Cynthia: It was so great to hear from readers this week about how things are going in their areas. Some even sent photos!
Edd: And we were really appreciative of those who asked how we’re faring here in Ecuador.
C: Ironically, we’re supposed to be on a 5-week, family trip right now in the States. Specifically in New Jersey, one of the coronavirus hot spots.
E: Yep. At the beginning of March we contemplated changing our itinerary and going early when all this craziness started. In retrospect we made the right decision staying put.
C: I’ll say. Glad we trusted my intuition. Our country’s restrictions are more stringent than many places we’ve read about, but Cuenca has less than 200 cases in a population of over 600,000.
E: You know, since we work from home anyway, our daily life is probably 90% the same as it was before. We just don’t get to go out for lunch a few times a week, and we visit the grocery store less...
Edd: Wow, we sure covered a lot of topics on the Now It’s My Turn! TV show last weekend!
Cynthia: We never seem to be at a loss for words. I especially enjoyed our discussion of Super Agers.
E: Readers may not know what that term means. Harvard Medical School defines this group as "people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts."
C: Well, that covers one of us.
E: Ha! You’ll be joining me in a few years. And as we pointed out to Lara McAra, the show’s host, our current state of optimal health and wellness isn’t a lucky accident. A lot of intention has gone into it.
C: Yeah, you touched on our aspiration to become Super Agers in the blog you wrote about being a septuagenarian. Regarding the mental part of the equation, I feel like living abroad in Ecuador for the past decade has greatly contributed to our well-being and unshakeable optimism.
E: Remember that...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...