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...
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: 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...
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...
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...
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...