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Expat Life: We haven't done THIS in a very l-o-n-g time!

Hooray!

This week coronavirus lockdown restrictions were relaxed as Ecuador appears to have “flattened the curve.”

We learned that a handful of restaurants have been allowed to reopen with proper safety protocols.

After 2 ½ months of our biweekly, grocery store trip being the “Big Event” at Casa Staton, we were beyond anxious to dress up a bit and walk into town to enjoy a sit-down meal somewhere other than our dining room!

Even though more cars are allowed out, we found most streets to be nearly empty.

Parque de la Madre, a large park normally filled with families on the weekend, is taped off and deserted.

It’s heartbreaking to see how overgrown and unkempt the entire space has become.

When we arrived at Café del Museo we were stopped at this table to have the bottom of our shoes sprayed. At the restaurant entrance we stepped into a tray to again clean our shoes (not sure what’s up with the focus on that particular...

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Expat Life: It's our 10th Anniversary!

Cynthia:  Do you know what today is?

Edd:  Is this a trick question? It’s Sunday, May the somethingth.

C:  It’s the 17th. Do you know why today is special?

E:  See, I know you. It was a trick question. OK, I remembered Mother’s Day and your birthday isn't until next month. So I think I’m safe saying, “No, baby, why is today special?”

C:  Because 10 years ago we got off the plane here in Cuenca, Ecuador. It’s our 10th anniversary of being expats!

E:  Shut up... Really?? That seems impossible.

C:  I know. I can’t believe it either. Remember how excited we were?

E:  I sure do. But you know what, I don’t remember us being scared. Do you? Honestly, we had every reason to be. We didn’t speak Spanish. We didn’t know anybody. Our shipping container was on its way and we had no place to live. What in the hell were we thinking?

C:  That this was gonna work no matter what because it...

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Retirement: It’s the PERFECT time to do this...

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...

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Health & Wellness: Super Agers and Discovering the Fountain of Youth

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...

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Retirement: What's It Like to be in Your 70s?

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.

Mind ~

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...

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Retirement: What a Wild Decade!

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...

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Expat Life: Would Moving Abroad Be Too Stressful For You?

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...

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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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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!

We...

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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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