When Cuenca’s biggest fundraising event of the year involves delicious food from all over the world, you know we’re gonna be there!
Recently we attended the 25th Annual International Food Festival at Mall del Rio. The event supports FASEC, a non-profit, volunteer organization providing palliative and hospice care for patients with cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Thousands of attendees feasted on food from Argentina, Chile, Columbia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.
Veteran patrons like us know to head straight to the dessert table for the best selection. Several of these yummy treats came home with us!
You can’t have a food event in Cuenca without a roasted pig!
Count on the USA booth to be grilling barbecue ribs every year. It’s fun to think back to 2010 when we helped establish this tradition and our country participated for the first time.
Argentina was cooking sides of deliciousness gaucho style over an open...
We recently visited the world-famous Otavalo Market in northern Ecuador where local merchants offer a dizzying array of textiles made with incredibly soft alpaca wool. Occupying an entire city block, it’s one of the largest indigenous markets in Latin America.
Asking prices are extremely low by North American standards, but since bartering is expected you can easily find yourself wondering how you’re going to fit an armload of goodies you just bought into your suitcases!
The towns of Otavalo and Cotacachi, where we stayed with friends, are both located in the Andean highlands. The gorgeous scenery of this part of Ecuador is dotted with many of the country’s volcanoes. Here is a view of Cotacachi volcano.
Our photos show some of the beautiful products available at the Otavalo Market! The craftsmanship is exceptional and the colors are so vivid.
Textiles aren't the only merchandise offered. Here we are with some traditional Ecuadorian art. You’ll find all...
Edd here and going solo for this one.
“Septuagenarian” is your word for the day. It means “someone in their 70s,” which is what I am.
To be exact, 71 as of a few days ago.
You may wonder, “What’s it like to be that old (careful with that ‘old’ word )?” Not because you care what it’s like for me. What you’re really curious about is what it might be like for you.
Of course, I can’t help you with that one. But I’d like to share what my world looks like at this age as a possible glimpse into your own future. Let’s run through the trifecta of mind, body, and spirit.
Yeah, I can’t remember stuff sometimes. Not important matters like “Who/where am I?”
Usually it’s someone’s name or when an event happened. Or I’ll use the wrong word and think, “Did I just say that?”
Guessing I’m not the only one with a paddle in that rowboat.
But the old...
Cynthia: I was lying in bed this morning thinking back to ten years ago. So much has happened since then!
Edd: Let’s see. At that time we’re still in a desperate financial situation in Las Vegas. We’re preparing to move to Ecuador, and in the midst of that chaos you’re about to be diagnosed with breast cancer. What an ultra-stressful period! You’re right---we not only live in a different country now, it’s really like an entirely different life.
C: Plus we had no grandchildren then, and now we have four! Most of our “exotic” travel has taken us to New Jersey and North Carolina. No regrets about that though. We just got back from spending a wonderful Christmas in both places and had so much fun, right?
E: For sure. Decorating two trees and going to the mall for Santa photos twice was a double treat! You know, Cynthia, we could have never predicted creating three best-selling books and a successful...
The famous Andy Williams song proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But what about when you’re living abroad? How do expats celebrate the season? Or do you celebrate at all? And what about the locals?
Like so many things in life, the answer is---it depends. Not so much on the country as the individual. There are expats who go all out during the holidays and others who do nothing. We’ll give you an “insider look” at what goes on during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s in Cuenca, Ecuador where we live.
Thanksgiving ~ It should come as no surprise that for locals this holiday is just another day here. But that doesn’t mean expats aren’t able to celebrate. Turkeys are a specialty item generally available in grocery stores only around this time of year for Christmas. So numerous restaurants host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the expat community.
Plus many friends celebrate together in their homes....
Edd: A guy wrote us wanting to know if there are racquetball courts here. I hope that’s not a deal breaker because when you’re thinking about moving abroad there are MUCH bigger fish to fry.
Cynthia: Lighten up. Not having access to a gym would have been a deal breaker for you. For me moving anywhere is stressful, even if it’s to a different neighborhood in your same city. Not only do you have to deal with sorting through and packing/unpacking all your stuff, there’s also establishing new routines, meeting new neighbors. New, new, new. I’m sure lots of people stay put even if they’re not happy just because it’s easier.
E: Would you say that people who try to figure out every little detail of moving abroad are poor candidates for having a positive experience?
C: Not necessarily. Some people just naturally focus on the minutia. I do think getting bogged down with “analysis paralysis” can sometimes sabotage...
A recent study by Charles Schwab found that on average Americans believe they need $1,700,000 to retire. And according to another study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, two-thirds of U.S. workers said they are very or somewhat confident they’ll be able to live comfortably throughout retirement.
Encouraging stuff, right? Except other studies pull back the curtain to reveal the shocking gap between our collective fantasy world versus harsh reality.
Let’s start with this—the 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey finds a jaw-dropping 47% of Americans age 35-44 have less than $25,000 saved for retirement. “Well,” you’re thinking, “those younger folks have a lot of time to catch up.”
Yes and no. Check out this chart from the same survey:
Amount Saved for Retirement
Ages 55 and Older
Less than $1,000
$1,000 to $9,999
$10,000 to $24,999
$25,000 to $49,999
$50,000 to $99,999
For years we’ve wanted to take a trip up the Hudson Valley during foliage season. So when neighbors of our daughter moved there and invited us to their new home, we decided to finally make it happen.
Our destination of Hudson, New York is a pleasant (and inexpensive when you’re a “senior”) 2-hour Amtrak ride from Penn Station. After an up and down history the 19th century town has become an uber-trendy landing spot for artsy types and weekend getaway for New Yorkers.
From the train station we walked the length of Warren Street, the main commercial artery, to get a feel for the place. Hudson’s description of “shabby chic” is spot on. Beautifully renovated row houses sit next to ones desperately in need of TLC. High-end shops are across the street from a mom and pop convenience store.
The 3-story skyline is dominated by the steeple of The First Presbyterian Church.
Regarding leaf peeping, we were a bit concerned about our timing on the...
Note ~ While we’re on vacation we’re sharing some favorite stories from our best-selling trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement. Here’s Edd’s Choice from Volume III, “Living the Dream.” Enjoy!
Self-help gurus often recommend stepping "outside the box" as a way to learn more about yourself. After uprooting our lives and moving to Ecuador over three years ago, I can certainly attest to the wisdom of this strategy. I've discovered how to live life more fully than I could have ever imagined. I’ve relished reviving dormant talents and interests like art and writing.
But you can also learn a lot about yourself by doing something you haven't done in awhile.
Like taking care of two babies full-time after 35 years.
We had planned on visiting our family in the fall anyway, so when our son told us he and his wife wanted to attend an out-of-state wedding and asked if we would consider watching our oldest granddaughter (2 years, 3 months) and...
Note ~ While we’re on vacation we’re sharing some favorite stories from our best-selling trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement. Here’s Cynthia’s Choice from Volume II, “Letting Go.” Enjoy!
It's moving day. Our current landlord (and friend) has kindly offered to take us, our suitcases, and groceries from his furnished studio we have occupied for a month over to our new apartment. We've huffed and puffed all our stuff down the stairs and are waiting for him to bring the car around so we can load and go.
Then he appears at the gate.
A man selling brooms, of all things. Not the straw brooms we're familiar with in the States. Synthetic ones with bristles maybe 3 inches long. But brooms nonetheless.
Now there are numerous vendors on the streets of Cuenca---lottery tickets, "street meat," assorted candies. We've even seen a guy carrying around handfuls of rabbit-ear antennae (remember those?).
The broom man obviously speaks zero English. He...