Imagine ~ Intend ~ Create

Retirement: Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!!

Edd:  I read an article about lies people tell themselves in retirement.

Cynthia:  Yeah? We’re retired. What lies are we telling ourselves?

E:  The author covered three, but one of them I thought was particularly interesting: “I’m busier than ever… I don’t know how I ever fit work into my schedule.”

C:  That’s a lie? We’ve said it ourselves many times and so have a lot of our friends.

E:  That’s why I found the article interesting. The author says the translation of this “lie” is, and I quote, “I fill my life with whatever I can because I don’t know what else to do with it.”

C:  Huh. Well, I’m guessing this “expert” on retirement is not retired, and he obviously doesn’t know anybody in Cuenca! I mean, as an example, here’s a story from one of our lunch outings. 

A group of ladies met for a midday meal and were spending the afternoon...

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Retirement: Lappy Labor Life!

Cynthia:  First conversation we’ve done in a while and it’s called “Lappy Labor Life?” I can’t believe I’m okay with such a silly title.

Edd:  Well, we said we’d be focusing on fun and the alliteration seemed kind of catchy. Anyway, Labor Day weekend. The last hoorah for summer. It’s an odd holiday, right? To celebrate work by---not working.

C:  Hah! And just another day in Casa Staton. Ecuador has more than its share of holidays but Labor Day isn’t one of them. Wow, talking about this subject makes me realize neither of us has had a real J-O-B in over a decade! How do you feel about that?

E:  Is that a trick question?? I feel absolutely great about it! Yeah, we consulted with a tour company here. I wrote for International Living for 5 years and we spoke at their conferences. And now we’re doing our thing with Retirement Reimagined! But since retiring overseas it’s all been on our terms.

C:  I...

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Isn't Retirement Supposed to Be Fun??

“My goal is to work as long as I possibly can. At least until 70. In fact, I hope I work so long that when I finally do retire I’ll be too old, too tired, and too sick to enjoy the few years I have left.”

Said no one, EVER!

If you listen to the experts...

Yet to believe what most financial writers say, that’s the hand you’ve been dealt. You haven’t saved enough so you’ve gotta work, work, work. And slash your current budget immediately because you’ve gotta save, save, save. Even Suze Orman proclaims that 70 is the new 65.

Oh, and after all that working and saving, downsize those retirement dreams of yours too because, well, by then you’ll probably be a candidate for long-term care so there goes the old nest egg.

Wait a minute... 

Isn’t retirement supposed to be fun? 

Didn’t you enter the workforce way back when with a vision of your future that included relaxation, the freedom to travel, maybe spending...

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Retirement: Saving the Best for Last

“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~ Dakota Indian proverb

The sayings for folks around retirement age are often less than kind:  “Over the hill”--”out to pasture”--”on your last leg”--”worse for wear.” 

And let’s not forget the classic “no spring chicken.” Yikes!

Here in Ecuador where we’ve lived for almost a decade locals have a more respectful term for their over 65’ers: Tercera Edad, which means "Third Age."

How much better does that sound? No negativity. No judgment. Simply a recognition that one has moved into the next stage of life. 

Ecuadorian culture takes matters a step further by honoring the older generation with numerous perks and discounts. Banks, government offices, utility companies, and even the grocery store have special lines and windows for members of Tercera Edad.

It’s said that age is just a number, but how many of us think and behave...

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Expat Life: Corpus Christi Festival in Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca’s annual Corpus Christi festival took place at the end of last month, but we’ve been so busy we’re just now getting around to telling you about it. Oh well, in “Ecuador time” we’re still early!

When we say “annual” we mean annual. As in since 1557! Although Corpus Christi means “Body of Christ,” somehow over the years the sacramental bread transformed into candy.

LOTS of candy and other sweets. Like 117 booths with over 60 varieties. The booths were set up all around Parque Calderón in the historic center of Cuenca so we decided to stroll over and check it out.

We crossed the Tomebamba River that separates New Town where we live from El Centro. First we stopped for lunch at a great Mexican restaurant near the festivities.

Edd had the BIG burrito...

And Cynthia barely finished her chicken tacos. With all that food plus a side order of guacamole and lemonade the bill was about $16. Love it!


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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 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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