Living as an expat in Ecuador is definitely a big “shock” – culture shock, climate shock, food shock, everything shock. The most important “shock”, however, is the one regarding people and their behavior. There are so many things about Ecuadorians that from European perspective look weird, annoying, cute, funny, charming, or absolutely ridiculous. So without any further ado, I’d like to present 8 things you should know about Ecuadorians before becoming an expat in Ecuador.
1.They’re always late.
In Ecuador punctuality is an extreme rarity. Why would you stress yourself out to be on time if you can be an hour late and the world doesn’t crumble? So Ecuadorians really don’t stress about time. It’s normal to plan something at certain time only to implement it 3 hours later. Such different sense of time makes Ecuadorians be late for their jobs, weddings, birthday parties, Christmases, airplanes, family reunions, and so on and so forth. Someone might say that Ecuadorians have distortive perception of time and reality, and maybe they do, but that’s what actually makes them happier people. They just take it easy.
2. They are overly polite.
Ecuadorians are indeed very polite people. They will always listen to you, and give advice, and offer help, and make you feel like you’ve been friends forever. But what you have to remember is that this is just a cultural trait. It is an Ecuadorian quality to be a bit irresponsible with making promises. They indeed mean what they say and yet don’t mean it at the same time. So don’t count on it too much. Sometimes offering help is just being polite and nothing else.
Now in Latvia we have a saying that a perfect distance between people is an arm’s reach. In Ecuador, however, perfect distance between people is no distance whatsoever. If you meet an Ecuadorian, he will always give you a heartfelt hug (or at least a semi-hug), kiss you on the cheek, hold your hand, and then do the whole thing again when you say good bye. Even if that was the first time you ever seen him.
4.They can’t sit straight.
This refers to women. For some inexplicable reason, Ecuadorian women just cannot sit straight – it seems that fidgeting is their natural state. They play with their hair when they talk, they always have to have their hands occupied with something, be it phone, or a hairclip. They multitask (talking on the phone while having a face-to-face conversation while warming up dinner for children while admiring own nail polish). And, of course, they always dangle their legs when they sit.
5. They overdress.
6. They’re positive.
It’s easy to excite Ecuadorians because they are generally so in love with life. They like to celebrate achievements and just be happy for everything good that happens to you.
7.They are slow walkers.
Sometimes, when you’re driving in a car and let a passer-by cross the road, you wonder if that person wants to put you to the test or something. Because no one ever crosses the street that slow if not on purpose. Ecuadorians don’t generally take traffic laws seriously – they often run across the street when there’s no zebra or no traffic lights, and it’s not rare to see someone trying to catch a taxi or get on a bus almost in the middle of the road.
8. They think babies are cute.
Ecuadorians love babies, especially when they are still adorable little humans that you carry in your arms. If you’re a baby of a year of age in Ecuador, be prepared that everybody will surround you, exclaim how cute you are and how intelligent for your age, and then they’ll try to touch you. They will rub you on the back, touch your elbow, or your foot, or your head – in fact, touch any part of your body. It’s probably just to make sure that you exist, so relax. They mean well.