In August 2014, Peggy and I decided on an amicable divorce. Our marriage of 26 years had been largely based on our mutual desire for family and home. The kids were grown and gone, the home was now too large and expensive, and we had gotten on each other’s nerves. We just didn’t have any interests in common, and found we couldn’t work or communicate directly with each other.
This was rough for me. I was on unpaid leave from work to avoid being bullied by a harassing headmaster and department chair, and didn’t know how that was going to be resolved. Even if I was working, there was no way for me to keep the house and garden, which meant leaving the neighborhood. I considered numerous places to relocate including Florida, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Ecuador. And I’ve never been good at dating, but I did not want to be lonely.
In November, that all changed with a first email from Alina:
"While surfing on the web I found your site. Perhaps you do not remember me, but I think we met back in the late 1980s in Ecuador. I think it was you who joined our group from Catholic University in a collecting field trip in the Andes? I remember you were showing us some Aikido techniques during the trip, and after that I joined the dojo directed by Christine (French instructor living in Quito at that time). I continued Aikido and did get my black belt!”
Wow! Somebody found me! We struck up email and skype conversations, and discovered that we had a great many interests in common. Natural history, travel, collecting, martial arts, movies, and not least: looking for love and a stable relationship.
We had our first meeting in 27 years in late January, a long weekend. Everything clicked immediately. The day after my visit, Alina phoned and said she was going to Ecuador in two weeks to see her family and job hunt with her shiny new PhD. Would I come with her? Absolutely! In the first week, we decided we would marry. In the second week, she found us jobs as research professors at the Universidad Estatal Amazonica in Puyo and decide to emmigrate.
Since then, our lives have been whirlwinds of activity. I had to retire, sell the house, divorce Peggy, empty my garden, get rid of lots of stuff, wrap up my insect research at the MCZ, pack our stuff, load it into a container and travel to Philadelphia, NY, Boston, DC, Gainesville, London, Yellowstone, Seattle, Edmonton and various other places.
Ecuador might not be any easier at first, but eventually we might settle down.