When I was 9, my father went to South America for a whole year. He had agreed to run a property in Ecuador’s port, Guayaquil, for his brother-in-law, who was based in San Jose in Central America and whom had previously spent time in Latin America, particularly Lima, Peru.
My uncle always had a deal in the works that was going to make him a lot of money, which never did seem to work out for my aunt and him. They had never had children, but they did have servants and a “hacienda” (a farm—one with pigs), so it always appeared to me that they were prosperous and well-to-do.
Later, as an adult, I realized they could live large in Central and South America for much less money than in North America. It was a lesson in being aware of the paradigm within which we exist, especially around living and money standards.
It took my father a year to determine whether moving the five of us to South America for the long term was a viable thing, and during that time he also developed the property into a restaurant from the ground up, furnished it, hired all the staff, and got it open and running. I remember it well.
They made their own sausage, too. It was named Castillo Suizo, or Swiss Castle, and had Spanish-influenced heavy tables and chairs and a suit of armor to greet diners in the foyer.
Once he and mom decided we were a go, we sold or gave away all our belongings and moved ourselves to join him, making a stop at my aunt and uncle in San Jose, Costa Rica, on the way. I remember getting in trouble for teaching my aunt’s housekeeper the English alphabet in exchange for her teaching me the Spanish one.
It was worth it! Even back then, I was a rebel, dedicated to doing the right thing, being a solid bookworm, and educating anyone who would listen on whatever they wanted to know that I knew and could share, especially all things contrarian!
I also remember how my mom and we girls weren’t picked up timely from the San Jose airport, and there was a feeling of anxiety as she attempted to get us a ride to my aunt and uncle’s house.
There’s a vivid image of one sister and me staying with the luggage, while my Mom took our younger sister, the baby, with her to find a phone and figure out how to communicate her needs without speaking any other language than English in a Spanish-speaking country.
Once we arrived at our final destination in Ecuador, we got settled into an apartment, had a housekeeper, and also the daughter of my father’s German governess moved in with us.
I remember our Christmas, with a German Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) flown in and our wax candles melting in the heat and humidity before we ever lit them! Good times. A highlight that year was getting to go swimming at the tennis club on Christmas Day, which we had never done before in our usual northeastern US climes.
My mother, ever the intrepid world traveler—as she remains to this day—insisted we take weekend trips around Ecuador while we were there. I am so grateful she made those trips happen.
We visited Quito, the capital of the country, and I have quite the memories of a fascinating train ride to get there, full of live chickens and other livestock riding with us in the passenger area.
On another tip, this time to Cuenca, the whole family piled into our VW Squareback, which was sky blue. Mom, Dad, my two sisters, our houseguest and I got up to the base of the winding mountain road and saw how much fog was on the mountain.
It was the only way to get to Cuenca, so we gamely started up and soon were singing Sunday School songs to reassure each other. We even joked that my mother, who had a bright yellow parka, should put it on and go out before us and show us the way.
We noticed that along the side of the road, which thankfully was paved, did not have a railing; they were apparently doing some drainage work. We passed piles of sand and other materials as we wound our way up and up.
All of a sudden, out of the fog, we saw these two headlights that belonged to a Mack truck, heading directly towards us…in the wrong lane! The truck was attempting to pass a bus, and because of the fog didn’t see us coming up in the other lane. My father’s instincts were to immediately turn to the right…
The truck couldn’t stop that fast, and it slammed into our car’s left side, pushing us down the mountain road as our momentum carried us closer to the edge of the same mountain.
We were pushed into, and stopped by, a big pile of sand for the drainage construction.
This picture is of the car at the junkyard, where it was claimed a total loss for obvious reasons.
Saved by the grace of God. All six of us…our family and our houseguest.
And we all walked away without a scratch.
I do remember screaming and kicking the rear door in the moment it all happened, as I had been traveling in the rear among the luggage, pillows and sleeping bags. I remember very loudly saying, NOOOOOOO! And then in a flash, my father had popped out the front windshield, climbed out and was opening up the rear hatchback door, the only egress the rest of us had because the car was pinned by a truck on one side and the sand on the other. My hero!
Twenty-five years later my mom needed to have her left hip replaced, because during the accident it was impacted by the center console hitting it and damaging the cartilage over all that time. But other than that, the only ripple effect from that family experience has been our annual celebration of our group “birthday,” as in our second chance on life.
That was 44 years ago on October 12th, and in 2018 when I made my signature discovery of the 7 energetic levels of money consciousness, I finally realized what God was saving me for!
It was to raise the money consciousness of the world for prosperity for all. And my second book is part of my responsibility to honor that blessing and second chance. It’s coming in 2022!