with the used T paper. I wait for your stories & love to read them…they just aren’t long enough:). Thank you for sharing.

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    • Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment!

      I’ve never RVed myself, but I suspect one would not want to flush paper. That would be a big problem

      Glad you enjoyed this post and other’s, as well. It’s wonderful to hear from you today! Is this Donna?

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  45. I enjoyed your article and am glad to have found your blog. I don’t think the tp issue is a deal breaker for me. We’ve been doing that here in the States since I was in elementary school when visiting relatives who live in another state. I’m now 62. It’s no big deal when you get used to it. It’s been interesting reading the comments from those of us who live in the States. Many don’t know that plumbing IS an issue here in many areas! Loved it. Planning on moving to Ecuador this fall. My best to you/

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    • I’m so sorry to be slow catching up on these comment, Barbara. But it is wonderful to hear from you. Yes, most folks in the US have no idea what plumbing can be like in so much of the world. But I’m so happy to hear you will be moving to Ecuador. Will you be in Cuenca? Stay in touch. Would LOVE to meet you! Good luck with the move and let me know if you have any questions I could answer for you!!!!

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  46. Pingback: A Leather Jacket Shouln't Slouch - Life at My House - Odd Loves Company

  47. In Thailand they do the same thing with put the paper in the basket, but they have a wonderful adaptation to this: The butt washer hose! AKA bum gun AKA hand bidet. After giving the appropriate area a thorough rinse, the paper is pretty innocuous.

    I’m completely perplexed that the butt washer hose is not standard equipment in US bathrooms. No, it does not need to be heated. I’ve lived with one and never had the least urge to arrange for it to be heated through a Kansas winter, admittedly not nearly as cold as some, but we did have some record setting cold.

    Do they provide a washer hose too?

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    • Great question, Janet! We always had a bidet when we lived in Southeast Asia. And we have had one in two places we have lived so far–though the one in this place doesn’t work. Don’t know why they are not more common here. Fascinating to think about, however. Thanks SO much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

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