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Expat Life: Renewing My Ecuadorian Driver's License

Cynthia:  Well, this has certainly been an eventful few days at Casa Staton. Last week we renewed our U.S. passports and this week you had to renew your Ecuadorian driver’s license. As we reported, the passports were a breeze. Why don’t you tell our readers about your license adventures?

Edd:  I’m thinking “journey” better describes the process of getting a license renewed. But since we have no car here let me first explain why in the heck I have a local driver’s license in the first place.

Confession time:  I let my U.S. license expire years ago. Oops. Since I still needed to be able to drive (and sometimes rent a car) when we were in the States, getting a license in Ecuador was an easy solution.

C:  It wasn’t that easy. You had to sit in class for two weeks to “learn” how to drive in Ecuador!

E:  Yeah, there was that. And five years later I was back at that same driving school, because the first step in...

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Expat Life: Sunday Surprises in Cuenca, Ecuador

It's never a surprise anymore that unexpected things happen around here. The surprise is finding out what's next. Case in point: this morning we look out the window and see a race happening down our street.

There was another race a few weeks ago so no big deal for us. But gotta ask...how often do races go by your window?

Then during brunch we hear music in the direction of a park across the street from our building. Not salsa or hip-hop for a change. Religious sounding music. H-m-m---let's go investigate.

Sure enough, there's a big stage set up

and the park is packed.

You may be wondering, "What's up with all the coats and puffy jackets?" Remember, it's winter here (although for us North Americans it only feels a little chilly). 

This turns out to be a full-on Catholic service with even communion being taken.

So maybe there was a tie-in with the earlier race. "Jogging for Jesus?" Now you language purists may be thinking, "That can't be right. The J in Spanish is pronounced...

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Expat Life: Renewing Your U.S. Passport When Living Abroad

Edd:  Thinking about your passport usually only happens when you’re about to go on a trip abroad. It’s amazing you remembered that ours needed renewing.

Cynthia:  I must have been daydreaming about exotic travel destinations when I realized our passports expire in about nine months. We advise in our Program that most countries’ entry requirement is at least six months remaining on a passport. It was definitely time to take our own advice, especially since we don’t have an out-of-country trip planned at the moment.

E:  And how lucky was it that I just happened to see a notification online that representatives from the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil were going to be in town specifically to accept applications for passport renewals. I made an appointment for us immediately.

C:  Or maybe the universe coming to our rescue! We didn’t know if we were going to have to drive or fly to Guayaquil to retrieve the new passports, but what a blessing...

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Expat Life: Food for Thought

Cynthia:  When you told me you’d read about an expat opening an artisanal food market on Saturday I knew to start making plans for that day.

Edd:  You bet. The ad promised fresh breads and pastries, cheeses, organic produce, wines, aged meats, and a bunch of other stuff like coffee, honey, homemade chocolates. How could we miss it?!

C:  Gosh, hearing you rattle off that list makes me think about our early days as expats here in Cuenca. Were we looking for things like aged meat and organic produce back then? Heck, no---we were sometimes just trying to figure out how to get home!

E:  The expanded selection of food choices over the years has been amazing. I remember how excited we were when the supermarket first started carrying rotisserie chickens! Now we can buy Heinz ketchup and Grey Poupon mustard, exotic mushrooms, European wines. And places like this new artisanal market can open and make a go of it.

C:  So off we strolled on a glorious sunny...

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